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Bulletin Number 3

15th RECCE

NEWSLETTER

15th Scottish Reconnaissance Regimental Association

Published by Tim & Gail Chamberlin, Lancaster House, The Capes, Aslockton Nottingham NG13 9AZ
 chamberlin@snc.org.uk

ANNUAL REUNION, PORTSMOUTH
MONDAY 17
TH THURSDAY 20TH NOVEMBER

 

The following members, wives and guests met at the Royal Beach Hotel, Southsea, which occupied a commanding position on the sea-front.

 

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Frank Beresford                           Audrey Arnold

Sir John Boynton                          Tim & Gail Chamberlin

Ernie & Dora Clarke                     Ivor Pale                                                    

Gily                                                  Bernie & Kath Higham

Stan Hook                                      Ben & Annie Howe

Bill & Rosemary Howlett             Bernard Johnson

Michaela Lawrence                     Dave Letford                  

Bill Ponting                                    Richard & Eileen Theobald

George & Ruby Turner                Len & Doreen Watson

Alan & Peggie Westby                 Betty White

 

Ben & Annie Howe together with Stan Hook formed the advance party and had booked in the previous day.

The party met in the bar and moved to the restaurant for dinner. Alan & Peggie Westby were the last to arrive after a long and tiring journey.

John Boynton was accompanied by his granddaughter. Michaela who proved to be lively and interesting company.

Our coach arrived promptly on Tuesday morning, the driver Ron had served for many years in the Royal Navy and proved to be competent, knowledgeable and amiable. Ron informed us that amongst the many  notable personalities born in Portsmouth was Charles Dickens so it was clearly with 'great expectations' that we set off for the docks. Many of the former naval barracks and installations have been 'gentrified' with some of the new apartments fetching significant amounts of money, only the ancient perimeter walls give a clue to the historic past of the area.

We safely boarded the ferry for the Isle of Wight and some of the hardier souls ventured outside for a breath of sea-air. The skipper very courteously announced over the tannoy system that the '15"' Scottish Reconnaissance Regiment' were aboard and he welcomed us most warmly.

 

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Our driver had made arrangements for us to visit the bridge and to see at first hand how the ferry vessel was operated.

This may be difficult to believe but the Senior Navigation Officer, was a lady in her late twenties! I Quickly checked the 'muster' station in case of emergency but we docked safety.

Waiting for us on the Quayside was Betty White who was warmly applauded as she climbed aboard the coach. The driver Ron was also born on the island and was able to navigate the coach along the narrow roads ensuring we saw all places of interest.

Betty moved Into the commentary seat to deliver amusing and informative details about life on the island. She pointed out the land that her father's farm had occupied; where she first met Bryan and as we swept down the Old Military Road, the terrific views of the sea with the sweep of the cliffs. The Island was home to countless bodies of troops during the war and the 'B lack Watch' in particular had probably proved to be the most successful in helping increase the Island's population! Betty pointed out some new buildings which did seem out of character with the Island's architecture and where Ventnor radar station had been sited, a prime target for the Luftwaffe, prior to the commencement of the Battle of Britain.

A light lunch was taken at an old watering hole favoured by Bryan and Betty, The Royal Solent Yacht Club. The sea view were magnificent and a beautiful old three-masted sailing ship drifted by right on cue. After lunch we viewed Carisbrooke Castle, the driver suggested it was a difficult place to visit so we pressed on to Osborne House. There was not sufficient time left to visit he interior but the gardens and gift shop were available. Osborne House was a favourite residence of Queen Victoria and much of the interior and the gardens are virtually unchanged since her demise.

We caught our appointed ferry and once more had the opportunity to visit the bridge. The skipper pointed out the four stations from where the vessel could be steered including sideways! He informed us that the old rule of 'sail before steam' was long gone and some of the new breed of amateur sailors were a real danger to themselves and other shipping.

The coach deposited us back at the hotel and a convivial time was spent in the bar and at dinner which was served in the main restaurant.

Interesting to note the different nationalities working in the hotel, several of whom were Russian.


 

 

After a leisurely breakfast we departed the hotel Wednesday morning for the nearby D-Day Museum. Portsmouth has every reason to be proud of its image, the boulevard along the seafront and the gardens were in very good order. The Museum houses the 'Overlord' embroidery which is an incredible work of art, an immense amount of time, dedication and skill has resulted in a beautifully made tribute to all those involved in 6.6.44.

