The Sandbag Times Remembrance Special


This year commemorative edition of your favourite Veterans magazine

The Veterans’ Magazine

Issue 37 | October 2017

The Remembrance


Lest we forget

SBT News Update

Plus all The Latest National & International

News from the Armed Forces & Veterans’ World


Supporting #Chennai6


SBT News

3 Queen Meets Veterans

At Bletchley Park

Veterans of WRNS and

WAAC were honoured by the

presence of the Queen

3 Major Heather Stanning


Double Olympic champion

Heather Stanning has been

presented an OBE

4 Special Forces Veteran

Awarded George Cross

Medal awarded for saving

over 200 in Kenya shopping

centre massacre

5 Bikers Turn M60 into

Ring of Red

Bikers will be turning the

M60 into a huge poppy by

wearing red on Remembrance

Remembrance Special


10 Remembering the Royal


Petty Officer Jim London

12 Remembering the Army

Walter Tull

14 Remembering the Royal

Air Force

Tornado Down - John Nichol


8 Historic Tommy Atkins

Veterans: History in the


19 Have Faith

Be Bold, Be Strong

26 SBT Information

A page dedicated to back

issues, information, book

reviews etc

28 Remembrance

Remembering the Fallen

Editor: Pablo Snow

Magazine Manager: Matt Jarvis

Chief Sponsor: Ken Brooks

Patro: Matt Neal

Honourary Patron:

Jacqueline Hurley

Additional editors:

Albert ‘Robbie’ McRobb

Jane Shields

Radio & Media Manager

Jim Wilde

Recording Engineer and PR


Vince Ballard

VIP Distribution

John Terry



Ken Brooks Osteopath

BSc. (Hons) Osteopathic Medicine ND DO


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Or email on: 3 |



SBT NEWS Remembrance Special Ken Brooks Osteopath

Sponsored by

The Queen Meets Veterans of WRNS and WAAC at Bletchley Park

The Queen has marked the

centenary of the Womens

Royal Naval Service and

the Womens Army

Auxulary Corps by a visit

to Bletchley Park to meet

veterans. who served in

1941 during the second

world war. The Queen was

escorted by the Princess

Royal, Princess Anne

during the visit where the

Queen was given an insight into

the work of the WRNS100

project, which is celebrating the

formation and history of the

organisation and recognising

the role of women in the Royal

Navy today. The Queen, who is

patron of the WRAC

Association, met senior naval

and army members alongside

veterans who joined the

Auxiliary Territorial Service

From the Great Wall of China to the Pyrenees Mountains - Treking For Veterans

(ATS) in 1941 and worked at

Bletchley Park until VE Day.

The visit comes just days after

the announcement that she will

not lay a wreath at the

Cenotaph this year. Instead,

she will watch the parade from

the balcony of the Foreign

Office while the Prince of

Wales takes her laying

the floral tribute on behalf of

the nation on 12th November.

In May 2017 I embarked on a 9

day trek of the Great Wall of

China with 15 strangers to raise

money for our local hospice. We

ended up raising just short of

£70,000 between us. During this

trek, I became close friends with

Aimee Potter and Nikki Danby

and we quickly realised that we

had all caught the “trek bug” so

started to plan our next

adventure. Aimee was the one to

find out details about the

Freedom Trail, a World War II

escape route for allied

servicemen and refugees from

Nazi occupied France to Spain,

across the Pyrenees Mountains.

My dad is ex­military so I really

wanted to help a charity that

supported our veterans. Being

from Hull, it was an easy decision

for us to agree on Hull4Heroes.

Our small group of 3 has now

become a group of 11 as we have

signed more people up to trek

with us in the summer of 2019.

Since contacting Paul Matson,

the founder of Hull4Heroes, the

support we have received has

been unbelievable. Today we

were invited to the East Hull

armed forces veterans breakfast

club by Dereck Hardman and got

to meet some of the amazing

people supported by the charity.

What a fantastic group. They

made us all feel so welcome and

it was extremely humbling to

meet so many amazing and

inspirational people. We even

managed to get one of them

signed up to the trek and also

received our first sponsor

money! The word is certainly

spreading about our trek and we

have since been invited to another

breakfast club in West Hull on the

4th November.

We have so many ideas and plans

for our fundraising and our aim is

to raise at least £30,000 for the

charity. Roll on summer 2019!

North Lanarkshire war veteran Scott wins Invictus medal treble

An injured veteran has

scooped a hat­trick of medals

at the Invictus Games in

Toronto. Scott Meenagh took

silver medals in the 400

metres and 1500 metres and a

bronze in the rowing. And the

Cumbernauld man almost

added to his medal haul,

coming fourth in both the

100m and 200m events. The

27­year­old was serving with

the 2nd Battalion Parachute

Regiment in Afghanistan

when he lost both legs after

stepping on an Improvised

Explosive Device in 2011.

But he has been determined to

rebuild his life post­injury and

has embraced sport ­ and the

Invictus Games ­ as a way of

helping to do that. Application

for the 2018 Games is now

open for all injured veterans.

Double Olympic

Champion Major Heather

Stanning Honoured

Double Olympic Champion

Major Heather Stanning has

been given an OBE by the

Queen She was honoured

among other Olympic Gold

Medalists at Buckingham

Palace. Heather retired from

her rowing career almost a

year ago to persue her military

career. Although awarded by

the Queen, the medal was presented

by the Princess Royal.

Major Stanning has said she

still keeps fit by competing in

endurance events although

she has admitted to feeling a

little upset that she is not able

to get back to her winning fitness

levels. She laughingly

said though, that she’ll get

used to it. Although retired

she is still very close to her

Olympic partner Helen Glover

saying they still regularly see

each other as friends.

| 4



SBT NEWS Remembrance Special Ken Brooks Osteopath

Bikers to Turn M60 into Remembrance Ring of Red

Motorcyclists, scooter riders and

trikers are to create a red poppy

around the M60 to raise money

for a Haslingden charity., Ride

of Respect – Ring of Red already

circle the M25 and this year

Veterans In Communities, based

in Haslingden, has been chosen

to benefit from all of the funds

raised from the 36 mile M60 ride

on Remembrance Sunday on

November 12. One of the

organisers Jeanette Kiely said:

“Everyone taking part will have

a red T­shirt and we have

contacted TV news stations to

see if they will be able to cover

it. We want someone to be able

to take an aerial photograph to

show the red ring around the city.

“We picked VIC to benefit

because of the outreach work

that the charity carries out in

Rochdale, Heywood and the

surrounding areas.” VIC

Operations Manager Bob Elliott

said: “We are delighted to be

supporting this colourful and

moving tribute to veterans.

“VIC will be at Birch Services

with our VIC crew van and an

advice and information stand.

“We are very grateful to Ride of

Respect – Ring of Red for the

opportunity to raise money and

awareness of the work of

VIC.”Riders will assemble from

9.30am at the Westbound Birch

Services on the M60 and the ride

leaves at 1:00pm.

A retired special forces

officer awarded the

George Cross for

repeatedly risking his life

to save around 200 people

during a deadly Kenyan

terrorist attack has

dedicated his gallantry

medal to all victims of

such atrocities. Major

Dominic Troulan said he

was just the “custodian”

of the honour after the

Queen presented him with

the UK’s highest civilian

honour for bravery. He

added that many “good

human beings” have

“amazed” the world by

Sponsored by

Special Forces Veteran Awarded George Cross

standing up for democracy

during similar incidents.

Maj Troulan, who served

for two decades in the

special forces, returned a

dozen times to the

Westgate Shopping Mall

in Nairobi in 2013 to

search for survivors and

lead them to safety after

al­Shabab extremists

stormed the centre armed

with machine guns and

grenades. Speaking after

the ceremony he said:

“Whilst I take this award –

and very humbled and

honoured I am to receive

it from Her Majesty – it is

definitively (from) a

position of custodian for

all the victims not only of

Westgate but of terrorism

generally.” Maj Troulan,

the first civilian to receive

the George Cross in more

than 40 years, added:

The world over the last

few years has got worse,

arguably. His George

Cross citation was read

out to the investiture

guests, who were told:

“He managed to bring two

women to safety and

decided to stay to help

others. The incident

ended with 67 lives lost.

