Monthly Archives: July 2012

Oxfordshire the (Rifles) Battalion ACF Tour of France & Belgium 2012

Guest of the Robin Hood Rifles Corp of Drums, Nottinghamshire ACF

Day One Thursday 28th June 2012

We made our way to South Mimms service station to meet up with the Robin Hood Rifles, Corp of Drums, Nottinghamshire ACF, we all had a short break and boarded the coaches and made our way to the Euro Tunnel. At 12.30hrs, we left the UK for Calais arriving in Calais at 13.05hrs; we then departed for the final leg of our journey to the Royal Astor Hotel Ostend Belgium, our home for the next five days. We viewed our rooms and unpacked. After our evening meal, we had a briefing for the next day then spent the evening visiting the local town and of course, the beach, this was a stone’s throw away from the Hotel.

Day Two Friday 29th June 2012

This morning we went onto the promenade to rehearse our marching displays, this was well received by the locals and tourist alike. At 11.30hrs, we boarded the coaches and departed for the Town of. Dikesmuide to visit the Dikesmuide Tower Museum. This posed a great opportunity for the Buglers to play the last post and reveille on the top of the tower, it was a very proud moment for the Buglers, especially seeing the public stopping in the streets, and getting out of their cars.

Buglers from The Robin Hood Rifles Corp of Drums, Nottinghamshire ACF,& the Corunna Band & Bugles of Oxfordshire the (Rifles) Battalion ACF, on top of the Dikesmuide Tower.

We then went to Fromelles Cemetery, which is the newest commonwealth war grave, which was opened officially in January 2010. Most of the Soldiers laid to rest here were from the Australian Army. We laid a wreath on the monument whilst the Buglers played last post & reveille. We then departed for the hotel and returned just in time for dinner.

Day Three Saturday 30th June

This morning we had rehearsals on the promenade, again to the delights of the locals & tourist. We departed the hotel at 11.30hrs and were en-route to visit the Town of Ypres, seeing the Menin Gate was a first for many of our Cadets & Adults, we had a chance to look around the shops, to try the local cuisine, to visit the Cloth Hall Museum, Flanders Fields’ Museum, and St Georges Memorial Church. We departed Ypres and took a short journey to Tyne Cot Cemetery, which is the largest British Cemetery on the Western Front with 11,500 war graves a memorial wall at the back of the cemetery that has 34,888 names of soldiers from many different regiments that were killed between 16th August 1917 and the end of the war. We laid a wreath, whilst the Buglers played last post and reveille, while the buglers played everyone in the cemetery came to a standstill to pay their respects.

The Robin Hood Rifles Corp of Drums, Nottinghamshire ACF & The Corunna Band & Bugles of Oxfordshire the (Rifles) Battalion ACF, At Tyne Cot Cemetery.

We then departed for Langemarck the German Cemetery, within the cemetery, it contains the remains of 44,000 German soldiers, and 25,000 of these lie near the entrance in a single mass grave. At 16.45 we departed for the hotel, after dinner at 19.45hrs we did a full dress rehearsal on the promenade for our big day tomorrow.

Day Four Sunday 1st July 2012.

Sunday was our big day. It was an early start, as we had to depart the hotel at 08.00hrs for the two and half hour journey to the French Village of Foncquevillers. When we arrived at Foncquevillers, we had to change into our uniforms ready for our first parade to the British War Graves a great sense of pride was felt by all, as we marched off to the  cemetery, a short service was delivered in English and French and wreaths laid to honour the fallen. We then had a short march to the French Resistance Memorial and the Monument of a Canadian Plane that was shot down over the Village during the Second World War. After we had finished our parades, the locals put on a delicious three-course meal, which we all enjoyed very much.

Parade and Service at the British War Graves Cemetery in the Village of Foncquevillers.

We departed Foncquevillers at 16.00hrs and headed for our final parade at the Menin Gate Ypres Belgium, We had time for a short walk and refreshments in Ypres before we began our final parade. At 19.30hrs, we needed to be ready and formed up at the Menin Gate by 20.00hrs. The amount of people from so many different countries was amazing to see, and the atmosphere of the Menin Gate was quite over whelming. As we marched off to the whole crowd clapping and cheering, I do not think any of us had ever been as proud as we were then. At 21.00hrs we departed Ypres for the hotel for our last night in Belgium and too McDonalds.

