Welcome to the Chatham branch


Branch News

Chatham - June 2018
Baz Bassett - Chairman

The year 2017 finished with a cracking Christmas Lunch and a real bumper turn out with members and families pushing the numbers to 90 attending. It really is a great opportunity for the Branch to get together with families and friends for this occasion. As always, a big thank you for the stalwart members, wives and partners working hard to organise these events and making them a success.

The Branch "Christmas Elves" Jim Rogers, Eric Blenkinsop, Tim VDK and the late Bertie 'Bert' Fordham

I am sure that I am no different when after the celebrations of Christmas and New Year the post-Christmas blues settle onto us in January. Those Grey, dark and damp days (sounds like the start of a good exercise) knowing we have to get through February and March before it cheers up. But it does, and spring is soon upon us. 2018 got off to a very sombre start for the Branch with the passing of two of our Branch Members, Mr Bertie 'Bert' Fordham and Mr William 'Bill' Wheeler. We also had the very sad loss of Mrs Freda Perry (wife of Mr William 'Bill' Perry).

As a branch we start the year with our first event which is the Valentines Buffet Lunch. Well supported and a good opportunity to catch up with each other and also to dispose of the odd Christmas gift into the Raffle. Mr Frank Ryan of course decided to get into character and deliver his "Rose" to Mary in true Spanish style..


"Senor Frank Ryan with a Rose for his loved one"

Shortly after this Lin and I went off on a few weeks break to get away from it all. Snow, Snow and more snow in UK, we laughed our way through Kuala Lumpur at 34 degrees and onto Cambodia at 36 degrees.

Surprise, surprise, on our second night there casually strolling into a food hall we are accosted by one "Grant Scott' AKA Scotty. Scotty has been travelling for the last 18 months and as he says "looking for somewhere to settle down" A great experience to meet him out there and to catch up on what he has been up to.


Scotty had served in the Sqn during my time and had also been the Provost Sergeant at 36 Engr Regt when I was OC 50 HQ Sqn. Needless to say, a couple of beers were required to chat things over.

What a small world and a great experience and pleasure to meet a fellow Sqn member. I know a number of Sqn members follow Scotty on social media and while there Scotty showed me the photographs he had been taking on his travels, fascinating journal.

Siem Reip Cambodia Feb 2018 - Baz and Scotty toasting the Sqn

For the branch, this is a busy year, we always look forward to the summer with The John Rock Dinner on Saturday 9th June.

This is followed by the Armed Forces Day 'Medway' celebrations on Saturday 30th of June. This year of course these events are a precursor to the Annual AGM and Reunion Gala Dinner over the weekend Friday 12th - Sunday 14th October. This is to be held at the King Charles Hotel. Needless to say as a branch we are all looking forward to hosting the Association on this very special occasion.

Other Annual Branch events are of course also planned such as the Nepalese Curry Buffet Lunch (Gurkha Bart) in September which is held at the Officers Mess, 36 Engr Regt. This has become a very popular event and we are now maxing out as they say with attendees, although Bob Matthews did manage to squeeze in a few more than planned last year, that's what being a good QM is all about Bob!

And rounding off the year with our traditional Christmas Lunch in December.

Bob and Helen Matthews, Frank and Mary Ryan, Linda Bassett and the Cazaly Family

I only have a short report this year, but I do hope to see those of you who can make it, at the AGM and Reunion Gala Dinner later in the year

Chatham - December 2017
Baz Bassett - Chairman

The summer season as expected was busy but fun. This summer involved a number of events with an element of support from the branch at them all. Of course the Falklands 35th Anniversary had a number of engagements and I and Tim VDK with wives attended the small ceremony conducted by Col Chris Davies at the Aldershot cemetery on the 18th June. Other members with wives joined us and afterwards retired for a pub lunch.

Tim VdK, Edwina Ball, Trevor Simpson, ? Lin & Baz Bassett, Tony Manley, John & Sandra Ferry, Jenny Davies,
Mal Malham, Chris Davies & Dave Rutter

The main ceremony was on the 17th of June and was described as a "ticker tape parade" with Aldershot town coming out to give fantastic support to the event. June continued with the Armed Forces day (Medway) celebration, strangely enough I found I had been volunteered to march on the contingent and then being requested to read out the Kohima Prayer.

Time for a quick brew (Armed Forces Day - Medway) Peter Kershaw, Mick Fisher & Mike Tindle

The summer celebrations finished off with the John Rock dinner and we were delighted again to host both the President, Chairman and their wives that evening, which as always is an enjoyable event.

This year's presentation was twofold, our Chairman John Ferry gave a resume of two troop's deployment on OP Corporate and Mount Longdon. While Tam Drain, who was a member of 4 Troop during the campaign (4 Troop being the attached troop from 20 Sqn) gave a piercing and honest presentation of the conflict through the eyes of a soldier who, 35 years ago, with little warning were stood up to be attached to 9 Parachute Squadron. Having then deployed, found themselves on that fateful day to be on the "RFA Sir Galahad" which we can all remember from the horrific scenes after the bombing, explosion and fires.

John Rock Dinner - Tam Drain, John Ferry, Tim VdK & Baz Bassett

Summer was bought to a close by an invitation to Frank and Mary Ryan's house for a BBQ, Mary managing to cope with Frank's generosity to the Branch. Another excellent afternoon.

Autumn brought the normal support to the other events around UK and Tim VdK supported by Edwina, attended on behalf of the Branch and the association at a number these. Finally in October the annual Gurkha Curry organised by Bob and Helen Matthews at 36 Engr Regt's Officer's mess, was again a sell-out, over 60 people attended. I was absent as the date had been changed after I had booked my Holidays. However our President attended, I am told he has branched out into selling AEA Car Badges and hoped to make a killing there.

The year is almost complete with our final event the Christmas Lunch, which again is shaping up to be another block buster. Hopefully, allowing a day out of the Kitchen for our partners to get together with friends and families to be waited on at the King Charles Hotel.

Gurkha Curry - Outside the Officers Mess 36 Engr Regt

As I write this I am recovering from a fantastic Reunion Gala Dinner organised and run by 299 Airborne Squadron in Hull. Well done to the OC and his team and in particular to Craig Gadd for organising and running a successful event in the 2017 European City of Culture.

This leads me to remind you all that it is Chatham Branch's turn to organise and run the Annual Reunion, AGM and Gala dinner in 2018.
The dates for your diary are the 9th 10th and 11th of October. It will follow the normal weekend and run of events, but we hope that as it is the home of the Corps, it will allow individuals to visit the Corps Museum, Brompton Barracks to see how it has changed and of course perhaps a run ashore for those of you who may wish to visit old haunts. I must remind you that there has been a huge change over the years to both the barracks and the Medway towns.

The various booking forms will be in the June journal. For your information the event is being run at the King Charles Hotel, Gillingham over the weekend. The King Charles Hotel will deal with the full booking procedure and there will be no need to send forms or payments to any individuals of the Branch. Book early as rooms are limited but there are also a number of other Hotels available in the area.
The contact e-mail address for the King Charles is Please note that bookings will only be taken through the King Charles system.

The Branch wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Best wishes for 2018 and for those who can make it, we look forward to seeing you at the next year's AGM and Reunion Gala Dinner.



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