Centenary to be celebrated at RAF Cosford Airshow

Organisers of the RAF Cosford Air Show have announced plans

for next year’s Air Show, on Sunday 10th June 2018, which they

promised would be “the most spectacular and interactive Air

Show tribute to the Royal Air Force’s centenary.” One of the

most exciting attractions planned for the Air Show is a

showcase of 100 aircraft in a chronological exhibition

showcasing the development of aeronautical design and

capability over the past century. The first participant of which

was announced today, the Boulton Paul Defiant I was a twoseat

turret fighter, operated as a night fighter in the 1940-42 by

the Royal Air Force during WWII. Tickets for the Air Show have

gone on sale today, with organisers holding the price at £25.00

despite increasing costs, with the emphasis being put on

providing great value for money for visitors, something

reinforced for families as accompanied under-16s can attend

the Air Show for free. 5 |

SBT News Special

For The Fallen – Maj Keely Harvey ACF, Officer Commanding Y Company Hampshire and IOW ACF

Every year at Remembrance Parades across the

country I like many others would stand and

listen to the moving words of the 4th verse of

the poem ‘For the Fallen’ by Lawrence Binyon

never really thinking about the other six verses

which put it into it’s truest context. We are all

moved by them and the sounding of the last

post and reveille which tend to follow.

However in 2014 good friends of mine who

live up in Gedney Drove End in Lincolnshire

asked me to join them and their neighbours at

the special service they were holding for the

100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First

World War. I went along as a spectator only

but was asked by the organizer if I would read

out the full poem for them during their service.

I was honoured to accept and was handed a

sheet containing the words.

A simple read through was enough to move me

but the poem truly took on more significance

as I read it out to the assembled group who at

the end of each line extinguished a candle until

only one candle and one line remained; ‘To the

end to the end, they remain.”

As this last candle was blown out a minutes

silence began and we were all moved by the

atmosphere the full poem had presented and

added to the occasion. By the time reveille was

played and the lights were once again

illuminated we had all had time to consider the

significance of all of those words. All of the

people assembled in that all were moved by

them and at that point I knew that I had to

ensure that my cadets truly appreciated the

context that the words were set in so that

generations beyond this first 100 years would

appreciate not only the sacrifice made, but the

pride of a people, the mourning of a country,

the salvation of a nation, the glory and the

horror of war.

As I thought more about it I came up with the

idea that this new generation could use social

media, innovation, invention and the freedoms

they enjoy because of the sacrifices not only of

those soldiers of the First World War, but of all

of those that have followed, to ensure that the

poem and its significance in our service of

remembrance lives on for another 100 years;

because as we move further away from it, so

do our familial connections to it grow ever

more distant.

I knew how I wanted to portray it and getting

the cadets to buy into the idea was easier than

I thought. However ideas and getting people to

sign up to it were easy. What I didn’t

necessarily have was the technical ability to

pull it off, but it always surprises me the

connections we have. I had talked about the

idea to Sgt Instructor Colin Gaylor ACF who

worked closely with veterans from all services

at an Armed Forces and Veterans Breakfast

Club he runs with his wife in Southampton,

little did I suspect that he would know a man

with the technical know­how and a fantastic

team of other film industry professionals. He

was also key in getting the assistance of the

veterans of many more recent conflicts and

service to join with the cadets in the recital, all

of whom were keen to participate.

Once they were all on board the matter took

off in a way I could never have imagined and I

am so grateful for the assistance of all

involved; the film crew who gave their time

and expertise for free and talked the Imperial

War Museum into letting us use a lot of their

stock footage for the backdrop to this; to Sgt

Colin Gaylor and 2Lt Reece Cooper who

helped organize getting everyone together in

one place and at the same time (no mean feat)

and brought this idea to reality, and especially

to the Cadets of Y Company Hampshire and

IOW ACF and the Veterans of Southampton

who gave their time to perform.

Coming up with the idea and the concept was

the easy part, my only other real contribution

was ironing the blue screen to take out the

creases at 0730 on a Saturday morning and

keeping a constant run of tea and coffee

flowing to all the crew and performers. I am so

proud of them all and hope that others will

appreciate their efforts and remember our

veterans and support them by wearing their

poppy’s with pride and contributing to the

Royal British Legion this year and for the next

100 years.

Maj Keely Harvey ACF, Officer Commanding

Y Company Hampshire and IOW ACF

For the Fallen

By Laurence Binyon

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her

children, (Cdt Cpl Rebecca Baynes)

England mourns for her dead across the sea.

(Cdt Daniel Kimish)

Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,

(Veteran Fred Leach)

Fallen in the cause of the free.(Cdt Ashton


Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and

royal (Cdt L/Cpl Chloe Gale)

Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres, (Cdt

L/Cpl Charlie Young)

There is music in the midst of desolation

(Veteran Brian Lankford)

And a glory that shines upon our tears. (Cdt

L/Cpl Archie Pope)

They went with songs to the battle, they were

young, (Cdt L/Cpl Michael Fox)

Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.

(Cdt Kai Williams)

They were staunch to the end against odds

uncounted; (Veteran Di Pratt)

They fell with their faces to the foe. (Cdt Tala


They shall grow not old, as we that are left

grow old: (Cdt L/Cpl Elliott Yourdi­Read)

Age shall not weary them, nor the years

condemn. (Cdt Cpl Rebecca Baynes)

At the going down of the sun and in the

morning (Veteran Vic Thorn)

We will remember them. (Cdt Jack Berry)

They mingle not with their laughing comrades

again; (Cdt L/Cpl Chloe Gale)

They sit no more at familiar tables of home;

(Cdt L/Cpl Archie Pope)

They have no lot in our labour of the day­time;

(Veteran Reggie Campbell)

They sleep beyond England's foam. (Cdt Ellie


But where our desires are and our hopes

profound, (Cdt Cpl Rebecca Baynes)

Felt as a well­spring that is hidden from sight,

(Cdt Daniel Kimmish)

To the innermost heart of their own land they

are known (Veteran Kathryn Day)

As the stars are known to the Night; (Cdt

Ashton Murray)

As the stars that shall be bright when we are

dust, (Cdt Jack Berry)

Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;

(Cdt L/Cpl Elliott Yourdi­Read)

As the stars that are starry in the time of our

darkness, (Cpl Will Dawe, 266 RLC)

To the end, to the end, they remain. (Cdt L/Cpl

Charlie Young)

When you go home, tell them of us, and say

for your tomorrow, we gave our today

(Veteran Fred Elston)

The Last Post and Reveille – Cdt Musician

Sam Frost.

| 6

Worcester Memorials Project

Worcestershire War

Memorials Cycling Project

By David Waite

Ok, so that is easy. Not so. There are many different types

of memorials; plaques, windows, crosses, battlefield crosses

and towers – just to name a few. These number many

hundreds, however to me and my childhood and adult

memories the type I want to visit are those in the hamlets,

villages, towns and cities of the County. The ones where we

visit and pay our respects on the 11th November each year.

So I have managed to reduce the numbers to at least 192.

And these are the known memorials! Surprisingly there is

no completely accurate record of all memorials, where they

are, and what state they are in. The County do not have the

resources to monitor and record this. So my idea is still

fairly open. So back to the drawing board.

So readers, my revised idea, project, aim is to encompass

the past, present and future. How?

I am going to road cycle to all the 192 free-standing War

Memorials in Worcestershire. In May 2018, taking about two

to three weeks. I want to do so then as it gives me longer

daylight hours to ride, and not to deflect from major

commemorations later in the year by the many combatant

nations, British Counties and local folk.

I am going to photograph the front of each Memorial and

send it to the County Archaeology Department and

Remember the Fallen. It will be the first proper audit of

these. The County will then have a photograph data-base

that was attained in a condensed time-scale. Something


I look at 2018 as a highly significant moment in both British

and world history. In case you need to be reminded, it will be

100 years since the Armistice came into force.

When the industrialised slaughter on the Western Front and

other theatres ceased.

The British nation suffered massive casualties both in terms of

dead and those injured. Many injuries were physical, and

many more were physiological.

As a British Army veteran of twenty two years’ service, an avid

road cyclist and pay keen attention to elements of British –

especially military history; an idea sprung to mind.

It started as all good intentions, just a brief skimming idea to

mark the centenary of the Armistice and pay a personal

tribute to those that have fallen in the County of

Worcestershire. For those reading this article overseas, this is

a smallish County situated in the heart of England.

My idea? I want to cycle to all the known War Memorials in

Worcestershire. And pay my personal gratitude and thanks to

all of the fallen.

Linked loosely into this, I work as a local volunteer for Help for

Heroes, and sufficiently disciplined to pursue objectives even

when these look difficult.

