Annual Report published in the Gazette 2013 Issue No. 3

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; Lt Col R Dorney, MBE; C Savage Esq.; K Jones Esq.

CHAIRMAN: Mr C Savage

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

Email: bristolbranch@grengds.com

WEBSITE: www.bristolgrenadiers.org

WEBMASTER: Mr RL Cox

TREASURER: Mr AF Lock

MEETINGS: Committee meeting will be held at 15.30hrs on the last Sunday of each month (Excluding January & August) in the: -

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

2012 began with an air of change for the Bristol Branch. the Branch Chairman, Keith Jones, as expected stood down at the Branch AGM in March. Keith had served the Branch in numerous capacities over a period of many years having held the office of Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Secretary and Welfare Officer, some of these posts on more than one occasion. Keith will continue to keep a very close eye on the Branch in his new capacity as Vice President. The vacant Chairman's position was taken over by Chris Savage, another Vice President; Chris brings a wealth of experience and knowledge with him, as a previous Regimental Sergeant Major of the 1st Battalion and a serving Yeoman Warder of the Queen's Bodyguard, Chris is very well placed to keep the Branch on the straight and narrow. Also at the AGM, Reg Bleaden was appointed to the position of Branch Welfare Officer after it became vacant when Andy Dane stepped down.

During 2012 the committee decided to move the monthly meetings from the traditional Monday evenings to Sunday afternoons, this has proved to be a popular decision as we are now seeing an improvement in the number of Branch members attending the meetings, the Branch now meets at the same venue as before, but on the last Sunday of each month, excluding August and January at 15.30hrs.

2012 also saw Branch Vice President 'Skid' Dorney promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and the Branch extends its heartfelt congratulations to him.

It was dismal start to the 2012 calendar for the Bristol Branch when on a cold and wet Saturday afternoon in April we were soundly thrashed by the Coldstream Guards Association at the 2nd running of the St George's Cup competition. The Branch had excellent support for the event at the Port of Bristol social club in Shirehampton, but unfortunately the many Branch members who attended witnessed the Branch skittles team beaten in every set of the match. Team Captain Roy Godwin was magnanimous in defeat and as he handed over the cup to the Coldstreamers he made it clear that he intended to reclaim the trophy in 2013. The 2013 competition will take place at the same venue on Saturday 20th April at 13.00hrs, all Branch members are encouraged to come along and support the team, a very reasonably priced bar and complimentary buffet lunch will be available.

May 20th found a full coach of Branch members departing Bristol for the excursion of the year along the M4 to London for Regimental Remembrance Day. After a brief diversion off the Motorway to pick up Branch members in Swindon we arrived in London in good time for everyone to find suitable lunch venues before the formalities of the afternoon began. Many Branch members attended the Church Service in the Guards Chapel before joining the parade for the march to Horse Guards to lay the Regimental Wreath. The more eagle eyed will have spotted our very own Chris Quinlan on Colour Point duty, Chris looked every inch the perfect Grenadier and discharged his duties with all the flair and panache expected from a Bristol Branch man. Chris will be Wreath Bearer at the 2013 parade, where we expect him to discharge his duties to the same high standard. After the parade most Branch members repaired to the Sergeants' Mess to take advantage of a very reasonably priced bar. On the return to Bristol we were once again made very welcome at the Guards Club in Windsor for a fish & chip supper, many thanks to the Windsor Branch for their excellent hospitality.

Grenadier Day in July and another full coach Bristol en-route for Aldershot, after the now customary diversion into Swindon we arrived in Aldershot to find that the Branch secretary and Keith Channell had been extremely busy and had the Cider stall and the television raffle set up and ready for trading. Thankfully the weather was a vast improvement on the year before and we enjoyed brisk trade at the Cider stall, unfortunately the Boyton Cup team did not fare very well and had to settle for last place. Congratulations to the Surrey and East Hants Branch who were victorious. The Television was won by Mrs J Fox from Newport. We were fortunate that the rain held off  and a very enjoyable day was had by all.

