Minutes of the Branch Meeting held on 13th May 2019 in Byfield Village Hall’s Meeting Room on 13-05-2019
A. CHAIRMANS OPENING REMARKS. In Russ’s absence Joy chaired the meeting, which was taking place later in the month than usual due to a Bank Holiday on the normal date. Joy welcomed our new Member Colin, who has talents that might be beneficial to any media presence we might enjoy. Colin produced the You Tube video of our WW1 Centenary’s Commemorative Event last November.
B. MATTERS ARISING from previous Meeting’s Minutes:
B.1 Committee Members agreed with the minutes of last month’s meeting, so Russ signed those off.
B.2 RSA Templeton - Our NZ twin: Terry said he had received a response from his request via Templeton’s Facebook presence for a photo of Joy’s father, who had now received the previously reported presentation. Joy explained her father had originally joined the UK’s Merchant Navy, then the Royal Navy, serving in Iceland and northern Europe after D-Day. He then transferred to the NZ Navy in 1949. Joy had also brought to the meeting a copy of the “RSA Review” – a journal published quarterly covering the NZ Nation’s Returned Services Association activities; this is similar to our own Legion magazine.
B.2.1 We have had no response to our introductory e-mail to RSA Papanui.
B.3 Fête Dates: EVERYONE (i.e. every Member) is asked to note these dates and to attend if possible to support us.
11th May – Boddington Social Day: We did not attend as the “do” was understood to be specific to Boddington and to keep it local, wider support wasn’t encouraged.
7-9th June – Woodford Festival: at the Football Ground. Russ and Terry to attend on Saturday only (8th)
22nd June – Aston le Walls: Russ and Terry to attend. Peter also hopes to be there.
29th June - Charwelton: As yet, not much is known about this. However Terry will NOT be there.
20th July – Byfield School Fête: Alison and Alan will attend, Terry will also be there.
1st September - Eydon: As yet, not much is known about this event and so far, attendees aren’t known.
14-15th September – Boddington Vintage Association's Working Weekend: – Terry intends to be there all day, both days.
B.3.1 Terry asked that members notify him, hopefully in writing before the next meeting, of a definite commitment to which of the aforementioned events they will be able to attend.
B.3.2 Gazebo: This has been collected by Terry who says it is simple for two people to carry and erect.
B.3.3 Via John R’s contacts, Terry has obtained several A3 size RBL posters, and for distribution at the aforementioned events, a large number of A5 size and business card size “Z cards” describing what the RBL does.
B.3.4 Vernon thought larger posters (or signs) describing what the TRBL did were required and this was agreed by the committee. Three A0* sized signs will be obtained for an agreed budget of up to £150. If we can’t afford signs, laminated or similar (“velum” splash-proof) paper posters will be printed. Those latter items would need framing or fixing to a board for display. The layout and wording for those has been suggested and circulated to the Committee, examples of which appear below.
Terry is waiting for approval of the wording/layout/colours before getting them printed. As you can see, they are all themed “Where does the money go?” One will be specific for our Branch, one for the Poppy Appeal and one for the RBL’s overall reasons for existence. *A0 = 1,189mm x 841mm (46¾” x 33¼” approx).
B.3.5 Two other ideas were discussed about how to attract people to our gazebo and maintain their attention:
B.3.5.1 Colin suggested a film be made of attendees at the Battle Back Centre taking part in exercises and/or using the electric bike which our latest donation helped purchase. A number of difficulties would need to be overcome before this could be implemented including agreement from Battle Back (although they may have something along those lines they could provide), how to present/project the images and a power supply for that.
B.3.5.2 He also proposed having a large cuddly friendly dog wearing a waistcoat with a poppy on it by the gazebo - this should attract the younger ones with their parents. Alison said her Milly might be a good bet for this.
B.4 Daventry’s RBL “POP-IN” Centre: Russ, Alison and Terry visited this and explained that it was incorporated with the newly established Veterans Breakfast Club at the New Street Day Centre NN11 4BT on the west side of Tesco’s in Daventry. Emma Connor the RBL County’s Welfare Representative was there, as well as the Daventry Branch Chairman Chris Ward. There was no veteran seeking support or advice present that morning. Daventry Branch intends to try to keep this running on the morning of the last Wednesday of every month.
