LONDON IRISH RIFLES REGIMENTAL ASSOCIATION.
GENERAL MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE (GMC).
Minutes of the Meeting held by Zoom on Thursday 2nd September 2021.
Chairman: Lt Col Anthony Maher (AM)
Vice Chairman: Colonel Ian Denison (ID)
Maj Peter Lough (PL)
William Oakes (WO)
Richard O’Sullivan (ROS)
Alex Shooter (AS)
Tony Robinson (TR)
Maj John Scannell (JS)
Apologies were received from:
President: Brigadier Digby O’Lone (DOL)
Barbara Edwards (BE)
Maj Richard Scott Kerr (RSK)
Nigel Wilkinson (NW)
Maj John Fallis (JF)
Noel Gunning (NG)
Maj Robert Denman (RD)
Kevin Hyland (KH)
OC D Company: Maj Dominic Masters (DM)
The Chairman, Lt Col Anthony Maher, called the meeting to order at 1900hrs.
- Minutes of Previous Meeting.
The Chairman confirmed that the Minutes of the previous meeting held on 11th June 2021 had been issued to all GMC members.
These Minutes were unanimously agreed and the Meeting agreed that any Matters Arising from the last meeting would be covered within the agenda of the current one.
2. Roll Call of Deaths of Members.
The deaths of two Association Members was reported:
- Albert Leddy, who served with 2 LIR in Italy and Austria from 1944 to 1946 before becoming a Piper with 1 LIR in Italy for the period from 1946 into 1947.
- Pearse Kelly, who served with the London Irish Rifles for more than twenty years, before becoming a stalwart Association member for the past 40 years.
3. D Company.
The Chairman said that he had held a telephone conversation that afternoon with the OC D Company about current developments within the Armed Forces. Amongst many things, they had discussed the upcoming Defence Review, which will likely have some impact on the London Regiment and, in turn, the current serving London Irish Rifles.
4. Future of the Association.
The Chairman shared his thoughts on the future direction and location of the Regimental Association and there was a wide ranging discussion across many aspects of interest including:
- The current outlook and key priorities.
- Contingency plans and security of precious historical items that needed to be in place in case of a need to move at short notice.
- Possible range of locations for any medium term future relocation.
- Fund Raising possibilities.
- External support that could be provided to the Association if, and when, required.
It was agreed that there is a need for continuing thorough investigations in all areas to allow precise decision making by the GMC and to provide guidance for the wider Association and its members.
- Loos Sunday, 26th September:
Loos Sunday, 26th September:
- As usual, the Association will taking the lead on arrangements for the Regimental Day.
- Catering will be provided, which will include sandwiches etc to be organised by TR.
- D Coy’s Annual Camp in September has been cancelled so their members might be able to attend the Parade.
- Padre arrangements have yet to be confirmed. WO was asked to contact Salvation Army Major Hinditch, who has previously led a service at Connaught House.
Field of Remembrance, 11th November:
- ID will take the lead at the LIR plot.
- Poppy Crosses will be arranged. The preparations are usually fulfilled by BE and this needs to be confirmed again for this year.
- Three attendees are allowed to attend. Tickets will be sent to the Chairman who will distribute. Those wishing to attend should eMail him directly.
Remembrance Sunday, 14th November:
- It was reminded that arrangements for Remembrance Sunday was the responsibility of D Company. The Chairman stated that he would speak to OC D Coy to confirm details.
- A re-check is to be made on the number of wreathes that are currently held in the museum.
- AM to send out notices of the event and arrange appropriate invites. Details are yet to be confirmed due to evolving COVID restrictions..
- ROS confirmed that there is an ‘in principle agreement’ for the Association to attend commemorative events in Sicily in 2022, with a probable timing of travelling to the island in early September. He said that D Company had also expressed interest in joining the pilgrimage.
- He noted that the key decisions of “when”, “how many”, budgetary costs” and “timescales” would need to be confirmed within a short period.
- The Meeting agreed that ROS should convene a working group, to include D Company and Finance inputs that would be able to deliver a mile-stoned project plan. The first set of clear plans and decision timescales would be provided to the GMC by the end of September 2021.
- In the light of the limited amount of time available to be able to deliver an excellent set of ‘in country’ events, ROS would need to draw on the support of all GMC members, as well as the Association’s friends and contacts in Sicily.
