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.
To join the Orders and Medals Research Society please visit - http://www.omrs.org.uk

Two proposed club visits:

Sunday 21st May - National Army Museum, London. £22 per person. Leaving Cheltneham at 8 am.

Monday 7th August - The Houses of Parliament (including the medal collection). £24 per person. Leaving Cheltenham at 8 am. Limited to 25 people.

To reserve a seat contact Andrew Derrick or Q&C Militaria.


Programme 2017

12th January - AGM and Julius Giles - Ronald Ord Campbell Thomson, MC, OBE Royal Engineers and Indian Railways

9th February – Paul Shenton - Chindits

9th March - In Pensioner Mick Kippin - "Broken by Age or War - Life at The Royal Hospital Chelsea”

13th April - Members Own

11th May - Mike Mockridge - Army and RNAS Armoured Cars

8th June - Angus Hamilton - Experiences in the Royal Hong Kong Police

13th July - Peter Ashford memorial Lecture
                John Monn - The Royal Orders and WWII Medals of Norway

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 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

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.

Meeting of the Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society held at Swindon Village Hall on Thursday 11th June 2015
Apologies received from T. Errock, M. Atkinson, M. Mockridge and G. Pitchfork.
The meeting commenced at 7.30 the Secretary informed the branch of the sad demise of Norman Brooks who was Membership Secretary of the OMRS for over 30 years. He had sent an e-mail to Geoff (Norman's son) passing on our condolences and prayers. Henry Meadows had contacted John to let him know that with relocating to Bath he will have to resign as a member of the branch. John then let it be known he was doing the program for the next 12 months and asked for any ideas/suggestions to be e-mailed to him. Andrew Derrick mentioned the visit the branch is having to the Somme in September. Richard Emsley talked to the branch about the Convention in London being a week later than expected. He also let it be known that next years convention will be held at Stratford upon Avon. It is the first time it has ever been outside London and is hoped it will be a great success. We then commenced with the member own, John Wright had brought in two family prints which had been in his family for four generations showing Sgt Ewart taking the French Standard at Waterloo. Richard Emsly showed a Waterloo medal to a chap in the 10th Hussars, Clive Hammond produced a Belgium officers cavalry helmet complete with a letter of authentication to a chap who was involved in the 1812 campaign and possibly Waterloo. David Seeney showed a piece of kit which was found on the Battlefield of Waterloo in 1824 and a copy of a Waterloo Medal. Steve Lewis then produced two MGS to chaps in the Glosters and a Waterloo to a chap in the 28th Ft. Mike Kippin showed the new Commemorative medal for the Battle of Waterloo and a £5 coin which Jersey has produced also to commemorate the battle. David Martin produced a Waterloo Medal to a chap in the 2nd Bn Grenadier Guards who went on to be an in pensioner at the Royal Hospital Chelsea. Bill Bratty who is a volunteer at the Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum let the branch know about the display being put on there. This was the end of the Waterloo items and was followed with the following: Zak Coombs spoke about this Father in laws WW2 services a doctor in the RN,. He brought along the Legion D'honneur which his FIL has just been awarded by the French Government. Richard Hughes talked on an MM GV WW1 group to the Worcester Regt with the research he had done. Tim Dowle showed a WW2 group to the Royal Monmouth Royal Engineers to a chap who was a POW in Germany. His brother was KIA in the evacuation of Dunkirk. David Martin showed a 2 bar GSM to a chap who was with the Guards Para Regiment. Steve Lewis read out a letter written in WW2 by a Royal Naval Commander who had a great sense of humour. This ended the talks and the meeting, members then talked among themselves, looking at the items brought. Zak Coombs did the raffle which raised £22 for club funds. There were 17 members and 5 guests present 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 May 2015
Apologies received from G. Pitchfork, T. Errock, C. Hill, N. Smith and J. Carver
The meeting commenced at 7.30 the Secretary informed the branch of the sad demise of Diana Birch our sympathies go out to her family. There being no other OMRS/Branch business members were invited to speak on things which would be of interest to the membership. Our President Clive Hammond reminded us that our next meeting in June was a members own who's theme would be Waterloo with this being the 200 anniversary of the battle. John Barker posed a medal question regarding the wearing of an MID on a pre war Palestine, WW2 group. Zak Coombs let it be known that there is an exhibition on hospital ships being held on HMS President which is moored in the Thames, it finishes at the end of this month. Clive Hammond our president then introduced our speaker Grant Healey who gave his second lecture which was the Falklands War from the Army perspective. He covered all aspects of the conflict with maps showing all the major battles how, when and where they unfolded, which units, troops etc took part. He covered the battles of Tumble Down, Mount Longdon, etc. Also the attack on RFA Sir Galahad and the result of this on the Welsh Guards. He had a lists of all honours and awards also the recipients for each and every action. It was a well researched and delivered using power point. His collection of medals for this conflict covered all units involved from the SAS, Bomb Disposal, all Infantry units (including 7GR) all Corps with an APTC chap who was Body Guard to a senior officer!! He did a question and answer session which went down very well and the President thanked Grant on behalf of the membership which showed appreciation in the usual way. The first lecture which Grant gave a few months ago was on the Naval and Air campaign and this one on the Army concluded what was a very nasty and hard won conflict for the Falkland Islands it was well worth waiting for. Coincidently the branch has three members who were awarded the South Atlantic medal one who was in the Merchant Navy, another in the Army and the other Government service. We had 19 members and two Lady guests Mrs Norma Rodman and Mrs Bridget Cox. Zak Coombs did the raffle which made £11 for club funds and the meeting ended at 10 pm.

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

Apologies received from T. Errock, M. Atkinson, C. Hill, M. Kippin and J. Carver The secretary opened the meeting at 7.30 pm there being no correspondence he opened the meeting to the floor. Peter McKenna informed the membership that on Saturday the 11th in Gloucester Cathedral The Band of the Royal Marines and Army Choir were performing, tickets were available at the venue. 
Our President Clive Hammond introduced our speaker Roger Bragger who is a member of both OMRS and Birmingham Medal Society, who's lecture was Lawrence's Air Force; the Hejaz Expedition 1916-17. He started with 14 Squadron RFC where they went and what they did. He showed photographs of the aircraft, men who flew them, the terrain they covered. He talked about the bombing raid on the railway station Elee Wejh on the Hejaz to railway. Then he showed the groups of five men who were the principle participants of the expedition. They were Capt. Thomas Henderson MC AFC TD (Commanding Officer), W/Cdr Frederick William Steent MC, Reverend Victor Donald Siddons MBE MC BA, F/Lt William George Stafford MC DCM and Capt. D.N. Thompson MC. The medals were in display cases and were a delight to see. You will see they had one thing in common the Military Cross and an Order awarded by King Fizal. He talked us through their individual service records and went on to tell how he managed to buy these medals where and when and from whom'e which was very interesting and amusing. His research was terrific and we were able to see why Roger was awarded the Best in show at the OMRS Convention. He did a question and answer session which he answered fully. It was a memorable lecture which all who attended will never forget. Our President thanked him on behalf of the branch which showed appreciation in the usual way.
Zak Coombs did the raffle which raised £19 for club funds. We had 23 member and two guests the meeting closed at 10.30 pm

Meeting of the Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society held at Swindon Village Hall on Thursday 12th March 2015
Apologies received from J. Wright, M. Atkinson, Zak Coombs, M. Selby and N. Smith.
The meeting commenced at 7.30. The subject of the AGM and Christmas quiz was discussed and it was agreed to move the AGM to January and to have a members own at the next December meeting instead of the quiz. Mick Kippin informed the branch that Stagecoach bus company are dedicating 8 new buses to Gloucestershire Regiment VC/GC winners. They will be unveiled Monday 16th March in Gloucester. John Barker passed around an informative article on the variety of Princess Mary Christmas Tins that were created in the Great War.
Our President then handed the meeting over to our speaker, Dave Seeney. He spoke on the expedition to Darfur (Sudan) in 1916, when a small force of British/Arab/Sudanese and Egyptian troops dealt with the rebellious Sultan of Darfur. The hardship of campaigning in this part of the world was explained and the remoteness of the territory all added to the difficulties. Dave showed the two types of Khedives Medal, the naming of the medal, which units received named medals, and the various clasps, with breakdown of numbers issued to British personnel. He covered the main actions, the role of the Royal Flying Corps and the outcome of the campaign. A little time was also spent discussing the merits of the camel for military operations. A very interesting talk on a small campaign that none of us knew much (anything) about. Graham Pitchfork and John Scott each showed Royal Flying Corps groups to men who served in the campaign.
The president thanked the speaker on behalf of the branch. We had 22 members present and the raffle which raised £19 for club funds. The meeting closed at 9.15 pm  


