poppy field


AGM - 28 Oct 2023

Dear All

Please find attached for information a copy of the draft minutes of the AGM, held in Ayrshire Barracks, Mönchengladbach, on Saturday 28 October 2023.


If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Best regards


Dear All

It became apparent at the AGM last Saturday, that our members were not party to the information contained in the invitations sent out to our guests about the arrangements for our Remembrance ceremony at Rheinberg on 12 November 2023.

To put that right, attached are copies of both versions of the invitation:


Please note the remarks about parking - it is limited, so get there early, or use car sharing if possible. Please also note that if you are going to attend, and want to go to the chinese buffet lunch afterwards, then let Chris Farrell know not later than 5 Nov 23.






The Royal British Legion

Rheindahlen Branch

c/o SEF(G) Building 210

Ayrshire Barracks

Gladbacher Strasse 560

41179 Mönchengladbach







Present: Chris Everett Chairman (CE)

Mike Garratt Vice Chairman (MG)

Steve Slater Treasurer (CF)

Alistair Clark Secretary (AC)

Alan Tyson-Carter MemSec (AT-C)

Dave Marsh PAC (DM)

Eldon James Member (EJ)

Brigitte Owen Member (BO)

In Attendance: Steve Owen OBE President (SO)


Act of Remembrance: The meeting opened at 13:50 hours. CE recited the Exhortation, during which the meeting expressed its condolences to Eldon James, on the recent loss of his wife Irmgard.


Members Present: There were 24 members present. An attendance list is held by the Secretary.


Apologies: Dick Simmons, Simon Stocker, Tom Burke, John & Ulrike Nixon, Babs Kimpton, Brian Wallace.



  1. Opening remarks. The Chairman welcomed all present and thanked them for attending. Thiswas the best turnout for an AGM in his time as Chairman and supported the work of the

committee in a positive way. He especially thanked all those who had provided food for the very generous buffet on display.

  1. Minutes of the previous AGM and Matters Arising. It was unanimously agreed that the draft minutes of the previous meeting provided a true and accurate record of that meeting and

were therefore carried. There were no matters arising.

  1. President’s Address. The President welcomed everyone to the meeting and in summary

made the following points: (A full copy of his address is available from the Secretary if


  1. Welcome to the 29th Rheindahlen Branch AGM, which in his recall is the best turnout we have had for an AGM. He wished to formally place on record thanks to OC SEFG for making the conference room available to us and the committee for setting up the meeting. Our collective thanks must go to those who have kindly and generously donated refreshments for this afternoon and those who have sbeen of great help and especially Jürgen Buschges for the BBQ at the Mill.
  2. At the BBQ, the District Chairman awarded us the RBL national Knox Shield, for the

excellent community support we receive from SEFG. The trophy was handed to OC

SEFG and is displayed in the unit HQ. It is arguable that without the support of SEFG,

the branch might not continue to exist.

1. He appealed to the membership to step up with any ideas it may have in support of

the committee. Any initiative would be greatly appreciated.

2. He then explained the procedure for the appointment of branch officers and elected

members. Where a person is proposed, seconded and unopposed, then the person

will be deemed elected. If there is more than one nomination for a post, then there

must be an election, which may be decided by a simple show of hands.

  1. For the Branch Chairman post, there must be a paper vote, which if tied, will be

drawn from a 'hat'. For the Chairman's election, the President will temporarily take

the chair.

3. The President concluded by wishing everyone good health and good luck, and

thanked them again for attending. He looked forward to the coming year and the

continued support of the members.


4.Chairman’s Report. The Chairman's Report may be summarised as follows, and is available

from the Secretary if required:

The purpose of the AGM is to:

1) Review our progress in 2023 and to plan for 2024.

2) Adopt the Branch Annual Accounts (Item 6, following).

3) Vote in the Branch Committee - Item 7.

4) Find a delegate for the National Conference in Newport, Wales, from 10 – 12

May 2024 - Item 9.

5) Nominate a delegate for the District Conference in Bergen-Hohne, on 13

January 2024 - Item 11.


Review of the year:

1) The BBQ in August at the Bongartzmühle in Viersen, outstandingly hosted as

usual by Rudolf and Kerstin Büschges. A speciality at this year’s event, was

the award to the branch of the Knox Trophy.

