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Soham Branch

News & events

What's happening in the Soham Branch of The Royal British Legion.

Soham Branch meet on the second Thursday of every month at 7.30 pm at

Soham Town Rangers Football Club
Julius Martin Lane
Soham
Cambridgeshire
CB7 5EQ

 

 

2018

August

 

GP90 

RBL representatives from, Soham and Cambridgeshire County branches travelled to Belgium for the Great Pilgrimage 90 (GP90), which took place between August 5th and 9th.

Jonty Woodbridge Standard bearer and Max Paines (Soham), as wreath bearer represented their branch and the local community at The Royal British Legion’s Great Pilgrimage 90.

Also representing Cambridgeshire Morwenna Woodbridge (Soham branch) Cambridgeshire youth standard bearer and Glenn Woodbridge (Soham) as county youth wreath bearer.

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July

Local Royal British Legion Members To Join Thousands On Pilgrimage Of Remembrance To World War One Battlefield -1

Local Royal British Legion Members To Join Thousands On Pilgrimage Of Remembrance To World War One Battlefield -2

Local Royal British Legion Members To Join Thousands On Pilgrimage Of Remembrance To World War One Battlefield -3

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Soham Armed Forces Day 24th June photos


Soham Branch Royal British would like to thank everyone who helped on the day and also our visitors for their support.

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On the 12th June I had the proud duty of taking Morwenna our Cambridgeshire County Youth and East Midlands Standard Bearer to   receive the newly dedicated County Standard. It is a privilege to have Morwenna the County Standard Bearer and Jonty one of the youngest Branch Standard Bearers in the Soham Branch.

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I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of the branch members who help behind the scenes throughout the year.  

Glenn Woodbridge          Chairman                                                        Soham Branch Royal British Legion

 

28th May 

Soham Carnival

The branch stand at Soham Carnival 2018

John Aitchison and Mike Donoghue

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 John Talking

May

Nationally most wreathes are sent to recycling after being taken off memorials. Here in Soham they are used for a second time to mark the war graves in Soham cemetery.

Earlier this month wreaths were removed from Soham memorial and after cleaning by John Aitchison were taken today 20th May, to the cemetery.

John was joined at the cemetery by other members of the Soham Branch Royal British Legion. Pauline and Max Paines, Liz Johnson, Glen Woodbridge and Mike Donoghue to place the wreathes on the war graves.

The Soham Soldier in WW1 uniform paid his respect.

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April 2018

This is a busy year for the branch organising things for Remembrance Day and other planned events.

Already we have dedicated a Commonwealth War   Memorial at the Cemetery for Pvt Benjamin Munns.  

As well as our day to day support work and RBL “Pop In” at the library, we also laid a wreath on 1st April to mark 100 years of the RAF and attended events around the County. 

Our youth standard bearer is County and District Youth standard bearer and came fourth in the National competition.  

Just recently the grave of another WW1 War hero, James Attlesey was marked in the Cemetery with a private headstone this was done with the help of the Branch and family. 

Finally, when the wreaths come off the war memorial we will be placing them on the Commonwealth War Graves in the Cemetery.

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Glenn Woodbridge         Chairman

 

 

March 2018

 

25th March

The Chairman requests RBL members to be in attendance at the War Memorial on 1 April 2018 at 11 am,

A wreath will be laid to mark 100years of the Royal Air Force and to honour those who lost their lives in service.
 
Everyone is welcome so please pass on details of this event to friends and share on your social networks
 

 

Drop In Poster Soham -Wed

Soham Branch of the Royal British Legion is organising a dedication ceremony for the newly recognised grave of First World War casualty Pte Benjamin Munns of the Suffolk Regiment.
Mr Munns was wounded twice in the fighting and was invalided home because he had been diagnosed with TB contracted on active service. He was discharged from service with 100% disability in 1918. He died in January 1920 and was buried in an unmarked grave in Soham cemetery.
Thanks to the research carried out for the book ‘Soham and the Great War’ the unmarked grave was discovered. It has recently been accepted by the Commonwealth War Graves that it was a legitimate war grave and they have now provided the appropriate headstone.


The Dedication Ceremony will be carried out at the grave:
Ceremony Details:
Location: Soham Cemetery on Fordham Road, Soham CB7 5AH
Date: Sunday 18 March 2018
Time: 12.30 pm.

25th February 2018

Morwenna 2018

Morwenna Woodbridge went to the Regional Standard Bearers competition on 25th February and she came home with the East Midlands youth standard bearer’s winners certificate, this is the second year running she has won the competition. She is now waiting to find out the dates for the national competition so she can represent the Branch, County and Regional Youth Standard Bearers

As Branch Chairman and Dad of Morwenna I am very proud of her for all the hard work in getting this far and putting Soham Branch on the map.  

Glenn Woodbridge

 

27th February 2018

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The Funeral of our branch President Mr Reg Brown took place today.

The church was full of family and friends from the Legion and the Soham community who turned out to show their respect to a man who had touched so many lives with his charm and humanity.