Meeting of the Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society held at Swindon Village Hall on Thursday 12th February 2015
Apologies received from T. Errock, D. Seeney, M. Atkinson, C. Hill, C. Hammond, B. Ward, S. Lewis, M. Selby and J. Carver.
The meeting commenced at 7.30 the Secretary was informed by John Scott of the sad demise of Paul Faber who was a member of the Birmingham Medal Society and a friend to a number of us here in the Cotswold Branch. Condolences from the branch to be passed on to Paul’s family. Graham Pitchfork reminded us about this year’s OMRS Convention in London. Richard Emsley our Treasurer took to the floor and asked for any outstanding subscriptions and he was very successful. The secretary introduced our first speaker of the evening Andrew Derrick, his talk was on his father in law’s WW2 service in the RAF. He had managed to keep a diary from his time of joining, his training for air crew (which he was not successful because of colour blindness) On to his trade as a fitter, his capture and incarceration by the Japanese in Java, Singapore and Thailand. Interestingly towards the end of the war his brother a POW and a member of the RAOC joined him in the same prison. Andrew had photographs etc and the full family history he did a question and answer session. Andrew was followed by Mike Kippin who’s talk was on a Great Uncle who had emigrated to Australia prior to WW1 joined the Australian Army fought and Died at Gallipoli. Mike used power point which displayed photos etc. His Great uncle is on a War Memorial in a small town where a road has been named after him. His brother also went to Australia joined up and was killed in France. It was, as we have come to expect off Mike, a well-researched and presented talk. He conducted a question and answer session. Our final speaker was Richard Emsley who had decided to give a talk on Major Wetherley MC 1st Kings Dragoon Guards. He had traced his story from when he was born, his time at Eaton, going to Oxford, being commissioned in to the KDG. Here his story took a very interesting course. He was awarded an immediate MC in North Africa (fantastic citation) transferred to SOE served in Yugoslavia where he was killed because of a traitor. Richard had all the MI9 reports and quoted from a book by the chap who worked with him and was there when he was killed. It was a terrific story again well researched and presented. The secretary thanked all three speakers who were thanked in the usual way. We had 20 members and three guests (Bill & Carol Bratty and Norma Redman) present. Zak Coombs did the raffle which raised £20 for club funds. The meeting closed at 10.30 pm        

Meeting of the Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society held at Swindon Village Hall on Thursday 8th January 2015
Apologies received from N. Smith, T. Errock, Dave Seeney, M. Atkinson, J. Scott, C. Hill and J. Carver.
The meeting commenced at 7.30 pm the secretary informed the branch of the death of John Tamplin MBE who was a member of OMRS for over 40 years being awarded the MBE by Her Majesty for work he did on the Queens Medal collection. He also mentioned that Norman Brooks who was membership secretary of the OMRS for 31 years was not at all well and in hospital. Sadly his wife passed away just before Christmas, commiserations were to be passed to both families. Richard Emsley our treasurer gave his Annual report for the last 12 months which showed the branch to be in a good financial position (copies in the file). He also mentioned that we had been given an OMRS grant towards our WW1 display held in August 2014. He went on to tell us that the letters etc were paid for by Q&C and the printing (Richards Wife) had both wavered their fee. John was thanked by the membership and they suggested a bouquet of flowers should be sent to Richards Wife as a thank you. He then mentioned that Subscriptions were due and he would collect them at the end of the meeting (which he did!!!). Andrew Derrick Functions Officer then presented his AGM report a copy to be handed over for the file. The President Clive Hammond then brought up the subject of the AGM and Christmas quiz. He asked for comments: - should it be moved to the end of the financial year, would more people attend the December meeting if the quiz was dropped. Should the December meeting be left as it now is, please send your views/comments to Clive on the following email address chlasslane@highnambband.co.uk and cc it to the secretary. He also suggested, if any of the Branch Officials for any reason were not going to attend the AGM to submit a written report that could be read out at that meeting. He then went on to introduce our speaker Tim Dowle whose talk was on the Monmouth Regiment. What a fantastic talk it turned out to be. He covered the early years of the regiment it men, their work, the area where each Battalion was raised. Their part in WW1 where the three battalions took part in the same battle which foiled the German advance in May 1915. He used power point to do his presentation and did it in such a way that we were all able to understand what had been a terrible disaster to the regiment and people of Monmouth. All three battalions were decimated 70% of each were Killed, POW and wounded. He read from letters from the chaps who had lived through this, showed photographs and medals. He held all present with his lecture which made a great impression on all who were there. He did a question and answers session and was thanked by Clive the branch showed their appreciation in the usual way. We had seven Guests three of whom were related to a chap who served in the Monmouth Regiment and died at the action Tim’s talk was on. Zak Coombs did the Raffle which raised £20 for club funds we had two new member join Malcolm Cox and Graham Ervin (a warm welcome to you both) 18 members and 7 guests were present the meeting closed at 10.30 pm.                                                                            


Meeting of the Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society held at Swindon Village Hall Thursday 11th of December 2014
Apologies received from M. Atkinson, N. Smith, T. Errock, M. Selby, M. Kippin, A. Derrick, B. Hill, L. Evans, P. McKenna, Z Coombs and M. Atkinson
The meeting commenced at 7.30 pm with our Annual General Meeting
Andrew Derrick and Zak Coombs both committee members were not at the meeting due to sickness and the Treasurer Richard Emsley (because of a recent bereavement), informed the membership that his report would be ready for the January meeting along with Andrews and Zak’s. The secretary informed the branch that his report was in this issue of the Journal which most had seen. It was then on to vote the members of the committee, it was unanimous from the floor that all members who are in post continue to do so. The President thanked the committee on behalf of the branch for the work they have carried out though the past year. With it being the 200th Anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo on the 18th of June 2015, it was decided that the 11th of June (a members own) meeting should be Waterloo.  Any members who have a medal or medals awarded for the battle should bring them along to celebrate this famous battle and victory. It was also brought to the attention of the branch that next year 2015 we should be holding our biannual convention. This will be passed on to Andrew Derrick our Convention Coordinator to look at when he is better. The branch was informed that St. John Ambulance have entrusted the branch with finding a suitable location for their Cheltenham memorial plaque to local men who died or served in the Great War.
It was now time for the annual Quiz which John Scott (who was last year’s winner) had prepared. Paper and Pens were issued and off we went, there were 12 questions with a possible top score of 38 points. It turned out to be a real brain teaser with David Seeney being the winner, whose name will go on the trophy and he will be responsible for organising next years quiz. After the quiz we had a very pleasant evening eating the Food which had been brought in, talking but not much drinking with us all driving. Christmas greetings were given 15 members were present and the meeting closed at 10 pm. I should like to take this opportunity to wish all who read this a very Happy, Peaceful Christmas and New Year


Meeting of the Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society held at Swindon Village Hall Thursday 13th November 2014
Apologies received from M. Atkinson, N. Smith, T. Errock, M. Selby and R. Carver.
The meeting commenced at 7.30 pm the secretary made the following announcements: - There was good news regarding Zak Coombs who has been very ill for the past few months, is now on the mend and should be up and running in the not too distant future. He then informed the branch that Vernon Phillips a member of both OMRS and Cotswold branch had passed away due to a brain haemorrhage. The burial service will be held on Tuesday the 18th of November at St Stephens Church, St Stephens Road, Cheltenham at 12 noon.
Stephen Lewis then thanked all the members present for their generous gift (wedding present) on his and Ekaterina's recent marriage. He also informed the branch that his wife had joined the OMRS as a "family member."
David Martin informed the membership that if you Google Royal Mail Casualties (WW1 Casualties) the site shows where memorials are situated (in sorting offices etc). If you contact the person in charge of the office you can go in and view them. He has been to see a couple in the Herefordshire area.
Clive introduced our speaker Chris Hill of DNW fame who is also a member of the Cotswold Branch who’s talk was Ashanti (part 3). It turned out to be another of Christopher’s excellent lectures. He talked us through the various battles which the 5 relief forces were involved in to relive Kumaasi Fort. Also the many actions which took place after the relief, these ended with the decisive battle that took place on the 30th September 1900. Chris used power point to show photographs, maps, prints etc and he brought the most fantastic groups of medals for this campaign. He did a question and answer session and was thanked by Clive on behalf of the branch, which showed their appreciation in the usual way. There were 20 members present Richard Emsley did the raffle which raised £16 for club funds and the meeting closed at 10.30 pm


Meeting of the Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society held at Swindon Village Hall Thursday 9th October 2014
Apologies received from M. Atkinson, N. Smith, L. Evans, C. Hill, M. Coombs, A. Derrick, C. Hammond, G. Pitchfork and C. Harmson
The meeting commenced at 7.30 pm the secretary made the following announcements
1. Thanking Martin Keyte for organizing the visit to HMS Illustrious which seven members of the branch attended. 2. He then along with all members present Congratulated and wished Stephen Lewis and Ekaterina Avramenko, his wife to-be, all best wishes for their marriage on the 16th of this month in Moscow. 3. Michael Mockridge was congratulated on his award at the OMRS convention for the Best New Entry. 4. The branch was then informed on the progress of Zak Coombs and all who were present wished him a speedy recovery. 5. Richard Emsley returned to a family a medal he had bought from DNW. They fully reimbursed him and gave him an extra 10% for the charity of his choice this he donated to Gurkha Welfare (it is now in their tin). John then introduced our speaker Jon Cann who is both a serving member of the Gloucestershire Constabulary and OMRS. His lecture was The Gloucestershire Constabulary and it did not disappoint. He covered the early years which showed that this Force is the second oldest county force in England. Also they had a reward for Gallantry not a medal but a silver braid band which was worn on the sleeve of the recipient’s uniform. The first medals appeared in 1911 with the award of 21 (all named) Coronation medals. He then displayed and talked on groups which covered Gallantry and medals awarded to Gloucestershire Police officers from the Boer War through to the present day. This was followed with a question and answer session after which he was thanked by the Secretary and appreciation was shown in the usual way by all present. There were 16 members and one guest (Mrs Norma Rodman) no raffle was held and the meeting closed at 10 pm.


