COTSWOLD BRANCH OF THE ORDERS AND MEDALS RESEARCH SOCIETY
 
Meetings are held at Swindon Village Hall, Church Road, Swindon Village, Cheltenham, GL51 9QS and commence at 7.00pm for 7.30pm every second Thursday in the month except August.
Guests are welcome, please contact us for details.
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Branch Programme 2018-19

17th August - Social evening: Exmouth Arms, Bath Road, Cheltenham 

13th Sept - Christopher Mellor-Hill - The Slaver Wars & Central Africa medal 1890-1898

11th October - Grant Healey - Defence of Port Stanley

8th Nov – Wayne Finch – A Patriotic Family From Fairview

13th Dec – AGM and A Taste of Christmas (Members' Own)

2019

10th Jan – Graham Pitchfork – The Distinguished Flying Cross

14th Feb – 3 short talks:
Tim Dowle – With Map and Compass
Dave Martin – A Welshman in Boulogne: WW2 POWs and Escapees

Paul Brewster - “unique”

14th March – Dave Seeney - Easter Rising 1916

11th April -Mick Atkinson – The Prince of Bentheim und Steinfurt

9th May – Members' Own

13th June – Paul Brewster – B.S.A.P. Meritorious Service Medals

11th July - Memorial Lecture. Graham Sacker – The Machine Gun Corps

Meeting of Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society held at Swindon Village Hall Thursday 13th June 2019
Apologies received from M. Atkinson,S. Wilson, R. Carver, M. Maisy and D Rees
The meeting opened at 7.30 pm The secretary had nothing new to impart to the membership so our President Zak Coombs talked of the Branches visit to Waterloo. He went on to thank Len Evens for all his hard work both driving and supplying a bound daily itinerary of the events at no cost to the branch. He then asked that as we have no meeting in August members who would like to meet for an informal chat do so on August the 15th in the Exmouth Arms on Bath Road. The President of the OMRS who is a member of this branch Graham Pitchfork then brought to the attention of the meeting an article which was in the Sunday Supplement of the Sunday Telegraph. This was honouring D Day Vets of the Royal Air Force. One Mr Martin Grugden Who had a 2 page spread
was not who he said he was, turns out all the things he claimed to have done were nothing but a pack of lies. Graham brought this to the attention of the newspaper who have taken appropriate action and also our MP Alex Chalk who is now the PPS to the Defence Secretary, we eagerly await his comments. Our branch president then introduced our speaker Paul Brewster by first congratulating him on his book The Special Constabulary Medal (which was a complete sell out on its first day) who spoke to us on the Rhodesia Police Reserve. He covered the force from it inception through the WW2 period up to and including UDI and to the present day. It was as we have come to expect of Paul a factual concise and informative lecture covering the Medals that were awarded to it through every era. He had photographs, graphs etc using  power point and in his own way presented a very informative lecture which lasted over an hour using no notes whatsoever. He did a question and answer session and invited our guest Mr Tim Renalds who lived and farmed in Rhodesia through the times of the civil war and was a member of the Police Reserve. Tim gave the branch a very impartial account of those times and how he along with many other white farmers were driven off their farms much to the horror of their farm workers and staff. Then to be deported from their homeland where their families had lived for generations with nothing. A sad and moving story of that time and an incite to what is going on there now. Paul was thanked by the branch in the usual way, Zak did the raffle which resulted in £20 towards club funds 22 members and 1 Guest were present and the meeting closed at 10 pm


Meeting of Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society held at Swindon Village Hall Thursday 9th May 2019

Apologies received from J. Wright, G. Pitchfork, M. Atkinson and S. Wilson. The meeting opened at 7.30 pm and was a member's own evening. These included a group to S.F. Poulston, Grenadier Guards who later served in the Shrewsbury Police; a Royal Engineer captured at Anzio; a Baronet's Badge (1st type); 2 modern RAF groups for service in Afghanistan, one a woman who served as cabin crew with 32 Royal Squadron and the other an engineer with a Tornado squadron; an ROC medal to a female Chief Observer from Bristol; a Sutlej, Punjab, Mutiny group to an officer with the 45th Native Infantry who saved his regiment's colour at Chillianwalla and was reunited with a fantastic portrait of the officer; a BSAP group to an officer who "officially" disappeared from the records when he became an officer with the Rhodesian Central Intelligence Organization; a WW2 group with supporting documents and photographs; a WW1, WW2 RAF group with the rarely-awarded Czech Military Medal of Merit; a WW1, WW2 merchant navy group that after research revealed a story of capture in WW1 and the award of the OBE for his services; and finally a detective story that put a name to a portrait of an army officer in the uniform of the 80th Foot. A wide-ranging and enjoyable evening.

Report of Branch visit to Waterloo May 2019


Meeting of Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society held at Swindon Village Hall Thursday 11th April 2019

Apologies received from J. Wright, T. Dowle and M. Thornley. The meeting opened at 7.30 pm and our president introduced our speaker, Mick Atkinson. His entertaining talk on Ernest Von Althaus, Prince of Bentheim und Steinfurt told the story of the young aristocrat who served in a cavalry regiment before 1914 but was forced out for his bad behaviour (drink, gambling and women) which was influencing other young officers. When the war started he rejoined a cavalry regiment and was decorated for bravery behind enemy lines in August 1914. Further acts of gallantry raised his profile in Germany and he was offered his choice of career. He wanted to train as a pilot and soon became an air ace, being awarded the Iron Cross 1st class and the Blue Max. Mick explained that the Iron Cross 1st class that he owns must be the one the Prince wore on his uniform every day. After being forced down in one engagement, he crashed into trees and Mick explained that he must have detached both retinas, which over the years sent him blind. Being grounded he ran an air academy but was court martialed for fraud and sent to join an infantry regiment at Verdun. Just before the end of the war his position was overrun by the Americans he was taken prisoner of war. After the war he again got involved in a fraud and was arrested and convicted. He next took up law and qualified as a lawyer, eventually becoming a judge in Berlin. He survived the Second World War and died in 1946. A very interesting character! The raffle raised £21 for club funds and there were 24 members and four guests present. The meeting ended at 10 pm.

Meeting of Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society held at Swindon Village Hall Thursday 14th March 2019

Apologies received off T. Down. L. Evans and G. Pitchfork. The meeting opened at 7.30pm and our president put it to the branch with this meeting in March always falling when the Cheltenham Festival (Gold Cup) is being held and traffic is horrendous would the branch like to change this meeting to the 3rd Thursday in the month. A show of hands showed full agreement to the proposal and the secretary will take it up with the Village hall committee. Richard Hughs then passed round  a site he had found Village History – Chedworth Remembers the Great War, web site chedworth.org.uk where full service history of all persons on their War Memorial is available. Richard Emsley let it be known that he was prepared to accept any outstanding subscriptions, after which he informed the branch that booking for the OMRS Convention is now open and on line. Andrew Derrick to members who are going to Waterloo he needs all API forms completed and returned to him as he has to send them to the channel tunnel operators the week before departure. John Scott let the branch know that the Birmingham Medal Society will be holding their Mini Convention on the 21st July 2019 in the Knowle RBL Club, 1611 Warwick Road, Knowle, Solihull B93 9LF. The cost including food and refreshments is £16. We were then introduced to Karen Parsons who is a member of the village hall new committee she is the person who we will be dealing with regards the hall. Our President then introduced our speaker David Seeney who is a long time member of the OMRS and the Cotswold branch. His talk was The Easter Rising 1916 to 1922 and what a story unfolded. As only David can (using power point) to show what happened day by day for the first six days of the uprising. Then the main actions up to 1922. He had a full list of honours and awards, casualties lists, photographs etc which brought this chapter back to life with a few surprises on the way the official history is portrayed He did a question and answer session and with being on the Committee of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment who have to collect £65000 a year to keep the Museum running asked for any donations to be put in to a box he had brought. The president thanked David and the branch showed their appreciation in the usual way. The secretary suggested that the proceeds from this evenings raffle should be given to David's charity, this was agreed by all. Zak then did the raffle and the proceeds went in to David's box. There were 27 members and three guests were present and the meeting closed at 10 pm 

Meeting of the Cotswold Branch, OMRS, held at Swindon Village Hall, Thursday 14th February 2019
Apologies received from Graham Pitchfork and Simon Wilson. The meeting commenced at 7.30. Bill Bratty informed members that there was a trip to RAF Cosford Museum on Sunday 3rd March. There are eight seats available and the cost is £10, leaving from Quedgeley. Clive Harmson confirmed to the branch that he will be staying on as barman and the Hall's future was now secured.
The secretary then introduced our first speaker, Tim Dowle, who told the story of reuniting the miniature MC and pair in a delivery enevelope, with a 1916 cased compass. These told the story of an officer in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers and how he won his MC. Next was Dave Martin, who told the stories of four men who were POW in WW2, one of them later escaping. Finally, Paul Brewster demonstrated the problems with describing medals as "unique", "rare" or "scarce" and used BSAP groups from his collection to make people think about these terms.
Zak then thanked the speakers, pointing out the diversity of subjects in three short talks. Zak then conducted the raffle. There were 27 members and 1 guest present and the meeting closed at 9.45pm.


Meeting of the Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society held at Swindon Village Hall on Thursday 10th January 2019

Apologies received from John Scott, Andrew Derrick and Danny Rees.The meeting commenced at 7.30 the secretary introduced two guests Mike Miller and Stuart Bangs. With there being no OMRS national business our President Zak Coombs brought the branch up to date with the forthcoming trip to Waterloo. There are still a couple of places so please contact Andrew Derrick our functions officer direct if you would like to go. It was put to the branch after the Reverend Paul Roberts was approached to take on the duty of Branch Chaplin which he agreed to, Proposed by the president seconded by the secretary unanimously voted on by the membership Reverend Paul is now in post. The branch sends its congratulations to Danny Rees and his wife and the birth of their son. Our speaker Graham Pitchfork OMRS President and Cotswold branch member then took the floor to give his lecture on the Distinguished Flying Cross. As all who have attended Graham's lectures in the past they will be pleased to know that this was one of the best we have had. He started with the inception of the award using Power point he showed research i.e. copies of the London Gazette showing how the award has progresses to this day. He covered all theatres where the DFC was awarded with the numbers issued. Photographs of various groups mostly from between the wars. Also WW2 and after, up to the current conflicts. His lecture lasted for over one hour and was a pleasure to listen to. Our President thanked Graham and the branch showed its appreciation in the usual way. John Barker then talked on a DFC group he has had and is continuing to research to Alan Shipwright awarded for Iraq 1923 continued flying but after service in Palestine in 1939 was taken off flying but continued to serve in the RAF. Reverend Paul showed a group to an Army Chaplin Def,War, Korea Pair with a MID he then told the branch about his service records which he passed round for all to see. Our Treasurer Richard Emsley wished all a Happy New Year then informed the branch the annual fee (subs) were due, he left a happy man. Zak conducted the raffle, which raised £37 pounds for club funds; there 28 members and 2 guests present and the meeting closed at 10pm

Meeting of the Cotswold Branch Thursday 13 December 2018
Apologies received from M. Atkinson, P. Roberts, L. Evans and D. Rees. A quick AGM confirmed all current branch officials in their posts. The branch welcomed Pete Mulready, a Society member visiting from Dublin. Being the Christmas meeting an informal evening was enjoyed by all present and several members briefly talked about medals that they had brought along. These included a 1914/15 Star to a Fleet Paymaster who died in 1914 when HMS Cressy was sunk; Turkish and Italian medals; an RFC pilot's group who rowed in the Boat Race; a WW1 pair to Lovet's Scouts with a Greek medal; examples of Queen Anne medallions struck to commemorate battles; World War 2 casualty groups; 1914 Star trio with MSM and temperance medal; a Lapland Shield; photos of officers of the Garhwal Rifles; and lastly a framed certificate presented to an MM winner who served with the Herefordshire Regiment.
The branch then food and drink and a raffle, which raised £23 for club funds. There were 23 members and 1 guest present and the meeting closed at 9.30 pm with wishes of a Happy Christmas and New Year to all.  

