Bournemouth, Poole & District branch RTR Association


War Hero
17 members, including 3 new recruits were at the September 2019 meeting. We had guests too, so a total of 23 were present. Before the meeting began, we had a presentation, Army Cadet (RTR badged) B H, accompanied by his mum, made a presentation to the Friends of the Tank Memorial Ypres Salient for the help and encouragement they have given him. The presentation was accepted by one of our new members, C L, who is an official of the Friends. It was a pleasant surprise for C and the branch members who were present to witness it. See photo's.
The Chairman welcomed our new members, and our guests. The guests were B and his mum, plus S/Sgt A and 3 soldiers from the Regiment. A minutes silence was held in memory of Chuck Westwood, formerly of 1 RTR who passed away recently. Chuck was not a branch member, but was known to most of the 1 RTR contingent present.
A recap of the Branch BBQ in August was given, this allowed those who were not present (including me) to know what they had missed. D R gave the branch a quick brief on the branch participation at the (very wet) OP Banner 50 event at the National Memorial Arboretum. Members were informed of the 103rd birthday later this month of ex Lt Tony Pyatt RTR. Tony is a Normandy veteran and is now in a nursing home in Suffolk. The secretary produced a giant birthday card for Tony and invited people to sign it. We will send it to the nursing home in time for his birthday, See photo's.
Members were invited to attend the annual Battle of Britain church service in Poole on Sunday 8th September. The branch standard will be paraded at this event. We were given an update on preparations for our annual Ladies Lunch in January. Most importantly, it was announced that the venue had changed. It will now be held in the Harbour Heights hotel at Sandbanks. This hotel is even better than the hotel we used last year. We also had an update on ARRAS 80 planning.
Incorporated in this meeting was the branch AGM. The minutes of the 2018 AGM were viewed again. The Chairman gave a recap of the branch activity over the last year. The branch address list was updated, and the committee was voted in for another year. The one chance was that C L has taken over the position of treasurer, a post D L had been combining with his role of Chairman. A vote of thanks was made to the committee for their efforts over the last 12 months.

After a small break to recharge our glasses, S/Sgt A addressed the branch, he explained his role as the "link" SNCO between the Regiment and the Association. He also gave us a rundown of what is happening at the Regiment.
An excellent evening.


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War Hero
October 2019
13 members present for the October meeting.
The loyal toast/ Green fields and Welfare were dealt with first. The minutes of September 2019 meeting were passed. The Secretary gave a quick description of his visit to the Royal Albert Hall for last night of the Proms. D O then gave the branch a rundown on the recent branch trip to the Normandy battlefields. This was a private visit by a number of branch members and spouses, but they laid a wreath and planted a number of crosses on behalf of the branch.
It had been hoped to give an update on the planning for Arras 80 as there had been a planning briefing involving HHQ the day before. Unfortunately no information arrived, so the November meeting should include an update. Members were reminded that returns for the January Ladies lunch were required no later than the December Meeting. Speaking of the December meeting? this is normally just a social event , not a meeting and so no guest speaker. However, the guest speaker pencilled in for November cannot make it, but can make December. Those present all agreed that we should take what's on offer, so we will have a guest speaker at the social gathering in December.
This has left an opening for the November meeting? C L who is also a committee member for the Friends of the Tank Memorial Ypres Salient, volunteered to fill the gap and will address the branch in November and let us know all about his "other" activities!
For me the meeting ended on a low, as I did not win a prize in the raffle!