Visit to HMS Illustrious 30th September 2014
Thanks to Martin Keyte a small party was able to visit HMS Illustrious at Portsmouth. We were shown all over the ship by
Chief Petty Officer Les Bugby and Petty Officer Tom Scriven, who gave us a real isnight into what it was like to serve on a carrier. Other members of the crew took time to explain their work on the ship in the operations room, medical and engineering. We spent 3 hours on the ship and it was sad to think that she has reached the end of the her operational life, but hopefully she is being preserved. 
        
             
Captain's chair, specially made by Rolls Royce                 From the chair                            Looking back from the "ski jump"
(HMS Victory in background)

Meeting of the Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society held at Swindon Village Hall Thursday 11th September 2014
Apologies received from M. Atkinson, N. Smith, L. Evans, J. Barker, J. Wright, M. Selby, R. Emsley, A. Derrick, B. Hill
The meeting commenced at 7.30 pm with the proposal that it was no longer necessary to read out the minutes at each meeting, as they are available online. This was agreed by all members present. Graham Pitchfork then encouraged members to attend the annual convention in London and advised that next years event will be in London, but that in 2016 it was hoped to move to a more central location. John Scott advised that the Herefords museum will be open this Saturday between 10 am and 3 pm. Clive then started the members own, with Jim Mourton showing a group of three for service in India and with St. John's Ambulance, to an officer from Cheltenham. Dave Martin showed a WWII MM for Italy to a Grenadier Guardsman; John Scott showed a unique group to the Camerons for service in Africa both before and during the Boer War; Dave Seeney showed a WWII MC group to an officer in the Warwicks who was involved with SOE in Denmark; Mick Kippin showed WWI and WWII medals to the local Excell family; Tim Dowle showed an Air Crew Europe group to a navigator who was the sole survivor from his crew, captured and lost a leg; Richard Hughes showed an MBE, Lloyds Bravery Medal group to a merchant navy offier; Graham Pitchfork showed a Southern Desert Iraq, WWII, MID group to a chap who got an LSGC despite being court-martialled and in trouble several times; and Clive Hammond showed a 3-bar China medal to a Royal Marine who served on the gunboat "Hardy". The meeting closed at 9.30 and there were 13 members in attendance.


COTSWOLD BRANCH 1914 CENTENARY EXHIBITION: At Swindon Village Hall, Sunday 3rd August 2014
Report in the Gloucestershire Echo

Another very successful event which was very well received on the day and has been followed up since with enquiries from the public. Thanks to those who provided items for display and helped out on the day. The event was covered in the local newspaper, tv and radio. Here are a few photos of the day

Meeting of the Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society held at Swindon Village Hall on Thursday 10th July 2014
Apologies received from M. Atkinson, N. Smith, L. Evans, J. Barker and C. Hill
The meeting commenced at 7.30 pm with the minutes of the last meeting being taken as being correct (the Assistant Secretary had not put them in the file) but they had been placed on the Cotswold Branch Web site. The secretary read out the letter from the Commonwealth War Graves thanking the branch for their donation £26 which was the money from the raffle raised after Mike’s talk on the 8th May War Graves Headstones.
Graham Pitchfork reminded the branch that the OMRS Convention in London is not that far away. He informed the membership that any member who would like to put on a display could still do so. Richard Emsley reiterated Graham’s comments about doing displays at the Convention. He then went on to ask for any volunteers to help on the 3rd August 1914 Centenary Exhibition which the branch is putting on. He was pleased with the response.
Our President Clive Hammond introduced our speaker Martin Davis whose lecture The story of Gloucester Rugby Club and its players during the Great War It was to be a thrilling factual well researched and presented presentation. It covered the fact that no one was prepared or expected the conflict to begin. What happened to the members of the Ruby Club, which units they served in Army Navy and RAF. 30 members were KIA/DOW etc 12 were awarded Gallantry Awards 3 DSO’s, 3 MC’s, 2 DCM’s, 4 MM’s and 12 MID.
Martin then did a question and answer session at the end of his lecture. He had his book on the subject for sale (if anyone missed buying it they can contact him on mandteresa@hotmail.co.uk). Our President thanked him and the membership showed their appreciation in the usual way. Steve Lewis talked on a casualty group to Pte Hayling Gloucesters who play for Cheltenham Rugby Club and Mark Selby on medals to Pte Duncan who played for Cardiff.
Zak Coombs did the Raffle which raised £26 (£20 of which was given to Martin Davis for his charity Gloucester Samaritans). 30 members and guests including two ladies were present the meeting closed at 10.15 pm

Meeting of the Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society held at Swindon Village Hall on Thursday 12th June 2014

Apologies received from J. Wright, M. Atkinson, K. Burrell, R. Emsley, B. Ward, N. Smith, C. Hammond, P. McKenna, T. Hurrock, L. Evans and M. Kyte.
The meeting commenced at 7.30 pm with the minutes of the last meeting proposed as being correct by Dave Seeney and seconded by Mick Kippin.
Andrew then asked if there was any interest in a coach to the London Convention in September and mentioned a proposed tour of the Somme next year. Zak then introduced our speaker, Mick Kippin talking about triple headstones. He explained that it all began with a triple headstone in Cheltenham cemetery. While trying to find out why this was done he found other examples, including six in Cardiff. Although Mick researched each of the men, there was no common link or obvious reason for them to be commemorated on a single gravestone. However, one there was one exception which was the grave of three bandboys of the Manchester Regiment, who were murdered by the IRA in 1921. The father of one of the boys worked to have their remains brought home and finally the three were buried together in Ashton-under-Lyme. A very well researched and presented look at an unusual and still unexplained variant of war grave headstone.
Zak thanked Mick on behalf of the branch who showed their appreciation in the usual way. Jon Scott then spoke about a memorial plaque to an RAF pilot killed in a training accident. Having not served overseas, this was his only entitlement. Zak showed pairs and plaques to the two North brothers.
The raffle raised £26 and it was peoposed that this be donated to the Commonwealth War Graves Comission. 20 members and 5 guests were present and the meeting closed at 9.30 pm


Branch visit to Gibraltar 11th to 15th May 2014
Flying from Birmingham, our party of 11 arrived in a sunny and warm Gibraltar on Sunday afternoon and after checking into the hotel we had time to look around and get something to eat. The next day we were met by our tour guide, Pete Jackson, MBE (ex-Royal Artillery and Royal Gibraltar Regiment) who took us around some of the many sites of military interest. These included the 100-ton gun, Napier of Magdala Battery, Trafalgar Cemetery and the original siege tunnels. It was a very interesting tour with so much to see. The next day we were taken into the WWII tunnels by our guide Pete Murray-Jones (ex-Royal Navy) who took us along the Great North Road tunnel. Another interesting tour, complete with ghost story about a young Royal Engineer Lance-Corporal who was killed in the tunnel and is said to still be on duty there!
On the last day we took the opportunity to do our own trips. Some visited the Commonwealth War Graves cemetery and a couple of us visited the old Royal Navy Hospital, which is now private housing.
A great visit, enjoyed by all and how Andrew managed to get it all at such a good price baffled all of us. It was nice to be abroad in the sun and yet still "at home". The Union Jacks flying all over The Rock were good to see and we were made welcome everywhere. A special thank you to the Royal Gibraltar Regiment Association for making us so welcome, we can recommend the swordfish and chips!