Meeting of the Cotswold Branch Thursday 8 November 2018
Apologies received from J. Wright, M. Atkinson, and D. Rees. Andrew informed the branch about the trip to Waterloo and also to Brecon 2 December to visit the militaria show and the museum; £10 per person, travelling by car. Dave Gibbons showed a book produced for the men from Bisley, near Stroud who fell in the Great War. He also read a poem written by a local woman. Graham Pitchfork spoke about visiting his relatives grave in France on the centenary of his death, to find the local French villagers had turned out to honour the men who fell that day liberating their village.
Wayne Finch then talked about his family members from Cheltenham. He began with Pte Edward Evans who died in the Crimean War serving with the 89th Foot. He then moved forward the Great War beginning with Reg Kilmister who was wounded with the Public Schools Battalion, Royal Fusiliers. His brother Harry served in Gallipoli with 7th Gloucesters and after illness transferred to the Royal Defence Corps in the UK. Reginald Wilfred Evans served with the Gloucesters and the day before he was due home on leave to be married, he was killed. He then spoke about his grandparents, beginning with Nellie, who served in the Women's Forestry Service and was posted to Cheltenham, staying with the parents of Reginald Evans. He was serving in France with the Royal Field Artillery and fought in an action for which 12 of 14 members of his battery were awarded gallantry medals, a VC, an MC, 2 DCMs and 8 MMs (including Reg). After much research and some luck, a reunion was held with many of the families represented. A great story of a Cheltenham family, thoroughly researched and remembered with great pride.
Zak conducted the raffle and raised £20 for club funds. There were 21 members and 1 guest, plus "Reg" the uniformed dummy.   

Branch visit to R.A.F. Halton Saturday 13 October 2018
A very interesting visit to RAF Halton, including a look at the WW1 trench system being restored by RAF volunteers. The trenches been dug in 1914/15 by battalions training to go to France. We were then shown around the Station church, with its stained glass windows representing the RAF Apprentice intakes every three years since 1918. There is also a memorial to the RAF men who died in India during the Quetta Earthquake. After a very good lunch in the Station Mess we visited the Trenchard Museum that tells the story of the Apprentices and then the Flight Heritage Museum that includes aircraft engines and examples of the Link Trainer and a modern flight simulator that enables you to "fly around" the station and surrounding area. A very enjoyable visit to an historic RAF base that is, sadly, to be closed down and the land sold for development. Our thanks to Min Larkin for showing us around and to Andrew and Graham for arranging the visit. 

Meeting of the Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society held at Swindon Village Hall on Thursday 11 October 2018
Apologies received from M. Atkinson, G. Pitchfork, J. Wright, John Scott and Tim Dowle.

The meeting commenced at 7.30 with news that the future of the venue at Swindon Village Hall appears to be secure. Andrew gave first details of a proposed trip to Waterloo next year. Zak then introduced our speaker, Grant Healey, who spoke on the Defence of Port Stanley and South Georgia. He gave a detailed account of the events and the people involved, with many interesting photographs. He spoke about the awards for the defenders of South Georgia and lack of any to the defenders of Port Stanley. The defenders had no casualties and the Argentinians claimed very low casualties, but many more body bags were seen at the time. He showed some medals from his superb collection and answered several questions from the members. A very interesting and detailed account. Zak conducted the raffle, which raised money for club funds; there 20 members present and the meeting closed at 9.35

2018 Cheltenham World War One Exhibition Sunday 7th October
A very successful day was opened by Alex Chalk, MP. The exhibits covered medals, badges, weapons, uniforms and much information on the men and women of Cheltenham who served at home and overseas 1914-1918. There was a good turnout of local people through the day and it was good to see parents with their children taking an interest in the exhibits. Stafford Corps of Drums gave two performances of military music which went down well. Many asked for advice on researching their family members. It was good to see Mick Kippin, Graham Sacker and Brian Ward back at Swindon Village Hall! Our thanks to those members and guests who put a lot of effort into their exhibits and took to time to help set up and pack away afterwards.
      


Meeting of the Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society held at Swindon Village Hall on Thursday 13 September 2018

Apologies received from M. Atkinson, A. Derrick G. Pitchfork, D. Reece, J. Wright.
The meeting commenced at 7.30 with news that the future of the venue at Swindon Village Hall is under discussion. Zak and Andrew will attend a meeting to find out what is happening.
Our speaker was then introduced. Christopher began by explaining that the collection relating to the Central Africa Medal had taken 40 years to put together, begun by his late father, Roland and finally completed by Christopher. Christopher then explained that the initial British involvement in Nyassaland, Central Africa was due to missionaries being sent into the area to preach to the natives and work against the continuing Arab slave trade. Muslim Arab traders practiced a visious trade, slaughtering weak slaves and any who opposed them. Constant clashes with the Atabs and their native allies who assisted in the slave trade, led to the creation of a constabulary and the arrival of an Indiaqn Contingent, mostly Sikh troops, to behin to wipe out the slave trade.

Small but difficult and nasty expiditions finally brought the trade to and end in the area. He told the stories of the leading figures and then covered the medals awarded for these actions. The basis of this collection was that every medal type and aspet of the wars was covered by a medal otr group. This includes some very rare medals and clasps.
Another fascinating talk on a subject that few of us had much knowledge about.
After some questions, the branch showed their appreciation in the usual way. Zak conducted the raffle, which raised £23 for club funds; there 22 members and 1 guest present and the meeting closed at 9.45


Meeting of the Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society held at Swindon Village Hall on Thursday 12th July 2018
Apologies received from M. Atkinson, S. Wilson, M. Mockridge, D. Seeney, J. Scott, M. Maisy, Bill & Carol Bratty and A. Derrick . The meeting commenced at 7.30 The secretary introduced our guests C. Auker-Howlett, J. Wilson, Jeff Blake and OMRS member Martin Daniel. He continued with OMRS business sending round the notice about the Branch Liaison Officers. The notice for the branch visit to RAF Halton on the 13 of October 2018 was also sent round with 9 members signing up. He handed out the new branch program which is for the next 12 months to members who were there. If you need one please contact me at the shop. Graham Pitchfork then explained the reason for the letter about the Liaison Officers.  He was followed by Christopher Auker-Howlett who is a disabled ex-service man who is trying to organise events in the city of Gloucester. He brought some flyers and dates for members; he asked for any help that the membership could provide. Zak then introduced our speaker Steve Lewis whose Peter Ashford Memorial lecture we “Too many damned Holes”. Steve gave a brief history of the Royal Navy submarines up to 1914 and the reason for the panic to build a fast submarine. He explained the concept of the “Fleet submarine” and the building and trials of the first K-boats, detailing the trial of K13, various accidents and incidents, including the infamous “Battle of May Island”. He explained that the last K-Boat to be built, K26, was in fact a success. He then covered the conversion of the unfinished boats into M1 and M2. The first with a large gun on the deck and the second with a seaplane hangar on deck. He showed film of the K-boats and both M Boats in operation and explained how both M1 and M2 were lost. He summed up the story by arguing that the K-Boat was, with K26, proved to be a powerful submarine, but that the price was paid by the men and their families who were lost on them. After some questions, the branch showed their appreciation in the usual way. Zak conducted the raffle, which raised £15 for club funds; there 15members and 4 guests present and the meeting closed at 9.35 Martyn (Zak) Coombs receives his 50 year OMRS gold badge from OMRS President, Graham Pitchfork


Meeting of Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society held at Swindon Village Hall Thursday 14th June 2018
Apologies received off J. Wright, L. Evans, A. Derrick. The meeting opened at 7.30pm. A branch visit to RAF Halton has being arranged by Graham Pitchfork, for Saturday 20th October.  Richard informed the branch that bookings for the OMRS Convention are going very well and hotel rooms selling out fast so book asap. Graham then presented Martyn (Zak) Coombs with his OMRS 50 year membership badge, with the congratulations of the branch.Our President then introduced John Scott who spoke on 100 years of RAF Nursing. John explained that in 1918 there was hardly any medical support for the RAF, but in June the Royal Air Force Nursing Service was formed. In 1921 it received a Royal Charter and in 1922 became Princess Mary's Royal Air Force Nursing Service, the nurses becoming known as “PMs”. The first known medals are GSM Palestine. During WW2 a large Reserve was formed, including for the first time, married nurses.The nurses served in Malaya, Japan during the Korean War, the Canal Zone, Cyprus, Aden, etc. A small number served in Northern Ireland, the Falklands War, Gulf War, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan.An interesting insight into a small service that gets little public recognition. John showed several medals and groups to nurses, several with ARRC or RRC. Graham Pitchfork showed a group to a nurse with RRC and Order of St. John. Zak thank David for his talk and the membership showed appreciation in the usual way. Zak did the raffle which raised money for club funds. There were 21 members and 2 guests in attendance and the meeting closed at 9.15

Meeting of Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society held at Swindon Village Hall Thursday 10th May 2018
Apologies received off M. Atkinson, P. Roberts, R. Carver. The meeting opened at 7.30pm. The branch welcomed 2 guests, Geoff Blake and M. Watson. A branch visit to RAF Halton is being arranged by Graham Pitchfork, details when available. A meeting is being arranged to plan the October exhibition. I remind members that during “member's own” meetings we must observe the “10 minute” limit otherwise it deprives some members of their chance to speak.
Our President then introduced Dave Seeney who spoke on the sea gallantry medals awarded for the Caronia incident in May 1917. He explained the introduction and development of the Sea Gallantry Medal and then the story of the transport ship Caronia which suffered a serious fire in its coal bunkers. A party of soldiers volunteered to fight the fires and eventually the bunkers had to be flooded with seawater to save the ship. The incident resulted in the award of 31 Sea Gallantry Medals, including a number to soldiers. Dave showed the group to George Rhodes of the Warwickshire Regiment. It was a fascinating talk and there is more to discover, as the incident is not widely reported. Zak thank David for his talk and the membership showed appreciation in the usual way.
Zak did the raffle which raised money for club funds. There were 23 members and 2 guests in attendance and the meeting closed at 9.15

Meeting of Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society held at Swindon Village Hall Thursday 12th April 2018
Apologies received from P. Brewster, L. Evans, J. Wright, S. Wilson, M. Atkinson and D. Rees.
The meeting opened at 7.30pm. We began with a demonstration from David Drinkwater of the new digital version of the Cheltenham WW1 maps. He explained how the project begand and was shown in 2014 in a paper map format. The web site is at Know Your Place. As usual, a "member's own" meeting that resulted in a wide range of medals and stories. Clive showed a uniform tunic and helmet of an officer of the Shropshire Yeomanry, George Ormesby Gore (later Baron Harlech). Richard told the story of the Naval Expeditionary Force in France 1940 which released mines to float along rivers into Germany. He showed a DSM and a group (missing a DSM) for this little known action. Graham Hervin showed a CB, Punjab and Mutiny group to Lt-Col Hicks of the Bombay Artillery. During an action in the Mutiny Hicks led a charge of a detachment of the 8th Hussars, during which the Rani of Jhansi was killed. Graham Pitchfork, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the R.A.F., showed two MSM groups. John Scott showed a group to an officer of the Trans-Jordan Frontier Force. Dave Seeney spoke about mounting a WWI trio to an August 1914 POW, only to discover that there was a medal missing. Mike Mockridge spoke about an MSM to 20 Armoured Car Squadron RNAS and asked for any leads as this secretive unit left very little record. Christopher Hill spoke about a large Gambia Chiefs Medal and then showed a recent acquisition: the unique and glorious Victorian DCM and 2 dated bars group to Thomas Healey, Cameron Highlanders. This was followed by a new member, Chris Hunt, with his great-uncle's unique naval group to Admiral Sir Thomas Hunt. 2 Orders and 11 medals mostly for service around Africa. Brian Hill showed a family grouping to the Pratt family. Saddler-sergeant Joseph Pratt of the Worcester Yeomanry was wounded at Qatia and later died back at home. One son was a 1918 POW with the 2/8th Worcesters. Lastly, Zak showed a New Zealand Fire Brigade group which included World War One service in the New Zealand Engineers Tunnelling Company. There were 23 members and 1 guest present and the meeting closed at 9.45.


Branch trip to the Normandy Beaches 21-24 March 2018
Ten of us set off for France early Wednesday morning and reached Caen, via the Somme region (slight detour), later that night. From a very comfortable hotel we visited Pegasus Bridge, the Merville Battery, Juno Beach, Arromanche, Longues-sur-Mer gun battery, Omaha Beach and cemetery, Utah Beach, Pointe du Hoc, and St. Mere Eglise. We packed a lot into two days and left with a better understanding of the extent and scale of operations. Our thanks to Andrew for arranging the trip and to Len and Gus for driving us safely to our destinations.

