Annual Report published in the Gazette 2011 Issue No. 34

PRESIDENT:  Major General Sir Evelyn Webb-Carter KCVO., OBE.

VICE PRESIDENTS: Lt Col The Lord Wigram, MC: Lt Col ET Bolitho MBE; Lt Col P.E. Hills FLCM, psm; Lt Col LCA Ranson, TD; Maj JA Sandison, MBE, QMG; Capt JW Walker; DT Griffiths Esq; J Frost Esq; Major R Dorney, MBE; C Savage Esq.


SECRETARY: Mr M Allen, 51 Vowles Close, Wraxall, Bristol, BS48 1PP Tel. (07500) 822519




MEETINGS: Committee meeting will be held on the first Monday (Excluding January) of each month at the:

Officers Mess, The Royal Artillery Grounds, Whiteladies Road, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 2LG

We are delighted to report that the last twelve months have been a very busy and successful period for the Bristol Branch; our annual dinner was very well attended with eighty Branch Members seated at the Long Ashton Golf Club on the south side of the city. It was our pleasure to welcome as guests, Lt Colonel GF Lesinski, Major R Dorney MBE, Major D Alkin, L/Sgt Jay Ellingham and L/Sgt James Thompson who was posted to Bristol as Recruiting Sergeant. We were also honoured to welcome Colin Knight from the Gloucestershire Branch and Dave Bell from the Surrey and East Hants Branch. After an excellent dinner the Branch President, Major General Sir Evelyn Webb-Carter KCVO; OBE gave his customary address and thanked everyone present for supporting the Branch, especially those that had travelled from some considerable distance to be there. The President then proposed the Loyal Toasts.

We were then honoured to be addressed by Major Alkin who gave a very in depth insight into current Regimental affairs and after the a most interesting speech, proposed the Regimental Toast. We were then treated to to what can only be described as a thoroughly entertaining address by Colonel Lesinski, who was on fine form. Those present were suitably impressed that a speech regarding a Fortnum and Mason Avocado Pear could run for some 20 minutes. Colonel Lesinski also impressed upon his audience that "you are going to drop names, drop big ones" - the dinner was judged to have been a huge success by all present.

After the winter recess, during which, it was decided that due to the harsh weather conditions in January the Branch would no longer hold meetings for the rest of the month, the first event of the year for the Branch was the Regimental Remembrance e Day in May and are pleased to say that this was better supported than what has become the 'norm' over recent years. We set of from Bristol somewhat earlier than usual to enable Branch members to arrive in London in good time to find suitable lunch venues. After the Service and Parade most Branch members availed themselves of the hospitality of the Sgt's Mess. On the return journey we diverted off the motorway to join members of Gloucestershire Branch for a fish and chip supper at the Guards Club at Windsor, our thanks go to the Windsor Branch for making us so welcome, the new arrangements were considered a success and will be put in place again next year.

June 26th saw a full coach of Branch Members heading for Littlecote House in Berkshire for Grenadier Day. We were fortunate to have glorious weather but unfortunately the Branch cider stall did not do a very good trade, this was due to the owners of Littlecote House having their own beer tents which were selling chilled beers and lagers at  very competitive prices. We also had a slight setback with the television raffle, the generator that we took was not powerful enough and we had to abandon the raffle before it had even begun. The Bristol Branch entered two teams into the Boyton Cup which this year took the form of an archery shoot, Bristol 'A' led by the secretary took to the range and to much derision from Bristol 'B' returned what can only be described as a truly set of dismal scores. Bristol 'B' led by our Branch Chairman then took to the range and returned a far more impressive set of scores than the 'A' team. 'Shot of The Day' went to Lance (Sir Lancelot) Cambridge , who returned a most impressive score of thirty-five out of forty, there was however a 'Steward's Enquiry' into the amount of arrows that Lance had actually fired but any suspicion of foul play was ruled out through lack of evidence. Our congratulations go to the Manchester Branch who won the Boyton Cup. Despite the setbacks with the cider stall and TV raffle a thoroughly enjoyable day was had by all and we look forward to returning to Littlecote House should any Grenadier Day be held there in the future.

On Sunday 18th June some thirty Branch Members descended upon Shirehampton Park Golf Club for a very pleasant Sunday Lunch. This is the second time that we have used Shirehampton Golf Club as a venue for Sunday Lunch and we were certainly not disappointed that we chose to return there, both the service and the food was of an excellent standard and we shall certainly return at some time in the future.

Sunday 15th August saw another coach load of Branch Members departing Bristol, this time heading north to The National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas in Staffordshire. WE stopped in Cheltenham en-route to pick up some of the members of Gloucestershire Branch and arrived at the Arboretum in good time for the daily service which commenced at 11.00. After the service we were shown around the Arboretum by Dennis Ward who lives near to the site. Dennis is an absolute fount of knowledge on the Arboretum and has dedicated a great deal of his time to various causes there. Lately, Dennis has spent a considerable amount of time arranging and co-ordinating the new Household Division Memorial, the fact that this monument exists at all is largely due to Dennis' tremendous efforts. After a hugely interesting and enlightening tour of the Arboretum we boarded our coach for the short drive to the Barton Marina where our illustrious Chairman had arranged a lunch at the Waterfront Restaurant. This proved to be a very wise choice by the Chairman as the food and service were impeccable. We would recommend the Waterfront to any other Branches who may be planning a trip to the Arboretum. It was a late arrival back at Bristol but this was a small price to pay for such a memorable day out.

Since our last report, we are honoured to have appointed two new Vice Presidents by the Branch President. The Bristol Branch extends the warmest of welcomes to Major R Dorney MBE and Mr Chris Savage. I am sure that many of you will recognise these names as they are both well know members of the Regiment. Major R Dorney MBE has recently been appointed Quartermaster 1st Battalion and Chris was the Sergeant Major 1st Battalion before working for the MOD.

We have moved our Branch meetings to a new venue, we still meet at 20.00 on the first Monday of each month, but now at the new address: The Officers Mess, The Royal Artillery Grounds, Whiteladies Road, Clifton, Bristol BS8 2LG. whilst this arrangement is still in its infancy it seems to suit the Branch very well, most of the regular attendees at the monthly meetings seem to prefer a venue in central Bristol.

In closing this report this year, we must say that 'all in all' it has been a very good year for the Bristol Branch, all of our Branch events have been well attended and there remains a positive mindset within the Branch. We are delighted to have welcomed some new members into our ranks and inevitably we have said farewell to others. It is our sad duty to report the passing of Bristol Branch Members: 23446395 Raymond G Woodman; 23252068 Michael F Rutty; Ms Sue Fleming; 21006144 Douglas W Hancock and 2625964 Ray Cambridge.