REME Association Newsletter

1.         REME Reunion.  You will have seen the message last week from our Corps Secretary, Lt Col (Retd) Mike Tizard, informing you all of the sad news that our organiser IOW Tours, had gone out of business.  This is a tragedy for Shirley, her family and team.  We are all devastated for her and are thinking of her at this difficult time.  As Mike said in his statement, a Reunion or even a function of any description next April is extremely unlikely.  We will keep you all informed if the situation changes.  

2.         Cenotaph 2020.  The Cenotaph March Past will not feature veterans or public spectators this year.  Hayley had filled all 8 of our much reduced allocated places with veteran volunteers but these representatives have now been stood down.  The National Service of Remembrance will still occur at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday but this will not be followed by the usual march.  Disappointing but wholly predictable given the current trend.  Hayley will send a wreath with a message of remembrance from Colonel REME on behalf of the REME Association to be laid during the service.  Indeed the RBL message at the link below invites all veterans and their families to send a message of remembrance.  Please follow the link and complete the form if you would like to do so.     https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=DQSIkWdsW0yxEjajBLZtrQAAAAAAAAAAAAd__oCo5OZUMFc5U0Q3T1o0OFJVQVFFWlE4ME1aN1NGVi4u               
3.         Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2020.  I am sure you wish to join me in sending our sincerest congratulations to the REME recipients of awards in the delayed birthday honours list published last week.  26 REME officers and soldiers received awards including 13 Commendations, 6 WOs and SNCOs received the Meritorious Service Medal, 2 Reserve officers received the Queen’s Volunteer Reserve Medal and the following list below.  Congratulations to all. 
Maj Gen Mitch Mitchell CB
Brig Neil Thorpe CBE
Col Ian Gibson OBE
Lt Col Alistair Bryant MBE
Lt Col Rich Naivalurua MBE

4.         Armourers’ Association.  Congratulations to Ted Holroyd who has been elected Chairman of The Armourers’ Association.  Ted served for many years as a Regular then NRPS and now works as a civilian instructor here at DSEME.  Congratulations Ted.  No, he is not one of the 6 Holroyd brothers from Yorkshire who joined the Corps in the 60s and 70s – I asked him!  For details and how to join go to   https://ukarmourers.org.uk/
5.         Corps Memorial Statue.  You will all have seen the Corps memorial statue as modelled by Sgt Ginge Warne who sadly passed away 18 months or so ago.  The statue was re-located from Arborfield to MoD Lyneham and now sits directly between the Church and RHQ REME.  Many of you have asked if a replica statue could be available from the REME Shop.  Delighted to announce that one has now been commissioned ‘REMEmber Them Statuette’ and is available on line or in person at the shop within the REME Museum.  Check out the REME Shop for details.https://remeshop.org.uk/product/remember-them-statuette/
 
6.         Le Mans 66 – SSgt Ken Miles.  Many of you will have seen the recent movie Le Mans 66 (titled Ford v Ferrari in the US) starring Matt Damon and Christian Bale.  What you may not know is that one of the main characters, Ken Miles the driver played by Christian Bale, was a founder member of our Corps.  Ken served throughout WW2 reaching the rank of SSgt.  Fantastic.  Former Colonel REME Reserve, Mark Simpson gave us the tip that he may have been REME in WW2 prompting Celia Cassingham our senior archivist, to do some digging.  Check out the November Craftsman magazine for the full story.   
 
7.         Rec Mech Branch.  We were delighted to welcome John Sibley, Bob Fullbrook, Bryan Cronie and Chris Zeil to MoD Lyneham on the Corps birthday 1st October to formally launch the REME Association Recovery Mechanic Branch.  Full story and photos of the standard blessing ceremony conducted by Padre Stephen Lodwick will be in November Craftsman magazine. 

8.         Veterans’ Railcard.  I am grateful to Lt Col (Retd) Tony Workman OBE for giving me the tip last week that issue was imminent and sure enough the card was launched on Wed 14 October with Captain Sir Tom Moore being the first recipient.  I’ve already ordered mine – must ensure I use it!  The process is quite straightforward but you may need a teenager on standby to show you how to do it on-line.  You need a photo, a photo of your companion if applicable and proof of service.  There is also a reduced introductory price so get in quick.  To order go to https://www.veterans-railcard.co.uk/ and the Government message is at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-veterans-railcard-launched

9.         Mental Health SupportA new initiative from the Forces Charity Alabare which has launched a new telephone support service for anyone in need of support.  Details at the link below.
https://www.forces.net/promotion/new-telephone-support-service-veterans?utm_source=Forces+Newsletter&utm_campaign=484d2ab57f-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2020_09_11_04_33&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_25712c5f6f-484d2ab57f-441001569
 
10.       Military Partners – Employment Support.  We all remember the difficulties our spouses had in forming and sustaining their own career as they moved between garrisons and even countries with us.  We all recall how civilian employment in Germany for example unless you were a teacher or a nurse, was almost impossible.  Well the MoD is trying to do something about that now and an interesting support scheme has been launched.  Details are below and I bet you are thinking what I am thinking – better late than never! 
https://www.forces.net/news/new-scheme-launched-support-careers-military-partners
 
11.       Northern Ireland.  On 29 September 2020 the Northern Ireland Public Prosecution Service upheld its March 2019 decision not to prosecute 15 veterans for events in 1972.  Soldier F still faces charges of murder and attempted murder however.
12.       Car Parking.  I am grateful to Chris Moore for alerting us all to this but be aware some commercial shopping centres have sold their car parks (or parts of) to parking enforcement companies.  In Chris’s case it was Halfords but I understand this is prevalent throughout UK retail parks not just Halfords.  Wherever you park – watch out and beware as you may end up with an inadvertent parking charge.  Remember how you looked out for the Provo Sgt when you parked on the square?  Same drill. 
 
13.       Brexit and UK bank accounts.  If you live abroad in an EU country you need to be aware that after 31 Dec 20 and without passporting rights, it would be illegal for UK banks to provide banking services to expats living in the EU without securing new licenses.  In a purely commercial decision some banks are not applying for such licenses.  Lloyds (including Halifax and RBS), Barclays and Coutts have started warning expats they will stop providing them with services on 31 Dec.  You may wish to check with your own UK bank(s) to see if you are potentially affected.   
 
14.       Armed Forces Pensions LE Officers.  There are many instances of LE officers with less than 5 years commissioned service receiving incorrect pension payments on retirement. Any LE officer with more than 2 years but less than 5 years commissioned service is entitled to an uplift but some have slipped through the net and are only receiving their WO rated pension. If you are, or you know of anyone, in this category – check it out.
 
15.       Pensions Unclaimed. Anyone serving after 1975 is normally entitled to some form of Armed Forces Pension, provided minimum length of service is achieved. The minimum service usually depends upon the respective pension scheme into which the individual is enrolled. In some cases this minimum can be very low which is not widely known or publicised resulting in many millions of pounds lying unclaimed. Unsurprisingly, the Government will not come looking for an individual once they reach the qualifying age, usually 60 or 65 depending upon which scheme, the onus is on us all to claim. There are many former servicemen and women and their widows and widowers in some cases, unaware they may be entitled as they think their relatively few years of service does not qualify. Wrong – it may well do so. To find out go to the link below: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/pensions-and-compensation-for-veterans

16.       Forces Pension Society. I am sure you are all aware of the good work the Society does on our behalf but if not check out their website. There is a charge for membership but you never know when you might need them. https://forcespensionsociety.org
        
Stay safe, look after your loved ones and further information will follow when available.
Arte et Marte.

Stuart Cowen
association@reme-rhq.org.uk             
07590 848766