Page 164 - The Rifles Bugle Autumn 2019
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The Rifles Officers’ Oxford Club
The club continues to enjoy the great advantage of   (52nd), Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light
   having access to the superb messing facility located within Edward Brooks Barracks in Abingdon with the kind permission of the Commanding Officer of 7RIFLES and the Judges’ Lodgings in Aylesbury to maintain a presence in Buckinghamshire. We believe the raison d’être of the Club continues to be to provide a focal point for the Regiment in our two counties and to be a welcoming and useful venue for both members and their guests. Over the years and very much with the support of members, we have built on the ambience of our two homes by providing decent luncheons and interesting speakers in a convivial and collegiate atmosphere that all officers and many guests would instantly recognise and many have enjoyed.
The year began with a fine luncheon on the 14th February as an offset to the remains of the bleak mid-winter, followed by a touching talk on the life and all too untimely death during the Great War of Captain Ralph Kite MC, late of the 2nd Battalion
Infantry by Brigadier David Innes OBE LVO DL. We invited Johnny Mercer MP to dine with the members and talk on his “Journey from the Military to Politics” in mid-March that had attracted considerable interest but unfortunately the plethora of uncertainties over the first BREXIT departure date had forced him to remain at Westminster at the last moment. We hope to extend a new invitation to Johnny to dine with us in the coming year.
In May, we were privileged to have invited Professor Vincent Connelly of the Department of Psychology, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Oxford Brookes University to speak on ‘The Reservist’. Vince is a serving Royal Signals commanding officer and gave the members a fascinating insight into his work with the University of Edinburgh and the Army on a project investigating the integration of full and part time members of the Army under proposed future changes; examining awareness, attraction and recruitment to the UK Reserve Forces and, reviewing the organisational and psychological factors underlying ‘Integration of the Whole Force: understanding barriers and enablers to maximise task and team performance’. More recently he has been leading a project that is examining ‘Support to the families of Reservists: An investigation of needs, current provision and gaps’. Courtesy of the residual committee of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, we were also privileged to dine with representatives from Unite and Brookes who have been working closely with the Regiment on the re-furbished Cowley Barracks student’s village.
The annual 43rd & 52nd Regimental Officers and Ladies luncheon continues to be very well subscribed with a solid body of members and their ladies attending the event on the 20th June. All present very much enjoyed a talk given by Lieutenant Colonel James Gaynor MBE, Commanding Officer, 7RIFLES on his vision of the volunteer reserves in the 21st Century.
In October, Major General Tim Cross CBE will talk on ‘Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory’. While Director General, Defence Supply Chain, General Cross was responsible for the establishment of the United Kingdom’s Joint Force Logistic Component for the operations in Iraq and became involved in planning for the invasion of the country. In early 2003, he became the British representative to the United States Department of Defense, Office for Recon- struction and Humanitarian Assistance, later the Coalition Provisional Authority following the invasion, and one of three deputies to American Lieutenant General Jay Garner. He was involved in coordinating the reconstruction of the country following the fall of Saddam Hussein’s government, and was the most senior British officer involved in post-war planning for the country.
Riflemen continue to gather with their colleagues from The Queen’s Own Oxfordshire Hussars in the Regimental Chapel within Christ Church, Oxford to remember the fallen of the two world wars at the monthly Turning of the Pages ceremony.
We look forward to the Club continuing to grow and contribute towards maintaining the high profile of the Regiment in our two counties.
   RGBW Officers’ Club Lunch
As reported in the Daily Telegraph on the 15th July: “The annual luncheon of the Officers’ Club of the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire & Wiltshire Regiment was held in the garden of The Wardrobe in the Cathedral Close, Salisbury on Saturday 13th July. General Sir Kevin and Lady O’Donoghue, together with other officers and their ladies attended.”
Numbers were down this year; two other regimental functions may have had an impact. However, quality wins over quantity, and The Wardrobe garden certainly provides the former, thanks to a few dedicated staff members. Apart from General Kevin and Jean, some 76 sat down to an excellent lunch provided by The Vanilla Catering Company, soon to be installed as the new catering contractors.
Among those present were John and Valerie Biggs, Michael Bryer-Ash, Richard Butt and Helen Shayle, Simon Cook, Michael Cornwell, Mike and Margaret Draper, Piers Dunn, Jo and Monica Edmonds, John and Pat Ellis, Paul Flavell, Dick Foster accompanied by Veronica Wilson, Philippa Gray, Philip Hall accompanied by Sandra Hopwood, John and Angela Hathaway, Basil and Molly Hobbs, Sue Kenway, Jan King, Peter and Maureen Lawrie, Martin and Diana Lee-Browne, Tim Lerwill, Denis and Jinnie Moriarty, Doug Mortimer, Christopher Newbould and Mrs Sue Venton, Tim O’Hare , Colin and Katheryn Parslow, Rosemary Pitcaithly, David and Anya Proctor, Clive and Clare Rendell, Fleur Robbins, Pauline Rose, Bill and Jill Sherman, Ian and Rosemary Spence, David and Prue Stone, Jeremy Tozer with Paul, Colin and Jill Tremellen, Bill Vallis, Richard and Veronica Vaughan-Payne, John and Rita Venus, Mike and Liz Vernon-Powell, Philippa Vernon-Powell, Russ and Jane Wardle, Denis and Shamin Waters, Robin Wilson, and William and Emma Wilson. Also present was Tony Field who is now the Wardrobe & Museum Trust Manager.
‘Vanilla’ did us proud and those attending clearly enjoyed a very ‘British’ event. Our thanks must again go to Nigel Walker, in spite of his absence in SW19 – he assures us that he will be present on 18th July 2020! As always, any Royal Berkshire, Wiltshire, GLOSTERS & DERR, and RGBW officers will be most welcome.

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