War Hero
18 members present for the November 2019 branch meeting.
The short briefing by those who attended the RAC Church service at the Royal Hospital Chelsea was given. Members were reminded that for the first time, the branch will be represented at the main Remembrance Day service at Bournemouth, as well as the usual attendence in Poole. Members were invited to a wreath laying service at the replica RTR memorial at the Tank Museum on Monday November 11th. The service is being held by the Friends of the Tank Memorial Ypres Salient. A Bournemouth & Poole branch wreath is also being laid.
It was confirmed that both the Chairman & Secretary will be attending the RTRA AGM in London on Saturday 16th November. Members were reminded of the RTR march to the Cenotaph on Sunday 17th November. A reminder of the Cambrai lunch at Bovington on Friday 22nd November was given. A further update on Arras 80 was given. The main point was that the hotel has been selected and booked. Members were reminded to bring food for the December social gathering. It was announced that unusally there would be a guest speaker in December.
Members were reminded to get their returns and payments in for the Ladies lunch in January. The Secretary announced that a Burns night "Black Tie" supper was being hosted by "Dreadnaught" at the WO's & Sgt's Mess, Aliwal Barracks on 24th January 2020. 10 places are available to the RTRA. T H & D O have put their names forward.

The guest speaker was then introduced. C L, a recently recruited new member is also a senior official in the Friends of the Tank Memorial Ypres Salient. He is the individual who was the driving force behind the creation of the memorial. C used to live in Belgium near Ypres. His presentation began by explaining that in WWI the Tank Corps fought many actions in Belgium as well as France, the remains of over 300 Tank Corps soldiers are buried in the area of Ypres. He told us the story of Tank F41 "Fray Bentos" which stood and fought for 3 days and nights whilst the enemy swarmed all over it trying to destroy it. The Royal Artillery also had a go as well, they thought the Germans had captured her. One crew member was killed the rest wounded, but the tank fought on. They became the most decorated tank crew in the Regiment's history. 2 Military Crosses, 2 Distinguished Conduct Medals and 4 Military Medals. The medal tally indicates just what a performance was put in. This was in 1917, a pre Cambrai action. C gave details of another action in Belgium, this action was vital for the Tank Corps future. This is because up to this point, the results obtained by Tanks in combat were less than good. Not unexpected really, as heavy vehicles (even tracked vehicles) operating in a quagmire tended to get stuck. In this action two German strongpoints were overun and an advance of 4 miles obtained. Casualties were expected to be over 1000. In the event there were only 12 casualties and this success gained time for the Tank Corps, enabling the Battle of Cambrai to be planned. The rest is history.
C told us that a short time after the Memorial had been built, it was badly damaged when a car driven by an under aged driver ploughed into it. The local community paid for it to be rebuilt. A very interesting presentation. So much more that I have not even touched on. So if you want to know more, get on line and find out about it. Due to our close association with the Friends of the Tank Memorial Ypres Salient, the Bournemouth, Poole & District Branch is to be made an Associate member. We will be getting a certificate to confirm it. A branch trip to Ypres is likely to be on the cards before too long.


War Hero
20 people were present for the December 2019 gathering.
The December get together is not a meeting as such, just a social gathering were members bring food. It did give us the opportunity to hold a minutes silence for our branch President, Dave Clarke, who sadly died last week. We were proud to recieve officially a scroll and brooch awarding the branch Honorary Associate Group Membership of the Friends of the Tank Memorial Ypres Salient. The photo shows our Vice President, accepting the honour from the founder of TMYS. Also in the photo is Tpr Pippa Longlegs, mascot of the TYMS.
There is no meeting in January, but we do have our annual Ladies Lunch. It all starts again in February 2020.

"Sempervirens" Always flourishing! - THE MEMORIAL The link will give you information about the Tank Memorial Ypres Salient
Downloaded the image to Messenger_Lite.jpeg



War Hero

16 members were present for the first branch meeting of the year. This is actually an excellent turnout as February is historically a poorly attended meeting. A good omen I hope.

Loyal Toast/The Regiment, Green Fields and Welfare were all dealt with. The branch was informed that the participation in the Bournemouth Remembrance Day service was very successful, and we plan to attend every year from now on. Note! We have historically paraded at Poole on Rembrance Sunday, but as we are now the custodians of the 2/3/6 RTR branch standard we can also parade a standard in Bournemouth as well as Poole on Remembrance Sunday.