Marching through the Menin Gate

Day Five Monday 2nd July 2012.

After breakfast, we loaded the coaches ready to set off at 09.00hrs for our return journey to the UK. We arrived at the Euro Tunnel and departed Calais at 13.00, having arrived in the UK, we headed off to South Mimms service station to pick up our transport to take us back to Oxfordshire and say our final good byes to the Robin Hood Rifles, Corp of Drums.


The tour gave all us an experience of a lifetime, and opened our eyes to the day-to-day challenges endured by the Service Man during the Great Wars. This tour was an opportunity not to have missed; the parades we undertook left us all with a great sense of pride to be able to honour the fallen and our Service Men still serving in the Armed Forces today.

For more information contact Peter Broome on


Future Reserves 2020

What is FR20 about?

The Secretary of State for Defence recently responded to the Review of the United Kingdom’s Reserve Forces which was published on 18 July 2011.  He said:

The Government accepts the broad thrust of the Commission’s recommendations, which encompassed the Army Reserves – the largest Reserve component – the Royal Naval and Royal Marines Reserves and the Royal Auxiliary Air Force.

To achieve the redesign of the Army required by Army 2020 will require us to expand the volunteer Army Reserve to 30,000 trained strength and better to integrate the Regular and Reserve components of the future Army.  Army 2020 has defined the Army Reserves’ role and we are establishing more predictable scales of commitment in the event that Reserves are committed to enduring      operations.  In the past, the Reserve was essentially designed to supplement the Regular Army; in future, the Reserve will be a vital part of an integrated Army.  The principle of greater integration was established in the Commission’s report and, based on their findings, our concept for Army Reserves sees them ready and able to deploy routinely at sub-unit level and in some cases as formed units.  They will be trained, equipped and supported accordingly.  Officers and      soldiers will have command opportunities which have not always been      available in the recent past.

The process of reshaping the Reserves for their future role has already begun: we are recruiting Reserves now for all three Services.  The Army has started overseas Reserve training exercises at company level (26 this year, and increasing in number significantly by 2015); we are putting in place routine partnered training of Army Reserve and Regular units, including for operational deployments.  More equipment is arriving in the form of modern support vehicles, the Wolf Land Rover and Bowman radios. We plan that, over time, the personal equipment of Reservists will be on a par with that used by Regulars.  The greater reliance on the Reserve envisaged in Future Force 2020, and the      additional £1.8Bn over 10 years that we have committed to the Reserves,      ensures that Reservists will receive the kit and the training they need.  But in exchange we expect them to commit to specific amounts of training time and, for the Army in most cases, to accept a liability for up to 6 months deployed service, plus  pre-deployment training, in a five year period, dependent on operational      demand.  There will be opportunities for shorter periods of deployed service commitment for those in some specialist roles.

The Navy’s Maritime Reserves will expand to a trained strength of 3,100 to deliver a greater range and depth of capability, within its well established and integrated model, to provide individual augmentees to the Royal Navy and Royal Marines in specialist and generalist roles. Key areas of growth will be in a range of command and communication, intelligence and surveillance disciplines, including cyber, support to the Fleet Air Arm and the exploitation of niche      capabilities in the role of maritime security. The aim is to build Maritime Reserves that are fully integrated and able to provide the Naval Service with a range of flexible manpower, including greater access to civilian skills.  The expansion will  be supported by an infrastructure programme to provide modern and efficient training facilities.


The Royal Auxiliary Air Force (RAuxAF) provides resilience and strength in depth to the Royal Air Force contribution to Defence capability by providing individual augmentees t0 Regular Forces.  It will grow to a trained strength of 1,800.  The principal growth will be in the specialist areas of logistics, flight      operations, medical, intelligence, media, RAF Police and cyber; individual      augmentees will be trained to a sufficient standard to be fully integrated with the Regulars as part of the Whole Force Concept. Five new Reserve Squadrons will be established: No 502(Ulster) Squadron will form at JHC Station Aldergrove; 611(West Lancashire) Squadron will form in Liverpool and 614(West Glamorgan) Squadron will form in South Wales, most likely at RAF St Athan.  These squadrons will be general service support squadrons representing various trades and branches from within the RAF.  At RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, 2624(County of Oxford) Squadron will re-form in the force protection role and 622 Squadron will stand-up as the Reserve unit for aircrew augmenting the RAF’s air mobility force.

