poppy field

Byfield & District Branch in rural SW Northants. UK

Byfield & District in rural SW Northants.' EVENTS PAST


Please also look for the many sub pages to this page describing various activities and events with which we have been involved. If those didn't warrant a page of their own, they'll be featured below, just scroll-down...

You may now view the Minutes of our 2020 AGM by clicking-on this notice.

Byfield War Memorial's 100th Birthday: At 1000hours on Thursday 10th September our president, John Russell BEM commemorated the unveiling of Byfield's War Memorail 100 years ago. He told tales of its erection, by public subscription, its uprooting by the old elm adjacent (the original Cross Tree) and its repositioning, by beer bottle placement! The event on an overcast but mild late summer morning, was attended by nine Byfieldians.

VJ+75 was also commemorated, although that event was somewhat subdued compared to VE earlier.

Victory in Europe Day +75, the seventy-fifth anniversary of the end of the Second World War HAPPENED, although very differently to what we had planned. Go to the separate page of this section dedicated to that event for an explanation.

Local Byfield lad Richard Buck (a trombonist) visited with his friends Frances Leith (on French Horn) and Katie Lodge (on Trumpet) to give us a brass concert in Byfield's Holy Cross Church on the afternoon of Sunday 5th January 2020. Although a winter bug caused some to miss-out, about forty friends and members of Byfield & District RBL made it to the venue for 3pm. Richard and his harmonious colleagues played music from Johann Strauss II, Mozart and Gabrieli, plus a few well known favourites to get hands clapping and even a choral accompaniment from a participating audience for one particular piece. Richard kindly dedicated this year's performance to Russ Mallace, our past President and Chairman, who sadly died late last year; Richard played one of Russ's favourite melodies in tribute. As always Richard's family generously hosted a small party afterwards providing drinks and nibbles for all those attending. The event was a good example of rural village conviviality; the retiring collection raised £210 for our Branch of the RBL.


MERCHANT NAVY DAY 3rd September, in Middle England, about as far from the sea as you can get...

In Byfield (above) and in Daventry (below) we remembered those brave souls who kept Britain supplied come hell or high water.


Right at the end of April 2019, when you would expect the weather to be spring-like, it was reminiscent of late autumn; a cold NW'ly half gale blew, trying but not quite succeeding to dump hail on us. Where were we? Alrewas, more of less in the middle of England, that's where. We visited the National Memorial Arboretum to support our Member Chris, who was there with our Standard at a dedication of two memorials to fallen comrades from his old RA unit.



Young Buck and his brass ensemble did us proud Sunday afternoon 6th Jan’19 in Byfield’s Holy Cross church. They had a healthy audience of about fifty on the first sunny afternoon of the year and played some soothing stuff. I’m afraid your scribe isn’t “into” chamber music but I never cease to be amazed at the harmonious sounds of several wind (or any other) instruments being played together by virtuosos, and these young people are certainly amongst those. The skill with which they effortlessly pass self-created pressurised air through seemingly yards of bent brass tubing, to emit an incredible range of pleasing sound is something to experience. And all without almost any sign of exertion; these musicians certainly do not show you puffed-out reddened cheeks, they just breatheeeee. Appreciation was shown by the applause, and the retiring collection.

The annual “run” to Galanos House carrying goodies for the residents there will took place again this year on Sunday 16th December ‘18, arriving at Galanos House CV47 1NR at 2pm. The Riders’ Branch formed-up at the Long Itch Diner CV47 9QZ beforehand as usual and your Branch was represented once again, this year Alan took his more modern Arial, his 1950's "Fieldmaster" 500. See Weblink above for a full report, just click-on the red font.

Remembrance Day in 2018 was special, as it landed on Armistice Day and was the 100th anniversary of that Armistice. Byfield joined many other villages, towns and cities around the country and presented our own "Thank You" to commemorate that day so long ago.

On the first of September 2018, we attended Northamptonshire's "Thank You" to the fallen of the First World War.

In early August 2018 your Branch was represented in Flanders and Northern France by two of our Members who attended the second Great Pilgrimage, known as GP90 because it was 90-years after the first.

We were represented at this year's Byfield School Fete, which took place on a lovelly sunny Saturday on the last day of flaming June 2018. We were however somewhat upstaged by other gazebos and displays, all of which seemed to include digital wizardry. A lesson for next year maybe?

