Page 240 - The Rifles Bugle Autumn 2019
P. 240

     Wincanton – Poppy of Honour
Normandy pilgrimage
Bath Branch
Bath Branch continues to be active in supporting Association events. Our paid-up membership is 37 full members and 23 Associate members. The annual Light Infantry reunion at the Shrewsbury Town Football Club continues to be much enjoyed by all. Also in June we typically participate in Armed Forces Day ceremonies at Bath’s Guildhall and Trowbridge. The Rifleman’s Gathering on 21st July 2018 at Allianz Park was a first for our members. It was a great day out and we look forward to the 2019 event. Late summer usually heralds our outing to the St Audries reunion, an excellent lunch held in a marvellous setting.
The inauguration of the ‘Poppy of Honour’ took place at Wincanton, supported by our Branch Standards. The focus of the event was a giant hollow poppy, mounted on a steel frame. Within the poppy are the names of 1,115,471 service men and women who died in the First World War with each name written on a poppy leaf. The Poppy of Honour was subsequently displayed around various Somerset towns and beyond.
Our annual Branch Dinner takes place at the Army Reserve Centre in late October and is soon followed by street collections for the Poppy Appeal. Somerset Remembers, at Wells Cathedral, on 6th November 2018 marked the centenary of the Armistice and the contribution to the war effort on the home front as
well as overseas. Meanwhile at Bath there was a Requiem by Bath Choral Society on 10th November, in aid of SSAFA. Armistice day itself normally sees Bath members attend War Memorials at Combe Down, Haycombe Commonwealth War Graves and the City’s War Memorial and later a Service at Bath Abbey.
Our December meeting concludes with a buffet provided by our lady associate members, and the 50/50 prize draw and a free raffle. January each year is the month for our Ladies Night Dinner, while Spring is a time for skittles. Our 2019 results for both men and ladies teams were not the best. Meanwhile our membership continues to be very active in supporting reunions and dinners elsewhere.
D Day anniversary events saw our two remaining Normandy veterans, Jack Eglinton and George Cantello being interviewed by the local press. Both had enlisted in to 4 SOM LI and respective accounts were given wide coverage within The Western Daily Press. Both Jack and George also accompanied our Branch led pilgrimage to Normandy from 16-21 June. Forty-three persons took part including associ- ation members and relatives of those that fought with the ‘Somersets’. One particular high spot was attending a Service of Commemoration on Hill 112 where 4 SOM LI suffered 525 casualties, 71 being killed. At Mouen we were joined by the Mayor and residents for a service at the village memorial and afterwards invited to tea in the village hall. During the trip, we visited several Commonwealth War Grave Cemeteries, where Somerset men lie, including Ranville, Banneville, St Manvieu, and the largest cemetery Bayeux, where we held short memorial services with wreaths. Afterwards members found Somerset graves and placed a small wooden cross in memory. Our tour enabled us to visit several Battlefield sites and also Arromanches. Meanwhile the new Normandy Memorial at Ver-sur-Mer is not yet open to visitors.
Jack Eglinton and George Cantello

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