Those attending at Bournemouth on Remembrance Sunday were rewarded with a free lunch at a pub in Westbourne, whilst there, they were informed about a VE Day event in Bournemouth on 8th May 2020. Branch participation can be expected.

A brief recap on the well attended funeral of our late President, Dave Clarke, was given. It was confirmed that an obituary has already be sent to HHQ for inclusion in the next edition of the Regimental Journal. On this sad subject, it was confirmed that the Vice President, B F, has now assumed the role of President of the Branch. This position is now however an electable post.

It was confirmed that the Chairman and Secretary attended the RTRA AGM in London in November. The minutes will be shared with the branch once they are published.

A vote of thanks was given to D R and M E for their efforts in organising the very successful Ladies Lunch in January.

The branch was given details of the excellent Burns Night supper hosted by Dreadnaught in the WO's & Sgt's Mess at Aliwal Barracks. Five members of the branch attended as official guests.

Details of the RTRA sponsored Church service at Bovington on Sunday 15th March 2020 were given. It has been confirmed that the Curry Lunch served in the Garrison Officers Mess afterwards will be paid for by the RTRA and so is free to the individuals who attend.

The branch was told that it would receive an Arras 80 update when we get any further news to pass on.

Members were told that the ANZAC Day service at Weymouth will be on Saturday 25th April 2020. The Exercise Tiger Memorial Service at Slapton Sands is the very next day Sunday 26th April. The Secretary has suggested that those going to Slapton Sands divert enroute to Dartmouth to lay a wreath at the War Memorial there. Tpr Brett Hall, 2 RTR, who died in 2009 from injuries received in Afghanistan is named on the memorial.

The Treasurer mentioned the "S" word! Subscriptions.

It was suggested that the branch should look at a visit to Ypres in 2021. Planning for this will soon begin.

It was also suggested that if we get an invite to attend Catlemartin Ranges in September to watch the Regiment undergo annual firing, we should attempt to get people there.

Fear Naught


War Hero
MARCH 2020
20 people were present for the March 2020 meeting, this included two new members. Last month we had the best ever attendance at a February meeting, this month was our best ever March attendance, Am I pushing my luck hoping for a hat trick in April?

The normal mandatory bits and pieces were dealt with first, then onto the meeting proper. Members were reminded of the timings for the RTR sponsored Church Service & Curry Lunch on 15th March. The Chairman who is now on the HHQ Arras 80 planning team gave an update on the event. It was decided to look at getting a Mini Bus for the trip to Slapton Sands in April. We are also looking at going to Devon the day before, staying overnight in Hotel accommodation and then proceeding to Dartmouth and then Slapton Sands. This will depend on numbers looking to go.

The branch then discussed a problem that has arisen. There are two VE Day events on 8th May 2020, one in Bournemouth, the other in Poole. Timings mean that people will only be able to attend one. Poole, is an official VE Day event, organised by the council and includes a march by Veterans down the High Sreet and ending on Poole Quay. The other is a private event being championed by the landlady of a Public House in Westbourne, who did so much for Veterans on Remembrance Sunday. She wants it to be a success so that it can become an annual event. The branch is keen to support her because if it is repeated on an annual basis there won't be a clash with Poole until VE Day 80. We also however, do not really want to be missing at the official event. We put off a decision until April, to see if we can get the timings for the Bournemouth (Westbourne) event changed thus allowing full branch attendance at both. If we can't, It is likely that we will split into two sections and have a smaller than planned group at each event.

It was decided that the departure date for our trip to Ypres in 2021 would be Sat 5th June. We are as yet undecided as to whether it will be a 3 or 4 night stay. The desired itinerary and of course "cost" will be the deciding factors. We also confirmed the date of next years Ladies Lunch, Sunday 17th January. C L, one of our members, is also a volunteer Coast Watch official and has invited the branch to visit the Coast Watch Station on Portland where he is based. We will confirm the date at the April meeting. The Secretary confirmed he will be absent from the July meeting due to a holiday.

