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Soham Branch

News & events

Below is a list of dates for your diary on 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

 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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