Somerset Branch Rifles and RGBW Regimental Association

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RBL Pawlett  April 15th 2018

For the online version of the 2016 Regimental Association Newsletter click here
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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 supper menu from £5 is published together with forthcoming concerts and other events.

Note the first sale completed, at the request of the Trustees I have been asked to keep this note pending a future sale.


A once only opportunity to obtain a piece of our Glosters/ RGBW silverware or other artefacts of interest.  This is your opportunity to bid now before any unsold items go on offer to the general public in three months time. Once it’s gone it’s gone! 

1. Introduction. As many will already know RGBW chattels are the subject of an ongoing disposals exercise by the Trustees of the RGBW Regimental Trust. An early priority was identifying objects for transfer to the ownership of The Rifles. Several objects that inspired members of the RGBW, and those from its forming regiments, now fulfil a similar role within The Rifles. Meanwhile other objects have been claimed for display by our Museums and have been or are now being accessioned. Concurrently Salisbury conducted a sale of RGBW chattels that, in the main, were previously the property of a DERR Trust. Proceeds from the sale benefitted RGBW Regimental Charities.

2. Background. This next step consolidates objects that have been stored at Gloucester and which may now be surplus to requirements. Those objects appear in this catalogue. The purpose of this catalogue is to bring this latest disposal to the attention of The Rifles, our Museums and RGBW Association members. The process has been primarily designed to ensure that those who served in The Gloucestershire Regiment and The Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment have an opportunity to acquire surplus items, whilst meeting the requirement of the Charity Commissioners that reasonable value is obtained in any process of disposal. Those who served in The Wiltshire Regiment and The Duke of Edinburgh’s Royal Regiment will wish to note that some regimental items of cutlery, crockery and a few small salvers, from the 62nd of Foot, are also included.

3. Disposal. The Rifles Office Taunton, with the aid of volunteers, is managing this disposal on behalf of the RGBW Regimental Trust. Objects have been valued by independent professional auctioneers. This

disposal of RGBW Regimental Charities’ artefacts is not an auction. A catalogue listing all items and their values has been produced. The objectives of the catalogue are:

•   Objective One. The catalogue forms a record and base document for managing disposals as well as explaining the rules of disposal.

 •   Objective Two. The catalogue brings potential disposals to the attention of The Rifles, The Gloucestershire Regiment Museum Trust (GRMT) and The Rifles Wardrobe Museum Trust (RWMT) in addition to RGBW Association members. Following publication of the catalogue, and for up to 90 days, 

The Rifles, GRMT, RWMT and RGBW Association members may bid for objects  or, in the case of charitable trusts, request the potential transfer of an object/s between Trusts. 

Discretion on the release of further objects to The Rifles or the two Museums will rest with the Trustees ofthe RGBW Regimental Trust. They will need to be satisfied that the item is needed for display.

•   Objective Three. The catalogue may help to bring the disposals process to the attention of donors or, where known, their immediate descendants. If requested, Trustees of the RGBW Regimental Trust will generally be willing to return an object to a donor, or immediate successor.

•   Objective Four. The catalogue brings the disposal process to the attention of members of the RGBW Regimental Association, 

offering them the opportunity to purchase an object for a fixed price. Bids to purchase can only be made on the prescribed bidding form. Transfers and sales to individuals will not be confirmed before the closure of bidding for all on Monday 25th September 2017. 

This three month period will allow potential bidders to hear about the disposals process, consider options having accessed the catalogue, and submit a bidding form or forms.

•   Objective Five. Much time has been taken in compiling a comprehensive catalogue and so minimise any requirement to travel and view objects. 

4.         Those objects that are surplus to requirements, following disposal, and for which no successful bid has been achieved will be put up for public auction.

a. Bidding. Members should bid, in writing, offering to purchase an object at the list price. Bids will only be accepted on the prescribed forms (see Enclosures 1-3). 

Any modification or amendment to a bidding form may lead to the bid being disqualified. This is not an auction. Bids must be received by post or e-mail ( ) by no later than 4.00pm on Monday 25th September 2017. Each bid must be made on a separate form. In addition particular attention is drawn to the need to complete each section of the bidding form including a summary of your Service details and Association membership. 

b. Viewing. The photographs and descriptions within the catalogue should minimise any requirement for personal viewing. 

c. Bidding Process. Individual members may only bid for a maximum of five objects. There can be no assurance or guarantee that any one individual will be successful with any one of up to five bids. If more than one bid is received for an object, any extenuating reason (see bidding form) may be considered by the Bidding Committee who will oversee the process. Thereafter, and as appropriate, all bids for that object go ‘in to a hat’ where the successful bid will be drawn, supervised by an Independent Person.