Meeting of Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society held at Swindon Village Hall Thursday 8th March 2018

Apologies received off  M. Cox, P. Brewster and L. Evans
The meeting opened at 7.30pm. The branch welcomed a guest Dr Michael Watson, our treasurers father in law. The secretary informed the branch by e-mail that our speaker Mr Grant Healey due to illness had to cancel. He is rebooked for October 2018. After a phone call to Mike Atkinson the evening was saved, Mike agreed on Wednesday to give his talk this evening. Then the format of the exhibition being held by the branch on 7 October was discussed. It was agreed that it should take the format of that held 2014. Andrew Derrick is the coordinator and asks members to contact him via e-mail, telephone or John's shop. He gave information on the Normandy visit any queries contact him direct. He has arranged a visit to REME museum Saturday 21 April please let him know if you are interested. Richard Emsley asked any members who had inadvertently forgot that subs were due to contact him. David Seeney sent a notice round the room showing talks and events for 2018 RRF Museum (Royal Warwickshire) St John's House Warwick CV34 4NF. Also A Study Day being hosted by the Midlands Group Waterloo Association 16 June for information on content contact warwickfus@btinternet.co or telephone 07976485828. Our President Zak Coombs introduced the speaker Mike Atkinson who's talk “The Magnificent Seven” which pertained to  the 7 Heavy Cavalry Regiments who fought at Waterloo. These were 1st and 2nd Life Guards, Royal Horse Guards, Kings Dragoon Guards, 1st Royal Regiment of Dragoons, Royal North British Dragoons, 6th Inniskilling Dragoons. He talked us through each unit, the man who's medal he owns, his story prior to joining, through his service and what happened to him after his military service. Also a graph showing the numbers of known medals to each unit that has been compiled by him taken from records going back many years. His presentation was as per usual direct to the point a pleasure to listen to. He added a medal which he had received on Tuesday in this presentation. Mike is missing a medal to an Officer who served in the Royal Dragoons, if you see one please let him know. A question and answer session then followed and the members were able to view the 6 medals which were framed along with the research. Mike was thanked by the President and the membership showed appreciation in the usual way. John Scott showed an MGS Waterloo Pair to a chap in the 78th Foot. Zak did the raffle which raised £20 for club funds. 25 Members and 1 guest attended and the meeting closed 10 pm The raffle raised £20 for club funds and there were 25 members and 4 guest in attendance.


Meeting of the Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society held at Swindon Village Hall on Thursday 8th February 2018
Apologies received from M. Atkinson, S. Wilson, M. Cox, M. Mockridge and J. Wright.

The meeting commenced at 7.30 the President read apologies and welcomed our two guests Andrew and Patricia Walker, and a new member Michelle Thornley. Graham Pitchfork spoke about the Convention to be held on Sunday the 7th October 2018 and it was suggested that a small committee be established to plan the event. Richard mentioned subscriptions being due, which can be paid to him or left at the shop.
Graham then delivered his lecture “The Barrington-Kennett Legacy”. He talked about the life of Basil Barrington-Kennett, a Grenadier Guards officer who became a pioneer of early flight, first in balloons and then early aeroplanes. On the creation of the Royal Flying Corps in 1912 he was appointed the first Adjutant. On the outbreak of war he went to France with the staff of the R.F.C. but he was eager to see action and so returned to the Grenadier Guards. He was killed in action at Festubert in May 1915. He had married Rhoda Hargreaves in 1913 and his young wife was now a widow. During the war she also lost her father and her brother. Also killed in the war were her husband's two brothers, Aubrey in 1914 and Victor in 1916.
In 1920 he had a large silver trophy created in memory of her husband and presented it RAF Halton to be presented as a sporting trophy to the Halton Apprentices. It was then decided to present individual members of winning teams with medals. The Barrington-Kennett medals were presented in a case and with the individuals name engraved on the reverse. Over the years there were 6 types of medal and bars were added with the sport and year engraved on them. They were presented with a ribbon bearing the colours of the winning Wing and Graham showed the types and years in which they were issued.
Graham then showed examples of the medal and explained that many of the Halton men went on to have illustrious careers and were highly decorated. Thus these simple sporting medals could reveal amazing stories. It was a very interesting, well-researched and as always, very well delivered talk from Graham. John Scott then showed some more examples with other medals.
Zak conducted the raffle and £16 was raised for club funds. There were 19 members and 2 guests in attendance and the meeting closed at 9.15

Meeting of the Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society held at Swindon Village Hall on Thursday 11th January 2018 Apologies received from M. Atkinson, S. Wilson, M. Cox, J. Scott, A. Derrick, C. Hammond, M. Mockridge and M. Maisy
Happy Peaceful and Prosperous New Year to all branch members and readers of these reports

The meeting commenced at 7.30 the secretary read apologies welcomed our two guests Mr W & Mrs C Bratty. He also thanked Clive Harmson for his help with booking the hall for the branch in October 2018. On the Sunday 7 October 2018 we will be hosting an exhibition to commemorate the end of WW1. Andrew Derrick will be heading a committee to coordinate this event more information will be sent to branch members when it comes available. David Gibbons had sent an e-mail which was forwarded to all branch members electronically. He has contacted his MP requesting that shops would be asked to close on the 11 November exactly 100 years to the date and day that WW1 ended as a sign of respect to the fallen. Richard Emsley our Treasurer then sent round a copy of the branch finances (annual report) which he also talked about. He then went on to say that the annual subscription was still £12 pa and was due today. Also any members could leave it with Q&C who will collect it on his behalf. Zak then welcomed our speakers:- Dave Martin subject was four original members of the Welsh Guards on its formation in 1915. All came with extensive research medals and photographs. Three out of the four died, one as a returned POW, in the war and the other was discharged wounded. Steve Lewis then gave an excellent lecture on a RAF photographer called George Brown. George wrote an account of his 6 years in the RAF, 5 years served in India with 31 Squadron mostly on the NWF. He survived several aeroplane crashes and narrow escapes whilst flying as a photographer. He had taken some fantastic photographs which Steve showed by power point. After RAF service he served with the GPO in London working on the first automatic switchboard, In WW2 he served in the AFS and Retired in Norfolk. His medals Imperial Service Medal (QEII), IGS08 Waziristan 1921-24, (KGV), WW2 Defence Medal (KGVI). John Wright then showed Medals photos research of four generations of his family (including himself) who served in the British Army. Zak thanked the the speakers and the branch showed the appreciation in the usual way. A raffle was held and £13 pounds was raised for club funds. 18 members and 2 guests were present and the meeting closed at 10pm

Meeting of the Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society held at Swindon Village Hall on Thursday 14th December 2017

Apologies received from M. Atkinson, N. Smith, S.Wilson, M. Cox, J. Scott, M.Atkinson and D. Seeney. First of all let me wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy, Peaceful, Prosperous New Year The meeting commenced at 7.30 the secretary started by apologising to the branch for the non showing of the branch Annual Report appearing in the Journal. John wrote it up and he thought he had sent it but it turned out he sent the previous years. No one informed him of his mistake hence the no show. He read the report to the membership and informed them that it will be on the OMRS web site and published in the next journal. We were notified about a group of medals which had been stolen in Stroud MC, GSM Palestine, 39-45, Africa+bar, Def, WM +MID along with a Small portrait awarded to Captain M.D.H Wills Grenadier Guards. If you see or hear of them please let the secretary know and he will contact the correct authorities. Graham Pitchfork who mentioned this several weeks ago brought up the subject again. This is doing a display in conjunction with the Friends of Montpelier Gardens. They were wanting the branch to put on a display in 2018. He was going to contact them again to find out what date/s they wanted as we need to be able to get it sorted and time is the of essence. If for some reason this is not taking place we need to book Swindon Village Hall in November and the branch will put on display. Andrew Derrick then let it be known that the trip to Normandy is 21st to the 24th of March the cost will be to each person £275 which includes the travel B&B for three nights but he wants a deposit of £50 off each member who is going, (there are still 2 places). We then had a members own 6 branch members talked on subjects:- Boer War, RAF, BSAP, RN, New Zealand Fire Brigade and a medal from Bradfords past. We then partook of the food that had been brought in by the membership and had a convivial time celebrating the sprit of Christmas. Due to the inclement weather conditions 13 members attended and the meeting closed at 9.30 pm.

Meeting of Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society held at Swindon Village Hall Thursday 9th November 2017

Apologies received off G. Pitchfork, D. Rees, M. Atkinson, D. Martin, M. Mockridge, N. Smith and M. Cox.
The meeting opened at 7.30pm. The branch welcomed Tony Jones and Robin Clay, who were visiting as branch liasion officers forn OMRS. We also welcomed three visiting members of the B.S.A.P. Association. Andrew then gave details of the planned trip to Normandy in March 2018.
The branch was informed that Zak had lost his medals and to keep an eye out for them. Zak then introduced Paul Brewster who spoke about the various long service medals given to members of the British South Africa Company. He explained how the BSAP was formed and its unique position of being both a police force and a military defence force in Rhodesia, even being presented regimental colours for its services in the Boer War. Paul showed examples of the various medals, including the fact Rhodesian Reserve Policemen and women were awarded the Special Constabulary Long Service Medal. A very interesting talk on a series of medals that most of us knew very little about and also explaining why the BSAP was a special force that deserves more recognition.Paul answered several questions and then two members showed BSAP medals, including a WW1 pair to an “ox-driver” in the BSAP and a BSA Company Medal and QSA to a member of the BSAP.Zak thanked the speaker and managed to get a reference to the New Zealand Fire Brigade in as well. The raffle raised £20 for club funds and there were 25 members and 4 guest in attendance.

Meeting of Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society held at Swindon Village Hall Thursday 12th October 2017
Apologies received off G. Pitchfork, R. Emsley, L. Evans, D. Rees

The meeting opened at 7.30pm. Andrew informed the members that he was looking at planning a trip to Normandy in 2018 if enough people were interested.Brian Hill mentioned a service to be held at St. Helens Church, Worcester to commemorate the end of the Battle of Passchendaele. This will be on Nov. 4 at 3 pm.Zak asked about the progress of purchasing new computer equipment for the branch.We then began a members own with Mike Atkinson updating is on the progress of building a new medal collection. It is based around Waterloo Medals to the Heavy Brigade, medals to RFC men who were shot down by German air aces, and medals to “interesting” Germans! Richard spoke about a rare CQD medal group to a ship's cook; Tim brought along his first BEM to a Welsh recipient, also a merchant sailor; Steve spoke about discovering a group to a submariner was even more interesting than initial research had suggested; John Scott spoke about a Volunteer Long Service Medal named to a Sgt-Piper; Dave Seeney talked about trying to research a WW2 group and finding himself on the trail of the wrong man; Brian spoke about two ambulance service related medals; John Barker showed a Worcester Jewel – a welcome home medal from the Boer War to a Worcester Yeoman; and Dave Martin showed a GSM Canal Zone, CSM South Arabia and 53 Coronation to a Lt-Col. in the Welsh Guards. As always a wide range of medals and some amazing stories. Zak closed the meeting with a round applause to all who had spoken. The raffle raised £15 for club funds and there were 18 members and one guest in attendance.

Branch visit to the Staffordshire Regiment Museum, Lichfield Sunday 8th October 2017

A select trio enjoyed the visit to a very good traditional regimental museum. No PC nonsense, just the story of the regiment in medals, uniforms, badges, weapons, etc. Well set out and interesting exhibits. A fine medal desplay with some interesting grouups, but as is often the case, the labels did nothing to explain this to the casual visitor. A few errors were spotted, but it wouldn't be a museum visit without them! There are some armoured vehicles standing outside the museum, examples of WW2 shelters (first time I have been in an Anderson Shelter and hopefully the last) and a bunker and pillbox. There is a WW1 trench but it gives the impression that British trenches were deep, well-built, clean and tidy.
The museum is w
ell worth calling in if you are in the area.


25th September 2017 . First Day of Battle of Loos 25th September 1915 special lecture.
An interesting lecture on the local tragedy of the 10th Gloucesters at Loos on 25th September 1915, Cheltenham's most tragic day of the war. Stephen Lewis delivered a thoroughly researched lecture with much detail of the Battalion's raising, journey to Loos and the events of that day. He told the stories of the local men killed and wounded that day. A sobering account on the 102nd anniversary of the day.