6. Benevolent Fund.
The Welfare Officer, RD, had sent a report to note that:
- There had been one recent call for support and a grant of assistance of £200 duly paid out.
- The annual assistance grant had been paid out to the Pipes and Drums.
It was also noted that Peter Ashton of Fiske’s has suggested a meeting to review the operational activity and investment strategies that underpin the Benevolent Fund with RD and the Chairman as they were new in post.
7. Pipe Band.
The Chairman reiterated his strong support of the Pipes and Drums. He said that he had recently met Band President, JF, and they had discussed the current and ongoing prospects for the Band.
The Pipe Major, Michael Shanahan, had provided a written update to the GMC which noted that:
- The Band, although currently few in number, are working hard and preparing for the Loos Parade.
- They recently played well in front of the Duke of Gloucester at the Royal Hospital.
- He is travelling up to Coventry to play at Piper Albert Leddy’s funeral on 14th September.
- The ‘Band Support Group’ is increasing in numbers and there is a possibility of holding a social function soon.
No current issues need to be addressed.
The Membership Secretary, JS, updated the meeting on current numbers:
- Total Members = 329, a reduction of 5, due to the updating for recent death of members.
The Chairman noted that the OC D Company had confirmed that the current cadre of serving London Irish Riflemen would be receptive to an approach from the Association to become signed up subscribing members.
TR also said that there would be opportunities for membership outreach to D Company from both the Association and the Officers’ Club at a future historical presentation at Connaught House
The Museum Curator, AS, said he was looking forward to opening up again on Loos Sunday and plans to enact a return to the selling of stock items.
TR then reported on upcoming presentations about the history of the Loos Football and its dribbling footballers:
- In support of the ‘Football and War’ group at Wolverhampton University, he would attend an event at the Tower of London and members of the F & W group would present to D Company at Connaught House on 12th October.
- He would present at two Lodge events in London and Hampshire.
The GMC was pleased to note the fund raising opportunities offered by these presentations and thanked TR for his efforts.
11. The Emerald.
ROS updated the meeting on the timings for the publication of the 2021 Emerald and said that:
- Final inputs of copy items had been sent onto the publication designer, Rob Blackledge (RB), on 10th August.
- He was awaiting a returned draft from RB to allow final editing and proof reading and he expects to receive this in the coming week.
- Once edited, a final draft would be shared with AM and PL for approval.
- The final setting and printing should take 3/4 days.
- The printed copies of the Emerald would then be sent to PL for attaching stamps and posting out to members.
- An updated set of accurate names and addresses needs to be sent onto PL, coordinated by both JS and NG as they are able to assure the integrity of the current membership and financial checklists.
The Meeting went on to agree that the Emerald should continue to be published soon after the AGM, which is expected be held next year in May 2022, with Emerald publication and issuance then earmarked for June 2022.
12. Website/Social Media.
ROS reported that he continues to update the Website for updated news and current/future events and shares timely historical information via both Facebook and Twitter. Thankfully, positive feedback is the norm.
13. Army Cadet Force (ACF).
ID reported that the two detachments of the ACF had held a hybrid Summer Camp in August, a hopeful sign of renewed activity.
14. Any Other Business.
- He noted that some concern had been expressed by GMC members about holding meetings by Zoom video and how it might stifle discussions. He assured the Meeting that there would be plentiful opportunity for regular face to face meetings, both formal and informal, and especially so at the time of the various Parades at Connaught House. He also plans to issue an advance schedule of meetings for the coming year to allow ease of planning.
- Despite writing a number of times to the Royal Irish, he had not yet been informed of the exact date of the re-dedication of the Irish Infantry Grove at the Arboretum, which is planned for June 2022.
- He asked for a caubeen that could be provided to Pearse Kelly’s family and WO agreed to forward one to him as soon as possible.
- He also noted the Kelly family’s request for the attendance of a Piper at the funeral and cemetery and it was agreed that a note would be sent to both Band President and Pipe Major.
- He had received a letter of thanks from Carol Raper, which he read out to an appreciative GMC.
With no other matters to attend to, the meeting concluded at 21:00hrs.
BY ZOOM on THURSDAY 21st OCTOBER AT 1900 HRS