In addition, where there is more than one bid for an object a second and third bid will be drawn as ‘reserves’ in case the first named fails to honour their bid. 


d. Reserve Bids. Any Association member who wishes to place more than five bids, may further submit up to five Reserve Bids. Reserve Bids will only be considered by the Bidding Committee if the item for which a Reserve Bid has been received has not already been allocated. Reserve Bids must be submitted on the correct bidding  form.

e.Consideration of Bids. All bids will be considered, by the Bidding Committee, in October 2017.


f. Communication Regarding Bids. Successful applicants will be informed by telephone or e-mail. The process will take time. There will be no communication with applicants of unsuccessful bids.

g. Public Auction. Any item for which no successful bid has been achieved, nor has been approved for transfer between Trusts, will be put up for public auction.

h. Collection of Objects. Items will only be posted in exceptional circumstances and at full cost to the purchaser. Where it is difficult for an individual to collect an item personally from either the Rifles Taunton Office or the Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum, we would ask that a friend does so to minimise the workload. All items must be collected within 30 days of notification. Thereafter an object will be offered to the second named bidder. If the second named bidder fails to honour their bid within a further 30 days, the Trust reserves the right to place the object at public auction.

i. Allocation of Priorities. Where more than one bid is received for an item officers will generally have priority for items of Officers’ Mess property. The same will apply to WOs & SNCOs and Corporals  for property from respective Messes. However, this general approach does not stop individuals from bidding across the catalogue up to a maximum of five items. Give some thought to the completion of your bidding form to assist the Bidding Committee with the award of bids.


j. Payment. Payment should be made by cash, electronic transfer or cheque (The Rifles Office Taunton) prior to collection. Appropriate details will be passed to successful bidders. Subsequently the consolidated receipt will be transferred to The RGBW Regimental  Charity.

WARNING: all items, with only a tiny number of exceptions, have been ‘well used’ and their condition reflects this. Purchasers should expect silver to be dented and/or scratched, pictures to need attention, including reframing, and books to be very worn. The auctioneers valuations do reflect condition.

 To View the catalogue on line click here 

Individual Bidding Form

Reserve Bidding Form

All enquiries relating to the sale should be addressed to:

The Rifles County Office

Mount Street

Taunton TA13QB


Tel: 01823 333434 


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

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I hope you all enjoyed our 10th Anniversary Lunch. I have thanked Jon and his team at the RBL Club for making it such a success. And wasn't Lyndsey fantastic and such a lovely lady. We hope that we can perhaps meet her again in the future.

The young girls who waited on us were delighted with their tip and send their thanks.

We have also thanked Tisha for baking such a super cake.

I have had a message from the Association Secretary in which he says: "Sue and I would like to thank all members of the Somerset Branch for looking after us on the celebration of your 10th Anniversary Lunch, we really enjoyed being there, you made us feel very welcome"

There are a selection of photos taken by Frannie Cobourn on our Gallery page.





Departure from Bishops Lydeard 1015hrs

Arrive Minehead 1147hrs

Return from Minehead 1615hrs

Arrive Bishops Lydeard 1743hrs

Bishops Lydeard station ( For SatnavTA4 3RU) is on the A358, west of Taunton with a large free car park .Follow the brown WSR signs from M5 J25 or J26 from the north, east or south.

Allow plenty of time to get parked. Have a coffee in the station waiting room cafe.

The cost to the Branch
Bishops Lydeard to Minehead Return

Special group rate £16.00 Adult/Seniors + food  

The adult fare will be reduced for Member  & Partner from Branch funds by £5 pp.
( For this purpose Partner may also be defined for example as Member plus one grandchild.)

Other family and friends will be required to pay the £16 rate + food

For Young Persons (Age 5 – 17) £8

Catering Cost Per Person for food on the return Journey.

 Fish & Chips  £12.

Sausage & Chips  £9

Chicken & Chips £12.

Vegetarian Burger & Chips £10.

Meals are served with Tea Coffee or fruit juice.

