"Stand by your Beds!" - The Branch in Normandy
A party of some 16 branch members made the trip to Normandy for the annual commemorations in 2012. A group of them remembered the good old army days and Branch standard bearer Dave "Basha" Bashford celebrated his 65th birthday on 6th June by working very hard for the branch, carrying the Standard at seven ceremonies. In the evening, the group were entertained to supper with a group of young people from Lomme (near Lille) who were visiting Normandy to learn about the events of 6th June in 1944. At the end of the meal, suddenly all the students stood up and serenaded Basha with "Happy Birthday" in English.
The group returned to their caravans, where they shared a birthday glass of something and ate Basha's birthday cake, which Dorothy (second from the left) had made. Then someone asked the departure time for the next day. Chairman Rodney said: "I expect you all to stand by your beds for inspection at 09h45 before we start for Longueval." So Bernard, Dorothy, Basha and Pam decided to surprise him. As you will see by the photographs, they were all on parade in the lane at the right time!!! Rodney was somewhat surprised!!!
But things deteriorated, the rain commenced as the first ceremony started that morning ... and became heavier and heavier until it stopped after the last ceremony had finished.
Branch chairman, Rodney Curtis, inspects just how much bull Bernard has inflicted on his boots
The parade stands to attention after a rigorous inspection; Dorothy sighs a breath of relief as she's only given seven day's jankers