Meeting of the Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society held at Swindon Village Hall on Thursday 8th May 2014

Apologies received from G. Pitchfork, C. Hill, M. Selby, H. Meadows and B. Ward
The meeting commenced at 7.30 pm with Cotswold Branch business the secretary reading the minutes of the last meeting. This was proposed as being correct by Richard Hughes seconded by Dave Seeney. The secretary then welcomed our 14 guests.
Clive Hammond introduced our speaker Mick Atkinson on the 3 or maybe 9 musketeers and the Suez Crisis. He gave us a brief overview of British involvement in Egypt and the events leading to the seizure of the canal by the Egyptians. He then explained the response from Israel, France and Britain and introduced the individual stories of two paras, one naval pilot and a member of the Guards Independent Para Company. Using excellent photos taken at the time he gave a detailed account of their actions during the crisis. He showed the medals of two of the men, who were sitting in the audience. Another well researched and presented talk as we have come to expect from Mick. Clive thanked him on behalf of the branch who showed their appreciation in the usual way. John Scott then showed two groups to RAF men who served during the crisis. Richard Emsley reported on the plans for the August exhibition.Tim Errock conducted the raffle which raised £33 for club funds. 26 members and 14 guests were present the meeting closed at 10.15 pm


Meeting of the Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society held at Swindon Village Hall on Thursday 10th April 2014
Apologies received from C. Hill, M. Selby, B. Hill and B. Ward
The meeting commenced at 7.30 pm with Cotswold Branch business the secretary reading the minutes of the meeting being held on the 13th of March 2014. This was proposed as being correct by John Scott seconded by Mike Kippin. The secretary welcomed our Lady Guest Mrs Averill McKenna Peter’s sister in law who escorted Peter after his recent fall. In response to Andrew Derrick’s request for a list of drivers for the Mini Bus on club outings the response so far has been one (Mike).
Richard Emsley our treasurer informed the branch that we have been awarded £350 towards our 3rd of August WW1 display and £150 towards speaker’s costs from OMRS Head Office. He also asked for any outstanding subscriptions, the last of which were paid by those who were there, he is still on the look out for others!
Our President Clive Hammond then introduced our speaker Roger Cleverly who had drove all the way from Dorchester to give his lecture Thee Dorset Captains at Trafalgar Hardy, Bullen and Digby. Roger used power point and brought a selection of Swords, Dirks and a Flint Lock 2 pounder gun which was used in the battle. He covered all the important actions that these three chaps took part in (besides Trafalgar). It was well researched and presented and one of the highlights for the membership was being able to handle these very rare items. Roger did a question and answer session after which Clive thanked him on behalf of the branch. Tim Errock conducted the raffle which raised £21 for club funds 27 members and 1 guest (Mrs A McKenna) were present and the meeting closed at 10.15 pm

Meeting of the Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society held at Swindon Village Hall on Thursday 13th March 2014

Apologies received from N. Smith, M. Keyte, H. Meadows, C. Hill, T. Dowle and L. Evans
The meeting commenced at 7.30 pm with Cotswold Branch business the secretary reading the minutes of the meeting being held on the 13th of February 2014. This was proposed as being correct by Dave Seeney seconded by Richard Hughes. The branch would like a list of members who are interested in driving the Mini Bus to visits by the branch, names to Andrew Derrick please.
Andrew Derrick informed the branch that due to two people pulling out there are now two seats on the coach for the Shrivenham visit on the 23rd. He also let the members know who are going on the Gibraltar visit that Monarch Air has changed the flight time from Birmingham. It will now go at 5.30 pm not 6 am on the Sunday when we depart.

Richard Emsley our treasurer gave some information on what was happening regarding finance for the 3rd of August event. He also asked for any outstanding subscriptions, some of which were paid.
Our President Clive Hammond then introduced our speaker Steve Lewis who gave one of the most enlightening talks ever presented at the branch. His lecture was on Marshal Mannerheim of Finland. He covered his life story from being a young boy being commissioned in to the Tsar’s Russian Army rose to the highest rank in the most prestigious regiment. Commanded divisions and when the revolution came he retired and went back to his native Finland. There he reorganized the finish forces, commanded them through post war year years and WW2. He talked on the British Volunteers who went to Finland to help against the Russians in the winter war. His full life story was covered and he was honoured by many countries through out the world with orders, Decorations and medals. Steve also had on this power point presentation original film of Mannerheim being visited by Hitler, his 70th Birthday and finally his funeral. It was a well researched and presented lecture which all who were present through rally enjoyed. A question and answer session then took place then our President thanked Steve on behalf of the branch which showed it appreciation in the usual way.
Zak Coombs conducted the raffle which raised £23 for club funds 26 members and 2 guests (Mike Paris and Cliff Rowland’s, who both joined the branch). The meeting closed at 10.15 pm


Meeting of the Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society held at Swindon Village Hall on Thursday 13th February 2014
Apologies received from N. Smith, J. Carver, M. Atkinson J. Barker, M. Keyte, H. Meadows and T. Errock
Prior to the meeting starting Clive Harmson thanked the branch for the card and bottle of wine which he received when recovering after surgery at Cheltenham General Hospital.
The meeting commenced at 7.30 pm with Cotswold Branch business the secretary reading the minutes of the meeting being held on the 9th of January 2014. This was proposed as being correct by Mike Kippin seconded by Dave Seeney. It was pointed out that if anyone wanted to go to the European Medal Convention being held in Paris the details were on the branch web site. All members joined in commiserations to the families of Jamie Henderson and Malcolm Dyas who had both recently passed away. Jamie being a long standing member of the OMRS and Malcolm a well known and respected medal dealer from Birmingham. Richard Emsley then talked the branch through what has been achieved up to now regarding the 3rd of August event. He was helped out by Steve Lewis who is heading the committee running this. Andrew Derrick let it be known that the visit to Shrivenham is fully booked and the Gibraltar trip has only 1 or 2 places left. Peter McKenna then told of a robbery which had taken place at his house by a chap who he considered a friend. Money and medals were taken which included a Zulu to the 2/24th Foot, a Mutiny and East and Central Africa medal. Unfortunately all the paperwork went with them and Peter is unable to give details of the recipients. Our president then welcomed our speakers and the first was Graham Pitchfork who gave a fantastic presentation using power point on the Air Force Medal. This along with several sets of medals was as we have come to expect from him a memorable lecture. Richard Emsley followed Graham again using power point and again an interesting well research lecture on a WW2 group of 5 Stars and a War medal to a naval Cook (it made all of us look at these un-named medals in a different light when they come with a little bit of paperwork). Finally our secretary John Wright talked on a Royal Victorian Medal awarded to 932 Colour Sergeant T.E. Lewis G Company 2nd Royal Reserve Regiment who was on duty at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight when Queen Victoria died. The president then thanked the three speakers and the branch showed appreciation in the usual way. Richard Emsley collected subscriptions there were 22 members present, the raffle raised £13 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 January 2014

Apologies received from N. Smith, R. Hackett, and M. Atkinson. Clive Harmson was unable to attend as he had recently had an operation and we all wish him a speedy recovery.
The meeting commenced at 7.30 pm with Cotswold Branch business. The branch officers were then unanimously re-elected and a vote of thanks given for their hard work on behalf of the members. The secretary gave his report, followed by the treasurer and finally the president. It was then proposed to move the annual branch quiz to take place after the AGM in future years and to make it a team quiz. This will hopefully encourage more members to participate in what has always been an enjoyable night. The December meeting will become a member's own with the usual Christmas goodies. 
Then came a very diverse members own. From a medals to Native Indian officer, a sailor on a cable laying ship, life saving medal, a Senegalese order to a Welshman, the RAF in India, a sword belonging to a local artist, a named pume-holder to an officer with an interesting career, a selection of stunning medals to men involved in the Niger campaigns, a New Zealand fireman with an, apparently, unspellable name, medals to the veterinary corps, a 1914 trio to a soldier who was so drunk he probably couldn't remember much of the war, and an Egypt pair to a Guards officer. Not bad for one evening! The treasurer then collected subscriptions for 2014, which remain at £12. 
21 members were present 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 12th December 2013