Branch visit to the Weapons collection at the Defence Academy, Shrivenham Sunday 24th September 2017

Another enjoyable and very interesting visit to the weapons collection, hosted by Lieutenant-Colonel John Starling. After explaining the work of the collection, John took us through the development of hand guns and then onto rifles and the developments up to today. The collection holds weapons from almost every country, dating from the earliest type to current weapons. We had the chance to view and handle some very rare weapons and we must thank John for giving up his Sunday to let us view the collection. Our thanks also to Andrew and to Len for getting us there and back.

Meeting of the Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society held at Swindon Village Hall on Thursday14th September 2017
Apologies received from M. Atkinson, R. Carver and N. Smith
The meeting commenced at 7.30 the secretary asked the branch for any thing they felt should be brought up at the proposed meeting of the Branch Secretaries being held at this years convention. Richard Emsley gave a incite to the convention being held this weekend at Stratford-upon-Avon. Letting us know that it is the largest turn out for a convention in members displaying,attending the dinner and more dealers will be there on the Sunday, 60 tables. Graham Pitchfork reiterated the importance of all branch members attending the convention with it being only a 40 minute drive. Our President Zak Coombs then introduced our speaker Angus Stevenson-Hamilton QPM, Colonial Police LS&GC and Hong Disbandment medal. Angus was the Assistant Commissioner of the Royal Hong Kong Police up to the hand over to China in 1997. He gave the complete history of Hong Kong from its inception in 1840 through to the end in 1997. He covered the significant incidents in the history of HK including the Japanese invasion and take over in WW2 the riots in the late 50's and 60's. The make up of the RHKP Europeans, Chinese, Indians and White Russians (who came after the Russian revolution). He also covered the way the police force evolved to the present day. He showed the early medals and medals up to and including these issued by China. He sent round the room a framed Defence of Legations Group to a chap in the RMLI who was wounded at the defence. This was followed by a question and answer session and he was thanked by our President the branch showed their appreciation in the usual way. Zak also welcomed Greg Singer and Paul Williams both from the USA who are here for the convention. A raffle was held and £28 were raised for club funds 28 members and guests attended and the meeting closed at 10 pm


Branch visit to the Houses of Parliament on Monday 8th August 2017
25 members and family arrived in London around 11 am and were guided around the Palace of Westminster by a very knowledgable tour guide, Nicholas Ragland. Leading us through various halls and corridors he related the history of the palace and the development of Parliament as we know it today. We were able to visit the robing room, where the Queen puts on the state regalia for the Opening of Parliament, the Royal Gallery with the walls lined with paintings and statue of Kings and Queens and two large murals of the Battle of Waterloo and Battle of Trafalgar. Then into the Lords Chamber itself. From there we moved into the Central Hall and then to the Lobby of the House of Commons, with statues of Churchill and Thatcher. We then went into the Chamber of the House of Commons. As with the Lords Chamber, it was a lot of smaller and narrower and than it appears on television. We went into the lobby, where the process of voting was explained. A very enjoyable and enlightning tour and a chance to walk in the footsteps of some great (and some not so great) figures of British history. We then had three hours to spend in central London before the return to Cheltenham. Thanks to Andrew for the efficient organisation of the trip and to Alex Chalk, MP for his assistance.
Photography was not allowed in most of the palace.


Meeting of the Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society held at Swindon Village Hall on Thursday 13
th July 2017
Apologies received off N. Smith, M. Cox, M. Atkinson, C. Hill, A. Derrick, M. Mockridge, S. Wilson and T. Dowle
.
The meeting opened at 7.30pm and the secretary informed the membership of what had been received off the OMRS. He also sent round the future visits which have been organized by Andrew and then took payment for the Parliament visit (which is now full). He also informed the branch that we were not able to send a card congratulating our member Christopher Hill on his recent marriage as we were not given the venue where this was held on the 1st of July. Congratulations to Christopher and his new Missy from all members of the Cotswold Branch. Richard Emsley talked on the OMRS Convention being held in Stratford in September, also asked for any outstanding subs to be paid. The branched welcomed our President Zak Coombs who has just returned from 5 months in New Zealand where he has been researching medals to members of and “The New Zealand Fire Brigade”. He then gave a run down of his time places visited and research he managed to get. This he did whilst technical details (sorting out the computers) took place. Eventually when these were sorted Zak introduced our speaker Major John Monn KCSJ who has come all the way from Norway to give the Peter Ashford memorial lecture. John had known Peter and his family when they were posted to Norway and asked to be able to give the lecture as a memorial to Peter. John went on to give a concise history of Norway and how enlightened we were after it. He then went on to talk on the awards of the country the first was instituted in 1847 and was The Royal Norwegian Order of St Olav the second in 1904-05 The Order of the Norwegian Lion the 3 1985 to date The Royal Norwegian Order of Merit which unlike the other two can be awarded to foreigners. There were 7 medals awarded for WW2 some could be awarded to other than Norwegians and they appear in various medal groups to British and American etc. He used power point to show images of all these Orders Decorations and medals as well as those in his collection. He followed up with a question and answer session which was well received and was thanked by our president, the branch showed its appreciation in the usual way. Dave Seeney and John Scott produced items which included Norwegian medals etc and our speaker was able to help by giving information on both of these. The meeting was attended by 18 members and closed at 10 pm.

Meeting of the Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society held at Swindon Village Hall on Thursday 8th June 2017
Apologies received from M. Atkinson, M. Coombs, G. Pitchfork, J. Wright and P. Roberts.
The meeting commenced at 7.30 with details of proposed branch trips and then the President Clive Hammond handed over to our speaker, Paul Brewster. Paul began with details of his own career in the army and Special Constabulary. He then explained the original style of temporary constables raised as needed, before the establishment during the First World War of the Special Constabulary as we know it today. The driving force behind the concept was Colonel Sir Edward Ward. Understanding the value of public recognition for service, he began to campaign for a medal for service in the war. Local forces had been awarding their own unofficial badges and so he instituted a single badge and then a star badge for men who served right through he war.
Eventually it was decided to create the Special Constabulary Long Service Medal. He then explained the award of the Great War clasp and the dated Long Service clasps. He covered the various types of medal, the problems with awarding the medal to the Ulster Special Constabulary and how this was overcome. He talked about the warrants for the medal and how the medal was awarded, or at times withheld. He then talked about the awarding of the medal to the Rhodesian Special Constabulary. Paul then showed several very interesting medal groups from his own collection that illustrated the points he had made. A very interesting talk on a medal that most have had in groups but never really appreciated the story behind its creation. Clive thanked Paul for his talk and the branch showed their appreciation in the usual way. 18 Members and 1 guest were present and the meeting closed at 10 pm. 

Visit to Fort Nelson, near Portsmouth, Sunday 21st May 2017
Six members and three guests visited the Royal Armouries artillery collection held at the Victorian naval fort that overlooks Plymouth harbour. Fort Nelson has been restored to its Victorian appearance and the tour included the fortifications and barracks. The artillery exhibited covered pieces from around the world, including highly decorated guns captured in Burma and during the Sikh War. The two VC guns are also now held there. Also included is a British railway gun, part of the Iraqi "super-gun", the French-75, the German-88 and the British 25-pounder. One of these was fired during the visit.
There was also a very effective German 7.5 cm Pak anti-gun that, fortunately, was not able to be produced in large numbers (only 150 built). It was also nice to see a Soviet gun captured by the Finns (note the Finnish writing). A very good day out, the sun was shining (note the red faces!). Thanks to Andrew for arranging the trip and to Len for getting us there and back in good time.
   

Meeting of the Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society held at Swindon Village Hall on Thursday 11th May 2017

Apologies received from D. Seeney, M. Atkinson, M. Coombs, G. Pitchfork and C. Harmson The meeting commenced at 7.30 the secretary had no communications from HQ OMRS, he welcomed our visitor MRS Cox and was ask to pass on the branches best wishes to Clive we hope he recovers quickly. Andrew Derrick then informed those present that there were still some vacancies for the visits to Fort Nelson and The Houses of Parliament. Also he is working on more visits later in the year. There being no more business our Honorary president Clive introduced our speaker Michael Mockeridge who's lecture was Army and RNAS Armoured Cars. He covered the period from the first attempted armoured car (it was a bicycle) their progression prior to WW1 on to the end of the conflict. It was a fantastic, well-researched project which covered the people who were responsible for the design and manufacture of these machines. He delivered by power point photographs of the variations of the vehicles, the places where they served and actions they took part in. The RNAS, it was shown, were the force behind the Armoured Car but towards the end of WW1 the army took over. The second part of the talk, covering the period 1939-45 will follow at a later date. President Clive Hammond and the branch showed their appreciation in the usual way. Richard Emsley accepted members membership fees which were outstanding, 22 Members and 1 guest were present, the raffle made £14 and the meeting closed at 10 pm.

Meeting of the Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society held at Swindon Village Hall on Thursday 13th April 2017
Apologies received off N. Smith, M. Cox, M. Coombs, G. Pitchfork, S. Wilson, C. Hammond, J. Barker, M. Keyte, M. Atkinson and S. Lewis

The meeting opened at 7.30pm and the secretary let the membership know what information we had from the OMRS. If we or any one would like to nominate a member for an award i.e any thing which has helped the branch or members, that sort of thing the OMRS committee has to have the nomination in writing by the end of April. Andrew Derrick then informed the membership that the visit to the National Army Museum might not be taking place. He said that he had had a lot of negative reports from numerous people that it was “not worth a visit”. Len Evans then got up and let us know of the disaster which has befell the National Army Museum. He said he had been there last Saturday and his comments £27.5 million pounds spent and closed for three of the most significant years in our history (100 anniversary of the start of WW1) and now it has no bearing on the British Army's history and ethos. He said that it was like a child's them park, the few items on display were poorly labelled and in some cases miss spelled. Other members also had visited and had friends who had been there they also said it was very poor and a waste of money. The branch then held a vote on if we should continue with the visit and it was an over whelming show of hand that we did not. Andrew then said we would be going to visit the Royal Armouries at Fort Nelson in Hampshire on the day we were going to visit the NAM (details above). Also mentioned is an open day at the Royal Fusiliers/Royal Warwickshire Regimental Museum at Warwick on the 8th of July. If anyone is going and has spare seats in their vehicle please contact the secretary so he can let the membership know. We then had 8 members who talked on medals as diverse as a Sea Gallantry medal, Waterloo and items to the RN and RAF as well as some fantastic medals awarded for Africa to Local recipients. We even had a sword and pistol of the period to accompany the Waterloo medal. 18 members and one guest (Danny Rees) were present the secretary conducted the raffle which raised £18 for club funds and the meeting closed at 10 pm

Meeting of the Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society held at Swindon Village Hall on Thursday 9th March 2017
Apologies received from M. Cox, N. Smith, M. Selby, C. Hill, M. Mockridge, L. Evans, R. Emsley, M. Atkinson and M. Coombs.
The meeting commenced at 7.30 The secretary let the membership know that the branch was well represented at Roland Hills funeral also we have (at their request) had a wreath made in the flowers the colours of Africa yellow, green, black also included were the Protea flowers. The list of service was sent round the room so members who were unable to attend could get an idea of the service. He also handed out the copies of the Chindit Society Journal which our last speaker (Paul Shenton) left and Len Evans kindly photocopied for branch members. Andrew Derrick (Functions Officer) let it be known that two visits have been planned (1.) 21st of May National Army Museum and if possible the RHC. (2.) 7th August The House of Commons he will let the membership know when all is finalized. Clive Hammond then introduced our speaker (ex Cotswold branch member) now In Pensioner Mike Kippin who was resplendent in his Royal Hospital Scarlet's. His talk "Broken by Age or War" was a fantastic insight in to the 300+ year history of Royal Hospital Chelsea. He started with why it was started by whom, who designed and was responsible for the build. He went on to give an idea of the day to day life of an in pensioner which can be as hectic as you like or do things at your own pace. The military structure of the hospital and the facilities which are for the in pensioners both male and female. It was presented by power point and as we all know it was immaculacy presented by Mike in a way we who know him knew it would be. He then did a question and answer session after which he was thanked by our stand in President Clive Hammond and the branch showed their appreciation in the usual way. 16 Members and one guest (Mrs Norma Radman) were present, no raffle was drawn and the meeting closed at 10 pm.
 

