The Northern Ireland Association Branch has ensconced itself at our new RV – B Coy 2 R IRISH in Newtownabbey. B Coy have a new PSAO whom some of you may remember, Maj Trevor Martin, who was a Sgt in the RANGERS Recce Pl back in the 1980’s and went to the Falklands with the RANGERS Pl in 1994.
Our main Branch event has been the continued success of The Stormberg Commemoration in December. The church service, which the NI Branch sponsor and run, is in memory of the 12 LIR men and the 118 RIR men who died fighting gaining our first LIR Battle Honour ‘South Africa 1900-02’ .
The Commanding Officer of the London Regiment had agreed again to send a LIR Guard from D Coy but this unfortunately did not happen. Thankfully, 2 R IRISH were able to fill the gap and hopefully the LONDONS will be able to provide for Stormberg 2016.
Mr Rolly Todd LIR (who was Mentioned in Dispatches in Italy) laid the LIR wreath and Mr Spencer McWhirter laid the RUR wreath. A Bugler from 2 R IRISH sounded the Last Post and a Piper played the Lament. Distinguished guests included the Deputy Lord Mayor of Belfast, Colonel Hubert McAllister OBE TD (Hon Col 2 R IRISH), Colonel Robin Charley OBE, Lord Rogan. Viscount Brookeborough was due to attend but his estate in Fermanagh was in flood with three bridges close to collapse due to the high water. We were supported by 20 Cadets from 2nd NI Bn who were a great asset communicating with the public who were shopping at the Christmas Markets outside the City Hall explaining about Stormberg.
The Parade was an excellent success with about 80 persons in attendance and is ‘our’ event here in NI. I would warmly encourage any member to attend on Sunday 11 Dec 16 – come on over the craic is 90 !
We also attended the Northern Ireland Service of Remembrance at The Cenotaph, City Hall, Belfast. As the NI National commemoration, it is a dignified cross community service with the Secretary of State, First Minister, 38 (Irish) Brigade Commander etc in attendance. The RBL RoI Service of Remembrance was also attended in Islandbridge Dublin in July 2015 with several LIR persons coming over from London to attend and be ‘entertained’ by the Irish Defence Force in McKee Barracks afterwards.
Our senior Branch member,, ex Cpl Rolly Todd is at the time of writing looking forward to a trip to Ballykinler training base. His son Sam was born in Ballykinler, as Rolly was serving there with the RUR. Access and a tour has been arranged with the Camp QM for our last Association member from the Second World War and his family.
Lt Col Ant Maher, Chairman NI Branch.