Page 257 - The Rifles Bugle Autumn 2019
P. 257

  The Rifles Office, South West – Exeter
The last edition of The Bugle featured the dedication of the Regimental Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum and the commemoration of the centenary of the Battle of Bois des Buttes in France. This year was, thankfully, a slightly quieter affair with no major events. Nonetheless, many members of The Devon and Dorset Regimental Association enjoyed a busy period starting with a summer jaunt over the rugged hills of Dartmoor in memory of Lt Col ‘H’ Jones VC. Shortly after he was killed in the Falklands in 1982, 1 D and D started to hold an annual patrol competition in his memory. This tradition is maintained in a very much more relaxed annual event organized by the Exeter Branch. Last year’s walk in June was particu- larly poignant as the Branch’s Chairman, WO1 Kevin Fitzgerald, had died of cancer only two weeks previously. Members from across the West Country and as far afield as East Anglia gathered and were blessed with fantastic weather with most gathering together at the letter box on Rough Tor half-way along the route, which Kevin first positioned seven years previously. The Regimental March was played in his memory and upon return to the base camp a very welcome beer and BBQ was supplied by the ‘rear party’.
Members of the Northern Ireland Branch took part in the commemoration ceremony for Private Sidney Humphris of The Devonshire Regiment in September on the weekend nearest to the 100th anniversary of his death during the Spanish Flu pandemic in 1918. He is buried in St Columba’s Church graveyard at Urris in County Donegal near to where he had been stationed in Glenfield Barracks, Clonmany. The churchyard is a small, protected, heritage site and the congregation was duly limited to only forty people who came from an eclectic cross section of groups including The Gaelic Athletic Association, The British Army, The Royal British Legion and The Orange Order.
Another centenary commemoration took place in early November, but this time in France. The village of Locquignol was the scene of one of the final battles of WW1. Here 6th Dorsets, among other units, liberated the village and a memorial was unveiled in memory of those who died. Among those present was Jon Gliddon whose grandfather was one of those remembered. It had only been through research at the Keep Military Museum that he had unearthed the details of casualties during the battle.
As usual, November was a very busy Remem- brance month, during which members supported the Poppy Appeal in the two counties. Being the centenary of the end of the First World War, it was appropriate that members of the Exeter Branch alone spent a hundred hours collecting. Remem- brance Day started very early for some with dawn parades taking place around the counties with Regimental Standards well to the fore. After the service in Exeter, the President of the Association, General Sandy Storrie, presented the Lord Mayor with a print of Bois des Buttes in recognition of the tremendous support offered by the City Council to both the Association and The Rifles.
Later in November members of the Gillingham Branch attended a ceremony to mark the dedication of a new war memorial in East Stour in Dorset. On a crisp winter’s morning nine standard bearers flanked the Memorial, which takes the form of a human sun dial (readers may need to ‘Google’ this!) remembering in particular the twenty two men of the village who died in two world wars. Of the nineteen men from East Stour who died in the First World War fourteen enlisted in the Dorsets, nine of whom fell while serving with a Dorset battalion. The new Memorial is a very fitting way to remember their sacrifice. The children from the local school reading the names of the village’s Fallen was especially touching. The event was very well supported and it was wonderful that there were so many young people present. Maj Nick Speakman, Lt Col Andrew Edwards and Lt George Harrison laid wreathes on behalf of The Dorsetshire Regiment, The Devonshire
The Service at East Stour
           THE RIFLES
Association members during the ‘H’ Jones walk on Dartmoor

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