On Thursday 23rd of February 2017 nine members of the branch attended the Funeral Service  (which was a celebration of his life) held at The Church of St James the Great at Birlingham, Worcestershire of our late Life member Roland Aubrey Hill MBE. With Roland's connection with Africa, he was the last Senior District Commissioner of Northern Rhodesia prior to its Independence from Great Britain. The branch had a wreath made that consisted of the colours of Africa Yellow, Black and Green also with Protea flowers etc which was placed on his coffin. The service was conducted by Canon Michael Irving, LVO attended by Roland's Family, friends and colleagues from his time in the Colonial Service. Afterwards all were invited to the village hall where refreshments were provided by his family, our thoughts and prayers were with them at this tragic time.

Meeting of the Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society held at Swindon Village Hall on Thursday 9th February 2017
The meeting opened at 7.30 Apologies received off N. Smith, A. Derrick, M. Cox, M. Coombs, J. Carver, G. Pitchfork, S. Wilson, C. Hill and C. Hammond

The secretary informed the membership of the sad demise of Roland Hill MBE a life member of the Cotswold Branch. An e-mail had been sent to all members who are on line as well as one to Christopher with our condolences. A Funeral of Thanksgiving is being held on the 23rd of February at 12.30. It is being held at the church of St. James the Great, Bingham, Worcs WR10 3AQ. John then let it be known that all members will be welcome to attend and refreshments etc will be in the village hall after the service. The secretary then suggested the branch take a wreath on the day which was unanimously agreed by all present. Richard Emsley agreed to get one made, collect it and bring it along with him. John Barker said he would give a lift to anyone from the Malvern area. Andrew Derrick has one place left in his car and if any other member/s going please let John know if you have any spare seats. Len Evans then let it be know that he is now the official duty driver and he and Andrew have been planning for outings later this year. Richard Emsley collected subs from the members and he asked to let it be known that he is waiting for more. John introduced our speaker Paul Shenton who had travelled up from Bristol to give his talk on The Chindits. Paul is Chairman of the Chindit Society. He started by telling how he became involved, his father being a Chindit in the Burma campaign. He then covered the first campaign Longcloth in 1943 where 3000 men covered over 1000 miles on foot. They suffered the loss of 50% casualties KIA, Sickness and wounded. The second operation OP THURSDAY commenced on the 5th March 1944. We were given a very well researched presentation by Power Point which included photos of air drops, casualty evacuation etc along with images of the men who he talked about from Generals to private soldiers. He came out with a lot of information which had come from the men who were there. He had several groups of medals from his collection including a rare MC, Burma Gallantry group. He had visited Burma in 2004 with some of the veterans and their families and found the exact place where his fathers Gun position had been (thanks to modern GPS). He then did a question and answer session and all the items brought were on show for the membership to enjoy. Richard Emsley thanked Paul and the membership showed their appreciation in the usual way. The raffle raised £18 for club funds we had 17 members and three guests (J. HAND, T McVEIGH and P HAYDEN) the meeting closed at 10 pm

Meeting of the Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society held at Swindon Village Hall on Thursday 12th January 2017
The meeting opened at 7.30 Apologies received off N. Smith, J. Scott, D. Seeney, M. Atkinson, A. Derrick, M. Cox, R. Hughs, M. Coombs, L. Evans, R. Carver and S. Lewis.

The secretary read out the e-mails received from the OMRS regarding grants etc the president and treasurer are going to look into this matter. It was then brought to the attention of the meeting and membership asking for their views on continuing with a bi-annual Mini Convention. Will you please address your comments to the secretary so I can collate them prior to our next meeting. It was also suggested that The branch have a sit down Christmas Dinner again comments to the secretary. Also suggested was that the secretary be informed the subject that members were going to talk about on members own meeting, this was for meetings which have no theme. The AGM commenced with the Treasurers Report which show the branch is in a very healthy state. The Functions Officers Report and finally the Secretaries, all are in the minutes which can be seen at our next meeting by members who were unable to attend this one. Our President Clive Hammond has stood down as it is the end of his three year term. Graham Pitchfork asked that it be minuted showing appreciation to Clive who has done such sterling work in the three years he was in office. Zak Coombs (who is in New Zealand at the moment) e-mailed to say he would be delighted to be our new President it was agreed by a show of hands that he has the job. Clive has said he will stand in as acting President for Zak until his return from NZ. There were no takers for the committee posts so the members who are doing the jobs have agreed to continue in post. We need a nominee for the vacant post of Vice President, who will be expected to take over the job of President in 3 years time. Clive then introduced our speaker Julius Giles who talked on the service of LT Col Ronald Ord Cambell Thompson MBE, MC RE. He along with his father were responsible for the building of the Indian Railway System which is the success it is today. Julius talked us through both the father and Ronald's life stories. Also the sons service career how he joined the Royal Naval Division being responsible for the building of the narrow gauge railway systems at both Gallipoli and in the Balkans. He was commissioned in the field and awarded an MC for this work. He qualified as a pilot in 1929 by now being the top engineer in the Indian Railways. He served in India with the IDF and Railways until 1946 when he returned to the UK and retirement. Julius had lots of paperwork for the Indian railways along with plans and the medal group. He was thanks by Clive and appreciation was shown in the usual way. There were 12 members present and one guest Mr Jim Munday. Our treasurer asked me to make it known that Branch Subscriptions are now due. We did not have a raffle and the meeting closed at 10 pm.

Meeting of the Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society held at Swindon Village Hall on Thursday 8th December 2016
Apologies received from M. Cox, C. Hammond, A. Derrick, N. Smith and C. Hill The meeting commenced at 7.30 pm and as there was no official business the floor was open to the membership. John Barker mentioned a trip that was being hosted by the Rotary Club of Worcester to the Italian WW2 Battle Field in October 2017. Details will be published when we have them but with the cost being £650 per person and there only being 30 places there might be any spaces left. Graham Pitchfork the asked for comments on where the OMRS Convention could be held if and when the venue changes after next year at Stratford. He went at length into the logistical problems i.e motorway, railway air port access parking etc. The membership was then asked to come up with any ideas and submit them to Graham or Richard. John Wright invited members to attend the annual Q&C Christmas Saturday on the 17th December.
We then had our members own and again it turned out to be very interesting with the medals and the stories that were shown and unfolded. David Martin had a father and son WW1 & WW2 medal groups both officers in the Gren Gds. Father an MC winner son KIA in Italy these came with a lot of research. John Scott had a WW1 MM group to the Cameron Highlanders 4th Bn and his research showed when the 4th Bn was disbanded the 4 digit numbers were kept by the men who went to the 1st Bn but not to other Btns. David Seeney brought a medal issued by the Irish Republic (Eire) for WW2. The obverse is in Gaelic and some are quite scarce; one to the clergy sold for over £800 pounds. Graham Pitchfork produced two WW2 RAF groups both after research show them to be Japanese POWs. The research graham had included the Japanese POW cards etc. Steve Lewis then produced another one of his gems. A group to French actress who worked for the resistance after refusing to act for German audiences and later received the Pro Finlandia Medal to add to her French awards. Richard Hughes spoke about a group with original documents to an airman who was lost on his second mission. Zak spoke about an engraved camera and engraved coffeepot presented to two members of the New Zealand Fire brigade. He showed that such items can be another avenue for research when no medals are available. Zak leaves for 6 months in New Zealand next week! Rev. Paul Roberts spoke about a newly acquired MC group to an officer in the 8th Worcesters. John Barker spoke about the Near East clasp to the RAF and how many people were involved, yet there is little research available at the moment. Finally John Wright spoke about a QSA to a private in the Rhodesia Regiment who died in 1900, his medal being sent to his mother in Shropshire. We then adjourned the meeting and tucked into the fine array of food brought in by the members. Zak did the raffle which raised £31 for club funds and the meeting closed at 9.30 pm. There were 20 members and two guests in attendance. 

Meeting of the Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society held at Swindon Village Hall on Thursday 10th November 2016

The meeting opened at 7.30. Apologies received from J. Wright, R. Hughs, S. Wilson. The meeting opened with Tim Dowle telling the story of a Welsh-born sailor, who was commissioned in WWI and served in the submarine service. Having commanded a submarine in the war he was offered the command of a German submarine on its tour of the coast. It was decided the man captured U-boats with a Royal Navy crews and sail them around for the public to see. He requested UB91, which would tour the south Wales coast. He later emigrated to Australia and in World War Two commanded HMAS Kookaburra. He retired in 1947. Tim had researched the story as Captain William Brookes was related to his wife.
Rick Carver then spoke on the Territorial Force War Medal. He covered the medal and its complex regulations. He then explained the problem with giving reliable numbers awarded for individual units. The published numbers must be checked as men who qualified for the medal with their original unit, but then served with another unit, will appear on the second unit roll although the medal is named to the original unit! He then covered the few awards to the Army Veterinary Corps, settling on a number of 13 officers and 21 ORs (though he is open to correction).
Finally Dave Martin spoke on the group of medals and award to a Welsh Guards Warrant Officer who served with 4/73 (Sphinx) Special Observation Post Battery, Royal Artillery. This small and highly specialised unit saw heavy, hard and continuous combat service in Afghanistan and he received the Mansoura Award for his service, especially during an ambush on his vehicle.   
There were 22 members in attendance and the meeting closed at 10 pm. 

Meeting of the Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society held at Swindon Village Hall on Thursday 13th October 2016

The meeting opened at 7.30. Apologies received from T. Dowle, Z. Coombs, M. Cox and S. Wilson. The secretary made it known that we have had the JSP which covers the issue of the LS&GC to Officers in the three services. If anyone would like a copy contact the secretary and we will send it electronically to you. David Seeney then told us of a Charity Band Concert being held on the 20th November 2016 for more information contact him on jdsunset@btinternet.com. Graham Pitchfork then talked on the recent OMRS Convention held at Stratford upon Avon. He said that it was a great success with more members than ever attending the Dinner, exhibiting, visiting as well as double the numbers of dealers for the Sunday. He then congratulated Steve Lewis for winning the Gold medal and cup for the first time exhibitor, also Michael Mockridge who was awarded a Gold and John Scott who was awarded a silver. Michael produced his medal and passed it round the room. Clive Hammond started the proceeding with Tshapska to an officer in the 21st Lancers with his full service history, Boer and WW1. He also had an Eton Collage OTC helmet with the owners full service history. Richard Hughes followed with a group that contained DSC as well as a French Meritorious Naval Medal. Again with full service history. Steve Lewis a group which included the Order of the Star of Romania. Graham Pitchfork produced two groups to men in the RAF with the Iraq Active Service Medal, one with and one without the bar. John Scott produced two groups, one with The Italian Order of the Crown and the 4th Class Japanese Order of the Rising Sun. His second group was for a member of the Royal Household who had previously served in the RAF who had 4 Foreign awards 2 from Denmark, Belgium and Sweden. David Seeney produced a WW1 group to a man in the Warwickshire Regt with the Serbian Cross of Karageorge 2nd class with Swords. John Barker produced two groups both to the RAF one who was awarded the Order of AL-Rafidan and the Iraqi Active Service medal with 3 Clasps. This chap is known as the founder of the Iraqi Air Force. His other group contained medals to a chap who was RNAS then RAF who had the Iraq Service medal. Michael Mockridge produced a group to a chap who served with the Scots Grays band later transferring to the RM band. He was awarded the Medal of Zeal by the Tsar of Russia along with all members of the Scots Grays band when they performed for him and his family. David Martin then talked of a recent purchase, a Welsh Guards Group. Mike Atkinson  produced a miniature medal group to the SAS, started with a DCM ended with the Kuwaiti and Iraqi medals for the 1st Gulf War. Rick Carver produced 3 groups to members of the Army Vetinary Corps/Royal Army Vetinary Corps. The first group contained the Egyptian Order of the Nile (complete with original documents). His second group had the Belgium CdeG + palm and the French Medal of Gratitude (the only one awarded to an NCO/OR in the Corps in WW1). His final group included The French Order of Agricultural Merit. All the medal groups on shown were fully researched. A fantastic evening was had by all. There were 23 members in attendance and the meeting closed at 10 pm. 