Please complete a booking form and return it as indicated on the form with a deposit of £10. The Balance then to be paid by the 24th August.


 BranchNotes for the Bugle 2018. 30/5/2018

The year 2018 is the year in which we marked the tenth anniversary of the formation of the Somerset Branch so it has been a busy year for us. We celebrated the occasion with a most enjoyable lunch held in our Branch HQ, the Royal British Legion Club in the village of Pawlett where we were entertained by the lovely Lynsey Davies who sang all the old  WW2 favourites and songs from the 60’s and 70’s.
A gorgeous celebration cake was baked and decorated for us by Tisha Ladds, wife of Major Alan Ladds.
We were pleased to welcome to this event Michael Godwin and Susan, Michael having earlier been appointed Secretary of the Rifles & Royal Gloucestershire Berkshire and Wiltshire Association. It was a good opportunity to establish the bond and we look forward to working with him.

The ten years since the formation of the Branch have proven to be successful for us. Most of the members who attended the inaugural meeting in 2008 are still with us; sadly four have sadly passed away in the intervening years but are not forgotten. We continue to welcome new members; six in the last year have joined us. We initially set up the Branch to cover just the County but we now have members traveling in to our quarterly meetings from as far afield as Exeter in the West and Gloucester in the North. We meet just quarterly on a Sunday morning followed by an excellent carvery lunch enjoyed with our ladies, this and the ability to drive home in daylight hours has done much to add to our success.

Many members attended the first reunion of the year, the Back Badge Reunion now in its new format. We congratulate Major Len Keeling whose hard work made this possible. We will also have representation at Devizes, Salisbury and Reading Reunions.

The principal annual function of the Somerset Branch is the Imjin Commemorative Lunch, held in the Hyde Suite at Taunton Rugby Club this year there were 112 guests present. Being our tenth anniversary year we rang the changes somewhat and introduced entertainment by inviting back Lynsey Davies who sang so well for us in January. Once again she was a star!

We were very pleased to have with us, Col Michael Cornwell Chairman of the Regimental Association he was making his first visit to the Somerset Branch. With such a large parish to cover we appreciated his presence. He enjoyed the visit and was very complementary saying it was a real eye opener for him. He shouldn’t have been surprised, this is the Somerset Branch!!!!!!!!

Each year at this luncheon we aim to raise money via the raffle to make a contribution to charity, this year was no exception and thanks to the generous donors of prizes and much work from Mike, Sonia Annie and several other ladies we raised £552 boosted by the auction of a collage from Mick Campbell depicting hill 235, the site of the ‘Battle of the Imjin’ this fetched £100 thanks to former Branch Chairman John Bishop. A Royal Doulton bone china collector’s plate was sold for £30 to Tisha Ladds. We rounded off the proceeds from Branch funds enabling us to send £300 to the Army Benevolent Fund and £300 to Parkinson’s UK.

The work of Parkinson’s has special significance within our Branch and we were pleased to be able to welcome Alan and Isobel Gould as our guests, Alan being the Area Chairman for the Society.  
The final prize drawn in the raffle was a special that was donated by Chairman Steve May. It was a ‘Holiday anywhere in the UK with accommodation and meals provided’.

The lucky winner received a pop up tent for accommodation and a 24hr. ration pack for his meals!!! He took it in good part but had a lot of ribbing from his mates from the Gloucester City Branch!

We are now busy with advanced plans for an outing on the West Somerset Railway in September. We will travel on a steam hauled train from Bishops Lydeard to Minehead. On the return journey we will enjoy a fish & chips supper served on board. The day chosen coincides with a ‘Forties Weekend’ promoted by the railway so that should be most interesting. It will involve re-enactment groups, WW2 vintage vehicles etc.

We now look forward to the next ten years.

We need a volunteer
Mike Kemish, our hard working Social Secretary is also Chairman of his local Branch of the Royal British Legion.
Almost every year since the formation of the Branch Mike on Remembrance Sunday has laid the wreath on behalf of the Branch at the war memorial in Vivary Park Taunton. This year, being the Centenary of the WW1 Armistice, Mike is going to be fully committed with his RBL duties and will not be available to lay the wreath.
 We will therefore be grateful for a volunteer to carry out this important task on Sunday 11th November 2018. Phil, Secretary will be pleased to hear from you.