So, I dived eagerly into this project. I have found a great deal

of assistance, and confusion! The huge assistance came in

various guises such as the County Archaeology Department,

a small organisation called ‘Remember the Fallen’ and the

Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

I will create feasible day cycling routes (initial thoughts are

of 60 to 70 miles daily), in logically geographical chunks of

the County, that will be published and thus viewed by other

cyclists. If they wish, can join me on the pilgrimage. Not

only will more fun with others, but by doing so raise the

awareness of the Memorials as the last vestige of the link

between our land and those who died 100 years ago.

I have been offered practical support from a local bike shop

and by The Tommy Atkins Centre in Worcester. I am going

to get a loan of a second bike (in the event of a catastrophic

failure on mine) and vehicle and driver support. The Tommy

Atkins Centre is new and deals with ex-servicemen and

veterans who suffer from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress

Disorder). Readers are aware of this as they may receive

the Sandbag Times. The Centre are going to open up a

Just Giving page, and do a daily blog. A bit difficult to do

on a bike!

As the Centre is so new, we estimate that it cost about

£5,000 to run annually, the cost of Remember the Fallen

about £1,000 for two years. So our target (it is a team effort)

is to raise at least £6,000. Is that reasonable to you?

Nearer the time, I am sure you will hear more of this project,

please tell everyone, and please feedback to The Tommy

Atkins Centre. To me, this links the past servicemen, women

and nurses to those of today who are suffering to.

Sponsored by


| 8

The Historical Tommy Atkins

Written By

Peter Macey

Veterans – History in the Making

Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, a

Canadian doctor, who was serving in Ypres

in the Spring of 1915 when a close friend

was killed. As the doctor looked out across

the battlefields, scarred by mud, disused

trenches and barbed wire, he noticed

flowers, bright red petals fluttering in the

breeze. Despite the fighting that was

happening on those same fields on a daily

basis and the increase in injured and dead on

both sides, he realised that life still went on.

John McCrae still suffering the early stages

of grief for his close friend was inspired by

the sight of the red flowers, in stark contrast

to the horrors of war, to write a poem in

memory of his friend.

In Flanders’ Field

In Flanders' fields the poppies blow,

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place: and in the sky the

larks, still bravely singing, fly

scarce heard, amid the guns below.

We are the dead, short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow.

Loved and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders' fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe; to you

from failing hands we throw

the torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die we shall not

sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders' Fields.

During the First World War much of the

fighting took place in Western Europe on

what became known as the Western Front

stretching across France and Belgium.

What had previously been a beautiful

landscape was dug up, blown up, bombed

and fought over for months and years. The

same land that had been farmed and cared

for, for hundreds of years before now

became fields of mud, barren and unwanted

where very little grew. The wild poppies at

Flanders had always grown in the area, and

still do today. With thin stems and almost

silk like petals forming the crown of the

flower they appear so delicate, but in reality

are both hardy and resilient and grow in

their thousands in whatever terrain they find

themselves in. And they flourished in the

battlefields at Flanders despite the chaos that

was going on around them.

Moina Belle Michael, an American

Professor and Humanitarian was visiting

Germany in 1914 when war broke out and

fled to Rome in order to take safe passage

back to America. But prior to leaving she

also assisted 12,000 other American tourists

to return to the United States. The US

entered the war in April 1917.

After the war Prof Michael vowed to always

wear a poppy as a mark of remembrance for

those who died in the war having been

inspired by McCrae’s poem. Later she

taught groups of injured servicemen and

realised that whilst the Government of the

Country appeared to care little for veterans,

she did and came up with the idea of making

silk poppies to raise money for the veterans

in need.

The idea was adopted by French national

Anna Guérin who brought the idea over to

England. The Royal British Legion was

formed in 1921 and ordered 9 million

poppies with the intention of selling them to

support injured veterans across Britain. The

poppies sold out almost immediately and the

first ever 'Poppy Appeal' raised over

£106,000 for the RBL. These funds were

used to support the work of the RBL in

helping veterans with employment and


The following year a Poppy Factory was set

up to employ disabled ex­Servicemen in the

production of poppies to be sold to support

veterans. The demand for poppies was so

great that few were getting north of the

border into Scotland so the Earl Haig's wife

established the Lady Haig Poppy Factory in

Edinburgh in 1926 to produce poppies

exclusively for Scotland.

Over 5 million Scottish poppies which have

four petals and no leaf unlike poppies in the

rest of the UK are still made by hand by

disabled ex­Servicemen at Lady Haig's

Poppy Factory each year and distributed by

the RBL sister­charity PoppyScotland.

When Moina Michael first saw the poem

written on the battlefields by the Canadian

Doctor she was inspired to write her own


Oh! you who sleep in Flanders Fields,

Sleep sweet ­ to rise anew!

We caught the torch you threw

And holding high, we keep the Faith

With All who died.

We cherish, too, the poppy red

That grows on fields where valor led;

It seems to signal to the skies

That blood of heroes never dies,

But lends a lustre to the red

Of the flower that blooms above the dead

In Flanders Fields.

And now the Torch and Poppy Red

We wear in honor of our dead.

Fear not that ye have died for naught;

We'll teach the lesson that ye wrought

In Flanders Fields.

Dr John McCrae died of pneumonia whilst

still stationed in France before the end of the


They shall grow not old, as we that are left

grow old:

Age shall not weary them, nor the years


At the going down of the sun and in the


We will remember them. 9 |

Petty Officer Jim London

In 1939 HMS Ajax Took Part in The Battle of the

River Plate. 78 Years later, Jim London, a stoker

on the ship talks to The Sandbag Times about his

experience and life in the Second World War.

Petty Officer Jim London,

now 98

At the ripe old age of 98 (Jim’s words)

he still remembers in amazing detail

the battle of the River Plate in where

three ships, HMS Ajax, HMS Exeter and HMS

Achillies took on the might of the German

ship, the Admiral Graf Spee who was

destroying many British Vessels at the time.

Jim is only one of two remaining veterans left

from the Battle of the River Plate, Basil Trott

being the other, now living in Cambridge.

In June 1939 Jim was serving on HMS Exeter

around the West Indies and South America

supporting the relief operation after an

earthquake in Chile. After this Jim tells us that

they sailed up the coast of the US and then

sailed back to Plymouth. He had only been

on leave for three days when a telegram

arrived ordering the crew back to the ship.

The ship then set off back to the South

Atlantic. They returned to Port Stanley where

they met up with HMS Ajax and began

patrolling the area which took them to the

area of the River Plate. A large estuary

between Argentina and Uraquay.

On December 13th, 1939, the Graf Spee was

targeting the route used by merchant ships

near the River Plate in Argentina. Harwood

had given the Ajax, Achilles and Exeter

orders to engage the Graf Spee “at once by

night or day” if the ships came across her. At

05.52, look outs on the Graf Spee saw two

tall masts on the horizon. By 06.00,

Langsdorff had identified one of the ships

seen as being the Exeter. He decided that the

ships trailing the Graf Spee were protecting

an important merchant convoy and he

decided to attack. The engines of the Graf

Spee were put onto a battle footing – their

power was greatly increased. This gave out a

plume of highly visible black smoke from the

funnels of the Graf Spee and the following

British cruisers could clearly see her position.

The Graf Spee turned to attack and at 06.17

opened fire on the Exeter. The Exeter was hit

amidships and the ship sustained damage. A

salvo from the Graf Spee did a great deal of

damage to the wheelhouse and killed all but

three of the officers in it. The captain, Bell,

survived and he ordered that the remaining

turrets should fire on the Graf Spee. One

salvo hit the Graf Spee near its turrets.

The Achilles and Ajax were also involved in

this battle but they had stayed away from the

Exeter in an attempt to split the Graf Spee’s

fire power. It proved to be a successful ploy.

More shells from the Graf Spee’s 11 inch

guns hit the Exeter that continued to take

massive damage. However, some of the

Exeter’s torpedo tubes were undamaged and

at 06.31, three torpedoes were fired at the

Graf Spee from the Exeter. At that moment,

Langsdorff had decided to turn and the three

torpedoes missed. His attack on the Exeter

continued and 11 inch shells hit the cruiser.

However, the engine room was not damaged

but electricity in the ship was lost and it was

this that forced the Exeter out of the battle.

The Graf Spee being Scuttled

| 10

Remembering The Royal Navy

Bell planned to ram the Graf Spee but he was

ordered out of the battle by Harwood.

“We was badly damaged and we had to limp

down to the Falklands. We couldn’t go very

fast as there was a lot of damage which had

weakened our bulkhead.” Jim says.