The Bristol Branch extends its thanks to all at Regimental Headquarters who work extremely hard to make this event worthwhile and enjoyable for everyone.

In August another large number of Branch members took to the M4 bound for London, this time for a visit to the Houses of Parliament. This visit was kindly arranged by Mr Jack Lopresti MP for Filton and Bradley Stoke. An early start was required as we had to be in central London in time for our 10.15hrs tour. All Branch members agreed that the 6am start was well worth it as this proved to be one of the most interesting Branch trips ever, we were fortunate that Parliament had risen for the Summer recess and we therefore had access to both the Commons and the Lords debating chambers, a fascinating tour was had by all attending and this was thanks in no small part to to the very knowledgeable guides that were assigned to us. After the tour we dispersed to find lunch venues before the journey back to Bristol; it is rumoured that the Weatherspoons premises benefited immensely from this arrangement.

In September several Branch members set off to visit the Small Arms School Museum in Warminster, the museum boasts a collection of every weapon known to man, everything from the first Longbow right up to the most modern weapon which is on display and Branch members were able to get 'hands on' with a lot of the exhibits. After the tour we retired to the Sergeant's Mess for an extremely acceptable lunch. All due thanks go to our own WO2 Alan Chick for arranging this trip for the Branch and making sure that we had a fantastic day out in Warminster.

On the 20th October some 80 Branch members gathered at our Branch HQ on Whiteladies Road in Bristol for the Annual Dinner, we were delighted to welcome Lord Wigram and the Branch President's wife, Lady Celia Webb-Carter. Colonel and Mrs Hills made the long journey from Cornwall to attend as did Mr & Mrs S Tucker. Mr & Mrs D Scolding travelled from Birmingham to attend. The Branch guest was Mr Jack Lopresti MP who had kindly arranged the Branch trip to the Houses of Parliament earlier in the year. We were brought up to date with Regimental affairs by Branch Vice President Lieutenant Colonel Dorney who had taken up the mantle of Regimental Speaker. We were then entertained by our guest speaker Mr Michael Dabbs MBE who as a previous Regimental Band Sergeant Major, had a wealth of humorous stories to tell us.

For the first time in living memory we were honoured to welcome a detachment of Coldstreamers who had attended the dinner to invite us to mount a challenge for the St George's Cup in 2013, an invitation that we readily accepted and informed the Coldstreamers of the need to for them to practice as we intended to retake the trophy at the next competition. We also held a prize draw at the dinner which proved to be very popular and resulted in some branch members going home at the end of the evening having bagged some very desirable prizes such as lead crystal wine glasses engraved with the Royal Cypher, champagne and truffles, chocolates, wine and one lucky 'punter' went home clutching a signed copy of Lieutenant Colonel Dorney's latest publication "The Killing Zone." The success of last year's dinner was duly mainly to the hard work of our resident Grenadier at Whiteladies Road, Alan Chick and the Branch extends its thanks to him for his tremendous effort in making the dinner such an enjoyable event for all who attended.

In 2012 we joined the Coldstream Association in a fund raising effort on behalf of the Somerset Legion House in Weston-super-Mare. The Somerset Legion House is a purpose built facility situated on the sea front in Weston and offers its facilities to serving and ex=serving members of the armed forces so that they and their families can enjoy a few days respite from the stresses of everyday life. As a Branch we mustered the fantastic sum of 650 in individual donations and when this was combined with the overall total we presented a cheque exceeding 2000 to the Somerset Legion House last December. On behalf of the benefactors, a big thank you to all concerned.

The Bristol Branch extends its thanks to the Officers and Committee of the Branch for their tireless work on behalf of the Branch and also, to all Branch members who have supported the Branch during the past twelve years.

In closing this year's report it is our sad duty to report the passing of Bristol Branch members:

22545065 J. Crosbie and 24306870 S. Davy

Impeccable Grenadiers both - Lest we forget