2) Stammtische were held in May, July and October organised by Alistair.

3) The most notable event of the year, though, has to be the Invictus Games,

held from 9 – 16 September in Düsseldorf – also visited by Prince Harry. A

number of our Branch volunteered to assist with the administration on site.


  1. Remembrance ceremonies were conducted as follows:

1) January. At Maasbracht in Holland.

2) May. At the Cossack Memorial in Lienz, Austria.

3) August. At Jalhay in Belgium.

4) October. At Roermond on 9 October.


  1. Looking ahead:

1) On 4 November, Robert Everett is planning a sponsored march from

Duisburg-Baerl to Rheinberg War Cemetery to collect donations for the

Branch and 'Candle in the Wind'.

2) On 12 November 2023, the branch Remembrance Ceremony will be held as

usual at the CWGC Cemetery at Rheinberg, near Kamp-Lintfort.

3) Also on 12 November 2023, we shall be represented at the Reichswald and

Cologne CWGC Cemeteries.

4) Finally, the branch will be represented at three local civilian Volkstrauertag

ceremonies, in Mönchengladbach, Wickrath and in Viersen. (Süchteln is


5) Afternote: A forecast of events is attached at Annex C.


Reports of officers and special appointments.


1) Steve Slater presented the accounts as shown at Annex B, as follows:

  1. a) The SSK statement and cash book balance as: €9795,78.
  2. b) The UK BFI account shows a balance of £24,551.15
  3. c) Combined total at an RBL exchange rate of 1.13 = €37,538.58

2) The accounts have been audited, agreed and submitted to UK for final aaproval.

3) The new SEPA direct debit mandates have in the main been successfully

introduced. Only very few old Lastschrift authorities remain in use.

4) Membership renewal problems have almost completely been resolved, with the

beneficial effect that some members have gained a (varying) number of 'free'

months' membershiup.

5) Members who have received new renewal dates are listed. (also at Annex B) It

was proposed by A T-C and seconded by AC that the accounts be adopted.




Secretary. The Secretary reported as follows:

1) AC thanked the members for their support to the Stammtische, commenting

that attendance was usually around 17 - 20 members. He advised that the next

Stammtisch would be a lunchtime gathering, on Saturday, 25 November 2023,

at the 'Mongo-Live', Wickrather Strasse 163, 41236 Mönchengladbach. He will

circulate details in due course.

2) He reminded members it is important that all those attending events in the

barracks notify him of their intention to do so, not just vehicle drivers. We do

not have an automatic right of entry to the barracks, so members' help in this

regard, would be much appreciated.


Membership Secretary.

1) A T-C confirmed that the branch has 127 paid up members and that the branch

membership list now agrees with the TRBL list.

2) He advised locally paying members not to worry if they receive letters from

London reminding them to rejoin and just to ignore them. Those who pay by

local SEPA are automatically taken care of and other local payers, who may

forget to do so, will be reminded.


Poppy Appeal and Welfare Coordinator.

1) DM confirmed he had 20 wreaths in stock and sufficient poppies for this year.

Wreaths for Remembrance would be distributed after the meeting and as

required at Rheinberg on 12th November. Those for official branch use are costed at €30,- whilst those for other purposes cost €40,-.

2) Poppies have already been distributed to 9 locations and the donations will be

collected later in November. For the first time he had sent poppies to the

NATO Signals Battalion based in Wesel.

3) SEFG is unable to hold a Remembrance Service this year, which may make a

dent in our collections.

4) The poppies now held in stock are becoming old and 'tatty'. He will order the

new poppies next year, which have fewer plastic components and are

considered to be more 'environmentally friendly'.

5) Welfare and Buddy. There have been 6 telephone Buddy cases and 7 home

visits this quarter. There are no current welfare cases.


Web Manager. AC advised the meeting that Dick Simmons is approaching his 80th

birthday and feels it is time to step down. He would appreciate it if a volunteer could be

found to replace him and would of course organise a handover.


Presentation & Adoption of the Accounts. This has been covered at Item 5.a. above.