Now the Achilles and Ajax took up the battle.

They were against a ship that had been hit but

had suffered minimal damage at this stage

even though Langsdorff had been knocked

unconscious in one attack. Both ships were

ordered by Harwood to approach the Graf

Spee “at the utmost speed”. Langsdorff, a

torpedo specialist, kept both ships astern to

give them the smallest possible target with

regards to a torpedo This decision,

according to the Graf Spee’s gunnery officer

was not well received. The ship had been hit

by seventeen shells but junior officers of the

Graf Spee later stated that the damage done

to the ship was insufficient to cause it to run to

a port. At this stage in the battle, the Graf

Spee had suffered 37 dead and 57 wounded

out of a total complement of 1,100. In

comparison, the Exeter was three feet down in

the waterline and had lost 61 men killed and

could only use a ship’s compass for

navigation with shouted orders to ensure that

those orders were carried out. Harwood

ordered her to return to the Falkland Islands

Whether the Graf Spee was so badly damaged

is open to question. The ship had been hit by

seventeen shells but one gunnery officer

recorded that three of these hits had simply

bounced off of the armour and that the others

had hit the ship “without causing damage”.

The authorities in Uruguay, on inspecting the

Graf Spee when it reached the River Plate,

commented that the largest hit was six feet by

six feet but was well above the waterline – as

was all of the damage to the ship.

The Graf Spee made for the River Plate – the

Plate estuary is a huge bay 120 miles across.

The two remaining cruisers, Ajax and Achilles,

patrolled the estuary to ensure that the Graf

Spee could not slip out back into the Atlantic

under the cover of dark. The crews later called

this the ‘death watch’.

The Graf Spee put into port at Montevideo.

Convinced by false reports of superior British

naval forces approaching his ship, Hans

Langsdorff, the commander of the ship,

ordered the vessel to be scuttled. The ship

was partially broken up in situ, though part of

the ship remains visible above the surface of

the water.

After some repairs in the Falklands, the Exeter

sailed back home for further repairs and

modernisation. The ships company enjoyed a

little leave but the work on the

ship was to take 14 months,

Jim never returned to the


In fact, very few of the crew returned to HMS

Exeter. She was eventually sunk in the Java

Seas where the survivors ended up in a

Japanese prisoner of war camp where they

experienced horrendous and torturous


Jim joined a fleet minesweeper clearing the

mines on the North African coast. While

doing this, Jim tells us of how they would

push Barrels of Fresh water over the side, as

fresh water floats in sea water to supply the

British Army on the coast. From then on, the

sailed to join the invasion of Sicily. The

Minesweeper, by now had been at sea for a

long time and joined a slow moving convoy

from Gibralter back to England. German

intelligence picked up on the convoy and sent

warships to intercept. However, in rediness

for this, the Allies had position it’s own

defence destroyers and the German attack

was repelled. Jim is not sure how many ships

were sunk but they picked up survivors of a

German ship. Jim tells us how the German

crews were unaware that North Africa and

Sicily had been defeated until they heard the

British news aboard the ship. They were then

taken to Falmouth to be administrated.

After leave, Jim was then sent to serve on HMS

Inglefield, an I Class Destroyer. But his stay on

this ship was short lived and he was sent back

to the barracks through an administrative

mistake. Shortly after this HMS Inglefield was

sunk at Anzio by a Glide Bomb Jim was then

reassigned to HMS Implacable and headed to

the Pacific. HMS Implacable was an aircraft

carrier which was used to repatriate

servicemen. Jim tells us that the Japanese

Kamikase pilots tried to attack the ship but

were unsuccessful thanks to the aircrews. He

goes on to say that once the war ended, the

aircraft were ditched and the hangers were

turned into makeshift sleeping areas for POW’s.

They first picked up many Australian POW’s

that had been held by the Japanese and

returned them to Sydney. They then returned

to the Pacific to pick up British POW’s and took

them to Vancouver where they were transferred

to another ship back to the UK.

We could spend many more pages telling

Jim’s incredible story and hopefully one day

we will. Jim is still very spritely and still has

much of his cheeky but wonderful personality

Jim also served on the HMS Ajax, one of the

ships who took part in the Battle of the River

Plate. The three survivors had streets named

after in the town of Ajax in Canada, Jim being

one of them. So if you ever find yourself on a

street called London Road if you ever go there

then please spare a thought for old Jim, a true

gentleman, a real war hero and one of the

nicest people we have had the pleasure of

meeting since we began. Jim still is still very

active and lives in Worcester. And, hopefully

we shall be seeing him at the next Worcester

Veterans Club meeting.

Jim as a young Stoker, aged 19 11 |


Walter Tull in known

to be the first Black

British Officer. His

story is one of


courage and superb

leadership. The SBT

is proud to pay

tribute to this

inspirational soldier.

Walter Tull was born in Folkestone on 28th

April 1888. His father Daniel Tull, the son of a

slave had arrived in Britain from Barbados in

1976 and found work as a carpenter. Daniel

Tull married Alice Elizabeth Palmer. Over the

next few years the couple had six children. In

1895, when Walter Tull was seven, his mother

died of cancer. A year later his father married

Alice’s cousin, Clara Palmer. She gave birth to

a daughter Miriam, on 11th September 1897.

Three months later Daniel died from heart disease.

alter wals an exeptional football player

which eventually led to turning professional

playing for Bristol City, Tottenham Hotspur and

Northampton Town. However, it was common

place for his to be on the recieving end of

much racial taunting and abuse.

When the First World War broke out in 1914,

he became the first Northampton player to sign

up to join the 17th (1st Football) Battalion of

the Middlesex Regiment, and in November

1915 his battalion arrived in France. The Army

soon recognised Tull’s leadership qualities and

he was quickly promoted to the rank of sergeant.

He was initially billeted at Les Ciseaux,

16 miles from the front line. He had still not

seen action when he wrote a letter to Edward

Tull-Warnock in January 1916:

“For the last three weeks my Battalion has

been resting some miles distant from the firing

line but we are now going up to the trenches

for a month or so. Afterwards we shall begin to

think about coming home on leave. It is a very

monotonous life out here when one is supposed

to be resting and most of the boys prefer

the excitement of the trenches.”

In July 1916, Tull took part in the major Somme

offensive. Tull survived this experience but in

December 1916 he developed trench fever and

was sent home to England to recover. Tull had

impressed his senior officers who recommended

that he should be considered for further

promotion. When he recovered from his illness,

instead of being sent back to France, he went

to the officer training school at Gailes in

Scotland. Despite military regulations forbidding

“any negro or person of colour” being an

officer, Tull received his commission in May,

1917. This was a really big deal because

according to The Manual of Military Law, Black

soldiers of any rank were not desirable. During

the First World War, military chiefs of staff, with

government approval, argued that White soldiers

would not accept orders issued by men

of colour and on no account should Black soldiers

serve on the front line.

Lieutenant Walter Tull was sent to the Italian

front. This was an historic occasion because

Tull was the first ever black officer in the British

Army. He led his men at the Battle of Piave and

was mentioned in dispatches for his “gallantry

and coolness” under fire. Tull stayed in Italy

until 1918 when he was transferred to France

to take part in the attempt to break through the

German lines on the Western Front. On 25th

March, 1918, 2nd Lieutenant Tull was ordered

to lead his men on an attack on the German

trenches at Favreuil. Soon after entering No

Mans Land, Tull was hit by a German bullet.

Tull was such a popular officer that several of

his men made valiant efforts under heavy fire

from German machine-guns to bring him back

to the British trenches. These efforts were in

vain as Tull had died soon after being hit.

One of the soldiers who tried to rescue him

later told his commanding officer that Tull was

“killed instantaneously with a bullet through his

head.” Tull’s body was never found.

On 17th April 1918, Lieutenant Pickard wrote to

Walter’s brother and said: “Being at present in

command (the captain was wounded) – allow

me to say how popular he was throughout the

Battalion. He was brave and conscientious; he

had been recommended for the Military Cross,

and had certainly earned it, the Commanding

Officer had every confidence in him, and he

was liked by the men. Now he has paid the

supreme sacrifice; the Battalion and Company

have lost a faithful officer; personally I have lost

a friend. Can I say more, except that I hope

that those who remain may be true and faithful

as he.” Walter Tull was awarded the British

War and Victory Medal and recommended for a

Military Cross. His family never received the

Military Cross however, as the Ministry of

Defence has claimed that there is no record of

the Military Cross recommendation in Tull’s

service files at the National Archives. Walter’s

brother Edward Tull-Warnock campaigned for

the Military Cross up until his death on 3

December 1950. In 2014 former Tottenham

Hotspur footballer Garth Crooks joined the

campaign to see Walter Tull recognised for

service to his country.

| 12


The Tommy Atkins Centre...