OMRS Annual Convention 24-25th September 2016

The branch was well represented over the weekend, which was a great success and many have said that it was the best convention that they had attended. Over 30 exhibits on the Saturday and congratulations to Michael Mockridge (gold medal), Stephen Lewis (gold medal and the Henry Pownall Memorial Cup) and John Scott (silver medal) on their awards. The whole weekend went very well and the OMRS committee and organisers must be congratulated for all their hard work, which resulted in very enjoyable weekend of medals and meeting collectors from a surprising number of countries.

Branch visit to the Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum Sunday 18 September 2016

Eleven intrepid explorers set out for the village of Woodstock, where the museum is located, not far from the entrance to Blenheim Palace. The museum has only been open a couple of years and only a part of the medal collection is on show at the moment. It covers the various regiments that were based in Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire from the 19th Century up to the wars of today.
Coffee and cake rounded off the visit and we arrived back in Cheltenham safe and sound thanks to our debutant driver, Len Evans, who passed the "Mick Kippin mini van test" with flying colours.
Thanks to Andrew for arranging the visit, though I got a shock when my wife put in an offer on Blenhiem Palace .... now where is that mortgage application form?

Meeting of the Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society held at Swindon Village Hall on Thursday 8th September 2016

The meeting opened at 7.30 Apologies were received from J. Wright, N. Smith and T. Dowel. The members passed on best wishes to John Wright who is in hospital. Andrew gave details of the trip to the Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum and asked that anyone interested contact Steve at Q&C Militaria to reserve a seat. Richard gave an update on the OMRS annual convention, which promises to be a very successful event in its first year outside of London. Anyone wishing to attend please book online on the OMRS website as soon as possible. Brian Hill informed the members about the forthcoming Western Front Association Conference. Clive then introduced our speaker, Mike Atkinson, who stepped in at the last minute to give his talk on The Battle of Waterloo. He covered the events that led up to the battle, the major actions of the day (including several stories of individuals), and how the battle ended. His very well reasoned argument showed that Wellington's brilliant defensive strategy and the brave determination of the British and King's German Legion regiments held the French throughout hours of bloody fighting while waiting for the planned arrival of the Prussians, under General Blucher. The sheer scale of the battle and its importance to European history must rank it as the single most important battle in history. Mike then covered the various medals issued by the Allied nations and even a French commemorative. He then showed three medals from his collection (British Heavy Cavalry at Waterloo), a Corporal of Horse, a Trumpeter and a Royal North British Dragoon trooper with a miniature portrait of the recipient. Clive then thanked Mike for his excellent talk and then Mike took questions from the members. Zak did the raffle, raising £23 for club funds. There were 25 people in attendance, including 3 guests from Hereford. The meeting closed at 10.00

STOLEN MEDALS - One of our members had some medals stolen from his home 5 August. click for List

Meeting of the Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society held at Swindon Village Hall on Thursday 14th July 2016

The meeting opened at 7.30 Apologies received off N. Smith, J. Scott , Z. Coombs and T. Dowel (who's wife has just had their baby, congratulations to the 3 of you from the branch). The Secretary welcomed our two guests Mr T. McVeigh and Mr D. Jones, also Richard Sneed a member of many years who had been absent for a couple of years due to other commitments. It was also good to see Christopher Hill who had been working in the Midlands and called in on his way back to London. The secretary informed the branch that the program for the next 12 months was on the branch web page and due to the demise of our printer (who has done all our printing work since the branch was formed) they would not be with us until our first meeting in September. Richard Emsley reminded the branch of the OMRS Convention in September. He said that bookings for accommodation was up also the number of exhibitors and dealers so if any one was wanting to exhibit or book accommodation they should do so asap via the web site. John Barker then let us know that there is an exhibition in the Worcester Museum covering the Somme which will be on till November. Andrew Derrick then addressed the meeting saying now he had a driver for the Mini Bus he is going to organize a trip to the Soldiers of Oxford Museum in September more later. Rev Paul Roberts let it be known that if and when anyone visits any Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery to please sign the book on site as this is used to see how many people have visited and also keeps the people who are doing the upkeep in work. Our President Clive Hammond introduced our speaker, a member of our branch and OMRS David Seeney who again gave a terrific lecture. David had 40 years ago taped a program which commemorated 60 years since the battle of the Somme. With a lot of hard work, time and patience he managed to edit it (including many changes maps photo's etc) so he could give a Power Point presentation. It was fantastic showing scenes from the 1st day and subsequent days, photo's of men who wrote letters and poetry and these were read out. Showed the total carnage of this event and made all of us think about what that generation suffered. He was thanked by our President and the branch in the usual way. Brian Hill then showed a DCM group and talked about the recipient “his Grand Father” what a story and what a man he must have been. He was given in the 1920's a silver rose bowl from all ranks of the Liverpool Irish Regiment as a token of esteem for what he had done throughout WW1. He fought on the Somme and besides his DCM he was awarded 2 MID's. This was followed by Rev Paul Roberts who brought a MM group to a Stretcher Bearer who's unit recovered and cleared 500+ casualties on that first day he also was wounded, another story which shows what brave men all of these were. This was followed by Steve Lewis who had some time ago transcribed a Diary of a Sergeant in the 2nd London Regiment. He was there on the first day and described what happened from the time the first whistle blew to the end. How the survivors of this day did not fully break down is beyond my comprehension. It shows the tenacity of the British Army and the men of the Four Nations which make up the United Kingdom. Also the strength of the Commonwealth and the old British Indian Army who's volunteers came in there thousands to help defeat the enemy. I wonder what they would think if they came back today! I know that their sacrifice and their descendants sacrifice has given me and every one else the chance of being able to live the life we have. We had 22 members and the two guests mentioned above we did not have the raffle due to time and the meeting closed at 10.20 pm

Meeting of the Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society held at Swindon Village Hall on Thursday 9th June 2016

The meeting opened at 7.30 Apologies received off  N. Smith, G. Pitchfork, J. Scott and C. Hammond. We had two Guests John Starling and his partner Pauline who were welcomed by the members. The secretary talked on this year's program and it was decided that one evening would be three short talks on the 10th of November. The rest of the program is sorted and will be off to the printers shortly. Richard Emsley talked about the convention how bookings were up as well as the number of exhibiters and dealers. He was informed from a couple of members that when they had phoned the Hotel to book that there were no more beds available! He was going to chase the hotel up as he was told that there were still spaces when he talked to them earlier in the week. Andrew Derrick once again asked if there was anyone locally who would be prepared to drive the Mini Bus on visits he is going to organize. We had to cancel the Gurkha Museum due to no one being able/willing to drive, if you fancy a go please let Andrew know. Zak Coombs then Introduced our speaker Mike Atkinson who lecture was Mikes Door Keys. It was a complete revelation on Gibraltar's history which covered its early history until we the British took over. He went through all the actions against the Spanish and French, covered all the important things as the tunnels and casement works the inventions of the Muzzle Loading Cannon which had a carriage that allowed the gun to run back and still point down. Air Burst Shells and Star Shells were invented at this time. There were 3 Sieges over a period of 4 year the final one resulted in the defeat of the Spanish and French. The keys came from the magazines of three batteries which were captured by a magnificent action by Captain Witham. He managed to get the keys six in number off a Spanish Officer once in his hands he was able to light the fuses that blew them (the powder magazines) to pieces including the earth works etc. After the battle he then presented the keys to General Elliott as a souvenir. Mike has two of these keys which were bought over a year ago in auction. He did this with a fantastic power point display which included animated graphics of shells bursting ships at sea, original paintings engravings etc. Truly a Mike Atkinson Special he pointed out that if the rock had fallen the British Empire would never have come in to being he then did a question and answer session and was thanked by Zak the branch in its usual way. Richard Emsley then related a story when he was a RNVR officer he was on a ship which the Governor of Gibraltar (an Admiral) was handing over to a Army chap and this was done on the ship he was serving on. The guns were doing a salute when the one pointing out to sea stopped due to a fault. The result was the rest of the salute was fired to the land side where windows shuddered etc. Then to cap this Rick Carver told of how he saved the rock from being lost to the British. He was serving as an officer in the Army Veterinary Corps when an epidemic of flu attacked the Barbary Apes and they were dying in large numbers. He was sent to sort out the problem and did so hence his claim to fame. David Martin talked on a Coldstream group which he had recently purchased. there were 22 members and 2 guests the raffle make £15 for club funds and the meeting closed at 10 pm.

Meeting of the Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society held at Swindon Village Hall on Thursday 12th May 2016
Apologies received from T. Dowel, N. Smith, C. Hill
The meeting commenced at 7.30 pm with the secretary welcoming 9 guests to the meeting. Peter Starling was unable to attend due to the recent death of his son-in-law in the helicopter accident in Norway. Condolences were offered on behalf of the branch. Graham Pitchfork urged members to attend the Annual Convention in Stratford upon Avon in September. Andrew informed the branch that the proposed visit to the Gurkha Museum is cancelled due to the unavailability of a driver. Katerina Lewis spoke about the recent Victory Day celebrations in Russia, expressing her surprise that the day was not marked in the UK. Members were invited to attend the Birmingham Medal Society convention 4th June (forms available from Q&C).Our president then introduced the speaker, Dave Seeney, who spoke about his experiences of the Iranian Embassy Siege. He explained about the formation of the team for hostage rescue situations and Mrs Thatcher's determination that terrorists would not be allowed to get away. Despite poor equipment at the beginning the SAS developed techniques for dealing with various hostage situations. He then explained the background to the siege and the events as they happened, both from an overview but also from his own intelligence role. He detailed the operation and the medals awarded. He exhibited several items relating to the operation. John Scot then showed a tunic that was worn by an RAF man who served with the regiment during the siege. Our president thanked Dave for his interesting presentation. Zak did the raffle which raised £29 for club funds. There were 27 members and 9 guests in attendance and the meeting closed at 9.30 pm. 


Meeting of the Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society held at Swindon Village Hall on Thursday 14th April 2016
Apologies were received from the Secretary, John Wright. Two guests, Wayne Finch and Stuart Wright were welcomed by our members.Andrew Derrick confirmed the Gurkha Museum visit in Winchester, will take place on Sunday 22nd May, meeting at Swindon Village Hall at 8.30 a.m. The visit will cost £15.00 each, cash will be collected on the coach. The Birmingham Medal Society are holding a mini-convention on Saturday 4th June at the Knowle RBL Club, 1611 Warwick Road, Knowle, Solihull B93 9LW. Doors open at 10.00. Wayne and Stuart, our guests would like to inform members of a WW1 medal event to be held at St. Bridget’s Community Centre in West Kirby on the Wirral, on Saturday 14th May. This a commemoration and celebration of the lives of the highly decorated members of D/276 Battery, RFA. More details are available from Wayne, mob: 07952 888 747. The President, Clive Hammond, introduced the speaker, Dr Colin Chapman, for his talk on WW1 POW Camps in Gloucestershire. From August 1914 enemy aliens of military age were rounded up, eventually some 23,000 were moved to camps on the Isle of Man guarded by the Royal Defence Corps. Captured German combatants were initially held in France. As time passed and the numbers grew, they were moved back to UK Military Bases. This caused problems as the accommodation was needed by the military to train volunteers and conscripts. Additionally, all combatant POWs were responsibility of the Home Office and not the War Office! The POWs came to Britain via Southampton, where they were held in two transit camps, before moving by train to Dorchester for processing, before distribution to purpose built POW camps all over the country. Overcrowding and keeping the men occupied was a problem. Many agricultural workers had volunteered or were called up, so the POWs were put to work to help bring in the harvest, being sent to smaller work camps in the countryside. This solved the overcrowding and provided work to occupy the men.
Inspections of all POW facilities were frequently carried out by the Swiss Red Cross. Prisoner welfare was looked after by the Quakers, a joint Christian CofE -RC Church committee, the YMCA and by the philanthropic Dr. Markel, a wealthy German émigré, who made a fortune in soap manufacturing.
A few men did escape, 15 over the last three years of the war, but no serious attempts were made to flee Britain. Escapes were usually caused by a falling out with other prisoners, or simply boredom.  Those who did make it outside the wire were swiftly captured in the local area, and very few were a liberty for more than a few days. Sadly in 1918 after the Armistice 17 prisoners died whilst still in captivity, from the effects of great Flu Pandemic. They were all buried in local church yards or grave yards, where many remain to this day, some were later exhumed and re-buried with their comrades in the main German Military cemetery. This stimulating and very interesting talk on an area of war history, often overlooked generated many questions from the audience. The depth of knowledge and the level of research exhibited by Dr. Chapman, who spoke for over an hour without any notes, was remarkable and the members present thoroughly enjoyed his talk.
22 members attended the meeting, with 2 guests.  Zak carried out the Raffle with 9 ‘prizes’, raising £15.00 for Society Funds. Our visitors, Wayne and Stuart made a £5.00 donation to our Society funds, for which many thanks for their generosity.