Election of Officers and Committee:


  1. Procedure: The procedure for the conduct of the elections was explained again by the



Scrutineers: Since the elections were to be uncontested, there was no requirement to

appoint scrutineers.


Election of Chairman. The President took the chair for this part of the proceedings. There

was only one candidate for this post, Christopher Everett.


Proposer: Steve Owen

Seconder: Alistair Clark


There being no other candidate and in accordance with RBL rules, Christopher Everett was

deemed elected to the post of Branch Chairman. He confirmed he would accept the post and

resumed chairmanship of the meeting.


Election of Vice-Chairman.

There was only one candidate for this post, Michael Garratt.

Proposer: Steve Slater

Seconder: David Marsh


There being no other candidates and in accordance with RBL rules, Michael Garratt was

deemed elected to the post of Vice-Chairman. He accepted the nomination.


Election of Secretary.

There was only one candidate for this post, Alistair Clark.

Proposer: Eldon James

Seconder: Rudolf Büschges

There being no other candidates and in accordance with RBL rules, Alistair Clark was deemed

elected to the post of Secretary. He accepted the nomination.


Election of Treasurer.

There was only one candidate for this post, Steve Slater.


Proposer: Chris Everett

Seconder: Mike Garratt


There being no other candidates and in accordance with RBL rules, Steve Slater was deemed

elected to the post of Treasurer. He accepted the nomination.


Election of Committee Members.

There were 5 nominations for the 7 available positions:

- Eldon James Proposer: Robert Neber

Seconder: Brigitte Owen


- Brigitte Owen Proposer: Chris Everett

Seconder: David Marsh


- Dave Marsh Proposer: Mike Garratt

Seconder: Brigitte Owen


- Alan Tyson-Carter Proposer: Chris Everett

Seconder: Anna Slater


- Bruno Farrell Proposer: Steve Slater

Seconder: Rudolf Büschges


There being no other candidates and in accordance with RBL rules, Eldon James, Brigitte

Owen, Dave Marsh, Alan Tyson-Carter and Bruno Farrell were deemed elected to the

Committee. All the candidates accepted their nomination.


  1. Remembrance Ceremonies:


Rheinberg: The President explained that the procedure for Remembrance would be

similar to that for previous years. The recce had been successfully conducted. He

stressed that parking is limited and advised members to get there in good time. He had

attended a band rehearsal and felt the band was making good progress, although he had

not heard the (as yet) unknown piper. SEFG support has been assured, including 2

soldiers to assist our senior member, John van Gelder, now in his 92nd year. Attendance

by HM Consul General, a representative of the Polish Consul General and the Canadian

Consul has been confirmed. The Landrat of Kreis Wesel and the 2nd Bürgermeister of

Kamp-Lintfort have confirmed their attendance. CF confirmed that bids for lunch were

slow. SO stressed the importance of confirming attendance to CF, who is booking the

buffet lunch, by the deadline of 5 Nov 23. AC to distribute details to members.

Reichswald and Other Remembrance Events:

1) The branch will be represented at the Remembrance Ceremony held at the

CWGC Cemetery at the Reichswald, by AC and A T-C. AC will lay the wreath on

behalf of the Branch. A T-C will lay one on behalf of the Royal Pioneer Corps.

2) Graham Warren will reprersent the branch at the CWGC Cemetery in the

Südfriedhof in Köln, joining contingents from the Canadian Forces and the

Bundeswehr. The ceremony is organised by the BLO at the German Army

Development Office in Köln

3) The branch will be represented on Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th November

at Volkstrauertag ceremonies in Wickrath, Mönchengladbach and Viersen by Chris

Farrell, Steve Owen and Alistair Clark, and Dick Simmons, respectively, who will lay

wreaths on behalf of the branch.


National Conference 2023:

The National Conference will take place in Newport, Wales from 10 - 12 May 2024CE asked those assembled if anyone wanted to represent the branch. No

nominations were forthcoming. He asked Robert Everett, who will be the Branch

Standard Bearer by then, if he wished to attend, but he is unavailable.