Here at The Tommy Atkins Centre Marie and I are putting our

heads together and have some great plans for services and

events to be linked with us. We’re both eager to meet any

veterans who’d like to call in for a chat any Tuesday and

Thursday 0900-1530 where a warm welcome awaits you along

with a cuppa and a slice of Pablo’s home baked cake. We’re

here for you if you just want a bit of a chat, or you need a bit of

advice on any issues you may be facing.

Great news also, not only are The British Legion going to be

joining us here with a pop in centre, probably early in the new

year, we’ve also just had a meeting also with Combat Stress,

and in the very near future they will be holding a community

outreach service, along with some group workshops for

veterans, and eventually a peer mentoring service all within our

centre. We have also invited SSAFA to come and take a look

around, and are very hopeful they will also link up with us to

offer services to our veterans from here.

For any veterans in crisis we can offer a qualified

psychotherapist within 48 hrs notice should the need arise, and

all local veterans are encouraged to pop in when we’re open to

see if we can offer any help or support or even just for a natter.

We have computer facilities which you are welcome to use, and

we can assist those who need help if required.

12th November is our official opening launch at 1330 when Matt

Neal will be here to cut the ribbon and officially open the centre

for business, followed by our charity auction at The Chestnut

pub in Worcester where we hope to raise a lot of money for our

Aspie charity from whom we rent our centre. Your support is

very welcome at both events. Marie and I will keep you updated

on all our services available to veterans as we implement them,

and we’re both eager to meet up with you all. Jane x 13 |


mission I felt physically sick, I was almost

paralysed with a mixture of fear and elation.

At eight thirty in the morning we took the last

few drops of fuel from our airborne tanker and

dropped towards the Iraqi border. It was a ginclear

sky. 'Burning blue'. Suddenly we were on

our own, one aircraft in the vastness of Iraq's

southern desert. For ten years I had taken The

Queen's shilling, now she was expecting some

return on her investment.

On 17th January 1991 John Nichol and his pilot

John Peters took off in their 15 Sqaudron Tornado

to embark on a fight for survival that would shake

the world. This is their story told by John Nichol.

With Thanks to

John Nichol and

for kind permission

with the content in

this article.

“In true military fashion it was a case of "hurry

up and wait". Order and counter-order fizzled

and flew, culminating with everyone retiring to

the bar, exhausted by the speculation, and

standing themselves down. The standing down

session went well, by the end of the night not

many crews were standing. I remember

running around with a beer towel on my head

pretending to be an Arab; Simon Burgess, a

mate from another squadron, said "Nichol,

you'll regret doing that one day. The next time I

saw him we were being dragged out of the

ruins of an Iraqi interrogation centre after being

used as human shields.

By January 1991 the diplomats had had their

chance. The talking was finished. Desert Storm

left the hands of the politicians and became the

practical business of the military. It was time for

'the mother of all battles' to begin.

How did it feel? Electrifying. As General

Schwarzkopf put it, we were going to be the

Thunder and Lightning of Desert Storm. But at

the same time there was a real sense of

trepidation. The fear of going into the

unknown. After we were given the details of our

The mechanics of throwing eight thousand

pounds of high explosive into the enemy's

back garden are in place. Our timing is spot

on, the target is identified and the computer

can take over. Then they start shooting. At us.

Heavy flak starts coming up, lazy curving arcs

of tracer, dozens of sparkling lights. Paddy

was right; it looks like Christmas. But this is

not the season of goodwill.

Ten seconds from weapon release. There's a

fully developed barrage of flak in front of us.

We're about to fly into a cauldron of fire. JP's

happy with the weapon system, I've got our

defensive aids working overtime. "Weapons

armed, happy to commit." The target is in the

sights. "Three, two, one, NOW."

You don't just 'drop' the bombs from a

Tornado. It lets them go when it is convinced

that you are convinced that all of the

conditions are correct. Our Tornado isn't

convinced and it remains unconvinced. The

bombs don't release, chaos in the cockpit,

warning lights, sirens, we're high over the

target area, we're slow. JP is shouting at me.

Maybe it was the computer's fault. Probably it

was mine. As the flak poured into our jet we

were beating ourselves hard with the idea of

what people were going to say about our

efforts. As it turned out, concern for our

reputations was the very least of the things we

had to worry about. We were beating a hasty

retreat to the border when WHUMPH, a heat

seeking missile took us out.

It was like being hit by an express train, one

minute I was flying at 50 feet looking up at

bright blue sky then bang, the jet was

tumbling like a sycamore leaf and instead of

blue sky I was looking up at brown sand. I

presume that it was the sand that was brown.

The jet rights itself for a second. We're on fire,

the fly by wire system is down, our live

ammunition is cooking off, flames are rushing

along the spine of the jet towards me. Eject!

Eject! Eject!

It's like being grabbed by a giant and tossed

into the centre of a hurricane. You go through

flames and explosions, past confusion, noise

and fear. Suddenly the parachute opens with a

crack and there's only silence. You open your

eyes. The desert is rushing up to meet you.

You hit the sand and collapse in a heap. In

enemy territory.

Within hours we were captured by some of the

troops from the airbase our mates had just

| 14


bombed; they were not best pleased to see us.

As they beat us to the ground with fists, boots

and rifle butts AK47s were cocked and I

realised I was going to die. At one point a

soldier held a pistol against my head, in broken

English he told me he was going to kill me. The

realisation that death was imminent was

remarkably calming; nothing I could do or say

would change the next few seconds. He pulled

the trigger and the hammer thumped against

an empty barrel. It sounds trite now but at the

time I thought, "What a fun few weeks this is

going to be."

They wanted information out of us and we

didn't want to give it up, the Geneva

Convention states quite clearly that POWs are

not obliged to answer any questions bar

number, rank, name, date of birth. Sadly the

Iraqis had lost their copy of the book, they

proceeded to question us the only way they

knew how, with extreme violence. The strange

thing was that I knew I would give up at some

point, I couldn't hold out forever, but I didn't

want to give any information for no return. I had

to have it beaten out of me; I didn't want to

appear weak.

Over the following three days the interrogation

took many forms; sleep deprivation and being

stuck in stress positions for hours on end. To

stand with your feet a meter away from a wall

with your forehead pressed against the plaster

doesn't sound too bad, but within minutes neck

and leg muscles are in spasm. Try it for an

hour knowing that someone is poised over you

with a rifle butt if you move. I was beaten by a

group of guards with fists and boots, chained

to a chair and beaten with rubber hoses. At

one point a guard was stubbing his cigarette

out on my ear.

The worst part? Not so much the pain as the

fear and expectation of what was to come. Pain

hurts but there is a strange comfort in it

because you know where you stand. The hard

part comes when you're left alone in darkness

to listen to others being tortured and to

contemplate your immediate future. I knew I

would crack, I just didn't know when. More

importantly my only thought was, "What will

they do to me, to make me give in?"

After a few days of the gentle stuff they

brought on their big players. In the midst of a

severe kicking a bloke stuffed tissue paper

down the back of my neck and then lit it. This

is enough, ask me another question, I'm

yours, I've given in. The ludicrous part was

that they didn't know what they wanted to find

out. They would ask stupid questions about

the weight of the Tornado or how fast it could

fly; stuff any kid with a copy of an aircraft

magazine would know. Had it been worth

holding out for three days?

Of course it had; it satisfied my sense of

personal pride not to have given in without a

fight. But still the feelings of guilt and shame

were enormous, I felt like a total failure. Not

only had I failed in my mission, I'd been shot

down, captured and broken under

interrogation. To compound it all I was about

to be paraded on the world's TV screens so

that everyone would know what a failure I

really was.

With an AK47 assault rifle pointed squarely at

my head I was forced in front of the camera. I

was determined to sit straight and proud, I

repeated the Iraqi's words to the letter,

hoping that the dreadful grammar would

show that I was under duress. Then they

threw me, chained and blindfolded back into

the cell. As I lay on the freezing floor the

enormity of my situation came home to me,

what would my parents say when they saw

the TV footage, how were they going to cope.

The emotions overwhelmed me in a torrent

and tears railed, through the blindfold, down

my face and dripped onto the concrete floor.

