poppy field




Dear Members,


Membership News


            Sadly, but in common with many other Branches, our numbers are falling, and although we are nowhere near disaster levels, your committee would like to see more people joining, especially some who would be willing to take office in future years. The average age of the present committee is 73 which means that some are significantly older and may not wish to remain in post for very much longer. If all of us in the Branch could recruit just one new member this year our future might suddenly look much rosier. And just to remind everyone, to become a Legion member and/or to take office in the Branch it is NOT necessary to have served in the Armed Forces.

            Since the last Newsletter we have lost Bob Chappell a Watlington man who served in the Royal Pioneer Corps but moved to Canada after the war: Bob was 93 when he died in December. We have also heard the Last Post for George Gale ex Royal Artillery who was 90; Eileen Catlin, 88; and as probably everybody knows, the Ancient Mariner William Stone who was 108. We shall remember them, and trust that they will Rest in Peace. William's funeral at St Leonard's Church was a big event organised by the Ministry of Defence: Mourners came from far and wide, the church was full and many members of our Branch attended. Although the Legion was not invited to play a big part in the event, nevertheless 10 other Branch Standard Bearers as well as the County Standard Bearer turned up to pay their respects, and they made a fine display  which William would have been pleased to see as the coffin arrived and as it departed on its final journey to the crematorium. After the service a dogwood bush (Cornus "Midwinter") was planted in the churchyard by the Chairman of the Parish Council and William's daughter, and a plaque in his memory was unveiled by LadyMogg.

            There have been no new signings during the period, and two members declined to renew their membership so by the end of January the total was 223.


Branch Meetings


            At the start of the year we returned to the Memorial Club for our monthly meetings after the Chairman negotiated a satisfactory deal with the Club committee. Our thanks go to the Parish Council for allowing us to use the Town Hall on very favourable terms for the last few months, but the stairs proved to be a problem for some of us.

            Meetings continue to be well attended and we manage to provide a guest speaker on most nights. We are always open to suggestions for topics and/or speakers so please get in touch with the secretary if you have any ideas. The March speaker will be another ex local man, Professor NevilleBrown talking on "Reporting on War", and in April Mrs Marjorie Carter will give a talk entitled "Dead End".