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South Central Region

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Hampshire; Isle of Wight; Berkshire; Wiltshire


Report of Events in the South Central Area 2017/2018
(A report submitted to the SAMA Newsletter for September 2017, and March 2018. Unfortunately due to unforeseen circumstances these did not make the print).
 

The year started off with the annual St. George’s day parade in Emsworth on the 25th April, which is organised in the usual efficient RBL manner. I was able to attend, and proud to receive the Imjin or Emsworth Rose, which is given to each veteran and members of the Imjin Battery in remembrance of those who fought in the battle of the Imjin River in the Korean War. There is a march past of serving members and Veterans, and all are widely applauded by the Population of Emsworth who turn out each year in their hundreds. This is a very well supported occasion, and it was with pride that I represented SAMA (82).

On Saturday 20th May the Falkland Veterans Foundation arranged a social evening in the Senior Rates Mess HMS Sultan. The event was well attended and all enjoyed an entertaining evening. Many thanks to Derek Cole and his Lovely wife Karen for organizing a splendid get together. Thanks also to the Senior Rates Mess for the use of their facilities.

On Sunday 21st May, SAMA (82) members and veterans formed up in Gosport’s Falklands Memorial Garden for the Commemorative Service and march past. Numbers attending were good, and the superb weather ensured that the turn out by Gosport’s populous was high. A buffet lunch and bar was laid on afterwards, and all agreed that once again Gosport had delivered a successful remembrance day.

On the 4th of June SAMA (82) manned a stall at HMS Collingwood’s Summer Show. This is a large and well supported show, and the good weather only helped increase the number of people attending. This particular event is over one day, but the Field Gun event really does pull the people in, and financially it was a good earner. Thanks must go to Debbie Pick a SAMA (82) Trustee, her daughter Gracie and Joe Erskine for their invaluable help in raising the funds. Thanks also to Kevin Greathurst for arranging the transportation and dropping off of the merchandise and Gazebo in Southampton. I would also like to thank the enthusiastic Collingwood Ratings for their assistance when erecting and dismantling the Gazebo.

The next big event was the 35th Anniversary memorial service at the Falkland Island Memorial Chapel at Pangbourne on Sunday 11th June. This event is always well attended and this year was no exception, with the Chapel and an additional Marquee outside full too capacity. The buffet afterwards was superb, and the enthusiasm and professionalism of the Pangbourne College Students and Staff is commendable.

My comments from 2016 News Letter are still relevant. This is a truly remarkable day, and the Chapel brings home all the emotions of those days in 1982, when so many of our comrades in arms fought and died. Anyone who has not visited the Chapel, which is open to visitors daily, should make the trip and I am sure they will appreciate the significance it holds.

On Wednesday 14th June, SAMA (82) members attended the raising of the Falkland Islands flag in the Guildhall Square in Portsmouth. The event was attended by the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth and his wife. Kevin Porter of HMS Fearless gave a short dissertation with regard to the conflict. Kevin has recently released a book, giving an account of his time in the South Atlantic in 1982.

Saturday the 17th June, found SAMA (82) members, attending a memorial service at the Boscombe Down Aviation Collection, to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the end of the Falklands War. The event was well attended, and guests of honour were Admiral Sir Michael Layard who was the Senior Naval Officer aboard Atlantic Conveyor, and Lt Cdr David Morgan a Harrier pilot aboard HMS Hermes. The Harrier he flew during the conflict is on display at the collection site, along with many other aviation items. The site is well worth a visit.

Saturday 24th June was Portsmouth Armed Forces Day (AFD). The weather did the day no favours in the morning, but relented slightly in the afternoon. Despite this, the people of Portsmouth turned out in numbers to view the displays, and give very generously to the charity stands. In the afternoon, the Veterans paraded, and as always provided a very emotive display as they marched into the arena. The Deputy Lieutenant of Hampshire took the salute, and along with the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth spoke to all who attended.
Many thanks to Andy Gatherer for his support during the day, and to Joe Erskine and his oppos from Portsmouth RNA for their help and good humour.


Portsmouth City Council has announced that they will be holding an AFD in 2018 on Saturday 30th June.


Many other commemorative events were held in Portsmouth, by individual ship’s Associations and the British Legion service of remembrance of the Falklands War at the site by the Square Tower in Portsmouth.

 

On December 14th at HMS Nelson wardroom a presentation was made to SAMA (82) and FVF representatives, by Commander Neil (“Nobby”) Hall and Warrant Officer Mark Barker. A cheque for £700 the proceeds from a Mess Dinner held in HMS Collingwood, was presented to each representative, along with a Commemorative Challenge Coin, a Welsh Slate coaster and an Engraved Crystal Tumbler.

My apologies to those members and Associations who have not been recognized in this report. We were together in 82 and are still together now.

Charity Fund Raisers of the Month

Following on from the success of the Falklands Islands 35th Serving Veterans Dinner in 2017, Cdr “Nobby” Hall RN and WO1 Mark Barker RN were able to make donations to the two Falklands Veterans Charities. Receiving their respective cheques for £700.00 were Mr Derek “Smokey” Cole, Chief Executive of the Falklands Veterans Foundation (FVF) and Mr George Birkett, Regional Co-ordinator for the South Central Region of the South Atlantic Medal Association 82 (SAMA 82). They were also both presented with a Commemorative Challenge Coin, Crystal Tumbler and Slate Coaster from the Dinner.


Regional Co-ordinator

George Birkett

Home: 023 8043 2668
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Email: georgebirkett@yahoo.co.uk