The emotions faded into the background as I

began to exist as a POW. The next seven

weeks were punctuated by isolation, fear,

boredom and beatings. A bit of bombing by

our Allies resulting in a few more brushes

with death. Then, in the same surreal way it

had begun, it was all over. A chap in a fancy

suit came into my cell and said, "the war is

over, you can go home." Just like that. Within

days we were re-united with friends, family

and loved ones. Copious beers were drunk,

vast curries consumed and old girlfriends

came out of the woodwork. The ordeal was

over and life could get back to normal, except

that the rest of my life was just beginning.

There was no great change for me; I had

faced death and survived, yes I valued life

more, in some ways I was a calmer person

but seven weeks of unpleasantness doesn't

change a lifetime, not in the way you might


John was returned to flying status very soon

after along with John Peters, going back to

operational flying in Bosnia. John Nichol left

the Royal Air Force in 1996 and went on to be

a well known public figure and author. He

has appeared many times on television

presenting programmes and also becoming

an inspirational public figure. But, most

noteably, he has written fourteen books

including the bestseller ‘Tornado Down’ which

gives full account of the ordeal back in 2001.

John Peters went on to become an Instructor

until his retirement from the RAF in 1997. He

co-wrote ‘Tornado down’ with John Nichol

and then became a Motivational speaker.

Both are now a source of inspiration to all

servicemen and civilians alike. Although both

men speak humbly of their experiences and

sometimes a little unneccesarily blameful of

themselves, they stand out as real British

Heroes who withstood an incredibly traumatic

experience, overcame mental and phsical

torture to return as men of inspiration. In the

eyes of all, no one could have given more

and no country could have expected more. 15 |

The War Poppy Collection by Jacqueline Hurley is the ultimate

in remembrance art. Each piece captures the true spirit of the

British Armed Forces, while delicately portraying the thoughts

and emotions of those left at home. The Sandbag Times is

proud to feature this small tribute to Jacqueline and the War

Poppy Collection in honour to these incredible works of art.

Please visit her website to enjoy the entire collection.


11 November 2017




The Canuck Connection

LEST WE FORGET 3 little words with

a HUGE meaning. With the day of

Remembrance less than 2 weeks away. At

home the sad news from the Boy Liberal

Prime Minister was that MPs have been

told not to purchase more than two

wreaths for their constituencies.­we­forget­unless­it­ismore­than­two­wreaths

For 2015­16, the salaries of Canadian members of parliament

increased 2.3 percent. The bonuses that members of parliament

receive for extra duties, for example being a cabinet minister or

chairing a standing committee, were also increased. The increase

also affects severance and pension payments for MPs leaving

politics in 2015, which, as an election year, will be larger than


All members of parliament now make a basic salary of $167,400, up

from $163,700 in 2014.

Extra Compensation for Additional Responsibilities

Member of Parliament $167,400 Prime Minister* $167,400

$334,800 Speaker* $ 80,100 $247,500

Leader of the Opposition* $ 80,100 $247,500 Cabinet Minister* $

80,100 $247,500

Minister of State $ 60,000 $227,400 Leaders of Other Parties $

56,800 $224,200

*The Prime Minister, Speaker of the House, Leader of the

Opposition and Cabinet Ministers also get a car allowance.

I do not wish to dwell on this issue but rather to say prayers in

memory of all Canadians and allies who have fought and died for

Freedom. In fact Canada in its young 150 years has served since the

Boer War under 3 different flags. The Royal Union Flag.

Commonly known as the “Union Jack”, and called the “Union Flag”

outside Canada, thousands of Canadians who served under this

famous symbol of the British Empire and Commonwealth first

became war veterans during the Northwest Rebellion and in the

Sudan in 1885. Many more served during the Boer War of 1899­

1902 in Southern Africa and in the Great War of 1914­1918 in

Europe. There followed the Second World War of 1939­1945 where

over a million Canadians saw service on land, at sea and in the air.

Today, many of the Second World War veterans are still with us. A

good many of these served with British and other Commonwealth

Forces. The Union Jack was by default, the official flag of the

Dominion of Canada from 1904 to 1965 even though it was

displaced as the national flag by the Red Ensign in 1945. It was also

the flag of Newfoundland until 1949.An estimated 106,460

Canadian sailors, soldiers, airmen and merchant seamen lost their

lives fighting under the Union Jack.

Never an official Canadian flag by parliamentary approval, all three

official versions of the Canadian Red Ensign nevertheless deserve

high national honours. These versions were produced in 1868, then

in 1924 and finally in 1957. Although the 1868 version saw service

as a battle flag at the end of the First World War, notably at Vimy

Ridge, it was only flown outside Canada from January 1944. The

Merchant Navy had flown it at sea from 1924 onwards. In 1945 it

was officially flown on land and thereby became the battle flag of

our Korean War Veterans. The 1957 version may also said to be the

flag of our Cold War Veterans. Canada lost 44,893 souls in the

Second World War, 496 during the Korean War and over 100 during

the Cold War. Lest we forget

Also called the “Red Maple

Leaf Flag”, the National Flag

of Canada became our first

truly official Canadian flag by

parliamentary approval in

1965 and as such first flew in

combat operations during the

1991 Gulf War. It was also

proudly carried into battle by

our veterans during the

Somalia conflict. Our national

flag is flown and worn on our

uniforms during peacekeeping

and peace enforcement

operations the world over.

Recognized as a beacon of

peace around the world, it has

also become the Canadian

battle flag. Today, we are

witnessing the rise of a new

generation of combat

veterans returning from

service under our flag in Afghanistan. There were no fatalities

during the Gulf War but one UN peacekeeper was lost in Somalia.

To date, there have been 158 mortal casualties in the Afghanistan

Conflict. Hundreds of our Afghanistan Veterans have been injured,

many permanently, serving under the Red Maple Leaf Battle Flag

Lest we forget

Nil Sine Labore


| 18


Be Bold, Be Strong...

Sometimes I wonder if I am the right person to give advice to

people. I suppose my reflection today is one that I would

include in that statement.

We all have the ability to show courage and strength at times.

I am no different. We can all feel fear and back away from a

situation because we are scared. I am no different, but

sometimes we need to call on our inner reserves of strength

and courage to get us through. Again, we are all capable of

this, I am no different. But saying all of that I will take me out

of the equation and concentrate on those who have no

choice than to show courage, be strong and bold. Their

alternative does not bear thinking about.

While I write this, I have the Chennai6 in mind at the time

when we remember as a nation.

Strong’. Yes, it had a nice rock feel, the way we played it but

the lyrics are incredibly moving. ‘Be bold, be strong for the

Lord, your God is with you’. I think at this present time that is

something to hold on to. After reading a chapter in the bible,

I thought about how Jesus had predicted his own death. He

knew he was going to suffer terribly and that this is the way it

was going to be. Yet despite this, he continued to teach, help

and perform miracles. He could’ve quit. He could’ve

thought, I’m going to run away and hide until all of this blows

over but he didn’t. He could’ve saved himself numerous

times during the trial but he didn’t. He endured. Yes, he died

on the cross to save us. Three days later he came back and

spread the good news.

Being Christian doesn’t mean we are perfect or have an

unending supply of strength but it does mean we can follow

in the ways of Jesus and maybe gain a little encouragement

by using him as an example and remembering that we are

never alone when we suffer

Please feel free to check out the bible reading for this week.

A thought occurred to me a few days ago while reading the

comments in a post of how angry people were getting about

this situation, how people were demanding justice for them,

how the government was pressuring the Indian government

to get them out, then reality struck me. Those that kindly give

support and voice then going back to their daily lives, making

tea for the kids, popping to the shops, going down the pub.

Then I thought about the pledged support from the

government with big words and the strength to move

continents but yet when an election pops up, all of that hardearned

support and promise is suddenly evaporated into thin

air. Meanwhile, the guys still have to put up with their

nightmare, the families still have to endure their worry and

heartache, so this reflection is for them and for anyone that

has no choice but to endure the pain that life can sometimes

throw at us.

Joshua 1: 8-9

I used to sing and play guitar in a small chapel. I got away

with singing all sorts of songs where I could find meaning but

the one song of praise that stood out was ‘Be Bold, Be 19 |


Hi Folks, and welcome to Sandbag

Times Radio November update!

How time flies when you are having are having fun arn't you? It's

getting near to the time of year when our

thoughts are with those that have paid the

ultimate sacrifice in the defence of the right

and just. For those that have been injured,

and the families and friends of those affected

by the turmoils of war.

Man has always fought, and he will always

continue to do so, but it is WHAT he fights

for, and WHY that makes the difference.

