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Sunday, 1 February 2015

Royal British Legion Newsletter

The Royal British Legion | Milford-on-Sea Branch


1. Branch Changes.

As you know Gordon Barnett joined us as President a year ago and the branch has benefited greatly from his experience and wise counsel. This was particularly so when we were approached by Hordle Branch with a suggestion that it might become a sub branch of Milford on Sea. Gordon had past experience of creating a sub branch in his former life at Sonning and I am pleased to report that both Hordle Branch and Milford on Sea Branch have approved this proposal and are awaiting confirmation and approval from Headquarters.

Your Committee now Comprises:-

President. Colonel Gordon Barnett MBE
Chairman Peter Gibbs TD
Vice Chairman & Welfare. Mike Reed
Secretary and Membership. David Bell
Treasurer Alec Luxon
Members Ted Goddard
Chris Hobby
Alan Rice TD
Standard Bearer. David Graham

Gloria Grantham-Hill, President and Acting Chairman of the Women's Section attends our Branch Meetings as does Jan England the Poppy Appeal Organiser who did a great job this year. We look forward to welcoming a representative from Hordle at our Meetings.

2. Past events.

▪ 1st February. The Women's Section organised“ Freda's Supper” at the Church Hall. At the conclusion of this successful event the gentlemen present gave an unrehearsed rendition of “To be a Farmer's Boy”.

▪ 20th June Our 80th Anniversary lunch , organised by Sally Reed also marked the Centenary of the start of the first world and the 70th anniversary of the D day landings and Armed Forces day. This was a great success and the introduction of “pop up speakers” was greatly appreciated by all present..

▪ 28th June. Armed Forces Day was marked in the village by a display of Militaria on the village green where the Women's Section had several stalls.. 

▪ October. The Poppy appeal throughout the Country was extremely well supported this year and Milford on sea was no exception. Of its own volition Milford on Sea Club held an evening event with food, entertainment and an auction. Overall this one event raised £2,900 . Our thanks are due to the club which plans on making this an annual event..

▪ November. The village showed its respect in the usual way at Keyhaven. and All Saints Church on N ovember 10th and on the Village Green and War Memorial Hospital on 11th. The Annual General Meeting of the Branch took place on 18th November. 

▪ 24th January. Freda's Supper at the Church Hall. Tickets £16 from Milford News. This is the Women's Section 80th anniversary event so please try to attend.

Don't forget that Johnson Beharry VC will be at the Community Centre at 3.p.m. Tickets £15

3. Forthcoming Events.

▪ 13th February. RBL and Poppy Appeal Stand at the “I Love Milford” clubs, charities etc exhibition in the Community Centre. 

▪ 7th March. Concert by the Central Band of the RAF at the Church Hall at 7pm. Tickets cost £17.50 each from the community Centre or Milford News. 

▪ 15th May. Branch Anniversary lunch ( with a French theme) at the Community Centre

▪ 27th. June . Armed forces day on the village Green

▪ 31st October. Launch of Poppy appeal with Encore in Concert at All Saints Church.

▪ Date to be advised Milford on Sea Club event as part of the poppy appeal..

▪ November 8th and 11th. Remembrance services

▪ November 17th Annual General Meeting.

NB. The Women's Section Meetings are open to members of the Branch and the February Lecture on Wills and Inheritance may be of particular interest.. See Attached Appendix B.

4. Welfare

Providing assistance to members of our service families is one of our main objectives so if you are aware of anyone from the ex-forces community who is in need of assistance please let Mike Reed, our Welfare Officer, know about this so that he can ascertain how the Legion can help.

5. Chairman's meanderings.

The public response to the Centenary of the start of the first World War has been phenomenal. The statistics of that war are horrifying but each individual death had a huge impact on their immediate family and even now the thought of what happened is painful to the descendants of those who fell.

Branch members have been kind enough to agree that I can share their stories with you.

Suzie Watson and her husband Paul are fairly new members to the Branch but this is an extract from Suzie's story.

“My grandfather Harry Sidney Davis was born on 12th January 1881 and worked on the Great Western Railways before serving 12 years in the Royal Navy .He left the Navy in March 1911 and within four years was back in uniform in the Somerset Light Infantry. His Division, the 21st, arrived in France in September 1915and was sent almost immediately to the concentration area for the battle of Loos. There was much disagreement between the commanding generals as to when the attack should take place due to lack of ammunition and the weary condition of the troops.

