March '19

March '19

Minutes of the Branch Committee Meeting held on 27th February 2019 at Hinton House Farm Cottages, Byfield & those of the Branch Meeting in Byfield Village Hall’s Meeting Room on 04/03/2019

A. CHAIRMANS OPENING REMARKS: At the Monday 4th March Meeting, Russ welcomed our Speaker, David Morse, who kindly waited until the end of our Branch Agenda before he provided a fascinating insight into the Home Guard’s history and particularly, the Warwickshire Home Guard.

B. MATTERS ARISING from previous Meeting’s Minutes: 

B.1 RSA Templeton - Our NZ twin: Jeremy has had a Power Point Presentation sent to him from NZ about the D Day landings, which he has passed to Terry. Terry has sent this to Templeton explaining what is being planned in the UK and asking them of their plans? 

B.1.1 Having spoken to her father, Joy understands they are waiting for their MP to become available to make the previously mentioned presentation to him. 

Secretary’s Note: Templeton has responded that at the moment nothing specific has been planned but they acknowledge the significance of the occasion and will advise if they intend to mark the date. 

B.2 Funeral and Thanksgiving Services: The funeral for Dougie and the thanksgiving service for Sheila both went well. However...

B.2.1 Les regretted that neither he, nor two more of his neighbours knew about the service for Sheila. Russ responded that he was sorry Les had not been informed but that it was really a family affair and that the Legion had not been directly involved. 

B.3 Lunch Venues: Terry reported that he had booked The Plough at Upper Boddington for lunch on 27th March, and that prices and choice were reasonable.

B.3.1 It is understood that The Red Lion at Hellidon might be opening again soon, which could be another venue for future reference. 

B.4 Fête Dates: Byfield's PTA school Fête and Byfield School's new hall "grand opening" will be on the 27th June. Which clashes with Aston but we decided to attend both. At the meeting on the 4th March Russ confirmed he had booked the County's RBL Gazebo for that date, we will use our own for one of those venues (see B.5 below).

B.4.1 Answering a question from Les on 4th March, Peter said that the Aston-le-Walls Fête would probably be held in the grounds of the old vicarage near the Anglican church NN11 6UN. 

B.4.2 On 4th March Chris said he had sent the dates of the Woodford Festival, a three day event, to Terry but Terry had not seen this. Chris would re-send.

SECRETARY'S NOTE: This is advertised in Woodford's "Signpost" as being 7th-9th June at their Football Club.

B.4.3 Terry said that nearer the dates, all Members would be asked if they could assist in manning these events; out of 70, we hope that sufficient will volunteer and not leave it to "the usual suspects".

B.5 Gazebo Purchase: All agreed to “go” with the Gazebo Shop quote of £195.50 including VAT, and after discussion agreed on the  Royal Blue colour, and the RBL Poppy Logo with the words Royal British Legion on the front roof panel. The latter words were requested rather than "Byfield & District" because we might rent it to other Branches, and see BB.1 below. At the Meeting on the 4th March, Terry confirmed that he had placed the order. 


BB.1 Byfield Branch History: Terry reported he had come across some work done by the RBL branch in Bletchley investigating their origin and felt it would be useful if we could initiate the same in preparation for the RBL centenary in 2021. Terry said he would check with John R, and Russ asked all members to research this individually. There is reference in the book ‘Bygone Byfield’ to the existence of a British Legion Hon. Sec. W. H.Hartwell in 1940 which could be a useful lead; John R commented the Legion logo was on Mr. Hartwell's gravestone.

This item is to be kept on the agenda for the future to remind us that the centennial date, 15th May 2021, is fast approaching. 

BB1.1 At the 4th March Meeting Terry reported that John R couldn’t add to this information. Terry had also asked HQ who had responded that they had no records of Branches prior to WW2 and suggested he contact County via our MSO. Terry has done that and awaits a reply.

SECRETARY'S NOTE:  Our MSO Andrew has since said there are no pre-war records of us at County. There was an archive kept in Leicester but that received a "big clean out" at the end of last century.

BB.2 Byfield Branch Name? Russ said he felt that the Byfield and District branch name put too much emphasis on ‘Byfield’ and did not truly represent the area we covered. He felt that something like West Northants would be more suitable and asked for comments. Alan pointed out that the Deanshanger Branch was also right at the south western edge of the county, so we needed to find a name that prevented any confusion. Russ said he would talk to County about this. 

BB2.1 At the 4th March Meeting Peter wasn’t sure the name should be changed but otherwise there was no particular reaction. However John R. suggested “Midwest Northants” and Chris wondered if the number of villages might be appropriate. However as that was 13… John R. pointed out that if we include hamlets as well, it could be 16. 

SECRETARY’S NOTE: Deanshanger is east of us and only slightly south of the southern edge of our District. Therefore Southwest Northants might also be considered?


C.1 D-Day Veterans – historic 75th Anniversary Voyage: The Legion is planning to take up to 300 D-Day veterans on a fully funded voyage to France for the 75th  Anniversary and is asking members to spread the word among their friends and relatives as there is still space left. The vessel will depart Dover on 2 June, taking in events in Poole and Portsmouth before crossing the channel to take part in the commemorations in Normandy on 6 June. Closing date for applications is 4 March! 