Delivering this step-change in the size and role of the Reserves will require a change in the relationship between Defence, the employer and the Reservist.  Many employers already give excellent support to Reservists, for which we, and the nation, are  grateful.  But we need a new framework of partnership, with public and private sector employers, that gives us the confidence that trained      Reservist manpower will be available when it is really needed.  We are examining how this might work through, for instance, the ‘Partnering for Talent’ programme, which seeks to identify clear business benefits for  employers who support the Reserves.  The public sector is already a major employer of Reservists, and should set an example.  Cross Government work, led by the Head  of the Civil Service, is promoting the benefits of employing Reservists      within Government.

This scale of change needs the support of society as a whole and of employers in particular.  I intend therefore to publish a consultation paper in the Autumn, setting out our detailed proposals.  Following consultation, we will be able to make informed decisions early next year on terms and conditions of service, employer engagement, the Government’s own commitments as an employer, and on any legislation necessary to underpin and support our vision for the Reserves.  I have also set up an independent external scrutiny team to assess progress in implementation of our vision for the Reserves.  This will be led by Lieutenant General (Retired) Robin Brims, who will make his first report in the summer of 2013.

TS Hastings win the Burgee for 2012

The Cadets and Adult Volunteers of TS Hastings Sea Cadets are continuing to fly the flag high for Hastings and have again won the Burgee for 2012, presented at their first Sea Sunday Parade with Unit President Commodore John Kingwell Royal Navy – Head of Navy Resource and  Plans.

The Burgee is the highest award that can be awarded to a Sea Cadet Corps Unit in recognition of the hardwork of the Volunteers and Cadets.

The Cadets and Adult Volunteers of TS Hastings with Unit President Commodore John Kingwell Royal Navy

With over 60 Children from Hastings, St Leonards, Bexhill and Battle – Hastings Sea Cadets and Royal Marine Cadets are proving to continue to be one of the Flagship Units in Southern Area Region, a Unit which delivers at the highest level . New Cadets are always most welcome along and our Royal Marine Cadet Detachment is now open to female cadets.

Sea Cadets are for youth aged 10-18 years. The aim of the Sea Cadet Corps (SCC) is to help young people towards responsible adulthood and to encourage them to reach their potential by developing valuable personal attributes and high standards of conduct, using a nautical theme based on the customs and traditions of the Royal Navy and the Royal Marines.

Further details and information can be found at
Please feel welcome to come down and meet us during parade times Tuesday and Friday evenings 1900-2100

Unit Chaplain praised by her colleagues

Talisker MacLeod is the Unit Chaplain at the Hove and Adur Sea Cadets as well as a woman priest at All Saints Church in Hove.

Reverend MacLeod was ordained Deacon by the Bishop of Chichester on 26th June 2011 at Chichester Cathedral, after spending three years training at Ripon College, Cuddesdon, near Oxford. Originally she hails from Oxfordshire, though she has moved around quite a bit – her university days were spent at St. Andrews, where she studied Classics; shortly afterwards she began teaching at Christ’s Hospital near Horsham. Her interests include walking her dog, reading, excellent wines, good coffee, ballet, and theatre.

Recently, on Sunday 1st July 2012, Reverend MacLeod was ordained Priest by Bishop Christopher Herbert in Chichester Cathedral, witnessed by the Adult Volunteers and Sea Cadets from her Unit. The Adult Volunteers and Cadets felt very privileged to attend, they wanted to support and show their thanks to their Unit Chaplain on this very special day who has always given them 100% of her efforts.

Reverend Talisker MacLeod and colleagues

Reverend MacLeod regularly attends the parade nights, teaching New Entries as well as getting involved in whatever has to be done. Recently she ran an enrolment ceremony for the whole ship’s company presenting them with Bibles as they received their enrolment certificates. She has also joined them afloat after which she cooked on a BBQ for all who were present.

All Staff and Cadets wish her every success for her first mass on Sunday 8th July at 10.00am.

If you are interested in finding out more about the sea cadets visit:

If you want to know more about All Saints in Hove visit: