Attention all Bosnia Veterans - especially of note for RGBW/RIFLES

Discussion in 'Charities and Welfare' started by napier, Feb 10, 2012.

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  1. napier

    napier LE Moderator Reviewer

    The letter below was sent to me by my former OC in Gorazde, detailing plans to re-install and dedicate memorials to 4 of our soldiers who died there in 1994. BLUF - money is needed to enable the expedition to take place. I have removed the names of the team, but of note there is still space for a team member.


    The Mission: To install and dedicate a marble memorial at each of the two sites in Gorazde (Eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina) in commemoration of the 4 x RGBW soldiers killed during 1RGBW's operational UNPROFOR tour in 1994.

    The Request: Financial support or specialist advice.

    The Context: In 1994-95 the newly formed Royal Gloucestershire Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment (RGBW) conducted its first operational tour in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) as part of the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR). UNPROFOR was the initial international mission[1] of several - all of which contributed to bringing stability and peace to this troubled part of the Balkans. Battalion Tactical HQ, A and B Companies 1 RGBW were based in Gorazde, one of the three Bosnian Muslim Eastern enclaves inside Bosnian Serb territory, and south of Srebenica. Tragically, during the tour, in September 1994, Privates Ben Hinton, Philip Armstrong, Martin Dowdell, and Chris Turner of A Company were killed in two separate incidents. In addition, a number of RGBW and Corps attached soldiers were injured and have suffered both short-term and long-term medical and mental effects. As is often customary in foreign areas of operational service when colleagues are lost, memorials are made and placed in-situ. Gorazde was no exception and marble from nearby Montenegro was procured, carved by a Bosnian refugee in the town, two sites were constructed by the Royal Engineer section attached to 'Gorazde Force', and the memorials placed and dedicated by the Battalion's Padre. However, in 2007, at the end of the British mission in BIH and in accordance with Army policy, all such memorials were officially returned to the UK. Sadly, this was conducted without full regimental consultation. The original marble memorials are currently in storage at the Regimental Office Gloucester.

    What: A small and economical expedition consisting of volunteer ex-RGBW soldiers committed to returning the memorials and involving; the transportation of the two memorials to Gorazde, the preparation and the construction of two sites. The dedication of the memorials at each site will be conducted by an Ex- LCpl RGBW who miraculously survived the incident in which three of the soldiers were killed and who is now an ordained minister (the Rev, for those who remember). The expedition will be conducted in conjunction with the local Bosnian authorities and members of the population of Gorazde who served with us and benefited from the peace-keeping duties of the RGBW's 1994/95 tour.

    When: 9-15th June 2012

    Why: For our colleagues, our Regiment and ourselves.

    � Since the untimely return of the memorials in 2007, (name deleted, ex- OC A Company) has been committed to returning them to Gorazde as soon as possible. During the last 12 months it has also become apparent via the Regimental office at Gloucester that a number of ex-RGBW soldiers have wanted to return to visit Gorazde and the memorials. On hearing of the removal of the memorials, a number of these soldiers feel strongly that the original memorials that had been so carefully sourced, carved, emplaced and dedicated in 1994 should be returned and re-dedicated in their rightful place - in the hills above Gorazde. Each has a personal commitment to contributing towards achieving this.

    � A window of opportunity has now been identified in June 2012. This is based on; the collective availability of a number of ex-RGBW soldiers; the availability of in-country assistance including The British Embassy, Bosnian friends and municipal support in both Sarajevo and Gorazde, and the opportunity to link it with the writing of a book by an ex-Regimental officer on the RGBW's UN tour in Gorazde, the deadline of which has been delayed to take account of this Jun trip.

    What we need:

    � This expedition cannot be funded by the Army, it is regarded as a private venture and so it must be self-funded and organised by the team. The RGBW Trustees have kindly indicated that they are prepared to provide a grant towards the transportation costs of the two marble memorial stones. Our total sponsorship target is £6000 for the group of ten. This sum will supplement the personal contributions of £3000 from the participants. The financial assistance will help to cover the costs for air travel, vehicle hire (x3), fuel costs, building materials, local labour, accommodation, food, and transportation of the memorials (£tbc) from Gloucester to Gorazde. Remaining funds will be distributed amongst three charities: ABF - The Soldiers Charity[3], Alabare Homes[4] and the Rifles 'Care for Casualties'[5].

    � Furthermore, if you think you can provide relevant specialist advice and items, including media coverage and advertising, we would be delighted to discuss these with you.

    In return we can offer the following: Your contribution to the success of a mission that is close to the heart and ethos of the Regimental family including our soldiers, our families and the public of the counties of Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire. Furthermore, you will be involved directly in our regimental history helping to sustain our legacy for the future. The intention is to activate UK(local county) and Bosnian media interest in the expedition and the sponsors (unless declined), and to include the advertising of our sponsors on as many items as possible, such as vehicles, shirts etc.

    If you wish to help this project succeed, the 'RGBW Return to Gorazde' team would be most grateful. I can be contacted on the following email address: I will follow up every message and would of course be happy to discuss any aspects of this plan. Alternatively, you may wish to forward financial contributions direct to The Rifles County Office Gloucester, Custom House, 31 Commercial Road, Custom House, Gloucester, GL1 2HE. Tel 01452 522682 ext 1, ext 3 (cheques payable to The RGBW Regimental Charities Fund (Gorazde)).

    Finally, now that peace and stability exist in Bosnia and Herzegovina, it is hoped to organise a more elaborate and formal Regimental 'battlefield tour', perhaps in 2013 or 2014, to encompass all locations in which 1 RGBW served during this tour, including Gorazde, Sarajevo, Kisseljak and Bugonjo.


    [1] UNPROFOR was followed by NATO's Implementation Force (IFOR) and then its Stabilization Force (SFOR), then the European Union's European Union Force (EUFOR).
    [2] Recently ordained and serving a parish in Yorkshire.
    [3] Soldiers’ Charity :: Home We are The Soldiers Charity. We're here to support the men and women who put everything on the line to defend us, and our country.
    [4] Alabaré Christian Care Centres. Alabare's Bristol Home for Veterans supported housing with advice to people who are experiencing difficulties after leaving military service.
    [5]" The Rifles "Care for Casualties" Appeal . Care for Casualties is an appeal that gives the severely wounded, their families and the families of our fallen Riflemen the support, the inspiration and the means to rebuild their lives and make the best of their futures.