Meeting of the Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society held at Swindon Village Hall on Thursday 10th March 2016
The meeting opened at 7.30 Apologies received off  M. Atkinson, L. Evans, N. Smith, T. Dowell, R. Hugh's, P. Roberts and V. Carver. We had two Guests Carol and Bill Bratty who were welcomed by the members. The secretary brought to the attention of the branch a letter (which he had previously sent to the branch President and Treasurer) from the Committee of the OMRS regarding Annual Branch Grants. Clive Hammond our President then voiced his opinion on this subject which was agreed unanimously by all branch members. Our speaker OMRS President Graham Pitchfork then explained what was taking place and the action being taken at committee level. Richard Emsley also a member of the OMRS committee then told the branch that a new policy was going to be discussed at the next OMRS Committee meeting being held in London in two weeks time. After this has taken place all branches will be informed officially of this policy. The secretary has been tasked to reply to this original letter regarding grants directly to the committee member of OMRS who sent it out to all branch secretaries. Andrew Derrick informed the membership that the visit to the Gurkha museum has been changed to the 22nd May there are 15 seats so if you are interested please contact Andrew direct. Zak Coombs let it be known that the Union Jack Club in London was hosting a talk on Tobruk with dinner afterwards. If anyone is interested contact Zak or the UJC direct. The president then introduced our speaker Graham Pitchfork  who's presentation was The Southern Desert Iraq it campaign and medals. It turned out to be a classic Graham presentation, well research from the origins of the start of the conflict. How and why the borders were drawn up the reasons for the UK,s involvement. The numbers of troops, types of aircraft and armoured cars and the reason that the RAF was primary involved in this campaign. He used power point with this lecture and was able to show photographs of the period. Men and machines etc in the desert both in summer and winter. Also the type of terrain where camps and air strips were constructed. He talked on the main diplomatic players both Arab and Brit's as well as the Pilots and others who were heavily involved in the  campaign. He brought medals from his collection which the membership viewed at the end of his presentation. He that did a question and answer session was thanked by our president and the branch in its usual way. John Barker then produced two groups out of his collection one turned out to be the chap who sorted out the use of compasses and methods for mapping the desert etc and his calculations were found to be only slightly adrift using modern methods of calculating. John Scott also brought two groups for the campaign one being to a chap who was in the RAF armoured cars who took part in an action where an MC was awarded. His other was one which started with a 3 bar GSM starting with Southern Desert Iraq, South Kurdistan and ended with Cyprus plus service in between. All the above were well researched and documented. Zak did the raffle which raised £14
for club funds 17 members and 2 visitors were present and the meeting closed at 10 pm


Meeting of the Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society held at Swindon Village Hall on Thursday 11th February 2016
Apologies received from M. Atkinson, M. Mockridge, G. Pitchfork and N. Smith. The meeting commenced at 7.30 pm the secretary welcomed Steve's Wife who has, after a battle with immigration which lasted 2 years arrived here at long last. She was warmly welcomed by all members present and they Mr & Mrs Lewis thanked the branch for the floral decoration which was at the house when they arrived home from the airport. There was no business from the OMRS so Andrew Derrick (Functions Officer) informed the branch of visits planned for this year. The first being the Gurkha Museum on the 17th of April  if any member is interested please contact Andrew Direct. Other visits suggested RM Museum, REME & Army Chaplains Dept Museums as well as the Stratford Armouries. If and when they are organised he will have them published on the branch web page. Richard Emsley our treasurer let it be known that he was prepared to take any outstanding subscriptions which he did at the end of the meeting. Prior to the start of the meeting we discovered that the two leads for the projector were missing. Our thanks to Zak who went home and brought his own so our speaker was able to use power point to do his talk. The branch will buy two more leads which will be keep with the projector and all will be stored in a safe place. Our President then introduced our speaker branch member Tim Dowel who enthralled us with what to most of us was the  most informative talk on the action by the Welch divisions at Mametz and the wood. He talk us through the formation of the Welch divisions of Kitchener's Army and what became of them. He showed the battle plans/maps etc talked us through the full battle and what happened to the Welch divisions up to the end of WW1. Also casualties they sustained at this and future actions, it was a real revelation to all of us. I think it brought home the total incompetence of the Staff officers of that period and the bravery of the officers and men of those units. He did a question and answer session after which Clive thanks him and the branch showed their appreciation in the usual way. Zak then did the raffle which raised £26 for club funds 28 members and 2 visitors were present and the meeting closed at 10 pm                         


Meeting of the Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society held at Swindon Village Hall on Thursday 14th January 2016

The meeting opened at 7.30 Apologies received off  M. Atkinson, L. Evans, N. Smith and J. Scott. We then proceeded with the AGM:- our President Clive Hammond opened the meeting with his report, this was followed by the Secretary's (which is on the web site). Our Treasurer then gave his and handed round a copy of it to each member present (these are in the minutes). He also put forward a suggestion that visitors on their first visit would be made welcome. However if they attended more than one meeting a levy of £3 would be expected. If they attending four they would be enrolled as a member having paid £12 which is the membership fee. This was proposed, seconded and carried by a majority of the membership. Unfortunately our functions officer Andrew Derrick was not present so we were unable to see his report and look forward to seeing it in the not too distant future. A vote of thanks was proposed by Zak Coombs to the committee for their work over the past 12 months, this was seconded and passed by the membership. Graham Pitchfork then talked of the 100 year celebrations planned for 2018 being the 100th anniversary of the formation of the RAF, more later. Now followed a Members own "Recent Acquisitions'". Richard Hughes talked on an MM group to a chap in the 14th Bn Worcs Regt where a DCM and 8 MM's were awarded for this one action which was well documented. Zak Coombs followed with a NZ Fire Brigade item which when he receives it he has a photograph of this recipient that was given to him in 1997 and another group to a member of this same fire brigade. Graham Pitchfork brought in a RAF group to a chap who served from the formation through to the end of WW2. The group was a WW1 pair,39-45 Star, F&G, Def, WM, MSM (for Russian in the 1920) GV LS&GC. He then informed us as to how many MSM's were awarded to the RAF for that period also the involvement of the RAF, which was enlightening. Michael Mockerage talked on a chap who was with the 7th Hussars  China 1900 medal unique to the regiment) being batman to Capt McSweeney who took part in the Great Game. This was when they were mapping out and walking the borders between Afghanistan, China etc it has to be unique and scarce. David Seeney produced a framed group of French WW1medals bought at an antiques fair only to discover the chap served in the French Foreign Legion, and what a story David uncovered. David Martin produced a WW1 MM group to a chap in the 4th Gren Gds. It had been bought from the family and came with all paperwork he was ever issued with. He served  in the Police pre and post war all paperwork photo's etc were part of the lot. He also brought a SMLE 1915 deactivated rifle for all to see. Brian Hill brought a group of medals to a Vetinary Surgeon who served in the Boer war firstly as a Civilian Vet joined the Army Vetinary Dept, then the Army Vetinary Corps finally ending with the Royal Army Vetinary Corps, his medal group QSA,KSA,1914-15 Trio, IGS08 Afgh 1919 and a French Medal. Tim Dowle concluded the session with a WW1 trio bought at a local Militaria Fair to chap in the Monmouthshire Regt with no information. When he took it home he found that he had letters wrote by the chap describing the action where he was wounded and how he got back to their lines. This ended the session our treasurer took subscriptions from the members present. Zak did the raffle which raised £16 for club funds 17 members present and the meeting closed at 9.30 pm due to bad weather warnings in the Gloucestershire/Hereford area.

Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals research Society Annual Report
The branch goes from strength to strength averaging 25 members per meeting as well as guests both local and overseas. The committee were left in situ as it was voted that they would be in post for two years, next year all jobs will be up for grabs. We have had various visits both here in the UK one being HMS Illustrious when she was just decommissioned in Portsmouth. Then members of the branch had 5 day visit to the Somme. 14 members and guests took part, it was organised by Bill and Carol Bratty (who we can highly recommend to any branch who is thinking of doing any WW1 battlefield tours) contact the secretary for contact details etc. Andrew Derrick functions officer has plans for more visits later this year when the weather improves so please look out for his notices which will be published on the branch web site.  Our speakers came from far and wide and covered many different aspects of our hobby. We  had some fantastic medals on display as well as photographs etc all backed up with presentations mostly using  Power Point. The branch has another member joining the Royal Hospital Chelsea, Mike Kipping on the 11th January 2016 all members wish him well and have told him to expect visitors!! He will be joining David & Tom Lyall who left Cheltenham some years ago. There might be a new OMRS Branch The Royal Hospital Chelsea if  these ex Cotswold Branch members go on a recruiting drive!!. The future of the branch looks very bright with new members joining as others leave. We have had a constant flow of visitors and the club is in a good financial position. Zak Coombs organises the raffle at the end of every meeting and all monies collect go in to club funds. With the Reverend Paul Roberts taking on the duties of branch Chaplin  all aspects of the branch and its members are fully covered!!. We continue to meet at Swindon Village Hall on the second Thursday of the month 7pm for 7.30. We publish a full report of each and every meeting also items of interest on web site qcmilitaria@btconnect.com  (Cotswold Branch OMRS) found on the front page. There is an open invitation to all members of OMRS or other medal collectors who might be in the area. The secretary can be contacted on the above web site or on 01242 519815 and a warm welcome will be extended to all.    

Meeting of the Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society held at Swindon Village Hall on Thursday 10th December 2015
Cotswold Branch would like to wish all a Very Merry Christmas and a Peaceful, Happy and Prosperous New Year.

The meeting opened at 7.30 Apologies received off S. Lewis, G. Pitchfork and M. Atkinson. The secretary then welcomed two guests Mrs N. Rodman and Mr G. Kirk-Spriggs. We were delighted to welcome Paul Roberts (now) The Reverend Paul who was in his new working dress. It was asked by the secretary if Paul would take on the position of Branch Chaplin he agreed. He was proposed and  seconded  and the branch unanimously voted in favour and we now have a branch chaplin  who is also an OMRS member (is this a first in the history of the OMRS!). Next year's program was discussed with two speakers being put forward.
Then we had our members own which as usual turned out to be very interesting and diverse. John Wright started the ball rolling with a badged beret of the new Special Reconnaissance Regiment  and David Seeney was able to shed some light on this unit. Richard Hughes a Naval group to a chap who was RND but who's Star was misnamed just RN he was also awarded a MID for the Zeebrugge raid. Tim Dowle brought a group to a chap who had done 22 years awarded a LS&GC EDVII with the RGA the picked up a WW1 Trio with the Monmouthshire Regt, John Scott produced a MM and Bar trio to the Cameron Highlanders who's battalion has been omitted from the medal after research it was shown he was in hospital wounded hence the mistake. Mike Kippin produced a group to a chap commissioned in to the RN served in WW1 then WW2 as a Major in the IRE KIA in Burma. He was also awarded a telescope as a prize from his time as a cadet. Zak Coombs you have guessed correctly an item of the New Zealand Fire Brigade. He had a large framed photograph of a Station officer C. Letherland who left NZ Fire Brigade to serve in WW1. Zak had his full service history and gave a good account of this chaps life and time. David Martin then brought out a deactivated WW2 first pattern Bren Gun much to the delight of our old and bold. He followed this with a MM WW1 group to a Grenadier who became a police officer after serving in the army. He was the second of the four generations of this family to serve in the Hertfordshire Police Force. Brian Hill brought a ASC pair with a wrist ID bracelet and original research/photographs etc. The chap helped save horses when a transport ship went aground and was awarded a mention card. Rev Paul Roberts produced a OBE,MC group to a chap who was R.E. Signals service who had Royal Connections. He also produced a single BWM to a chap in the Worcester's when researched it showed that this chaps brother won a VC!!!.John Barker talked on a chap in the Worcester's  who was awarded a QSA. Keith Burrell bought a mixed bag of sporting medals two were for water polo awarded to LtCol Uniache. After research Keith discovered  he was killed in action with the 5th R.T.R 1942. Richard Emsley finished with two items to the Royal Garwal Rifles an IGS54 the regiments first action after formation. A group  which covered the periods pre and post WW2. The secretary informed the branch the good news that Steve's Wife has now got the OK to come to the UK, she arrived collected her ID Card and will be joining him full time early February 2016, the branch wished them all the very best and look forward to meeting her. She has been enrolled as a member of the OMRS and Cotswold Branch. Zak did the raffle which raised £20 for club funds Mike Kippin sold some MHS journals which raised another £5 for branch funds. The meeting then closed at 9pm and we adjourned to partake of the excellent buffet which the members had brought. 21 members and the two guests mentioned above were present and a good time was had by all.