Apologies received from N. Smith, J. Carver, R. Hackett, L. Evans. T. Ewing, M. Mockridge, B. Hill, H. Meadows, A. Derrick, B. Ward, C. Hill, G. Pitchfork and M. Selby.
The meeting commenced at 7.30 pm with Cotswold Branch business. Steve Lewis and Richard Emsley gave a brief description of the event being planned for next August. Richard proposed that the branch raise £350 towards the cost of putting on the exhibition and that each member donate £10 towards raising the sum. Richard then presented his quiz. Who will ever forget the 1939-45 Star? Well we can think of one person at least! John Scott was the winner and so gets the dubious honour of preparing “Quiz 2014”. The pain of the mental torture that we endured was then eased by tucking into the food table. 16 members were present 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 14th November 2013
Apologies received from N. Smith, J. Carver, R. Hackett, L. Evans. T. Ewing, M. Mockridge, M. Atkinson and D. Seeney
The meeting commenced at 7.30 pm with Cotswold Branch business. Graham Pitchfork informed the branch that Richard Emsley has been voted on to the OMRS Committee. He then went on to tell us about the convention and any suggestions on how the web site could be improved. He the touched on what the committee hopes to achieve in the coming months.
Andrew Derrick mentioned two possible trips next year and Richard Emsley asked for any outstanding subs to be paid.  
Our President Clive Hammond then introduced our speaker Grant Healey who had come all the way from Reading to give his talk on “The Falklands War and the South Atlantic Medal Part 1 The Royal Navy”. It was one of the most enlightening the branch has had the privilege of listening to. He covered all aspects from the start of the conflict, the battle for South Georgia and the retaking of the Falklands. He gave a list of all the ships which were involved in the conflict RN, RFA, MN (including naval parties) etc and the number of medals awarded to each. This was followed with a list of medals awarded to each service, style of naming etc. On show was probably one of the best collections of South Atlantic Medals singles and groups to the Naval services to be seen any where. A question and answer session followed and Clive Hammond proposed a vote of thanks and the branch showed their appreciation in the usual way. We look forward to Part Two next year! Needless to say all present took time to view this collection which took a long time. Richard Emsley did the raffle which raised £17-00 for club funds 24 members were present and the meeting closed at 10.30 pm

Meeting of the Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society held at Swindon Village Hall on Thursday 10th October 2013

Apologies received from John Wright, Nathan Smith, Brian Ward, Len Evans, Mick Atkinson, Clive Harmson and Jim Carver.
Steve Lewis introduced our speaker, Alex Gardner, who after serving with the Royal Green Jackets and S.A.S., became an 'amateur' freelance journalist. Using photographs that he took himself, he explained how he went to Afghanistan and spent time around Tora Bora photographing local pro-Western fighters. Using his experience of serving with Arab forces in the past, he became a correspondent for and Arab TV channel and reported during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, reporting live and spending time with the Royal Irish Regiment. Back in Afghanistan he spent time with an American medical unit, flying on a helicopter that picked up casualties. These included Afghan civilians and even wounded Taliban, who were treated with the same care and attention, even though they had been trying to kill American soldiers. For Arab TV he also spent time with the UAE Special Forces group in Afghanistan and included photos of an eventful vehicle patrol that was hit by 3 IEDs. It was a revelation to many to hear of the work that they have been doing there. A final assignment saw him on patrol with a US/Afghan special forces team. The patrol was hit by an IEDs resulting in serious casualties. As the medic rushed in to begin treatment, a second IED was detonated wounding them again. Alex instinctively began taking photos but then put down his camera and went to help the wounded. His graphic photos and account brought home the tragedy and bravery of young men put in a terrible situation. Alex answered questions from the members and then Richard Emsley thanked him on behalf of the branch. The meeting closed at 10.00pm and there were 25 members in attendance.


Meeting of the Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society held at Swindon Village Hall on Thursday 12th September 2013
Apologies received from Graham Pitchfork, John Wright, Zak Coombes, John Barker, Paul Roberts, Nathan Smith, Tim Dowle, Tim Ewing, Jim Mourton, Brian Ward, Mark Selby, Dave Seeney, Mick Atkinson, and Jim Carver. Clive introduced our speaker, Christopher Hill, who spoke on the Abyssinia Expedition 1868. Christopher explained the background to the hostage situation that led to the events that followed. He emphasised the logistical problems that had to be overcome and the difficulties of getting the force and its supplies to Magdala. The fighting at Magdala was then explained and the aftermath. Christopher then showed the medal and explained the complex production behind each one. He brought along two examples of the medal, including a fantastic group to an Indian Pioneer Officer, which included the OBI and IOM. As always, a very well researched and delivered presentation. Our President then thanked Christopher on behalf of the branch. The meeting closed at 9.40pm and there were 18 members in attendance.

BRANCH VISIT TO TOYE KENNING & SPENCER - 19th July 2013

We were fortunate to visit the factories of Toye Kenning & Spencer in Bedworth & Birmingham, since they are not usually open to the public. The company was founded in 1685 and is a current holder of a Royal Warrant to HM Queen Elizabeth II. They specialise in the production of (amongst others) military medals, both U.K and foreign, uniforms, regimental badges, buttons ,ceremonial regalia both for Forces and Friendly Societies, as well as medal ribbon. Initially we went to the Bedworth factory with specialise in textiles. We were shown the looms making medal ribbons, caps of all discriptions, including Guards Bearskins, uniforms for the military and various bands, all superbly made. If this wasn't enough they also make Masonic regalia, standards, flags and banners (mostly military), all embroidered in gold anb silver thread. We paused briefly to recover, and had lunch, before we moved on to the jewellery quarter of Birmingham, where their other factory is, which specialises in the making of medals themselves. C.B.E, O.B.E, D.S.O.'s. Other state insignia, including the Order of the Bath, Order of St. Michel and St. George and many others are made here.The are all made from the original dies in the basic metal, including Gold and Silver, then put together with the individual pieces to make the appropriate medal, then enamelling and final completion. It was an amazing day out, which made us all realise the immense skill, experiance and dedication which went into producing such quality items. We are very grateful to Mr Nick Ellwood, the Business Development Director for giving us his time and expertise and showing us around both factories. A great day out. Andrew Derrick Functions Officer Cotswold Branch OMRS

 
Meeting of the Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society held at Swindon Village Hall on Thursday 11th July 2013
Apologies received from Graham Pitchfork, Dave Gibbons, Henry Meadows. Clive then introduced our speaker for the Peter Ashford memorial lecture, reminding the members that it was 10 years since Peter's death. Zak Coombs, who recently retired from a long career with P&O, told the story of the Hospital Ship Uganda during the Falklands War. He began with the story of the founding of the British India Steamship Company and how it developed and grew over the years. He then covered the story of the Uganda from its launch to the time when he joined her, taking school children on educational cruises around the Med. In 1982 news came that she was to head to the Falklands as part of the Task Force. Zak talked about how she turned into a Hospital Ship in Gibraltar and the voyage to the South Atlantic. He then detailed her time there, taking on and treating both British and Argentinian casualties. He had plenty of photographs to illustrate these events. Included were humourous anecdotes of life at sea.
Zak then covered the voyage home and the time spent by the Uganda as a troopship, running regularly down to the Falklands, until the longer runway was opened and troops were flown in. He then told the story of the sad ending of the Uganda.
Zak brought along a lot of detailed information, including the crew list, a list of both British and Argentinian casualties who were treated on the ship and a roll of the 7th Gurkhas who she took home to the UK. John Wright thanked Zak for his lecture, on behalf of all present.
Tim conducted the raffle, which raised £20 for club funds.

 
Mini-Convention Sunday 7th July 2013
The first time on a Sunday and proved to be very successful with some 63 people attending and 20 exhibitors and "Great War Medals" representing the dealers. The exhibits were of a very high standard ranging from uniforms, firearms, edges weapons and of course a wide range of medals.
The convention was opened by Lt.Commander Michael Hill, an experienced retired naval officer, currently serving with the "Mary Rose Trust". He spoke most eloquently on the subject of The Battle of Trafalgar, covering in depth the service life of Admiral Lord Nelson.
Atfer an excellent buffet lunch we were entertained by 3 talks, starting with "Remember the Fallen by Sandra Taylor, who spoke about the war memorial project in Worcestershire. David Seeney then gave an interesting talk about the more unusual medals to look out for, some of which many of us had never seen before. Fantastic groups with amazing stories. Finally a talk by Peter McKenna about the soldier was "Three Times a Prisoner", once by the Russians, for which he was presented a gallantry medal. Unfortunately there was no time for the final talk; our apologies to Christopher Hill. The convention was closed by our President, Clive Hammond.
A most enjoyable day with many favourable comments from our guests and a demand to know "when will you do it again?"

Meeting of the Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society held at Swindon Village Hall on Thursday 13th June 2013
Apologies received from John Wright, Paul Roberts, Clive Hammond and Clive Harmson.
The minutes of the May meeting were proposed by David Seeney and seconded by John Scott. Andrew then talked about preparations for the Convention. Dave Seeney then talked about a modern group being offered in an auction, which upon inspection was a named copy group. Thus highlighting the risks of buying medals unseen.
Mick Kippin then kicked off our four short talks. He spoke about a Long Service medal to Sgt. Bullock of the Royal Marine Artillery. Sgt. Bullock was serving on HMS Sultan when she ran aground and then on Australia when she sprang a leak. He was recalled to service on the outbreak of war in 1914 but died shortly after.
Andrew Derrick talked about the Galloping Major, who was commissioned in the Coldstream Guards and was regularly transferred around the battalions. He saw active service in France 1940 and then in Italy. After leaving the army he became a gentleman farmer, breeding horses and hunting. The foxes had the last laugh, as he fell from his horse while out hunting and died a few days later.
John Scott spoke about Gazetted foreign awards to the RAF for serving during World War Two. He explained how awards were approved and showed examples of groups to airmen and women.
Finally, Nathan Smith spoke about two Fallen Heroes. Both were officers of RAOC who received the DSO during World War Two. The first was Major Neville Darewski, who was employed by SOE as an agent in Slovenia and then in Italy, working with the Partisans. He was accidentally killed in Italy.
The second officer was Colonel Gore, who after a successful career during the war, was sent to Palestine. Some time after returning to the UK he was arrested, along with another officer, and convicted of selling weapons and ammunition to the Jewish terrorists.
Richard thanks our four speakers, who gave four very different talks, covering the three services. There were 29 members in attendance and the meeting closed at 9.50 pm.