B.5 Tuesday Meetings: After a long discussion it was agreed to maintain the alternate Monday/Tuesday monthly meeting arrangements, with either the Byfield or Aston le Walls village halls being used if a speaker was booked on a Tuesday. As a fall-back position for Tuesdays, should neither the BVH meeting room nor Aston le walls be available, then the BVH Side Annex might be used. If no speaker was available for a Tuesday meeting, we might meet in The Royal Oak in Eydon.
B.5.1 It will necessary to plan ahead as far as possible to ensure the right venues for a particular meeting are booked.
B.6 Origin of the Byfield Branch: Terry had asked Head Office if they had records showing any history of the Branch; they have provided a spread sheet showing hundreds of Branches but before 1947, Byfield is not one of them. In Russ’s absence it is not known if he had checked at the County Records Office. David Bradshaw will ask Elisabeth if she is able to check through her husband’s old files.
B.7 Russ, Terry, John & Jill R and Chris attended the National Memorial Arboretum on 27th April for a plaque dedication ceremony for two recently deceased members of Chris's old unit, the Alem Hanza Battery RA. While they were there, Terry took some photos of the plaques dedicated to those from overseas who had won the VC in WW1, one of which quite coincidentally commemorated a Kiwi who was featured in Joy’s RSA Review mentioned in B.2 previously herein. The article was headlined “Cyril Bassett VC, Corporal to Colonel”.
C.1 Election of National Chairman, Vice Chairman and Trustees:
The results were: National Chairman – Una Cleminson BEM, TD
National Vice Chairman - Colin Kemp
Board of Trustees – Amy Reid OBE
Paul Harris QGM
C.2 County Newsletters for April and May: The May version had a note to say that Standard Bearer training has moved to the third Wednesday of the month due to a change of training night within the barracks.
C.3 Galanos House D-Day Dash: The St. James Branch in support of Galanos House is arranging a sponsored ride on recumbent bikes the equivalent of 205 miles, the distance from Southam to the D-Day Museum in Arromanches in France.
C.4 Branch Officer and Future Officer Seminar 1st June: This will be held at the Reserve Forces Centre from 0930 to 1500 hrs with a break for lunch. Russ will attend and Terry will be there for the morning session.
C.5 Annual Conference Final Agenda: This has been received, listing all the Motions to be voted on. If you are interested, we can provide you with a copy in pdf.
C.6 War Memorial Tour – Myanmar: A flyer has been received advertising a tour to Thanbyuzayat & Taukkyan War Cemeteries close to the site of the “Death Railway” in Burma. Alan has details if anyone is interested.
D. FINANCE: David reported that despite donating £500 each to Galanos House and The Battle Back Centre, and buying our new gazebo, our finances remain healthy.
E. WELFARE: There has been no welfare activity this past month.
F. POPPY APPEAL: John R reported that the total was unchanged at £12,700+, and reminded everyone that the RBL year end is 30th September. Overall, the RBL collected more than fifty million pounds last year.
G. MEMBERSHIP: Remains stable at 71. At the moment no-one in particular is being courted. However it is hoped that our attendance at local events might attract some new members.
H. ANY OTHER BUSINESS:
H.1 Inspiration “For the Fallen”: Joy felt Members would be interested to know the origin of the Exhortation used at every RBL event. Robert Laurence Binyon composed his poem while sitting looking out to sea from the north Cornish coast. It was written in September 1914 during the weeks after the start of the First World War when the BEF had suffered casualties at the battles at Mons, Le Cateau and Marne. Laurence said in1939 that the four lines of the fourth stanza came to him first; The lead in to this is much less well known but bears reading. Here are the first four of seven stanzas:
With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free
Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears
They went with songs to battle, they were young
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.
J. DATES OF NEXT MEETINGS:
J.1 Branch: Tuesday 4th June Byfield VH Meeting Room. Jeremy will present a tribute to D-Day +75
J.2 Committee: Wednesday 29th May at Russ’ house
J.3 Lunch: Wednesday 29th May at the Fox and Hounds Charwelton
Flag Flying Days June 2nd June HM The Queen’s Coronation Day
8th June HM The Queen’s Official Birthday
10th June - Birthday Duke of Edinburgh
21st June - Birthday Duke of Cambridge
29th June - Armed Forces Day