As the hundredth anniversary of the great sacrifices at Ypres were commemorated at the Menin Gate, we were all reminded of the hardships faced by our grandfathers’ and our great grandfathers’ generations. Coincidentally ,this year, after twenty five years of conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan, Her Majesty The Queen, unveiled a memorial in London to mark the sacrifices of all those of our own generation, who had taken part in these two campaigns.
The wisdom of establishing The Royal Artillery Association in order to support the serving and retired members of the “Gunners” is therefore, I believe, as relevant today, as it was when it was formed in 1920. The need to provide for the “well being” of veterans, and the importance of ex Gunner soldiers interacting with today’s serving soldiers, helps us to foster esprit de corps and pride in preserving our traditions. The uniting bond is one of shared experiences, camaraderie and a natural willingness to “watch over” each other – especially in times of adversity, and at special times like Christmas.
We are now a more mobile society, increasingly with the technological means to communicate more easily and to keep in touch with each other through the internet. We have therefore this year, continued to invest in updating our website and focused on providing a regular RAA newsletter, which I am confident will allow all Gunners to maintain contact readily with each other and to keep abreast with the many excellent social events organised at both national and branch levels.
It has been a particularly busy year and I am glad to report that all the national events have been fully subscribed and that in addition there have been many enjoyable outings and trips across the country, including some branches who have been able to come together to organise events on a regional basis. Turning new ideas into reality inevitably falls to a few hard working members in each branch, and I would like to thank them personally for accepting the challenge, and for their steadfast commitment.
I wish you all a happy and peaceful Christmastide, and a very healthy and happy New Year.
Brigadier David Radcliffe OBE - Chairman RAA