Somerset Branch Rifles and RGBW Regimental Association

Home Members News Events Gallery Association Glosters Glosters Farmers Boys Rifles

Click for Minutes of The Latest Branch Meeting Held at
RBL Pawlett 29th January 2017

For the online version of the 2016 Regimental Association Newsletter click here
you do not have PDF Reader the free version can be downloaded quick and easily.
Click the logo

Contact Secretary

   Annual Association Newsletter 2017 To Obtain a hard copy cost £2 to be mailed to you via Royal Mail

   Click here for an application form to print off>>>

Press Photos for Remembrance Sunday 2015 at Taunton click this link:


At the Extraordinary General Meeting held at Devizes on the 18th February 2017  a revised Constitution for the Regimental Association was adopted and is now to be lodged with the Charities Commission. For a copy click here

The main effect that this will have on the Somerset Branch is that we will become part of the Gloucestershire County as an Associated Branch (see 21 below) as we had earlier agreed.

County Chairmen and County Committees
21. Associated Branches may be established in counties other than those specified in Clause 13 Gloucestershire'Bristol - Berkshire - Wiltshire, and the County Chairmen shall from time to time agree with which of the three counties such Branches ("Associated Branches") shall be linked. Associated Branches shall be treated for all the purposes of this Constitution as if they were within one of the three counties.

(a) County Chairmen are responsible for the formation, management, finances and effective running of their County Committees, the Branches of the Association within their respective counties, and any Branches outside their counties associated to their County under Clause 21 below ("Associated Branches", which are included in the general expression "Branches");

(b) The County Committees shall consist of:

(i) The County Chairman, the Chairmen of all the Branches within the county (or the authorised representative of any Chairman who is unable to be  present at a particular meeting), a Secretary and a  Treasurer (nominated by the County Committee); and

(ii) Two members of each Branch in the county, approved by the County Chairman and elected at their Branch Annual General Meeting. They shall to serve for terms of up to four years, and may be re-appointed;

(c) County Committees are to meet at least twice a year, and more often if directed by the County Chairman. One third of  the total number of members of a County Committee in office will be a quorum for any meeting.

(d) Each county shall have an Annual General Meeting of all its Branches, and the County Chairman may call Special General Meetings of Branches. All such meetings are to be called at not less than 42 day’s notice. The quorum for all such meetings is to be one third of the total number of Members present at the meeting. Whenever possible, the Association Secretary is to attend all County Committee meetings and Branch Annual General Meetings, and a copy of the approved minutes of every meeting shall be sent to him immediately after the next meeting.

(e) The County Committees are to:

(i) Plan, manage and run Association and Branch events within their county with grants provided by the Trustees and facilitated by the Association Secretary and the County Offices of The Rifles, for the benefit of the Branches in the county, their Affiliated Branches, and the Association as a whole;

(ii) As necessary, issue instructions to their Branches consistent with this Constitution, as shall in their opinion be for the good and efficient running of their Branches and/or the Association;

and may:

Make grants to County Committees for entertainment and social events

Posted 17th November 2016

Royal British Legion Club Pawlett
H.Q. For our Quarterly Branch Meetings

Click the photo to access the RBL Pawlett Facebook where weekly the Friday evening superb £5 supper menu is published together with forthcoming concerts and other events.

                                                    MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIRMAN

                                                    OF THE REGIMENTAL ASSOCIATION


I would like to make All Members aware that the Regimental HQ (Salisbury) Office in The Wardrobe Regimental Museum is to close wef 16th December 2016. It will move to RHQ The Rifles (Salisbury), Peninsula Barracks, Romsey Road, Winchester SO23 8TS over the Christmas Stand Down and is to re-open for business on Wednesday 4th January 2017. It will continue to support the Association from this new location.

Contact details are:

Lieutenant Colonel Tim Lerwill OBE / 01962 828501

AO Sue Nelmes / 01962 828532

As a result of this Move, the Annual Newsletter has been delayed. The Office will work on the 2017 Edition during January for publication in March. Branches are requested to forward their Notes to reach the Editor by NLT 27th January 2017.

This delay requires me to alert All Members to the Annual Gatherings (Reunions) now to allow you to make your plans to attend.

The Dates are:

1. GLOUCESTER – Saturday 18th March

2. DEVIZES – Sunday 28th May


• Saturday 1st July – Officers Lunch (Wardrobe) & Association Dinner & Dance (SWGC)

• Sunday 2nd July – Drumhead Service and Lunch (Wardrobe)


• Saturday 22nd July – Church Parade, Maiwand Lion, Forbury Gardens & AGM

• Sunday 23rd July - Remembrance Service, Brock Barracks

Attendance returns for the reunions will be available on the Association web site shortly.