The Museum contains a wealth of material and exhibits which were thoroughly inspected by our group.

Our next port of call was The Royal Marines Museum, housed in an historic part of the barracks. A welcome drink and lunch was promptly provided and some of us indulged in rather large cream cakes. Bernard Johnson, a former Royal Marine, was justly proud to show us some of the most interesting exhibits and tableaux.

Michaela left us here to return to her nursing duties.

Ron took us on a tour of the island upon which Portsmouth stands. He pointed out the street where Charles Dickens had lived in what appeared to be a rather 'Bleak House'.

There was a marvellous view of the city from the nearby dominating hills. Portsmouth City Council had decided to build an impressive tower to commemorate the millennium which was a few years behind schedule, today was the grand opening but unfortunately the glass lift which was on the outside of the tower, lammed on the inaugural trip, with the mayor and other local worthies half-way up and the party had to be rescued by passing 'abseilers' some hours later.

Doreen Watson & Bernard Johnson were dropped off at the tower and were pleased that they made the effort to ascend the tower, as the views were terrific.

The Regimental Dinner was held in a private room and we were pleased to welcome John Boynton's son in law Roy Lawrence. The Reverend Ernest Clarke said the Grace in his customary moving tones. Richard Theobald proposed the Loyal toast followed by a toast to the Regiment. Gilly' proposed the toast to 'Absent Friends' and mentioned some people who were particularly in our thoughts given the location of the venue.

I mentioned the possibility of the 'Scottish Lion' reprint details of which you will find in his bulletin.

Bernard Johnson reminded us all that the 200 anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar was on the coming Friday, 211 October a most significant event in British history. Bernard amused us all by recounting the many pitfalls Admiral Nelson. would have had to overcome If he had been obliged to fight the battle hide bound by today's multitude of Health & Safety issues. Avery pleasant evening was enjoyed by all.

The following morning after breakfast we said our goodbyes with a commitment to meet again in 2006.

 

ALL HALLOWS IN THE FIELD
REMEMBRANCE NOVEMBER 15TH

Richard & Eileen Theobald; Ben & Annie Howe; George Turner and George Young represented the Regiment. Richard laid a wreath on our behalf. Some of you may have noticed that Songs of Praise on that Sunday evening was from All Hallows which has special meaning to members of the Reconnaissance Corps.

On November 11th Richard & Eileen placed a cross in the Recce plot at the Field of Remembrance near Westminster Abbey.

Gail & I attended the Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance at the Albert Hall on Saturday 12th November which was a most moving affair. George Turner and George Young were both on parade at Whitehall but because of the long wait before parading, George Turner stood down. George Young marched with about 14 other Reconnaissance Corps members and you may well have seen him on the television as he marched pass the Cenotaph. Well done George. a fine effort!

 

Len Watson wrote a piece about his wartime experiences, which was displayed in local libraries.

We know he is an 'old soldier' but it was advertised as memories of a 'Renaissance Soldier'!!

 

 

SCOTTISH LION ON PATROL

I have spoken to Walter Kemsley about re-publishing the Regimental History. It is a very difficult book to find as there were only 500 printed in 1950.

My proposal is that the original text would be re-printed retaining its Total Integrity.

Three additional sections or chapters would be added.

Further information, clarity or enlargement of events detailed in S.L.O.P.

  1. Completely new information relating to the Regiment, people, places and events during its existence. 
  2. Activities since the war e.g. significant re-unions, events, post-war careers, tree planting. plaques etc.. 
  3. The new edition would be enhanced by the inclusion of many relevant photographs.

 Many of you have, I know, stories and experiences that are worthy of reaching a wider audience. This is your opportunity to ensure that your voice is heard.

Give me a call if you woutd like-to discuss this worthwhile project.

 

Twice recently on the wireless I have heard the 'Royal Anglian Regiment' referred to as the 'Royal Anglican Regiment' --Presumably, their Regimental song must be

`Onward Christian Soldiers'

 

DATE FOR YOUR DIARY
ANNUAL LUNCH AT THE ARMY & NAVY CLUB
TUESDAY 9th
AY 2006

 

 

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