SECRETARY’S NOTE: The D-Day voyage offer was circulated to all members on 22/02/2019. 

C.2 Election of National Chairman, Vice Chairman and Trustees: Using the CV documents provided, Russ will vote on behalf of the Branch.

D. FINANCE: David couldn’t attend either meeting but reports our finances are in the black. 

D.1 Collection for the RBL by Nina’s family? Les reminded the Meeting that there had been a collection for the RBL at Nina’s funeral, and that Humphreys, the Undertakers, were holding that £165. Russ would check if that was for the Branch or central funds.

F. WELFARE: Three members have been contacted and 2 house visits made during the last month.


F.1 At the 4th March meeting John R said there was still an amount to come-in for wreaths etc., and he would not close the books until September. However he didn’t expect the previously reported excellent 2018 collection total to change by much. 

F.2 RBL 2019 Fundraising: Terry explained that we were unlikely to repeat last year’s financial success, so to help to get near that total, precipitated by an article in last quarter's Legion Magazine, he proposed a new A5 flyer be printed highlighting were the money raised goes. These would be delivered by the Poppy collectors across the District; John supported this and suggested a double sided A5 leaflet for his collectors to give out (he has about a hundred individuals on his “books”). He also suggested a larger single sided A4 flyer could be placed with each permanent collecting box. Terry has been quoted £47.95 for printing a total of 5,000 double-sided colour A5 flyers. An example of what was proposed was circulated to members present, and the A5 first draft is shown below:

Front... Back... 

F.2.1 It was suggested by Laurie that last year’s take should be added to the text, as a “target”. This was discussed and thought to be a good idea because £12,500 could make a splash.


G.1   We have one new member, Tim W., who was present tonight (4th March Meeting) and he was introduced to all. It was interesting to note that Tim had been entered onto our Membership List within three days of putting-in his application, which was a remarkable improvement in HQ I T efficiency. However…

G.3 Terry also reported that the last weekly update of the Membership List by HQ had failed. The result was that the Membership List had vanished from the RBL’s O-365 system. We are not alone in noticing this. The RBL’s I T crowd are working on it and will hopefully resolve for the next update due 09/03/19. 

G.4 Terry reported that a number of old posters have been replaced with new ones but that there would be no new poster created this year.


H.1 Byfield Village Hall Quiz 22nd March: Russ said he wished to enter a team: Jeremy, Helen, Howard and himself. 

H.2 Healthy Living research: Terry has seen an invitation for all veterans born before 01 January 1950 to take part in a research workshop which is part of the Legion Healthy Living portfolio. This had been circulated to all Members on 25th February. The research is being conducted by Lancaster University and travelling expenses will be reimbursed. Two members had shown interest.

H.3 RBL Pop In Centre Daventry: Russ said he had come across a flyer published by the Daventry District Forum with a reference to the existence of an RBL Pop In Centre where ex-service personnel needing help can visit. That states it is in the Volunteer Centre, New Street in Daventry (NN11 4BU) near Tesco's and is open from 10 am to 12 noon on the 4th Wednesday of each month. This is in cooperation with the RBL’s Daventry Branch

NB: Other information about this suggests the Pop-In is at the Council’s Offices, Lodge Road, from 11am to 1pm on those days. There is nothing about it on either RBL Daventry or Northant’s County Web sites. 

H.4 Byfield’s Memorial Bench: Terry proposed a Vote of Thanks be given to Byfield Parish Council for this bench now installed outside the churchyard gate off the footpath on the east side of the Brightwell. This was supported by all.

H.5 Plaque dedication at the NMA: Chris advised that on Saturday 27th April there was to be a dedication of a memorial plaque at the National Memorial Arboretum to two persons from his old regimental section 4 2 Alem Hamza Battery Royal Artillery. A number of members indicated they would like to go to support that. 

H.6 Wartime Artists’ course: Joy reminded the Meeting that such a course was being held in Byfield this spring. There are posters around the village about this – look to the telegraph poles. 

H.7 Byfield’s “Byword” entry: Russ read out his entry for the next edition of Byfield’s parish magazine, which was a “thank you” for all the support the District’s people had given us last year. He said he would try to get that inserted into other parish publications around our District. For last edition of Byword see link (click-on colour).

H.8 Meeting dates? Les asked that Russ include meeting dates in his entries into the Byword.


J.1 Branch: Tuesday 2nd April Aston-le-Walls’ Village Hall, Main Street, NN11 6UF 8pm Speaker Roger Cragg on “A history of Transport in the West Midlands over the last 200 years”.

J.2 Committee: Wednesday 27th March, 1030, Russ’s place. 

J.3 Lunch: Wednesday 27th March 12.30, The Plough at Upper Boddington, NN11 6DH. 

      Flag Flying Days March/April:                  10 March             Birthday Earl of Wessex

                                                                                11 March             Commonwealth Day

                                                                                21st April              Birthday HM The Queen

                                                                                23rd April              St Georges Day             


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