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Reg was a member for some years, he carried the Standard for at least 8 years, and attended many functions to represent the Branch.      Reg was also Vice Chairman and in his final year he was proud to be President of the Branch. On retiring from Standard bearing duties his comment to me was "he was proud to pass the Standard over to the younger members of the Branch who he had watched and helped to grow into fine and shining examples for the future of the Legion "

I for one will miss Reg, he helped me when he was my vice Chairman and above all he was a truly great friend and person I was privileged to have known.

                              Glenn Woodbridge

Chairman Soham Branch 

 

10th February 2018

 

It is with a sad heart that I have to report the passing away today of our President Reg Brown

I will keep you all updated of any arrangements of the family's wishes and date of his funeral in the near future

Glenn Woodbridge

Chairman Soham Branch Royal British Legion

 

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2017

 

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Remembrance Sunday presentation

A memorial plaque for the fallen was presented to Soham RBL Chairman Mr Glenn Woodbridge by Chief Master SGT Phillip Alpeter, Staff SGT Douglas Pennell and Technical SGT Carl Countryman of the United States Air force.
The plaque will be erected in the cemetery at a future date. Mr Woodbridge thanked them for all their hard work in creating it to such a high standard.

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Two minutes silence was observed at 11am on 11th November at Soham memorial.

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The book “SOHAM AND THE GREAT WAR” received an award from CALH (Cambridgeshire Association for Local History) on 16th September for having made a substantial contribution to local history.

President Mike Petty of CALH (Cambridgeshire Association for Local History), presenting the Soham WW1 Centenary Commemoration Committee, with the award certificate on 11th November 2017. The presentation took place outside the Walter Gidney Pavilion in front of the plaque dedicated to Soham and its Heroes. The plaque was provided by the committee for the residents of Soham, past and present.

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Soham WW1 Centenary Commemoration Committee Members
From left to right:

Glenn Woodbridge (instigator of the commemoration 2014 to 2018 project and Chairman of Soham Royal British Legion).

Rosemary Aitchison (Chairwoman Soham Town Council and contributor to the book).

Charles Warner (Chairman of Soham Heritage and Tourism and main writer of the book).

Mike Petty (President of CALH).

Colin Elsden (Chairman of Soham WW1 Committee and representative of Soham Royal British Legion).

Barbara Warner (Soham Heritage and Tourism and contributor to the book).

Elizabeth Johnston (Soham Town Forum and graphics input to the book).

Other members not present are George Ginn (Researcher of Soham news during the period and John Aitchison also representing Soham Royal British Legion).

 

Copies of 'Soham and The Great War' can be found at Soham Books, High Street, Soham

Book 1

Tickets

Tickets are available from Tony 07710973840

 

 

This year our president Mr Ron Palmer has unfortunately resigned due to family commitments. He has been a Branch member for 31 years and has served in various positions on the committee for 21 of those years and will be greatly missed. We give him our heartfelt thanks and wish him well.

 

Branch member Len Langdon died this year and his family have kindly donated his mobility scooter for the use of other branch members. Former committee member Tony Pollard has also passed away.

We will remember them.

 

Success for our junior Standard Bearer Morwenna Woodbridge who won the Lee Cup for Youth Standard Bearer and also came 5th in the National Competition. She was also presented a ‘Pride of Soham’ award by the Soham Town Council in October 2017

 

 

 12 July 2016

An Australian pilot who died in 1946 shortly before he was due to marry his British bride has been honoured in a ceremony after his family tracked down his grave to Soham.

 

Officers from the local Royal British Legion paid their last respects by putting a cross to mark the grave of flying officer Frederick Stephens, who was in the Royal Australian Air Force in WW2 and flew Lancaster Bombers from Waterbeach with the 514 squadron including 44 missions over Germany.

Frederick died a year after the war ended in a tragic accident while piloting an airline that killed him and six others during a foggy flight from Port Ellen to Renfrew in Scotland.

His family thought he had been buried in Cambridge War Cemetery but following some digging in press reports and a letter to the Ely Standard they discovered his body was laid to rest in Soham graveyard.

Glen Woodbridge, chairman of Soham Royal British legion, said: “The family contacted us and the Royal British Legion Soham Branch was very pleased to help the family in placing the cross on Frederick’s Grave until they can sort out their own memorial.

“We had 23 people attend his service. A family member said Frederick was honoured in a way they hoped he would be.”

During his tour of duty Frederick met a war widow, Eunice Whittaker with a small son called Anthony, they fell in love and got engaged. After the War Frederick was discharged from the RAAF and returned to Australia for a short time while Eunice and Anthony tried to join him but for some reason they were not allowed to emigrate.

Frederick returned to England until the problem with her permit could be resolved and they lived in Cambridgeshire.

On September 17, 1946, Frederick began work with Scottish Airways and eight days later on September 25 they moved to Paisley in Scotland.

Just two days after their move, on September 27, Frederick was flying a Dragon Rapide from Port Ellen to Renfrew.

It was a foggy day and there was some kind of radio communication error and the plane crashed into Craigton Hill near Milngavie in Scotland.