Appointment of Delegate to District Annual Meeting: SS volunteered to represent the

branch again at the District Annual Meeting of Conference in Bergen-Hohne, on 13 January

  1. This was agreed.


Any Other Business:


Robert Everett (RE) advised the meeting that a new member, David Althans, had

expressed interest in helping the branch as Web Manager. The committee took note.


RE then advised the meeting about his sponsored walk from Duisburg to Rheinberg.

Originally he had intended to make it there and back, but knee problems mean he

can only achieve one way. He has designed and produced decorative patches in

support of his effort, which he is offering at a cost of €10,-. He has collected some

€400,- so far and is confident he will break the €500,- mark. His aim is to support the

Poppy Appeal for the RBL and the 'Candle in the Wind' organisation set up by Pam

Flora, his inspiration coming from a ceremony at Neederweert in the Netherlands, in

honour of the soldiers buried there.


SS showed the meeting his RBL branch T-shirt as a sample of what is available. If the

members are interested, he is willing to take orders for them and arrange supply. It

was agreed he would give AC details for circulation to the members. CF has a

limited stock of older shirts which could also be made available.

CE then presented a framed branch certificate of appreciation to Rudolf Büschges, as

a token of the branch's gratitude to him and Kerstin, for their hospitality in organising

and hosting the annual branch BBQ at their 'Mill' in Viersen.

Bruno Farrell then asked where the Poppy Appeal funds collected in Germany go to.

SS reassured the meeting that the money is retained in Germany in support of

welfare funds and is disbursed by the District Treasurer to branches. This is the

source of the standing €750,- balance retained by branches for welfare purposes in

their areas.


Date of Next Annual General Meeting:

The next AGM will be held in the same location and at the same time (subject to permission

of SEFG) in October 2024, the exact date to be notified by the secretary..

The meeting ended at 15:40 hrs with the recital by CE of the Kohima Epitaph




C Everett                                                                           A Clark

Chairman Secretary


  1. Knox Shield Award Citation
  2. Treasurer's Statement of Accounts
  3. Forecast of Events


Annex A




The Rheindahlen Branch was made homeless in 2015 on the closure of Javelin Barracks. Under no obligation so to do, SEFG in Ayrshire Barracks Mönchengladbach, stepped up and provided the branch with a free office in a secure and confidential environment. They gave us a postal address and enabled veterans access to the NAAFI; all vital moral components in the delivery of BCS to our aging beneficiaries.

And the unit runs regular communal events for us, thus generating wider community spirit between beneficiaries and the military community, so raising considerable funds for the Poppy Appeal and widening awareness of the RBL in the local community.

There is no doubt that without the unit’s outstanding and generous support, the Rheindahlen Branch probably would no longer exist, our beneficiaries would suffer and the Poppy Appeal would be much poorer. In every respect the unit deserves formal recognition for its commitment to our BCS.


Annex B

Treasurer’s Report for Annual General Meeting - 28 Oct 2023

  1. Presentation of Accounts as at 28 Oct 2023.

1.1. Fund Balances (see Appendix 1 attached)

  1. Account Return and Audit.

2.1. Yearly Branch accounts for 2023 were successfully completed, duly audited and submitted to UK via the MEO (Fiona Hedges) on 06/09/2023 and are now awaiting signing-off by Head Office.

  1. District Treasurer

3.1. With the passing away of the previous District Treasurer, Joe Roberts, the District will be soon appointing a new District Treasurer. Until then there might be a slight delay to claims or Top Ups from District.

  1. SEPA Mandate / Einzugsermächtigungs

4.1. The use of the new SEPA was successfully implemented, there are only a handful of members for whom I still hold the older “Lastschrift” form., According to the Bank, these are still current, but would recommend changing to the new SEPA format.

  1. Membership renewals (Payments)

5.1. Last year we experienced quite a lot of issues where renewals sent to the head office in the UK were not being processed as one would have liked, and ultimately resulted in a small number of members having their actual membership withdrawn.

5.2. After a lengthy battle, the situation has been somewhat resolved, and we hope that this next renewal period will go much smoother. One good thing for those members who were affected during that period, is that their RBL renewal dates have changed, for the better. Members have gained between 1 month to up to 8 months on their renewal dates. The Treasurer will be in touch with those members whose renewal

dates have been changed, to discuss future payment dates.