We live in dangerous times, and there will

always be those that do not hold dear our

beliefs - that is, and always will be LIFE.

During the month of November we will

chronicle the events and remember those

that paved the way for us by playing music

that reflects the mood and thoughts of

those times. "Centenary:Words and Music

of the Great War" will feature in one of our

shows on the 11th of November.

Two of our most popular and distinguished

actors, Jim Carter and Imelda Staunton,

have teamed up with the celebrated West

Country acoustic band Show of Hands

(Steve Knightley, Phil Beer and Miranda

Sykes) to mark the centenary of the First

World War. The conflict lasted for four

years, led to the deaths of over sixteen million

soldiers and civilians, and transformed

Britain and much of the world. But the brutal

carnage and the horrors of life in the

trenches inspired the War Poetry, an

extraordinary artistic movement written by

those who fought, and in some cases died,

in the fighting.

Unique and powerful, Centenary Words &

Music Of The Great War matches the

remarkable poetry of those war years

against the music of the era, along with

new compositions inspired by the war. This

double CD release includes one disc of

twenty two poems read by Jim Carter and

Imelda Staunton in new musical settings

and a second disc on which Show of

Hands perform distinctive versions of period

favourites plus new songs from

Knightley, including The Gamekeeper, and

his setting for Housman’s The Lads In

Their Hundreds.

Show of Hands are joined by distinguished

friends from the folk scene including

Jackie Oates, Jim Causley, Philip Henry

and Geoffrey Lakeman.

Your continued support of both the

Magazine and the Radio Station is greatly

appreciated. If you have any suggestions

for how we can bring you a better more

varied service, then please let us know.

Email me At

Thank you, and spread the word!

Until next month, keep tuning in, and stay


"Lest We Forget"

Jim Wilde

| 20

TO ORDER PLEASE CALL: 01226 734222




Armed Forces &

Veterans Breakfast Clubs


The VBC Website has now been revamped/redesigned and is now live.

There are several new features including a Post Code search facility that

brings up the five nearest Breakfast Clubs to your Post Code, and we now

have a News feature and links to the current issues of the Sandbag Times

and much more. To make it easier for people to get to it, funds have been

made available to allow the acquisition of more domain names.

The new address is and the old address is pointed at the

new site.

The main alteration is that the email addresses have changed from:



We’ve been going for around 15 months. We’ve moved location

since our inception from a local (noisy) cafe to our local

Wetherspoon where we have a decent sized space reserved

for us every Saturday. We have around 130 members on our

very active FB group, but only get between 4 and 22 for scoff.

We welcome sprogs and spouses to brekkie which often

helps curb colourful language! Our members include scaly

backs, blanket stackers, monkeys and matelots with ages

from mid 30’s to 72!

As well as breakfast, we organise regular nights out which we

just hang around (sorry Suggs lol). On a serious note, I feel

the AFVBC’s provide one of the best support networks

around, yes we’ll take the piss but if we can help we will!

Some firm friendships have been made on the back of the

Club with one guy in particular going from being a virtual

recluse to being an an engaging guy. If it was all to end

tomorrow, the fantastic improvement in this one bloke was

worth the effort!! Martin

| 22

Veterans Breakfast Clubs


The breakfast club was started two and a half years ago by

myself (Mark Burton) and Nigel Rees, we started as Glawster

Sappers Breakfast Club, in a small cafe with the post code of

GL2 5PR, so it seemed the right place to meet. Now admired by

Stan Fryatt and myself. We very quickly grew out of the location,

and decided to rename the club as Gloucester Veterans

Breakfast Club, this would hopefully bring other cap badges and

services to our meetings. These are held on the last weekend

(Sat) of the month with a regular turn out in the high 20’s the best

being 47. Our members are from all services with new members

turning up at every meet, we now meet at the Toby Carvery in

Brockworth with members coming over from, Swindon,

Chippenham, Forest of Dean, Cirencester. Lionel Harrison (RIP)

was our oldest member, and was awarded the Legion D’honour

for his efforts in WW 2, sadly he passed away last year, the

Breakfast Club was very proud to have given him a Guard of

Honour at a very large turnout. The ages bridge all generations

with the comment being, “ this is exactly what I have been

missing, banter, humour, and decent conversation,” We raie

money through our raffle, which consists of any old tat that

nobody wants, you often see the same prize coming back each

month. With the money raised we have helped local causes,

such as a child needing special equipment, doing some outreach

work with the homeless, ( planned to recommence again shortly).

We have arranged visits to to the National Arbouritum, along with

one to the Tank Museum. We go along with the motto of “ your

not a stranger, just someone I haven’t met yet “ Mark


I am the Social Media Guru for the Telford AFVBC.....

We decided to start it as a way for Veterans in the area to

meet up with each other. We held our 1st meeting on 21st

July with 77 Veterans and their families.... we had reps

from the RBL, Poppy Appeal, RAFA, REME,the TA, the

Military Covenant aswell as a RBL Biker. We have a

fantastic venue in Coalport which set next to the River

Severn. The girls at the Brewery are really supportive of

our club....they look forward to welcoming us every month.

It has got so popular we are in process of setting up

another in the north of the town. We could move the club

but everyone raves about the breakfast...

Sally Blackburn 23 |


"The Saltfleet breakfast club started

in March 2017, it meets at the

Crown Inn in Saltfleet. The location

is rural and on the east coast of

Lincolnshire in an area refered to as

the Marshlands. We have had

between 8 and 10 attending every

other Saturday and even reached

the heights of 13 on one occasion.

We have members representing all

three services with among the army

members the ubiquitous Sappers.

The ladies help make us a happy

club and provide help when needed.

We are confident that over time our

numbers will grow and new members

will be welcome to join in with

our banter and hilarity".

Best REgards – Bryan Packman

Rotherham MCVC Breakfast Club

On Saturday 21st October a total of 29 veterans and their partners had the privilege to meet both the Mayors and Consorts

from Rotherham and Doncaster at the Breakfast Club, making a total of 33 for the day. After a full English had been devoured

by all, the banter and stories started, with the Mayor of Doncaster joining in with his stories from the time he served in the

Guards. Amidst all the banter there was even time to discuss future events that will involve the MCVC (Military Community

Veterans Centre) and the MCVC Breakfast Club. More to follow as and when they unfold. Also a big thank you goes to the staff

at the Toby Carvery for their continued excellent service in looking after us and of course the excellent food they serve. The

next Rotherham MCVC Breakfast Club meet is on the 4th November starting at 1000hrs at the following address:

The Toby Carvery

Eastwood Trading Estate,

Sycamore Road, Rotherham,

S65 1EN

Any one from the Armed Forces

Community is welcome to pop

along and join in. Please bear in

mind we meet from 1000hrs to

1200hrs, breakfast is not served

after 1100hrs.


Mark Granger

Rotherham MCVC Breakfast Club


| 24

Veterans Breakfast Clubs


This morning, Saturday 22nd October 2017, at the ‘original’ Barkers Breakfast club in Hull, we had some

very special guests. So far, there are 9 lovely ladies taking on an epic challenge, and they are on the lookout

for other volunteers, if anyone is interested, male or female, to join them on this very special adventure!

They are local ladies to Hull, who were looking for a challenge and a deserving cause; they came up with

‘Armed Forces Veterans’ as the cause, and quite appropriately, the challenge is a seven day trek, tracing the

most arduous escape route for thousands of allied forces escaping Nazi-occupied France, by crossing the Pyrenees into Spain.

They will be carrying out this challenge in July 2019 in aid of HULL4HEROES, who are doing what DIY SOS do, supported by

the programme p, for veterans, and they contacted me because they wanted to meet some of the city’s local veterans! My

reply? “Of course, we’d be honoured”! Four members of the team of amazing ladies joined us, pictured kneeling in front of the

‘poppy car’ which was also there. (From left to write) Aimee Potter, Michelle Broadley, Helen Skinner and Claire stocker, pictured

kneeling’ in front of the ‘poppy car’, are taking on some seriously tough terrain in aid of veterans over a period of 7 days

through the Pyrenees mountains, taking on the snow, rain and pretty much what ever mother nature throws at them. The aim

is to raise as much sponsorship as possible to present to their charity. I can not begin to imagine what they will endure during

this challenge they have set themselves, but please support them in any way possible. Please keep an eye out for updates on

the Barkers Breakfast Club group page, and the HULL4HEROES group page on their build up to the walk and of course we will

post pictures of their adventures as we get them, plus any other updates they provide including pictures. Again please show

them support, or if anyone has an interest in sponsoring them, or providing any equipment: new walking boots, clothing etc., to

help them, please contact them via the HULL4HEROES Facebook group page, and they will forward your details them . 25 |

A word from the Ed

So Remembrance is on us once

again. This Remembrance

Special is just what it says on the

tin. We’ve taken a break from the

normal reporting of the news and

our normal stories. This month

we feature stories of

remembrance, our news is from

the souls who attempt to make a

difference to our veterans, stories

of courage and sacrifice,

sometimes humourous and almost

always emotional. But stories

from ordinary people who have

done extraordinary things. It is

my intention that this is a

magazine you can cherish in the

future and serve as a reminder of

what has put the ‘Great’ in

Britain. This year I look back

with a lifted heart and a little

more spring in my step when I

look back at the successes of this

last year. But that will now be

put aside for a short while when

we attend our parades around the

country to remember the fallen.