Frederick and six others on board were killed.

The accident happened shortly before he and Eunice were due to marry.

Eunice had Frederick’s body taken back to Soham for burial. The grave was bought by his mother but through some miscommunication the family thought Frederick was buried in the Cambridge War Cemetery.

Later, the family tried to find Frederick’s grave and was shocked to find he wasn’t there so the search began to locate him and after y uncovering some police reports, they found he was in Soham cemetery.

© 2015 Archant Community Media Ltd

 

 Somme 100 whistle blowing and laying of a special Somme wreath at 7.30am on 01/07/2016 at the memorial in Soham 

 

Soham remembers the Somme and unveiling of the plaque at 14.00 on 02/07/2016 at the Recreation Ground Soham  

 

On 25th June, Armed Forces Day

Soham R.B.L worked with the Guides and Volunteer Police Cadets who turned out in the afternoon to clean C.W.C.G. graves. They braved the rain and washed off all of the grime and algae to make them look like new stone again. Members of the public stopped and congratulated them for doing such a great job and taking such care. 

There were 6 police cadets, nine guides and brownies that cleaned 12 graves in total with the other 12 graves being cleaned by U.S.A.F Mildenhall personnel earlier on during the day, to cover for the Scouts and A.C.F who were away at camp. 

 

The youth groups noticed that a grave in the cemetery was that of a boy solider of a similar age to them, he was only 16 when he died of his wounds. Each of the groups is going to take away the names marked on the graves and research each serviceman to help see them as a person and not just a headstone. In future each group will sponsor the graves on a permanent basis. 

 

Poppy wreaths were placed at each grave whether it was a C.W.C.G or a Private Memorial to mark them as a Soldier killed in action or died later of their wounds.                                           : Glenn Woodbridge

Sunday, November 8

Remembrance Sunday 2015

Details of the Remembrance Sunday parade and service

The parade will gather at the Soham Village College on Sand Street between 2 and 2.25pm.  The Parade moves off at 2.25 for the laying of wreaths at the War Memorial at 2.30pm.  The church service is at 3pm followed by the tea at the Pavilion.

 

Soham Branch 70th Anniversary of VJ Day Celebrations: Saturday 15th August 2015

The events started at the town’s War Memorial at 1pm, where a presentation of 3 large planters placed around the base of the Memorial was made.  These planters were made and presented by members of the USAF’s 100th Logistics Readiness Sqd. RAF Mildenhall, to mark the 70th anniversary of VJ Day. (picture shows Major Neris presenting the planters to Mr. Geoffrey Fisher, chair of Soham TC and Mr. Ronald Palmer WW2 veteran and Branch  president)

Events then moved to the Pavilion on the Recreation Ground where the Branch held a mini bazaar with stalls, including Books, Cake, Vegetables and others.  Visitors enjoyed tea, sandwiches and cakes, provided by the Soham Coop.

Fun and games were provided by Soham Guides & Scouts with old tabletop games and other groups taking part included the Soham & Heritage Group, The Tommies Living History group, exhibiting equipment and uniforms from the time.

The event finished at 4.30pm.

 

PRESS  RELEASE

 

SOHAM BRANCH

ROYAL BRITISH LEGION

 

 

AGM was held at Town Rangers Football Club at 17.30hrs on 8 October 2015 and the following officers and committee members were elected.

 

President – R Palmer

Chairman – G Woodbridge

Vice Chair – R Brown

Secretary – J Aitchison

Treasurer – C Elsden

Membership Secretary – S Whitworth

Entertainment Secretary – M Ames

Welfare Secretary – M Rae (to act in a representative capacity)

Standard Bearer – R Brown

Deputy Standard Bearer – J Woodbridge

Poppy Organiser – Mrs Webb

Assistant Poppy Organiser - J Woodbridge

Committee members -  B Lanigan, R Badcock, P Paines, M Paines, G Ginn.

 

 Soham Branch  70th Anniversary of VJ Day Celebrations: Saturday 15th August 2015

 

The events started at the town’s War Memorial at 1pm, where a presentation of 3 large planters placed around the base of the Memorial was made.  These planters were made and presented by members of the USAF’s 100th Logistics Readiness Sqd. RAF Mildenhall, to mark the 70th anniversary of VJ Day. ( picture shows Major Neris presenting the planters to Mr Geoffrey Fisher, chair of Soham TC and Mr Ronald Palmer WW2 veteran and Branch  president)

 

Events then moved to the Pavilion on the Recreation Ground where the Branch held a mini bazaar with stalls, including Books, Cake, Vegetables and others.  People were entertained by 2 young members of the K & D Theatre group, singing songs from 1945, whilst enjoying tea, sandwiches and cakes, provided by the Soham Coop.

 

Fun and games were provided by Soham Guides & Scouts with old tabletop games and other groups taking part included the Soham & Heritage Group, The Tommies Living History group, exhibiting equipment and uniforms from the time.

 

The event finished at 4.30pm.

 

(For further details please contact the Secretary:  John Aitchison, 01353 720177)

 

 

 

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