Meeting of the Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society held at Swindon Village Hall on Thursday 9th May 2013
Apologies received from N. Smith, R. Emsley, J. Carver, G. Pitchfork, R. Hackett, L. Evans and P. Roberts
The meeting commenced at 7.30 pm with Cotswold Branch business. The Secretary read the minutes of the April meeting which were proposed by Mike Kippin and seconded by Tim Errock.
The secretary confirmed the speaker for the Peter Ashford memorial Lecture is Zak Coombs MNM who will talk on The P&O vessel Uganda during the South Atlantic Conflict 1982.
There were two propositions from the branch which were voted on and unanimously agreed
1. That a cheque for £200 would be given to Mrs Angie Harmson (our mini convention caterer) prior to the event on the 7th of July
2. That Clive Harmson who has opened the club, sorted out the bookings, run the bar
for many years be officially given Life Membership of the branch.
Steve Lewis stood in for the treasurer and collected subs (which will run to December) as our financial year now runs from January.
Andrew Derrick talked about the next events which are
1.  16th June visit to the Gurkha Museum, Winchester - Now Cancelled
2.  7th July Mini Convention.
3.  22nd July visit to Toyne, Kenning & Spencer at Bedworth.
Our President Clive Hammond then introduced our speaker David Seeney who gave a most enlightening lecture on researching people using civil and military records. It was a fascinating and informative presentation as we all have come to expect from David. He then did a question and answer session and gave a flyer showing all avenues available to do research on the net. Our President thanked David and the branch showed their appreciation in the usual way. Zak Coombs conducted the raffle which raised £21 for club funds. We had 25 members present. The meeting closed at 10.00 pm.


Branch Visit to Deepcut Barracks Sunday 14th April 2013
Another excellent visit, taking in the RLC museum, RAOC medal collection in the Sergeant's Mess and superb medal collection in the Officer's Mess. A stunning medal collection, obviously put together with great thought and a appreciation of medals. Many rare and unusual combinations of medals, including the only known NGS Yangtze to the army. Each medal or group in the collection represented a particular medal or clasp and a great deal of thought has been put into the choices. Our thanks to Andrew and Mick as always, but also to Major N. Smith for giving up his Sunday to show us around and share his enthusiasm for the collection.              


Meeting of the Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society held at Swindon Village Hall on Thursday 11th April 2013
Apologies received from N. Smith, R. Emsley, Z. Coombs, and J. Carver
The meeting commenced at 7.30 pm with Cotswold Branch business. The Secretary read the minutes of the March meeting which were proposed by Clive and seconded by Jim Morton.
The Branch received a message from OMRS HQ, which can be read by clicking here.
After discussion, it was agreed to change the branch administrative year end from April to January, which makes more sense. The next AGM will be in January 2014. Richard will adjust subscriptions to take account of this change.
Andrew Derrick then talked about the next events which are
1.  16th June visit to the Gurkha Museum, Winchester
2.  7th July Mini Convention.
Members were urged to hand in their forms for the convention. A vote of thanks was also given to Clive Harmson for his continued service to the branch.
Keith Burrell informed the branch about a speaker for the convention. Sandra Taylor will talk about war memorials in Worcestershire and will be formally invited to attend.
John Barker, our out-going President, then gave his farewell address; click here. 
The Secretary then gave his report and thanked John for the time he had in the chair, the membership showed their appreciation in the usual way.
Clive Hammond was proposed and unanimously elected the next President. Zak Coombs was elected Vice-President.
The Treasurer’s Report was then given and the branch is still financially more stable than most Euro-zone countries.
Then followed a member’s own. Another varied selection including a rare Imperial German officer’s tunic and cape which belonged to one of the officer’s later executed for the bomb plot to kill Hitler.
A WWI MC group to the Royal Flying Corps that also included a GSM Southern Desert Iraq, a rare DSO group to a mercantile marine officer, a silver shooting trophy and medals to a local engineer volunteer and fireman, medals to a Cheltenham Indian Army officer who is related to a local ghost story, a Grenadier Guards MM group to a chap who served with the Guards Machine Gun Regiment and a group to a relative of Sarah Ferguson; a Volunteer Long Service Medal and a WWI pair to an officer casualty; a Radfan and South Arabia to an RAF nursing sister’ an RAF apprentices Barrington-Kennet medal; an IGS54 and IGS95 pair to a Scots Fusilier; a QSA to a collar-maker (which isn’t as rare as you might think!); a Veterinary Corps officer with 2 foreign decorations who died in 1917.
Tim conducted the raffle which raised £13 for club funds.
We had 29 members present. 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 14th March 2013
Apologies received from J. Wright, N. Smith,  H. Meadows, P. Roberts and Zak Coombes. 
The meeting commenced at 7.30 pm with Cotswold Branch business. The President read the minutes of the February meeting which were proposed by Mick Kippin and seconded by John Scott. Members were reminded that next month was the AGM and a new President was to be selected.
Andrew Derrick reminded members of the visits to Deepcut Barracks RLC Collection and to the Royal Hospital Chelsea. Members were also asked to complete forms for the Mini Convention. Dave Seeney informed members that the Western Front Association are offering to look-up WWI pension cards. A members own followed:A Police Long Service Medal to a Gloucestershire Inspector who was involved in prosecuting Fred West in the 1970s. A medallion for a Wire Entanglement Compeition 1916. An Ashanti 1900 Medal and Central Africa Medal. Three groups for which a photo of the recipient was found on the internet. Three QSAs to Grenadier Guards casualties for which memorials in South Africa were found on the internet. Fire Brigade and Volunteer Long Service Medals to members of Cheltenham Fire Brigade. A named miniature DSO group to an officer in the Wiltshires who was killed in an airplane crash in Egypt. A BWM to an officer from Abergavenny was commissioned in the Royal Engineers. Medals to a sailor who served on HMS Marlborough when the Imperial Russian family was evacuated to Malta. An unusual RN MSM group to a member of the Shore Wireless Service who also received a Mercantile Marine War Medal and a group to a man who after serving in the Worcesters and Ox & Bucks in WWI became an RAFVR officer, receiving a Cadet Force Medal in 1950.
Richard Hughes did the raffle, which raised £20 for club funds and a £5 donation from the sale of books.
The meeting closed at 9.45 and there were 21 members in attendance. 


Meeting of the Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society held at Swindon Village Hall on Thursday 14th February 2013
Apologies received from N. Smith, C. Hammond, J. Carver, L. Evans, H. Meadows, R. Emsley and P. Roberts
The meeting commenced at 7.30 pm with Cotswold Branch business. The Secretary read the minutes of the January meeting which were proposed by Clive Harmson seconded by Jim Carver. John informed the branch that the Llyle brothers are going to attend our Mini Convention and they will be in the Uniform of Chelsea pensioners. Zak Coombs has donated his digital projector to the branch for which we are thankful.
Andrew Derrick then talked about the next visits which are:
1. 14th April Deepcut Barracks RLC Collection and Museum
2. 13th May Conducted tour of the Royal Hospital Chelsea
3. 7th July Mini Convention which needs members to put their name forward to help organise it.
John Barker, our President introduced our speaker Zak Coombs (who because of work commitments, being Senior Purser for P&O had never been able to give his talk on the New Zealand Fire Brigade). Zak commenced with a short history of NZ and the lead up to the formation of the Fire Service. He covered the major fires over a period of years, and their effects on the places and people. The type of equipment used and the medals awarded. He had a vast collection of Fire brigade memorabilia and a terrific collection of medals. His presentation was by way of Power Point by which he showed some fantastic photo’s etc. He finished with a question and answer session John thanked him and the branch showed their appreciation in the usual way. Because of time it was not possible to have members show medals from their own collections or to have the raffle.
We had 23 members and 2 guests Ian Thompson and David Drinkwater (a retired fireman). The meeting closed at 10.30 pm.