IMPORTANT. I wish to draw your attention to the Extra-ordinary General Meeting (EGM) of the Association called for Saturday 18th February 2017 to take place at the Wyvern Club, Devizes. The Calling Notice is found below. The aim is to approve the Revised Constitution. This will be emailed to All Members together with a Meeting Agenda at the end of January 2017. As many as are able are encouraged to attend.

Lastly, I wish All Members a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year.

Col (Retired) SJ Oxlade MBE



You will wish to be aware of the recent death of Mr Colin Criddle.  Following a short illness Colin died on Friday 27th January 2017, aged 93 years old.  Colin enlisted into the Army in June 1942 and after training with the 15th Infantry Training Centre, at Gloucester, travelled to Dover and reported to 4th Battalion, The Somerset Light Infantry.

Following long periods of defence duties as well as hard training he sailed, with his Battalion, to Normandy on 18th June 1944.  Soon they played their part within Operation EPSOM.  Hill 112, to the South West of Caen, was a further objective for a further offensive, Operation JUPITER.  Colin’s own thoughts and impressions of this costly battle can be seen and heard within the Somerset Military Museum.

Battlefield Casualty Replacements enabled the unit and formations to fight on.  After crossing the Seine Colin was sent to a Field Hospital having been injured by shrapnel.  He re-joined his unit as Belgium and Holland came into sharp focus.  Having fought with the 4th Battalion until the end of the Campaign Corporal Criddle, following the accidental discharge of a sten gun belonging to another soldier, had his left leg amputated.  He was discharged from the Army in March 1946.  For over thirty years he worked as a carpenter in North Petherton and thereafter at Haygrove School, Bridgwater, while also being a pivotal member of the Association.  In late 2015, accompanied by Joyce, family, friends and comrades Colin was awarded the Legion d’Honneur.      

The funeral of Mr Colin Criddle will take place on Thursday 9th February 2017 at St Mary the Virgin Church, Fore Street, North Petherton, Somerset, TA6 6QA beginning at 12.30 pm.  Family flowers only and donations, if desired, to British Limbless Ex-Servicemen’s Association and The Royal British Legion, Dunkirk Memorial Home (via Bridgwater Funeral Services, 15 Bristol Road, Bridgwater, TA6 4AU).  Following the Service there will be refreshments at North Petherton Bowling Club, Petherton Park, North Petherton, TA6 6PR.   A family cremation will take place at 4pm at Sedgemoor Crematorium.

Colin Criddle is survived by his widow, Joyce.  If writing to the family please address their daughter, Mrs Joy-Ann Dyer, at 9 Heathfield Close, North Petherton, TA6 6RF.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Motum


The memorial has been re-located, thanks to the efforts of Branch members Cliff & Irene Rowland.

At Cassel in 1991 a memorial plaque was unveiled in the town square by HRH Duke of Gloucester and Major General Robin Grist who at that time was Colonel of the Regiment.

The plaque is dedicated in Proud Memory of Brigadier NF Somerset CBE DSO MC and the 228 officers and men of the 2nd  & 5th Battalion of the Gloucestershire Regiment, who fought and died from Waterloo to Cassel and Ledringhem covering the evacuation of the British and French Forces at Dunkirk, 11-29th May 1940.

Glosters Veteran, 88 year old Clifford Rowland and his wife Irene are members of the Somerset Branch of the Regimental Association and are also prominent members of the British Army Association (BAA). Each year on behalf of the BAA Irene organises an annual Pilgrimage to the war cemeteries. Included in the itinerary is a visit to Cassel and the Glosters memorial where a short ceremony is held and wreaths laid.

Whilst the original location of the memorial in 1991 was ideal, unfortunately over the years there has been a marked deterioration. Run off from the park walkway above the memorial has badly soiled the plaque so much so that before any ceremony could take place Cliff & Irene had to clean up the area. This was accomplished thanks to the kind assistance of a local café proprietor who loaned them buckets and brooms!

The need to provide additional parking in Cassel has meant the local authority has now officially designated the area in front of the memorial as a car park. Cars are now parked within twelve inches of the memorial completely obstructing it from view and making it difficult for visitors to find. The annual ceremony now out of the question, those attending found that the Standards were unable to be dipped and the wreath layers had to squeeze between the parked cars to gain access.

Not to be phased by the problem Cliff and Irene and those attending felt that it was time to bring their concerns to the good people of Cassel and so Cliff sought an audience with the Town Mayor in order to put forward a suggestion to re-locate the Memorial to the Cassel Communal Cemetery War Graves Extension where many soldiers of the Glosters are buried.