We went to Compton Verney on Thursday 17th May 2018 the "we" being four Legionnaires, a PC member and a visitor from NZ. The grounds were pretty in an Olde England way and the lake sparkling under a rare summer sun... The "Garden" was advertised as being a "Capability Brown" design but it just looked like a well groomed field to your correspondent, with a few trees and lots of sheep and lambs, which I submit were timeless, rather than 18th century.

 01 Compton Verney Entrance 02 The House Behind The Bridge 03 Sphinx On Guard 04 Main House Entrance                                    

The day's target was the "Created in Conflict" art exhibition but we took in the "Ravilious & Co." show too, and browsed the permanent exhibits of Folk Art, Naples, Portraits etc. Then, after a 20-minute queue, a pleasant lunch in the House's refectory.

05 Le Virgine And Indefatigable 06 Quilt And Cartridge 07 Nice Fire 08 Tapestry Work                                           

There was a bonus of some young ladies dancing outside the big house on our departure apparently "just for us", as we seemed to be their only audience.

09 Dancers 010 Dancers 2 011 Dancers 6 012 Dancers 5

Chris paraded our Standard in Milton Keynes on Sunday 11th March 2018 in the 6 REGIMENT Army Air Corpes FREEDOM PARADE678 (Rifles) Squadron, a Reserve Squadron of 6 Regiment AAC, received the Freedom of Milton Keynes - an honour which recognises the special relationship and close ties between the Squadron and local community. Towcester Branch also attended plus four other RBL standards from other areas.

ON Sunday 14th January 2018, there was a New Year's Celebration at 4pm in Byfield's Holy Cross Church, where local lad Richard lead his Buck Brass Trio in a resounding tribute to this 100th year since the end of "The Great War" (who named it that I wonder, "terrible" would have been a more apt adjective methinks); anyway, go to our Facebook timeline for a video clip. Apologies to the lads for the sound quality, that's your editor's fault.

  DSC00783 Buck 3 Tim Richard Dan  DSC00784 Buck Audience   

Richard and his friends are all graduates of The Royal Academy of Music, so a very professional performance was guaranteed. Admission was free and the audience numbered more than sixty souls, who generously donated just over £300 to the RBL during the concert. Many stayed on to chat to Richard (trombone), Tim (French horn) and Dan (trumpet), whose performance of classical, jazz and pop tunes was seamingly effortless - I for one couldn't understand how they played those wind instruments without taking any obvious breaths! If you'd like to hear more of Richard and his friends, go to his Facebook presence.

ON THURSDAY 21st DECEMBER 2017we had our Christmas Dinner, in The Griffin, Chipping Warden, and very good it was too. 

ON SATURDAY 16th DECEMBER RBL's Riders' Branch did their Santa run to Galanos House - all gift contributions were gratefully received.

Santa On A Motorbike

ON TUESDAY 5th DECEMBER 2017at our Monthly Meeting, this time in The Griffin, Chipping Warden, FIVE of the assembled company spoke for a few minutes on many and varied experiences.

000 RAF Halton Logo

We visited RAF Halton and Halton House in Buckinghamshire on Saturday 09/09/17 and had a really good day out - see full report on our Events Past page.


There was a day at the races on Saturday August 12th '17 - the RBL Poppy Race Day at Newmarket to be exact...

Newmarket Race Day 3

The weather was fine for once this summer and Chris paraded our Byfield & Distruct Standard along with others supporting the event. Newmarket Race -DayOur thanks to Woodbridge RBL for the image above.



Byfield RBL added to the 2,600(ish) people forming-up on Southam College's playing field on 13/07/17 to make this happen. See our BIG POPPY sub page for a report. 

We were represented in Banbury's Armed Forces Day Parade on Saturday 1st July 2017; that's Chris, 2nd in line parading our Standard...

AFD Chris Parading Our Standard

As you can see from the following photos, all ages looked on - AND there was a Mayoral salute.

                                                  AFD All Ages           AFD The Mayor Salutes

Thanks to Banbury Town Council for the snaps of their Armed Forces Day Parade above. 

Vernon's trip to the National Memorial Arboretum took place on Wednesday 21st June 2017... 