Meeting of the Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society held at Swindon Village Hall on Thursday 10th January 2013
Apologies received from N. Smith, J. Scott, C. Hammond, A. Derrick, and J. Carver
The meeting commenced at 7.30 pm with Cotswold Branch business. The Secretary read the minutes of the December meeting which were proposed by Zak Coombs seconded by Mike Kippin
The secretary informed the branch that we have Lt Cdr Mike Hill Royal Navy Retired to open the Mini Convention being held on the 7th of July in Swindon Village Hall details will be published nearer the time on the branch web site.
Richard Emsley our Treasurer had brought his lap top which has the names of all branch members who owed their subs. He took some out standing subs later in the meeting.
Our President John Barker introduced our speaker Christopher Hill of DNW and London Fame (also a branch member of many years) who talked on the Ashanti medal of 1895-96. Chris took us through the history leading up to this campaign the political as well as military aspects. How the campaign was conducted the troops which took part, their units as well as casualties. He had on his lap top some terrific maps, photographs etc which brought the campaign to life. This was added to by some fine medals in singles and groups. It was as we have come to expect off Chris a fine well researched and presented Lecture. He did a question and answers session and was thanked by our President on behalf of the branch. Richard Emsley then talked on three groups from his collection which included the Ashanti Star.
Then followed an impromptu Members own. John Barker kicked off with a selection of NATO badges or to give them the correct name Fobs worn by members of the British Armed forces when attached to NATO Staff. Graham Pitchfork followed this with a BEM for Burma which turned out to be for an action in that theatre. Mike Atkinson touched on a modern group which he had recently bought OBE, NGS 2 clasps and after a taster of what he had discovered informed us that this was going to be the subject of a talk later in the year. David Seeney talked on a Sudan 1910 medal awarded to Sgt Taylor of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment who was not on the main roll for the medal but found on a supplementary one along with other members of the Regiment. Tim Errock did the raffle which raised £16 for club funds. 29 members and one guest (Mr P. Gillett) were present and the meeting closed at 10.30 pm.


Meeting of the Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society held at Swindon Village Hall on Thursday 13th December 2012
Apologies received from N. Smith, J. Scott, M. Atkinson, C. Hammond, R. Hughes, H. MeadowsM. Selby and A. Derrick
The meeting commenced at 7.30 pm with Cotswold Branch business. The Secretary read the minutes of the November meeting which were proposed by David Seeney and seconded by Clive Harmson.
The secretary went to the Gurkha Museum on Wednesday 5th December to take two Gurkha Welfare Boxes (which had over £240-00) to hand them over to LtCol M.C. Barrett. I asked Mike if we could get another visit (now the Museum is being revamped) He and Andrew Derrick will sort out a date for next year. Tim Errock talked the membership through the visit to The Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum which was conducted by Bill Bratty (as a one off Sunday visit for the branch). All members who attended had a very enjoyable time looking at medals documents etc and a vote of thanks is to be passed on to Bill from the branch. David Seeney brought some Army, Navy and Air Force Lists belonging to the late Tony Sabell (a member of the branch) these were being sold for his family.
It was then Quiz Time and a new type of presentation of this event at the branch. John Scott who won last year was quiz master, but was not able to attend as his son was singing in the choir at Hereford Cathedral. He had put the questions on a Stick which David Seeney brought and played through the computer. 20 questions were shown on the screen with a 60 second time frame between each. If you missed the question you did not get another chance. Again you start and realise how little you know about this hobby of ours (well I did). We had a tie brake between Jim Mourton and Richard Emsley, Peter McKenna then asked the tie break question and Richard Emsley was the winner. He will set next years quiz. We then had a very pleasant informal evening with Christmas Fare brought and enjoyed by the members. Tim Errock did the raffle which raised £20 for club funds. 18 members were present Seasons Greeting were exchanged and the meeting closed at 10pm.


Branch Visit to the Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum on Sunday 18th November 2012
Twelve members and guests gathered at the museum for a guided tour of the collection. The history of The Gloucestershire Regiment and the Royal Gloucestershire Hussars is represented by a selection of medals, uniforms, badges and pictures. Our guide, Bill Bratty, told some of the stories behind the displays, which included two Peninsula Gold Crosses, Colonel Carne's VC group and the medals to CSM Biddle, MC, DCM and bar, MM and bar. We were then served coffee and biscuits by Carol Bratty and shown a German WWI anti-tank rifle and a collection of letters written by the Nott brothers during WWI. Two of them were killed serving with the 1/6th Gloucesters. Lt-Col. Thomas Nott, DSO commanding the battalion and his brother Captain Louis Nott, MC were among six officers killed when a mine exploded in a recently captured German dugout. Another brother. Lt. Henry Nott had already been killed in the same battalion. Their medals are displayed together. A very enjoyable and interesting day.


Meeting of the Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society at Swindon Village Hall on Thursday 8th November 2012
Apologies received from J. Carver, H. Meadows, R. Hackett, P. McKenna, and N. Smith
The meeting commenced at 7.30 pm with the reading of the minutes of the October meeting which were proposed by David Seeney seconded John Scott.
The membership were introduced to our two guests of the evening David Chambers and Adrianne Bilborough. It has been mooted that the branch puts on a coach for the OMRS Exhibition day next year. That way any members who want to put on a display will be able to go by coach do a display and return home the same day. Members have a few months to think about it and let the committee know what they want to do.
Andrew Derrick gave details on a branch visit to the Soldiers of Gloucestershire museum on Sunday 18th November, places are still available
John Barker gave an account of the Weekend of Medals which is held annually and suggested that members should take advantage of a good weekend of all thing medals. The people to contact are Sue Hanford or Gareth Keller - Telephone numbers from David Seeney
Richard Emsley our treasurer reminded any member who need to pay their subs he would be willing to take them!!!
The president then introduced our speaker, Paul Roberts who gave an interesting and enlightening talk on the 48th South Midlands Division 1914-1918. He gave the composition of the counties involved, the units, Battles they took part in. Number of men and interestingly the small units which were part of it, RA, RE, ASC, Vetinary Corps, Cyclists, MGC he also read extracts from their War Diaries. He mentioned how the Division moved in September 1917 to the Austro-Italian Front and the actions they took part in up to the 11/11/18. This was accompanied by photographs and a great array of medals to the units which made up the Division. Paul did a question and answers session and was thanked by Dave Seeney. The membership showed their appreciation in the usual way. David Martin then talked about some extra research he had been able to add to a group in his collection. 
There were 26 members and 2 guests in attendance a Raffle were held and £21 was raised for club funds, the meeting closed at 10.00pm.


Meeting of the Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society at Swindon Village Hall on Thursday 11th October 2012
Apologies received from G. Pitchfork, J. Carver, J. Wright, A. Derrick.
The meeting commenced at 7.30 pm with the reading of the minutes of the September meeting which were proposed by Richard Hughes seconded Dave Martin. Guests were introduced, including several SAS veterans. Brief comments were then made on the OMRS annual convention. Details were given on a branch visit to the Soldiers of Gloucestershire museum on Sunday 18th November.
The president then introduced our speaker, Mick Atkinson, to talk about his Door Knocker.
The brass eagle door-knocker now resides the door to Mick’s study, but originally came from the American submarine, USS Catfish. Launched in 1944 the Catfish patrolled off the south coast of Japan when the Nagasaki bomb was dropped in 1945.
Mick then went through the various commanders of the Catfish, taking the submarine through service in the Korean War and it undertook secret operations during the Vietnam War for the CIA and the US Navy seals. The story of the Catfish came to and end in 1971 when she was renamed the Santa Fe, a submarine of the Argentine Navy.
Mick then detailed the various Argentinian commanders of the submarine, many of whom were later implicated and convicted of torture and murder during the dark years of military rule in that country. The Santa Fe came close to action in 1978 when she observed the Chilean Fleet as the two countries came close to war.
April 1982 the Santa Fe landed Argentine special forces on the Falklands. She was then employed taking supplies to the Argentinian garrison on St. Georgia. At the same time, the SAS were observing the island while waiting to land. Anti-submarine helicopters were called-in and launched attacks on the submarine. Four hits were scored that, although the crippled the submarine, did not cause a lot of actual damage. The Santa Fe was tied-up and captured when the SAS re-took St. Georgia soon after.
Various items were then liberated from the Santa Fe, including the door knocker and boats plaque. In 1985 the Santa Fe was re-floated and towed out to sea and allowed to sink.
We were then treated to first-hand accounts of these events by our guests, including the man who liberated the door-knocker. They then recounted various stories about SAS missions on the Falklands which they took part in, including the raid on Pebble Island. It was a real privilege to listen to these men. The president then thanked Mick for his talk and thanked our guests who had contributed to another fascinating evening.
There were 24 members and 5 guests in attendance and the meeting closed at 10.00pm.