5.3. The following members have new renewal dates:


Mem.No           Name                 New renewal dates    Months gained

22407297   David Althans              29.03.2024               2 months

18444634   Alexander Chapman    09.08.2024               6 months

22410382   Ralph Göhlert              05.04.2024               4 months

20362900   Prince-Albert Gordon  02.12.2024               1 month

18441175   Stephen King               08.10.2024               8 months

1498697     Robert Neber               29.03.2024               5 months

19114913  Stephen Proctor            09.08.2024               6 months

22407247  Anna Slater                  29.04.2024                6 months

22479383  Dirk Sönges                 29.08.2024                6 months


This concludes the Treasurer’s report.

Stephen Slater

Hon. Branch Treasurer


Appendix 1 to

Annex B

Treasurer’s Statement of Accounts for AGM 28 Oct 2023

(Currency in Euros)


County: District Germany- Branch: Rheindahlen Branch Number: BR3461A

THE ROYAL BRITISH LEGION Rheindahlen Branch e.V.


Balances as at 27 October 2023

Accounts / Funds

Lloyds Bank TSB - UK






(See Table 5 below)


Branch Funds Initiative (BFI) Account      £ 24,551.15

RBL UK Conversion Rate £1.00 = €1.13   € 27,742.80

Admin General Account                             € 8,199.93 € 8,199.93

Welfare Account                                         € 750.00 € 750.00

Earmarked funds                                         € 845.85 € 845.85

Property                                                      € 0.00 € 0.00


€ 27,742.80    

€ 9,795.78   (€8,199.93 + 750.00)  

Total: € 37,538.58



County: District Germany- Branch:

Rheindahlen BR3461

Branch Number: BR3461A Year: 2023/24

General Benevolent Other Funds Property TOTAL

Balances as per copy statements € 33,655.33 € 750.00 € 845.85 € 0.00 € 36,251.18

Deduct: Un-presentedpayments € 62.60 € 0.00 € 0.00 € 0.00 € 62.60

Add: Un- presented

receipts € 1,350.00 € 0.00 € 0.00 € 0.00 € 1350.00

Balances € 35,942.73 € 750.00 € 845.85 € 0.00 € 37,538.58



(Include all accounts held by your Branch and amounts held on Prepaid cards)

County: District Germany- Branch:

Rheindahlen BR3461

Branch Number: BR3461A Year: 2023/24

Bank/Building Society Title of Account






Balance per

Statement at




Stadtsparkasse DE66 3105

0000 0000 1005 78 MGLSDE DE663105 € 9,795.78

BFI BFI 301175 01200110 € 27,742.80


The total should agree with TOTAL Balances as per copy Statements Table 5 TOTAL € 37,538.58



Annex C



Events Notes


Sep    9 - 16 Invictus Games – Düsseldorf


         19th Committee Meeting


          23rd Caseworker update training No official RBL involvement; some members         volunteering                

        1400 hrs AB conference room

        10:00 hrs - by Skype


Oct       8th Wapenbroeders Remembrance


             11th - Stammtisch – Hehn


            19th - Committee Meeting


            28th - Annual General Meeting


Old Church Cemetery, Roermond.


Standard Bearer deployed

1400 hrs conference room AB

1400 hrs - conference room AB


Nov        4th Robert Everett - Sponsored walk

              12th - Remembrance: Rheinberg,

                        Reichswald, Köln

               19th - Volkstrauertag: MG, Viersen, ,

                        Wickrath etc

               25th - Stammtisch - 12:00 hrs

                         Restaurant 'Mongo-Live', Wickrathe Strasse 163, 41236 MG

Dec          2nd - Hand over / Take over of Standard Bearers - 1100 to 1500 hrs, incl. Pre

                         Christmas get together Ayrshire Barracks conference rrom; - own voluntary       catering as for GM/AGM   ; members + TB & RJE wives (TBC) depending on uptake.




Jan         Branch Committee meeting - date TBC

              13th - District Annual Meeting

              Remembrance at Maasbracht. Delegate to be nominated (TBC).

              LCpl Harden   RAMC,VC; wreath to be laid.




Mar General Meeting - date TBN