NMA Gulf War Mem

The image above is of the memorial to those who fought and died in the recent Gulf War.  There's a few more photos in our Gallery...

We went to the COLD WAR JETS OPEN DAY at BRUNTINGTHORPE Proving Ground LE17 5QS on Sunday 28th May 2017. 

Victor At Bruntingthorpe

Old jets screamed down the runway and were also on static display; we drove straight-in in the morning, and straight-out at the end of our day - no queues, even though the event was well attended. There's a few more photos in our Gallery...


Eydon Standard

As the call of the bugle sounding the Last Post echoed aroudnd St. Nicholas's Church and faded into silence, Eydon & District RBL's Standard was laid-up with the ceremony and defference due to it now that the Branch has closed and merged with Byfield and District. It was the 7th May 2017 and a bright spring day for the the service at Eydon's lovely little Church. More photos are to be found in our Gallery.


SANTA'S BIKERS AT GALANOS HOUSE... Just before Christmas 2016, the Warwickshire section of the Riders Branch of the Royal British Legion (RBLR) organised a Christmas Present Run in support of the Galanos House Care Home in Southam. There's a report and some interesting facts on one of our "Events Past" sub-pages. District. It was the 7th May 2017 and a bright spring day for the the service at Eydon's lovely little Church. More photos are to be found in our Gallery.

The Byfield Festival was held on the breezy, showery Saturday 17th September 2016. A small RBL team, ably assisted by the new Defib crew*, collected and erected the County Gazebo in the hope that prospective recruits would come by. Its beginning to look like that old phrase "never volunteer" has been ingrained in our population 'cos attendance was disappointing and new Members were not to be seen. Hey ho, the gazebo provided shelter and the footy was fun.

Byfield Festival 2016 Bubble Football & RBL

*Byfield now has two defibrillators available for immediate use, one outside Byfield Medical Centre the other by the "Cross Tree" pub. The "crew" have been trained in their use. They can be accessed by dialling 999 and reporting their need. The village has raised all the money required for these life saving devices since Christmas '15.

On Thursday 12th May 2016 on one of the very few summery days experienced hereabouts so far this year, three intrepid Byfield RBL members ventured north to RAF Cosford to visit the superb museum there. For a few pounds each in addition to the car park fee (entry to the museum was free) a guide could be provided for an exclusive tour - we invested in that and it WAS worth it; our chap was extremely knowledgeable and had a wealth of information about all we saw.

Just as an example of what's on show, a few images from the day are laid-out below (there are more in our photo gallery)...

Alan, Russ & Vernon - behind them is an AVRoe York C1, a passenger aircraft developed from the World War II Lancaster bomber.

AVRoe York C1 Alan Russ & Vernon 12-05-16

Below, the English Electric P1-A, from which our superlative "Lightning" interceptor was developed. The engine nacelle and tailplane behind Russ are not part of the aircraft on display in front of him and Vernon.

English Electric P1A

The magnificent Fairey Delta II (FD2) built for supersonic test flights in the 1950s. Your editor remembers when he was a schoolboy the country's euphoria when Peter Twiss broke the air speed record and flew a sister aircraft (there were only two) at 1,132mph on 10/03/1956; the FD2 was the first jet aircraft in the world to exceed 1,000mph.

Fairey Delta II - Russ Vernon & RAF Cosford Guide

Its not only British aircraft on display here, below is a late WWII evil interceptor, the Messerchmidt Me163B rocket 'plane.

 Messercmidt Me 163B Komet Rocket 'plane

We have lots more images but would prefer you supported the museum and went there, rather than view them here. We will however conclude with a picture of a "Whispering Giant", the revolutionary jet prop Bristol Britannia, with one of her pilots!

Russ & Bristol Britannia



On Monday 11th May 2015 we went to the Battleback Centre at the National Sports Centre, Lilleshall, Shropshire. Byfield & District RBL are supporters of this innovative organisation and regularly donate "surplus" Branch funds directly. Our visit containing two car loads of members was enlightening; it gave us a boost to see the result of RBL fundraising in action. See: http://www.britishlegion.org.uk/get-support/physical-health/the-battle-back-centre/ 

Byfield RBL at Battle Back 2015

We were also privileged to witness a game of basketball...

Battle Back Centre 2015 Wheelchair Basketball