Branch visit to the Defence Animal Centre, Melton Mowbray,
17th September 2012
13 members set out from Cheltenham just after 8 am and arrived at the DAC just after 11. We were welcomed by Sergt. David MacLean (Station Welfare Officer), who explained the history and layout of the station and showed us the well-kept memorial to RAVC and dog-handlers, which ranged from a Vet. Officer who served at Waterloo to recent casualties in Afghanistan. We then had lunch in the canteen before visiting the new kennels, recently constructed to a very high specification. We were then treated to demonstrations of the dogs under training, escorted by Sergeant Ackers (RAF). This included a security dog intercepting a "criminal", a search dog being trained to locate minute traces in a field, another being trained to search in a set pattern and a dog being trained to search ahead of a patrol. The whole set up was very impressive and the commitment of the trainers and handlers to their dogs and their mission was obvious to all present.

A very enjoyable visit and an aspect of military service that deserves more recognition for the vital and dangerous wok that they undertake. We returned to Cheltenham around 6 pm, with our thanks to John Wright, who stepped in as Temporary, Local, Acting-Unpaid Driver.  

Meeting of the Cotswold Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society held at Swindon Village Hall Thursday 13th September 2012

Apologies received from N. Smith, P. Roberts, J. Scott, M. Atkinson, D. Seeney, R. Hackett and Brian Ward
The meeting commenced at 7.30 pm with Cotswold Branch business. The Secretary read the minutes of the July meeting which were proposed by Mike Kippin and seconded by John barker.
One new member was welcomed to the branch Mr Tim Dowle. The secretary then reported on the visit to the Ieper (Ypres) which was a great success thanks to the good offices of Bill and Carol Bratty. David Martin handed out copies of a video which was taken at the ceremony. Richard Hackett has given a memory stick with over 600 photos taken over the three day spent on our Belgium tour (these can be had from the Secretary) A full report on our visit is on the branch web site.
Andrew Derrick made a presentation to Mike Kippin of items commemorating his stay in the hospital in Ieper (Belgium). Again full story on the branch web site.
Zak Coombs informed the branch about the parade in London this weekend for Merchant Navy day, if anyone would like to attend.
Graham Pitchfork reminded us that it is the OMRS Convention in London this weekend and there still time to book.
David Gibbons introduced our speaker Mark Sutton who gave a lecture on his book titled Tell them of us - the story of WW1 Swindon Men.
He also told of the hurdles set by Swindon Council regarding the sale of his book and the unhelpfulness of the same body in looking after a civic cemetery. His research was very thorough and informative he brought photographs, medals and slides which brought the stories back to life. Mark then took a question and answers session and was thanked by our President John Barker.
Richard Emsley made it know that he was accepting outstanding subs, 24 members and guests were present, we did not have a raffle and the meeting closed at 10 pm
.

Cotswold Branch Trip to Ypres (Ieper) 4th to 7th September 2012


9 members of the branch and 3 guests, accompanied by Bill and Carol Bratty (our tour organizers and guides) left Cheltenham in a mini-bus at 6 am on the morning of the 4th. Mick Kipping drove to the Euro tunnel terminus at Ashford where we boarded the train at 10 am. About 40 minutes later we emerged in France and Bill Bratty took the driving seat. On arriving in Belgium we visited the grave of Capt Noel Chavasse VC
and bar, MC (RAMC) and then CSM Skinner VC, DCM (KOSB).  We then went on to the second largest British Cemetery, Lisjenhoek, after which we headed for Ypres and our hotel. At the hotel we deposited our kit and then went off to visit the town. It is a fantastic place with several churches, museums and lots of memorials. Later on, in small groups, we went off to find places to eat (this was made easy thanks to the organizers who had been here many times before). At 7.30 pm we made our way to the Menin Gate to watch the ceremony which has taken place every night since 1927 when the gate was built. It only ceased with the Nazi Occupation in WW2 but commenced on the day that Ypres was liberated in September 1944. There must have been a crowd of 200 to 300 hundred people watching. The Fire Brigade buglers came out at 8 pm sharp, the Last Post was played, a 2 minute silence then reveille, the exhortation read out, wreaths laid and the ceremony ended at 8.30pm. Several of us went to meet members of the Ypres branch of Royal British Legion in a bar near the Gate. It was here that Mike Kippin took ill and had to be taken to hospital, after being looked at by the Paramedics. Thank the lord that he had his E111 on him and it was up to date as it would have cost him a fortune. Mick was kept in for tests and did not get released until Thursday afternoon. Needless to say that put a bit of a damper on the rest of us worrying that he would be ok. But the help of the local RBL people and Carol Bratty (an ex-Military nurse) was tremendous.

Day 2 - Andrew Derrick checked up on Mike prior to us leaving on our second day. We visited Caterpillar Crater, Hill 60, Hill 62, Sanctuary Wood and Mount Sorrell. Bill explained what had taken place at each of these places. It was then on to Hooge Museum and cemetery (5,892 graves are here). After a tour of the museum (which is very good and is in two very historic buildings) we had lunch provided by museum staff. It was then back onto the bus and off to the Gloucester’s Memorial at Clapham Junction. We then went on to Tyne Cot Cemetery which is the biggest British Cemetery anywhere in the world having 11,871 burials, consisting of 8,901 UK, 1,353 Australian, 2 BWI, 966 Canadian, 6 Gurnsey, 14 Newfoundland, 519 New Zealand and 4 Germans: 70 percent are unidentified. On the walls are the names of another 35,000 men killed between 1917 and 1918 who have no known grave (tragic, it makes you think and puts things in to perspective). We then visited Poelkapelle cemetery to visit the grave of the youngest soldier Private John Condon aged 14 and next to him is another Private from his Regiment aged 47. Our last port of call was Essex Farm where Capt John McCrea wrote the famous poem “In Flanders Fields”. It was then off to the hotel to have a shower get changed and out for an evening meal. Again all of us attended the Menin Gate Ceremony which was just as poignant, then back to the hotel. Andrew phoned the hospital and was able to talk to Mick who let him know what had taken place. 

Day 3 - Fantastic weather, departed at 9.30 am after a Sitrep on Mike which was very good, we got in to the bus and off we went to the Irish Peace Tower at Messines. We then visited where the 1914 Christmas Truce took place. There is a plaque surrounded by footballs and flags to represent the football match which took place between the British and German troops. Bill then took us off the beaten track to visit three cemetery’s Prowse Point, Mud Corner and Ploegstraat Wood. It was a very pleasant walk to two of these on a road that was constructed in the War (Billy had photograph’s to show what it was like at that time). We then went on to see the plaque on a building that commemorates Captain Barnsfather who did the caricature of “Old Bill” the famous WW1 character. On then to Hyde Park Corner and the Berks memorial where there are 11,447 names of the missing on the rotunda. We had coffee at a near by café where, from the items on display is used by Coldstream Guards OCA when they visit. Back to Ypres to have lunch then get ready for the Menin Gate Ceremony in which The Cotswold Branch would play a major part.

All the party made their way to the gate by 7.15 pm (we had talked through what we would do in the afternoon). Mick Kippin was out of hospital and as one of the standard bearers for the Aden Vets Gloucestershire branch had brought their Standard to be on parade. It was the 68th anniversary of the Liberation of Ypres by the Polish Division in WW2 so there were a lot of people there. When we formed up for the ceremony 6 standards were marched on (one being the Belgium National Flag) the other 5 Belgium OCAs. Mick stood in front of these with Richard Hackett on his right and David Martin on his left. Four Ypres Fire Brigade buglers played the Last Post; this was followed by a Lament on the Pipes by a Belgium Female piper, Billy did the exhortation, Andrew Derrick, John Wright, Clive Harmson and Martin Kyte were the wreath laying party. 2 wreaths were laid one from The Cotswold Branch of the OMRS, the other in Memory of John and Barbara Wrights Grand Fathers John’s killed with the 8th King’s Royal Irish Hussars and Barbara’s with the 2nd Battalion of the Manchester Regiment. Reveille and the ceremony ended. There were hundreds of people there and all of us who took part will never forget it.
Andrew, John, Clive and Martin
return from laying the wreaths
John, Richard, Dave, Martin and Mick
with the Ieper Fire Brigade buglers


PAST BRANCH EVENTS

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


No. 11 Fighter Group Operations Room Bunker, R.A.F. Uxbridge
 

Branch Visit to Sandhurst Military Academy


   On the steps of the College

   Outside the Royal Memorial Chapel, Sandhurst

Branch Trip to the Gurkha Museum, Winchester
       

THE COTSWOLD CONVENTION







A few highlights from the Branch viewing of Cheltenham Museum's Medal Collection. Prior to the visit the collection had never been on public show.
It includes the outstanding unique family group to the four Whinyates brother's from Cheltenham.






Admiral Thomas Whinyates (5 clasps) and
Major-General Frederick Whinyates, Royal Engineers
who was awarded a Naval General Service Medal

General Sir Edward Whinyates
Royal Horse Artillery
commanded the Rocket Troop
at Waterloo

Major-General Francis Whinyates
Madras Horse Artillery

Lieut-Colonel Percy Lloyd Jones
Royal Army Medical Corps
He was killed in France 1916

Captain Singer
60th Foot