                                                                Photo Cliff Rowland at  Cassel

Cliff found the Mayor to be extremely appreciative of the problem and without hesitation he drove Cliff to the Cemetery and a site was chosen requiring a new section of wall to be built. This has now been completed and the memorial is situated in its new home on a wall overlooking several graves of Glosters bordered by a manicured green lawn, a fitting and peaceful location for families and visitors for many more years to come.


Well done Cliff and Irene.

We are extremely grateful to the Mayor and good people of Cassel in making this re-location possible.


Somerset Branch Notes January 2017 (as submitted for inclusion in the Association Newsletter)

In September welcomed a new Branch Chairman, Steve May (no relation to her). Steve took over the reins from Ben Casey who was finding his shift hours at Hinkley Point power station making it difficult to attend all meetings. We thanked Ben for his service to the Branch. We are delighted that he will continue to carry the Glosters Standard when required.
Our new Chairman, Steve hails from the village of Ide near Exeter so his journeys to attend meetings consist of a 95 mile return trip, for which we thank him.
Steve served with 1 Glosters in B.Coy between 1961 to 1970. He also had spells with Support platoon, M.T platoon, Recce platoon and the Recruiting team. For a time he was staff car driver and batman to Major Sam Weller MBE. He saw service in Cyprus, Gibraltar and Berlin. In Civvy Street  Steve  was a Police Officer. So well suited to keep us lot in order!

Our annual Imjin Commemorative Lunch was again a great success, 114 guests from various Branches of the association, and friends from the Marines, Paras and Sappers made up the number. The venue was the Hyde Suite at Taunton Rugby Club where we are always made most welcome. Our ladies and our Social Secretary Mike Kemish did an excellent job with the raffle which enabled us to send a cheque for £400 to the Army Benevolent Fund, now call the Soldiers Charity.

We are now busy preparing for this year’s Imjin lunch which will again be held in Taunton on the23rd April which happens to fall on St. Georges Day. It would be our pleasure to welcome you. Tickets are now on sale. Hopefully there will be a proforma with this newsletter. Or you can download a copy to print off at
At the time of preparing these notes we have just enjoyed our Christmas Lunch, it may well be time for Easter eggs by the time you get to read this as by necessity the publication has had to be delayed this year. For Christmas 2016 members voted not to return to the Somerset County Cricket Club who rather let us down in 2015. Adding custard powder in error to the cauliflower cheese may have been a contributing factor, the poor commis chef was heard to receive a rocket from the Chef! (I enjoyed my cauliflower cheese, thought it was a new recipe!)
So for 2016 we joined forces with the Rifles & Light Infantry Taunton Branch for a most enjoyable lunch at Taunton RFC.

By the time this is published the EGM will have taken place. Regardless however of the conclusion we in Somerset will continue in the spirit of our Regimental Association and carry our Glosters-RGBW and Rifles Standard with pride and respect for those who have gone before us and to those who serve today.

Phil Miller

Replica of Col. Carne's Cross  to take pride of place in a new South Korean museum
(added March 2016)

Photo Sam Mercer MBE hold the original Cross.

Once again the people of South Korea will show their gratitude to the Glosters for the contribution made by the regiment  in the history of their country when they open a new museum in the City of Busan dedicating the Korean War.

 To be given pride of place in the new museum will be a replica of the stone Celtic Cross carved by Lieutenant Colonel Carne VC whilst held as a prisoner for nineteen months in solitary confinement. The Cross was carved using his only tools, two rusty nails and an improvised hammer. The original cross can be seen in Gloucester Cathedral.

Dignitaries and surviving Gloucestershire Regiment veterans of the Battle of Imjin will visit Busan in South Korea, for the opening of the museum.

This year is the 65th anniversary of the battle, which is expected to be the last milestone anniversary attended by the few surviving veterans.

To read the report published in the Gloucester Citizen read on>>>

 23rd October  We were  at Windsor for the Regimental Commemoration making the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Loos and the 70th Anniversary of the end of WW2.

 Held in the presence of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and HRH the Duke of Gloucester. It was a well organised day and much enjoyed.

Photo: HRH meets members of the Branch. More photos on our gallery page>>>

September 2015. A small party from the Branch travelled to the National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas, Staffordshire. We were guests of the Taunton Branch of the Royal Engineers Association.

Whilst there we placed a wreath on the RGBW memorial and stood for a minutes silence in memory of fallen comrades.
Pictures  L to R. David Boaden - Roy Bangs - Harry North - David Warry - Phil Miller - Mike Kemish - Tony Taylor - Chris Boulton.

The Memorial Plaque now located in the Cassel Communal Cemetery War Graves Extension

Home Members News Events Gallery Association Glosters Glosters Farmers Boys Rifles