Spring 2014 Newsletter

Welcome to the Colston Bassett, Owthorpe and Cotgrave Branch of The Royal British Legion

Registered Charity Number 219279





Chairman, Trowell Stud, Owthorpe Road, Cotgrave, Nottingham, NG12 3PU.    0115 9899094



Dear Member,

A very Happy New Year to you. This is my Spring Newsletter which I hope will bring you up to date with what is going on in the Branch and what the future holds. I won’t duplicate what is in the ‘Legion’ magazine, although much of it is of great interest as the RBL moves forward with a revised structure in this busy year. Just look at their web site

Membership.    In the last calendar year we recruited 10 new members against our target of 10! Those joining us are: Jim Reeves, Alan Brockwell, John and Rita Hallam, Bill and Elizabeth Handbury, Penny Hamer, Fred Hopper, Georgina-Louise Jeffreys-Cockburn and Derek Pullinger. We are now 120 strong and at the recent County RBL meeting we were presented with a cup for being the best recruited of the 44 Branches over the last three years (118% increase). Since the start of 2014 one new member, Dennis Thomsen (Ex RN) has joined us. Very sadly Russell Curtis passed away last year and we send our condolences to Marylyn.

Fund Raising.  2013 was a magnificent year for fundraising both within and without the Poppy Appeal. Outside the Poppy Appeal our Cockleshell Heroes supper in April was a resounding success with about 120 people attending and over £1200 being raised. Those sponsoring the Chairman on his second part of the Coast to Coast walk provided £398 to the Branch.  Adding to these, money raised at our raffles, other donations and the Branch Tombola at the Cotgrave Festival the Branch raised in total £2264 against our target of £1000. This year we have upped our target to £1500.

Trip to The Carillon.    On 8 September 25 of us went to the Loughborough Carillon to the have tea, visit the War Memorial and the Museum and listen to the bells being played. A beautiful sunny day well spent. Thank you Jim McGuirk for organising the visit.

AGM.    In October last we held our AGM in The Lime Kiln; a record 58 members and 5 guests attended. We decided that our 2013 donations should go to: The RBL HQ for the Recovery Centre £250, Nottinghamshire RBL Welfare Fund £1000, Byng House (Southport) £250 and Galanos House (Southam, near Leamington Spa) £250. We usually send the cheques to Byng and Galanos through the post but on occasions have taken them by hand. Would any member like to take either or both cheques and have a look at the houses at the same time? If so please contact me by3 Feb.

Poppy Appeal/Remembrance.    We did remarkably well with our Poppy Appeal collection collecting £5139 during the fortnight leading to Remembrance Sunday. We started collecting house to house in Cotgrave and did well, so thank you to Jean Barratt, Jacqui Shaw, Jim Reeves and Mary Myles. We need to expand this in Nov 2014. On Remembrance Sunday we supported services at all 3 churches and paraded with the other uniformed organisations in Cotgrave. 74 members and friends sat down to eat a very good lunch at the Nottinghamshire Golf and Country Club. Another record!

Welfare.    Mary Myles our excellent welfare case worker has dealt successfully with 3 welfare cases this last year. Welfare is our top priority and it is good to see us helping those in need.



2014    In 2014 we see the 70th Anniversary of D Day (6 Jun) and the centenary of the start on WW1 (4 Aug). Many servicemen will be returning from Afghanistan and Germany and there is likely to be considerable redundancy amongst the Armed Forces as they reduce the Regular element and increase the Reserve. This will be a year requiring major effort from all the RBL. CBOC will try torecruit ex-servicemen and women and I ask you all to keep a look out for them. We will try to beat all records for funds raised and have put together a very full program to help.  The program starts with a visit to Rolls Royce on 25 Feb where it has been arranged for us to visit the Technical Centre Museum (not open to the public) and the Visitors Centre. Only 25 places are available so I need your bids very soon – see the bottom of the page. On 17 May we are lucky enough to have the Woodwind section of the Band of the RAF Regiment coming to play for us in All Saints Church. Tickets will go on sale in April and I ask you to sell as many as you possibly can. On 5 Jul we will have a talk and buffet in the Colston Bassett Village Hall similar to the Cockleshell Heroes event last year. The full program, costs and times to be confirmed, is as follows:




Cost (tbc)

25 Feb

1100 - 1400

Visit to Rolls Royce Heritage Trust Museum and Visitors Centre. Limited to 25 in 6 cars. See bottom of page.


8 Mar Sat

1900 for 1930

Branch Spring Supper at Notts G & CC with Speaker


21 Apr Easter Sun

1200 -1500

Support Easter Egg Rolling at the Martins Arms, Colston Bassett. Great fun and members won 3 prizes last year

£5 for 3 Eggs

24 Apr Thur

1900 for 1930

Quiz and Supper at Lime Kiln


17 May Sat

1900 - 2200

RAF Regt Band Concert at All Saints Church, Cotgrave


29 May Thur

1900 - 1930

Quiz at Cotgrave Welfare


14 Jun Sat

1100 - 1500

Tombola Stand at the Cotgrave Festival


Jun (tbc)


Cream Tea with June Odell, Cotgrave. Many calories!


5 Jul Sat

1900 - 2200

Talk and Buffet in Colston Bassett Village Hall. Main Fundraising Event


Jul (tbc)


Stand at the Owthorpe Fair


4 Aug Mon


War declared 1914 at 11 pm. Church Service.