However on 26th September the 24th and 21st Divisions advanced between Loos and the Hulluch-Vermelles road.

The Divisions had not been taught how to fight and advanced in extended lines to be cut down by enemy machine gun fire. The two Divisions lost 8,000men.The battle lasted for several more days and some 43,000 British soldiers were lost..

The body of Private Harry Sidney Davis of the Somerset Light Infantry was never found.. His death is recorded on the Loos memorial along with 20,000 others from that sector who have no known grave .He left behind a widow and four children.”


Ken Wheatley is a member of Lymington Branch and he and his wife, Mary, a member of Milford on Sea Women's Section made a pilgrimage to the Menin Gate, Ypres on 11th November 2014.

He has agreed to share his experiences with us.

“Together with many veterans and other British Legion members I joined the remembrance procession in the main square outside Ypres, St. Martin's Cathedral, marshalled by an ex-Sergeant Major we were offered some remembrance petals. We were there to honour our grandfather and two great uncles who had died with no known grave.

We marched up through the Museum square outside the Cloth Hall on up to and through the Menin Gate. Holding the British Legion supplied wreath I was led round with other marchers to the side wall waiting area. “Who are you remembering” asked a fellow. “Grandad, Joseph Archibald Wheatley of the Queens (Royal West Surrey Regiment)”, I replied, looking ahead and seeing an array of wreathes from all over the world. “ Take a look at the top of the wall immediately on your left” urged the fellow who had just asked a while earlier. There it was, Grandfather's inscription, just at the spot where we were standing. A feeling of warmth came over me. Needless to say, a welling up and emotion could not be stopped. I bowed my head and an attendant took the family wreath and placed it on the accumulated collection. Thank you Grandad, we do remember you."

Thank you Suzie and Ken for sharing these very personal moments with us.

Each year we remember those who fell in the First and second World wars but less so the Koraen war where so many National Servicemen served. 

They are not forgotten. One of our members, John Griffiths, late of the Shropshire Light Infantry was recently invited to attend the unveiling of the Korean War Memorial outside the MOD on the Victoria Embankment on 3rd December.

The memorial was unveiled by the Duke of Gloucester and Lim Sungnam the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea and Yung Byung-Se, Minister of foreign affairs.

Lest we Forget

Those who were at the 8oth anniversary lunch will remember Bill Price who was born in 1914. The Branch sent him a Certificate of Congratulations on his 100th birthday and bill sent the Branch a Christmas card in return. The card shows Bill in Uniform in 1938. Well done Bill.

Thanks to all of you and to my committee for your support in 2014 . In my third year in office I still need you.

Thank you. 

Peter Gibbs
Branch Chairman

Royal British Legion Women's Section
Programme of Events for 2015

24th January. Freda's supper. All Saints' Church Hall
27th January. Tony Harrison. Village Agent. 7.15pm. Guide Hut (GH)
24th February. Adam Johnson. Wills Myth busting and Tax Savings. 7.15. GH.
7th March. RAF Central Band concert.7.p.m. All Saints Church .
24th March.. Anne and Gwen Perrett. Old Milford and Keyhaven. 7.15. GH
26th March. County lunch. The Guildhall Winchester. 12.30 for 1. £2.
15 &16 April. National conference. Bournemouth.
28th April. Karen's quiz &fish and chip supper. 7Pm for 7.30. GH
15 May. RBL French themed lunch. Community Centre.
26 May. Mr. Aitken. Antiques quiz. 7.15. GH.
3rd June. County Cream Tea. Bishops Waltham.
23rd June. Mrs Joey Own. Travelling to Nepal and helping children. 7.30. GH.
27th June. Armed forces day. Village Green.
28th July. Mary's Quiz. 7.15. GH
22nd. September. Harvest thanksgiving and auction. 6.30. GH
27th October. AGM. 7.15. GH

Members of the Milford on Sea Royal British Legion Branch are welcome at all Milford based events.

If you would like to become a Royal British Legion member, please contact:

The Royal British Legion | Milford-on-Sea Branch
Peter Gibbs: Spring Cottage, 16 Sea Road, Milford-on-Sea, SO41 0PG

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