poppy field




Dear Members


A very warm welcome to the following new members who have recently joined us: Mr Peter MacKinnon, Mr Haro Hodson, Mrs Julie Polkinghorne, and Mrs Anna Thomas. But sadly we have to report the deaths of the following long serving members: Mrs Joyce Bull who was one time secretary of the John Hampden Group and a regular attendee at meetings, Mr Ivan Collins and Mr Arthur House, who both served in the RAF, and Mr Fred Peacock who was with the RASC in the North African campaign and who passed away recently at the grand age of 92. We also record the passing on 12th April of Mr Fred Farley MM who was 93 and was for many years County President, and well known to many of us. May they all Rest in Peace.

 Our Membership currently stands at 227.


The final figure for our Poppy Appeal collection last year was £5960.00 which is another new record for the Branch and sets a new target for the coming year. To say a sincere "Thank You" to helpers and collectors the committee recently hosted a social evening at which the guest of honour was the County President, David Mason DL. Various awards were presented to collectors for long service to the Appeal including four people who have been collecting for 35 years or more: they are Mrs Doris Norcutt, Mrs Eileen Hopkins, Mrs Barbara Mullins and Mr David Smith. Huge congratulations and thanks to them, and many thanks also to all the other collectors and helpers. Without their efforts and those of similar people up and down the country the Legion's welfare work could not continue at its present rate.


Branch meetings continue to be well supported although there is always room for more people. Talks this year so far have ranged from "Safer Driving for Older People" by a representative from the DVLA, to "The Life & Times of Lord Nuffield" by Branch member Barry Thornton by way of "A Snapshot of Modern Operations in Afghanistan" by another of our members, Captain Alice Rawdon-Mogg who recently returned from a 6 month deployment there with the Royal Engineers. All fascinating, interesting and entertaining stuff.

In June we shall be hearing about plans for the new Military Museum in Oxfordshire. And hopefully in July Michael Walsh, the author of a book entitled Brothers in Arms will be visiting us. As always everyone is welcome and meetings start at 8pm sharp on the first Tuesday of every month.


Welfare as we all know, is the foundation stone of the Legion's very existence; and while our Caseworkers are kept busy with serious cases, so too are our volunteer drivers of whom there are never enough. If you can spare the time occasionally to run someone up to the surgery or to one of the Oxford hospitals for an appointment please ring Eileen Hopkins on 612627 and let her know; a few more names on the very short list would be more than welcome. And whilst on the subject of Welfare we take this opportunity to send Good Wishes for a speedy return to health and home to Mrs Cecilia Leighton and George Gale who at the time of writing are in hospital.


The 100th Anniversary of the TA will be marked by a special Service of Commemoration in Christ Church Oxford onSaturday 26th April at 1400hrs. Local TA units and RBL Standards will participate in a Parade on the Broad Walk after the Service. The general public will be welcome to attend the Service and Parade, and the Cathedral will be open from 1330hrs.


The Armed Forces Veterans Badge scheme has now been extended to include everyone who has ever served in the UK Armed Forces. If you qualify and have not yet applied for yours you can do so by visiting www.veterans-uk.info or by phoning 0800 1692277, or you can contact the Branch Secretary.


The Legion's newest Poppy Break Centre in Weston-super-Mare was opened recently by HRH The Duke of Kent. Poppy Breaks are for serving and ex-Service people, their partners, dependants and carers who may need a break for any one of many reasons such as coming to terms with bereavement, recovery from an illness, or some other major life affecting event. Breaks are for up to 2 weeks at minimal or no cost depending on assessment. More details if required from the Secretary.


The Band of Her Majesty's Royal Marines Portsmouth will be giving a concert at Reading Blue Coat School on Friday 16th May at 7.30pm. Tickets are priced at £7.00 to £10.00 and all proceeds are in aid of SSAFA. Further information if required can be obtained by phoning 0118 9335892.



Just for a Laugh:

            Going to bed the other night I noticed people in my shed stealing things. I phoned the Police to report it but was told no-one was in the area available to help; they said they would  send someone round as soon as possible so I hung up.

A few minutes later I rang again. "Hallo I said, I called you a minute ago because there were burglars in my shed. You don't have to hurry now because I've shot them!"

            Within minutes there were half a dozen Police cars outside my house, plus helicopters overhead and an armed response unit. They caught the intruders red-handed.

            One of the officers said "I thought you said you'd shot them?". To which I replied "I thought you said there was no one available!".