February '16

February '16

Minutes of the Branch Meeting held on 1st February 2016

Lower Annexe, Byfield Village Hall


Russ welcomed our Speaker David Adams who then gave a very interesting talk on the history of Daventry’s Borough Hill, from Roman times as a lookout, defensive and habitation site to its recent ‘Daventry Calling’ era as a primary radio broadcast station covering the world. After this the formal Branch Meeting was opened. 


B.1 Eydon Branch: Russ reported that he had received a copy of a letter from the Eydon Branch Chairman Bob P to the County Chairman stating his concern that the monies held by them are laying dormant and that he would like to see the account closed and the balance transferred, either to the Byfield Branch or the County.

B1.2 In parallel with this, Russ had written to the County’s Membership Administrator Andrew B saying that as this had been going-on for nearly a year without resolution, many of our members were beginning to think the Legion could be better organised and run. He proposed this to be a contributing factor in the difficulty experienced in keeping new, especially younger members, who were hard enough to recruit anyway. Mr. B had replied that he fully understood and with regard to Eydon, the last Membership Council met at the end of November 2015 with next one planned for 24th February 2016, and he could see no reason why the amalgamation request should be refused.     

B.2 Recruitment - Poster and Web Site: Terry reported he had felt the A4 sized posters we had made were too small and had arranged a supply of 50 x A3 ones. As many of the usual village notice boards were too small for that size he asked if members knew of any locations in the district suitable for them e.g. pubs, village halls, etc. & could they help in arranging their display. He said they were on glossy paper and would therefore not need laminating (subsequently it has been found that in time, they will deteriorate from being exposed to the elements).

B2.1 He also reported that good progress was being made getting Parish Council Web sites linked to ours (four were “up” with two more “pending”) but so far, he had no success whatsoever with Byfield’s PC Web site. Alan, who is on the PC, said he would follow this up.

B2.2 Terry had also arranged for the Parish Newsletter “Byword” to mention the link to our Website in each issue over the next 12 months, and would ask Rob Lowe to include a reference to it in the weekly Newsletter published in the Daventry Express and the Banbury Guardian.

B2.3 Terry also mentioned that he wanted to let the children whose poems we had seen recently know that they would be appearing on the Byfield RBL Website and needed to know how best to contact them, if that were at all possible. The meeting felt we should consider holding a new Remembrance poem competition across each of the primary schools in the district, and it was agreed that Head Teachers would be approached around autumn time.

B2.4 Terry explained he would like to put all the names which appear on the War Memorials across the district onto the Web site, and Russ agreed to pass the Memorial book to him.

B.3 Payment of Subscriptions: Russ explained he had established that nine members had so far not renewed their subscriptions, two of whom have cancelled their direct debits. Two have renewed by cash but were not able to produce their paperwork previously sent out by HQ; therefore paying those subs in, ensuring those members were recognised as having paid would be problematic. Russ will speak to Andrew B to find out how these cash subs can be processed. Tony W agreed to follow up one other member for his renewal.   

B.4 Meetings away from Byfield: Russ explained that some of our meetings will be held in villages other than Byfield, all of which will commence at 8pm as usual. The venues arranged so far, and future Speakers are:

Monday 7th March:  Byfield; talk by Enid Jarvis of the Spratton Historical Society on the first RFC VC in WW1

Monday 4th April:  Eydon Royal Oak pub; talk by Graham Pattenden on Col. Fred Burnaby

Monday 9th May:  Byfield (no Speaker yet arranged)

Monday 6th June: Woodford Halse Memorial Hall, talk by Sandy Pattenden on the Breakup of Yugoslavia

Marg Baldwin, a Chief Diving Instructor of the British Sub Aqua Club has volunteered to talk on ‘Travelling Light for Survival in Country.’ This is expected to be at a shortened 7th November meeting held just prior to the AGM. Other speakers to be approached include Matt Hawkins (BA Pilot and ex Red Arrows) and Romer Adams on the B17 which crashed on Borough Hill.

B.5 Outings (see also Item 'H' later herein): Russ asked for a show of hands to decide which of the venues listed at last month’s meeting was preferred; RAF Cosford Museum was chosen. It was agreed to arrange it for the 3rd week in May, with transport by private cars.