We were unable to present our hoped for Guest Speaker who is likely to pencilled in at a later date. So, in our moment of need our very own C L stepped up to the mark. C who is working for the Armour Centre in a civilian capacity gave the branch a most interesting talk on the near future plans that will affect the RAC. Now normally I would repeat (in abridged form) what was said. This time though, some of what was said is still sensitive information and some of it not yet confirmed, so sorry folks, my lips are sealed.

I also won three prizes on the raffle, but I gave my "Corona" beer pack away to D R who must be the most unlucky person in the branch when it comes to the raffle. All he has ever won is I think, a box of biscuits!

A really good Branch meeting.


War Hero
Today, 1st July 2020 is Canada Day. The Bournemouth, Poole & District Branch, Royal Tank Regiment Association laid a wreath at the grave of our adopted Canadian in Poole Cemetery.


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War Hero
October 2020

Covid - 19 continues to dominate everything. Remembrance Sunday and RTR march to the Cenotaph have now joined the events on the cancelled list. Despite the cancellation of official Remembrance services, this branch is still planning to lay a wreath at both the Bournemouth and Poole war memorials on Remembrance Sunday. We will of course follow the strict social distancing rules appropriate on the day. Continuing with the Remembrance theme? On August 15th, we joined with the RAFA and took part in a graveside service at the resting place of Pilot Officer Cecil Hight in Bournemouth. P/O Hight was a New Zealander serving with RAF Fighter Command. He was killed when his Spitfire was shot down over Bournemouth on 15th August 1940. The service was reported on in both the local and New Zealand Press. Also, on 15th August, we laid a wreath at the Burma Star Association memorial in Poole. August 15th was the 75th anniversary of VJ Day.

Branch meetings have continued online with monthly "Zoom" meetings. The photo shows that these are proving to be popular with those who have access to the Internet. Clearly it will be 2021 before we get back to any kind of normality and a return to physical branch meetings.

Fear Naught


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War Hero
Today we remembered Neville Tattersfield at Wareham Cemetery. Neville was a Tank Crewman at Flers Courcellete in September 1916, the first Tank action in History. He missed the battle of Cambrai as he was in the UK undergoing Officer Training. He was wounded at Amiens in August 1918, he was evacuated back to the UK where he recovered from his Injuries. He was admitted to hospital on 11th November 1918, Armistice Day suffering from Influenza (Spanish Flu Pandemic). He died on 20th November 1918, the first anniversary of Cambrai.


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War Hero
L/Cpl David "Chopper" Hopper, 2nd Royal Tank Regiment, died on 23rd June 1976 and is buried in St Marys Church, Lytchett Matravers, near Poole, Dorset. 2021 is the 45th anniversary of his death. The Bournemouth, Poole & District Branch, Royal Tank Regiment Association will be laying a wreath at his grave on 23/06/21. Timings will follow. There is an open invitation for his former comrades in 2 RTR to join us at his graveside. In fact the invitation extends to anyone who would like to join us on the day and pay their respects to David.


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L/Cpl David "Chopper" Hopper, 2nd Royal Tank Regiment, died on 23rd June 1976 and is buried in St Marys Church, Lytchett Matravers, near Poole, Dorset. 2021 is the 45th anniversary of his death. The Bournemouth, Poole & District Branch, Royal Tank Regiment Association will be laying a wreath at his grave on 23/06/21. Timings will follow. There is an open invitation for his former comrades in 2 RTR to join us at his graveside. In fact the invitation extends to anyone who would like to join us on the day and pay their respects to David.
I never got to meet Chopper, I was in basic when he lost his life. He was highly thought of. RIP Chopper see you in the Tankies Tavern.


War Hero
The David Hopper wreath laying went very well.


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