Meeting of the Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society held at Swindon Village Hall on Thursday 8th October 2015

Apologies received from J. Wright, L. Evans, N. Smith, M. Atkinson, M. Selby, M. Mockridge, G. Pitchfork, M. Cox, R. Emsley.
The meeting commenced at 7.30 pm and Nike Kippin introduced three guests from the Aden Veteran's Association: Norma Rodman, Chris Blick and  Denis Sparrow.
Mike then spoke on medals for service in Aden, explaining how it came to be a part of the British Empire, the threat it faced from a Turkish attack in World War One and the service their during the years of unrest. He showed groups of medals from his collection and talked about the lives and careers of the individuals, who served in the Indian Army, the R.A.F., the 16th/5th Lancers (tanks operating in the Radfan!) and the K.O.Y.L.I. His talk ensured that, at least for those present, Aden is no longer one of the forgotten wars.
Jon Scott and Dave Martin then spoke about medals for service in Aden, from the Royal Air Force, Aden Protectorate Levy and the Irish Guards. Zak did the raffle which raised £16 for club funds 18 members and 3 guests attended and the meeting closed at 10.00 pm

Meeting of the Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society held at Swindon Village Hall on Thursday 8th October 2015
Apologies received from N. Smith, M. Atkinson, J. Scott, M. Selby, M. Mockridge, G. Pitchfork, B. Hill and P. McKenna.

The meeting commenced at 7.30 pm the secretary welcomed four guests Peter James (visiting from Tasmania), Bert Beavis, Tim Reeves and Norma Rodman.

Andrew Derrick asked the branch how many people would be interested in doing visits which entail an overnight stop i.e. Royal Armouries at Leeds, Royal Marines/HMS Victory Portsmouth. Also he would like any ideas for other visits and would like to know if anyone will volunteer to drive the mini bus for these visits. Please contact Andrew direct by e-mail akderrick@btinternet.com  The Treasurer Richard Emsley let it be known that he was receiving subscriptions, yes it worked as he received some. Mike Kippin informed the branch that on the 29th of October the Field of Remembrance was being dedicated at 11am that day, medals etc to be worn. The President then introduced our first speaker of the evening David Martin who's presentation was on 2nd Lt Frank Harvey Ennor Artist Rifles 5th and then 1st Btn Grenadier Guards. He gave an appraisal of his service in WW1 also read extracts from his extensive and detailed diary. He had some first class photographs of him and members of the regiments he served with also his medal group. Richard Emsley followed with a talk entitled Dealers and their Descriptions.
He produced a GSM Palestine 1945-48 awarded to a chap said to have died in Iraq after the end of WW2 and buried in the Tripoli War Cemetery Libya a distance of over 2000 miles where it was alleged he was killed. After some research he discovered the chap had been killed by an exploding mine he was working on in Libya and he was trying to find out if he was entitled to the Bomb & Mine Clearance clasp. He then produced a group which he had bought at this year's OMRS Convention again to do with Bomb and Mine Clearance but this chap had a real interesting career. He served in Kenya receiving the AGS clasp Kenya then later on in his service he was awarded a medal by the Kenyan Government for services on their North East Frontier this was after he had received an MBE GSM for Bomb & Mine Clearance and others. Finally our Secretary gave a lecture on His Father's Father's. John's Dad's dad was KIA in WW1 with the 8th King's Royal Irish Hussars when he was only 18 months old. His medals memorial plaque photo's cap badge, lanyard and spurs on display in a frame. His story was then told from when he enlisted in 1912 and posted to the Cavalry Depot at the Curragh Camp near Dublin. In 1914 he was medically discharged as unfit for further military Service, he was kicked by a horse his leg had been badly broken. However he got himself fit and enlisted again in 1915. After his death his widow married her brother in law Joseph A Wright who served with the Royal Irish Rifles. He was awarded a DCM with the 2nd Battalion in this action he was wounded in the lung and leg. John talked on the four generations who served in the army (including his service in the Royal Signals) as well as his Dads family. Our President thanked the three speakers and the branch responded the usual way. Zak did the raffle which raised £25 for club funds 21 members and 4 guests attended and the meeting closed at 10.15 pm

Branch trip to the Somme area 6-11th September 2015
Another excellent trip under the guidance of Bill and Carol Bratty. Visits included Thiepval, Ulster Tower, Newfoundland Park, Albert, Delville Wood and Vimy Ridge. We were lucky to have very good weather and no crowds and so we had a good chance to look around the places that we had all read about. Our thanks to Bill and Carol for hard work in preparing and leading the tour, to Andrew for his usual efficient arrangements and to Dave Martin for handling the UK driving.

Meeting of the Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society held at Swindon Village Hall on Thursday 10th September 2015
Apologies from P. McKenna, D. Martin, A.Derrick, M.Selby, S. Lewis, Z Coombs, M. Kippin, C. Harmson all on a visit to the Somme, T. Dowle, N.Smith and M. Atkinson
The secretary read out the letter he sent to the new Rev Paul Roberts congratulating him on his new vocation. We were then informed that on Saturday October 17th at the University of Worcester the Western Front Association Autumn Conference will be 1915 100 years on. There will be three speakers a buffet lunch and the cost is £20 per person more information is available on wnb.wfa@hotmaikl.co.uk. Graham Pitchfork then covered the OMRS Convention which is being held in London next month. He also let it be known that next year the venue will be the Holiday Inn Stratford upon Avon. Richard Emsley talked about the new OMRS web site which will be going live in the not too distant future. The membership welcomed Roland Hill a life member of the branch who had come with his son Christopher our speaker for the evening.


Due to extenuating circumstances Christopher had to change his lecture to The Roland and Christopher Hill collection “True Builders of Empire on the Continent of Africa”.  He was welcomed and introduced by our President Clive Hammond. He started with how the family collection has evolved using powerpoint he brought up a map of Africa going anti clockwise from Gambia, Gold Coast, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, South Africa (Cape Colony), Southern Rhodesia, Northern Rhodesia, Nyasaland (exploration for the start of the Nile), East Africa (Uganda). British East Africa, (Kenya, Zanzibar (the coast), Horn of Africa, Sudan, Abyssinia and Somaliland). WW1 covered Togoland, Cameroons, German West and East Africa. There were medals covering all these campaigns which were awarded to members of the Military Officers, NCO’s and men British and African, Administrators, Civil Servants and a host of others who played their part as The Builders of Empire. I think it is fair to say that one of the most complete collections of Full Size and Miniature medals on this subject was on show at this meeting.  All were backed up with a story photographs etc and put over with real passion and feeling for the subject.Christopher was thanked by Clive and the membership showed their appreciation in the usual way.There then followed a viewing of all the Honours Decorations and Medals which were on display and our speaker answered any questions. We did not have a raffle but a member gave £3 to the treasurer for one of the books. Considering 8 members were on a visit to the Somme we had 18 members and 4 guests, the meeting closed at 10 pm

Meeting of the Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society held at Swindon Village Hall on Thursday 9th July 2015

Apologies received from C. Hill, M. Mockridge and N. Smith, The meeting commenced at 7.30 the Secretary welcomed our 15 guests who names will be not be published in light of the contents of this evenings lecture. There being no OMRS correspondence the secretary opened the meeting to the branch. Mike Kippin informed us that he has been accepted for the Royal Hospital Chelsea and will become an In Pensioner in January 2016. This will make 3 ex-members of the Cotswold branch who are in the Royal Hospital; any more then they will start a branch of the OMRS. Every one at the meeting wished Mike all the very best for his future as a Scarlet Man. John Barker then let it be known that Paul Roberts a member of the branch has taken Holy Orders and now is Reverend Paul Roberts heartfelt congratulations were extended to him by all present. Steve Lewis suggested we should ask Paul to be the Cotswold Branch Chaplin !! Andrew Derrick then let us know of a visit he was organizing and also needed payment for the Somme visit in September. Our President Clive Hammond introduces our speaker Mike Atkinson and what a lecture it turned out to be. “10 Stories from the Province SAS, Para and Bomb Disposal” taken from the 30 years war in Northern Ireland. Mike covered the conflict by showing the number of Military, Civilian and IRA dead number of medals awarded and what the Military did to earn them. This was mainly from the Army point of view. He started with “Bloody Sunday” showing how and why it happened with photographs and first hand reports. The IRA wanted revenge against the Paras who they held responsible and it came 2 weeks later by the Bombing of the PARA's Officers Mess in Aldershot. All the casualties were civilians so they tried again. This was Warren Point where 18 soldiers both QOH and Paras lost their lives when two members of the IRA detonated 2 remote controlled bombs from over the Irish Border. He then went on to mention the undercover stories of the Military Reaction Force and The Force Research Unit (both new to most of us present). 14 Intelligence Unit their work and successes. The SAS and some of their more noticeable achievements like the one at Loughall when they killed an IRA unit of 8 men who were trying to blow up the RUC Police Station in the town. Next Bomb Disposal who lost 34 members over the period of 30 years. He covered several operations showing the type of bombs used and in most cases defused. Finally the Spring of 1988 the time when tit for tat killings took place the IRA lost three terrorists killed when they tried to plant a bomb in Gibraltar. 2 members of the Royal Signals were savagely kicked to within an inch of their lives then shot in the head when they were discovered at a funeral being held for IRA killers. All the above was substantiated by photos and research which Mike discovered whilst trawling the inter net. It was a terrific account well documented in this the recent history of Northern Ireland. He then conducted a question and answer session and was thanked by our President and all members and guests, another fantastic talk. Four members brought items relating to this conflict Graham Pitchfork a group to a Sgt in the RAF who was air crew on helicopters. David Martin Welch Gds in NI, David Seeney Photographs, papers and letters from the conflict and finally Rick Carver on the RAVC's work in the province during this troubled time. Zak Coombs did the raffle which raised £33 for club funds we had 23 members and 15 guests!!! the meeting closed at 10 pm.


PAST BRANCH EVENTS

Visit to HMS Illustrious 30th September 2014
 
                      
Captain's chair, specially made by Rolls Royce                 From the chair                            Looking back from the "ski jump"
(HMS Victory in background)

Branch Visit to Deepcut Barracks Sunday 14th April 2013


Branch Trip to Ypres 2012
Andrew, John, Clive and Martin
return from laying the wreaths
John, Richard, Dave, Martin and Mick
with the Ieper Fire Brigade buglers


Cotswold Branch Mini-Convention 2012
Held at Swindon Village Hall, Saturday 16th June 2012


Branch Trip to R.A.F. Cosford Museum, 23rd October 2011


Branch Trip to Bovington Tank Museum, 18th September 2011


Branch trip to the Royal Signals Museum, Blandford  10th July 2011


Branch trip to the Fleet Air Arm Museum, Yeovilton  15th May 2011



Branch trip to the Imperial War Museum, London


Branch trip to the Royal Artillery Museum, Woolwich
 

Branch visit to the Army Medical Service Museum

Branch visit to the Arms collection at the Defence Academy, Shrivenam


Cotswold Branch-sponsored blue plaque to Surgeon-General Manley, V.C. unveiled at 3 Lansdown Terrace, Cheltenham.
 


Branch Visit to The South Wales Borderers Museum and Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers Museum


The Military Intelligence Museum, DISC Chicksands


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Cotswold Branch, Orders and Medals Research Society

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Revd. Paul Roberts (Branch Chaplain) revdpaulroberts@gmail.com