B.6 Plaque for Ken’s Memorial Rose: Alan explained he had obtained two quotes for a plaque to be placed with the rose bush purchased in memory of Ken:

1) one in mahogany fitted with a gold or silver plate for the engraving, £45 from the Daventry Cobblers

2) Or one cast in brass with raised letters, £110 from Humphries.

It was agreed that the first example would be most appropriate and the Treasurer would allocate £45 for that.


C.1 Band Concert at Wellingborough: The Wellingborough Branch has invited us to their Poppy Appeal Concert to be given by the Band of the Royal Marines Portsmouth at 7 pm for 7.30 pm on Saturday 5th March. Tickets £15 available by phone 01933 279410

C.2 RBL Events: We have received information from HQ about activities taking place during the forthcoming year.

1) Request for Branch/County events planned around the anniversaries of the Battles of Somme & Jutland

2) Details of the event at Thiepval Memorial in France

3) The Freedom Trail – a trek across the Pyrenees to raise funds

D. FINANCE:  Alan Bailey reported the balances remained well in the black.

D.1 Tony W proposed we send a cheque for £500 to the Battle Back Centre; following a discussion this was seconded by Les. It was also agreed that serious consideration be given to making a further donation later in the year. It was agreed that the cheque for the first donation should be presented by Vernon to the Battle Back speaker at the Banbury Supper Club on 24th March 2016.


John reported at the last meeting that he had banked £9206.86. Since then he had received a £25 donation and after deduction of expenses a revised total for the 2015 Appeal was now £9,170.66

F.  WELFARE: There was no activity to report but if required see RBL Contact Centre Help Line 0808 802 8080.

G. MEMBERSHIP: Russ has received an expression of interest in joining us from one person, who now has a Membership Application form to complete. See also Item 'J.1' below.

G.1 Russ explained that the Women’s Section speaker at the recent County Conference announced that the Women’s Section would at some time later this year cease to exist. The meeting therefore agreed that we should write to all members of the Byfield Women’s section inviting them to join the Branch should they wish to do so.

H. DATES AND EVENTS (see also Item 'J3' later herein):

Vernon announced that Chris J was now unable to give the talk on the Battle Back Centre to the Banbury Supper Club but has been able to arrange for a colleague of his, Capt Chris Knight, to come in his place. As a result, the date has reverted to the usual 4th Thursday in the month so will now be on Thursday 24th March, at 7 for 7.30 pm. The venue is unchanged and is at Marlborough Road Methodist Church, Marlborough Road, Banbury OX16 5BZ. Cost is £10 per head to include a two course meal. Anyone wishing to attend should telephone David H on 01295 253891 by 21st March at the latest.


J.1 Induction of New Members: Terry referred to this item discussed at the January meeting regarding new member induction, where the Chairman would decide whether it would be appropriate for that person to have a formal induction (with the Standard in evidence) or an informal one where the new member was simply introduced to, and would shake hands with all members present. He suggested that the new member should also be asked what induction ceremony they preferred, and this was agreed by all.

J.2 Standard Bearer Poppy Pin: Chris asked if the question of Standard Bearers being allowed to wear a Poppy Pin was clarified at the County Conference. Russ replied that it was: it is permitted, providing the Pin is undated and should not be worn in competitions   

J.3 Friends of Daventry Museum: It was announced that a talk on‘Waterloo 1815, Wellington's greatest victory or Napoleon's biggest blunder?’ would be given by Col. Nick Lipscombe at The Abbey Centre. 7.30pm on Friday 4th March 2016.

J.4 Photos of the Thiepval Memorial: Tony W announced that he had some photographs of this memorial taken when he visited it in 2014. Should anyone wish to see them, please let him know?

K. Date of Next Meeting: Monday 7th March 2016 8pm at Byfield Village Hall Lower Annex. Assemble beforehand in The Cross Tree, Byfield.

Speaker: Enid Jarvis of the Spratton Historical Society on Lt William Rhodes-Moorhouse VC RFC, A Northamptonshire Hero’ the first WW1 Airman to receive the Victoria Cross.


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