18 Oct

1900 for 1930

Quiz at the Manvers


9 Oct Thur

1830 for 1900

AGM and supper at the Lime Kiln


25/26 Oct & 1/2 Nov Sat/Sun


am and pm

Poppy Collection


7 Nov Fri


Support Notts G&CC Golf Match


9 Nov Sun

As usual

Remembrance Sunday and Lunch at Notts G&CC


11 Nov Tues


Various Remembrance events at War Memorials


17 Dec Wed

1900 for 1930

Christmas Gathering, Flanders Football?



Granby, Barnstone and District (GBD).    GBD is a neighbouring branch that has fallen on hard times. It is likely that it will become a ‘sub branch’ of CBOC and there will be a very short general meeting at the start of the Spring Supper to allow members to vote. More on that on 8 Mar.

Names of War Memorials.   You may be aware that Branch members are now researching the backgrounds of those named on War Memorials as having died in, or as a result of WW1. Colston Bassett and Owthorpe are ahead of the game although Cotgrave is now swinging into action. If you live in Cotgrave or elsewhere and can help by taking one name from the War Memorial and trying to find out more detail about the individual I would like to hear from you. Please see the next page.

And Finally      As I did last Spring I encourage all members to get involved with Branch activity wherever possible. The social side goes without saying and is great fun but there is much, much more. It could be recruiting an ex service member, visiting a sick member, attending a funeral, shaking a tin house to house, helping prepare food at an event, providing a raffle prize or selling tickets for a concert. Whatever it is, by joining the Branch you have said ‘yes’ to helping Servicemen and Servicewomen, Ex Servicemen and Ex Servicewomen, their families and dependants who are in need. Let’s do all we can.

Best Wishes

          John Ludlam

          15 Jan 2014



We have all heard or read of the history and horrors of WW1 but I suspect that few of us have a deep knowledge of the subject. 2014 being the centenary of the start of that terrible war provides us with an opportunity to research a little deeper and thereby fulfil one of our RBL tasks, namely to be the Custodians of Remembrance.

In 2014 the Government is providing funds for one teacher and two pupils from every maintained school to visit WW1 battlefields. The reason for the visit will be to research those from the local community who died on the Western Front during the WW1 and other conflicts. We can help these young people by researching into the background of the names on the war memorials before they go.  Colston Bassett and Owthorpe are well advanced in this task but Cotgrave is only just starting and we need volunteers to help.

Maybe the first thing to do is to remind ourselves of just what those in France, Belgium and other theatres of war were going through and using the wonders of the Internet that has been made easier for us. There are 3 films to be found on You Tube via Google:

1964 BBC The Great War.       The best by far is the 1964 BBC series called The Great War which contains veterans who were there, has excellent maps, original film footage making for a concise description of complex subject by a lucid narrator. The project has 26 episodes giving the advantage of depth which other films can only skim over.

The BBC Western Front. A 6 episode BBC documentary called The Western Front with the late professor Richard Holmes offers good instruction as only he can do. Richard, a Brigadier in the Territorial Army (now the Army Reserve) and a personal friend had his own particular style of presentation and was a great enthusiast for the subject of Military History.

The Line of Fire.   The Line of Fire series by the RMA Sandhurst War Studies is very reasonable and worth a look.

For those without access to You Tube there are many good books on the subject, examples of which are:

The Concise Guide to the First Word War by Ian Westwall

Atlas of the First World War by Martin Gilbert (first and second edition)

The Western Front by Richard Holmes

Mud, Blood and Poppycock by Gordon Corrigan

General Jack’s Diary edited by John Terraine

It is only after viewing these films and reading these books that the size, scale and horror of WW1 really sinks in and the desire to know more about individuals from the local community who perished becomes irresistible. But how to start.

Well we know what the 14 names on the Cotgrave War Memorial are and looking them up on the County Council roll of honour web site tells us more about most of them. The information is basic but it is a start and includes: Their name, rank and number, Where they lived, Who their parents were andwhen and where they died.

Research then splits into their military service and civilian life.

Military Service really must be researched on line as that is the only place information is readily available. Examples are: Army and Navy Lists, Rolls of Honour, Medal Rolls, Casualty Lists, War Grave Commission, County War Graves, Regimental Records and Despatches and Soldiers’ Diaries. There are Web Sites such as ‘The Long Long Journey’, Forces War Records, and the National Archives. More detail of what is available can be gleaned from the magazine ‘2014 Family History Guide’ cost 50p available from or by ringing 1722 716121. Unfortunately some of these sources charge for access but many don’t.

The civilian background can initially be chased through the National Census 1901 and National Census 1911 which can be accessed free through the Cotgrave Library. Each census record provides more information which leads to more questions. Some information can be found from ancestry web sites such as .

Once again the Internet proves invaluable for this task.

However this on line research is all very well but surely there is also much information remaining with the people in the Cotgrave community. Who were these people, what sort of work did they do and how did they live. Trying to discover this takes time and while we already have some contacts to start us off we need more effort if we are to match the timescale for children visiting the battlefields and Graves.

In addition to helping the school children it is the intention to produce a book giving the information we have gained on those on the memorials in all three of the CBOC communities. To make this come alive we need pictures, documents and anecdotes.

Will you please help by adopting one of the names and researching its local history as far as you possibly can. I know that 3 members are already interested but we need more. If you think that you can help please contact me on or by ringing 0115 9899094.


Thank you.

John Ludlam


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