Most people who read this

publication will at least know

someone who has served and,

although they may have come

home safely, take a few moments

to remember their dedication to

the country and the sacrifices

they were prepared to give. To

me, Remembrance is not just for

those lost but also to all who

served no matter whether it in war

or peace. Also take a few

moments to think of those still in

service and those who are

overseas defending against

injustice. And spare a thought for

aour future forces who may have

to fight in future conflicts. May

God watch over them and keep

them all safe. Finally, I would

like to pray for those in power to

look at ways to support our

veterans and their families in a

more effective way. Maybe these

few lines can plant a few thoughts

into your minds. I would also

like to take this opportunity to

thank everybody for their support

with the magazine. Px

Ways to find us

The Sandbag Times



A Song For A Hero

The Brand New Rock Opera which tells the truth of what

happens to our heroes when the killing ends. Packed with

incredible songs, breathtaking graphics and an emotional

rollercoaster of a story that will leave you asking

questions for a long time to come.”

Where Do They Go...

...When the Killing Ends

| 26




In Flanders Fields

And Other Poems

By John McCrae

A Song For A Hero

Remembrance Edition

The Sandbag Times is commemorating

Remembrance Day 2017 By offering all readers a

free download of the album A Sonfg For A Hero

for the month of November. don’t forget to listen

to ‘A Tale of Remembrance

All The Kings Men

Although he is most famous for

writing "In Flanders' Fields", one of

the best-loved poems about the First

World War, the Canadian soldier,

John McCrae, wrote other poems -

the best of which are collected here.

This edition also includes several of

the poems written in response to

"In Flanders' Fields", an

introduction giving biographical

information and describing how "In

Flanders' Fields" came to be


David Jason

Maggie Smith

David Troughton

An all­star cast portrays this most

poignant and mysterious event

of the First World War ­ the

disappearance in action of the

Sandringham Company at Gallopoli in

1915. First aired in 1999 on

Remembrance Day, this is a must­watch.

Back issues of The Sandbag Times are available to download here


When you go home, tell them of us and say...

Flt Sgt Cyril Bayliss

106 Sqn Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

Killed 1st November 1944

Pte Edward Lindon

Army Ordanance Corps

Killed 1st November 1918

Pte Matthew Haseldin

2nd Bn Mercian Regiment

Killed 3rd November 2011

Flt Sgt John Banfield

27 sqn Royal Air Force

Killed 5th November 1944

Ldg Op Mech Simon Bridgman

HMS Sutherland

Killed 5th November 2006

WO2 Ian Fisher

3rd Bn, Mercian Regiment

Killed 5th November 2013

Pte Henry Jones

2nd Bn Royal Fusiliers

Killed 5th November 1915

Pte Ryan Thomas

1st Bn Royal Regiment of Wales

Killed 6th November 2003

Gnr John Calcott

58th Bde, Royal Field Artillery

Killed 7th November 1918

Pte William Gabb

3rd Bn Coldstream Guards

Killed 7th November 1914

LCpl Henry Ferriman

13th Bn, Gloustershire Regiment

Killed 8th November 1918

Pte Pita Tukatukawaqa

1st Bn Black Watch

Killed 8th November 2004

SAC Scott Hughes

No:1 Sqn Royal Air Force Regiment

Killed 9th November 2010

Sgt James O’Neil

Royal Canadian Air Force

Killed 9th November 1943

Pte Matthew Thornton

4th Bn, Yorkshire Regiment

Killed 9th November 2011

Capt Walter Barrie

1st Bn Royal Regiment of Scotland

Killed 11th November 2012

Pte Jack Insull

8th Bn Royal Berkshire Regiment

Killed 11th November 1917

Mne Neil Dunstan

Recce Ops UKLF CSG

Killed 12 November 2008

Mne Robert McKibben

Recce Ops UKLF CSG

Killed 12 November 2008

Gnr Walter Hackett

64 Medium Regiment Royal Artillery

Killed 14th November 1917

Gnr Walter Bache

3 Heavy Anti Aircraft Regt, RA

Killed 15th November 1943

LCpl Ernest Dabbs

1st Queen's Own Worcestershire Hussars

Killed 15 November 1917

Pte Charles Ingles

1st Bn Worcestershire Regiment

Killed 15th November 1916

Pte Thomas Jandrell

7th Bn King's Shropshire Light Infantry

Killed 15th November 1916

LCpl Peter Eustace

2nd Bn The Rifles

Killed 16th November 2011

Lt David Boyce

1st The Queens Dragoon Guards

Killed 17th November 2011

Sgt John Earp

C Btty, 84th Bde, Royal Field Artillery

Killed 17th November 1917

LCpl Richard Scanlon

1st The Queens Dragoon Guards

Killed 17th November 2011

Flying Officer John Dawson

69 Sqn Royal Air Force

18th November 1944

Pte Thomas Lake

1st Bn, Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment

Killed 20th November 2011

| 28

...For your tomorrow, we gave our today

Pte William Neal

2nd Bn Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry

Killed 20th November 1918

Pilot Officer Alfred Bishop

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

Killed 21st November 1944

Sgt John Jones

1st Bn, Royal Regiment of Fusiliers

Killed 21st November 2005

CSM Albert Adams

1st Bn Worcestershire Regiment

Killed 22 November 1917

Petty Officer Stephen Odea

HMS Neptune

Killed 22nd November 2004

LCpl William Keeling

Royal Army Service Corps

Killed 23rd November 1940

Lt Arthur Macreight

18th Bn London Regiment

Killed 23rd November 1915

Sgt Jonathan Hollingsworth

22nd SAS

Killed 24th November 2006

Mne Alexander Lucas

45 Commando RM

Killed 24th November 2008

Mne Tony Evans

42 Commando RM

Killed 27th November 2008

LCpl Thomas Kane

3rd Bn Grenadier Guards

Killed 27th November 1917

Mne Georgie Sparks

42 Commando RM

Killed 27th November 2008

Rfn Sheldon Steel

5th Bn The Rifles

Killed 27th November 2011

Mne William Jauncey

41 Commando, Royal Marines

Killed 29th November 1950

Pte Reginald Lambert

4th Bn Worcestershire Regiment

Killed 30th November 1917

A Prayer for Remembrance

Remember Ypres, Gallipoli, the Somme,

Mons and Verdun. Remember the Western

Desert, El Alamein, the

Normandy beaches. Remember Coventry,

Dresden, Hiroshima and the Burma Road.

Remember Korea, the

Falkland Islands, Northern Ireland, the

Balkans, East Timor, Afghanistan and the


Remember the courage, the comradeship,

the ingenuity, the spirit of working together

for a common cause,

the planning together for a better world that

would come with peace.

Remember the call to arms, the patriotic

songs, the partings which were such sweet

sorrow. The sound of the

drum, the skirl of the pipe, the prayer that

God would be on our side.

Remember the carnage; the colossal horror

of war. Remember the widows of sixty years

and more, the old

men and women who never knew their


Remember the love that was lost, the wisdom

wasted, the

minds that are still pained by memories.

Remember the families bereft by recent wars

and conflict.

Remember this day the children who will die

while nation fights nation. Remember the

One who asked us to

remember them.

Father, remember us; and forgive us our sins

against you and our fellow man.

Let us remember before God those who

have died for their country in war; those

whom we knew, and whose

memory we treasure; and all who have lived

and died in the service of mankind.

They shall grow not old as we that are left

grow old:

Age shall not weary them, nor the years


At the going down of the sun and in the


We will remember them. 29 |

Poetry Corner

A Tale of Remembrance

Dogs of War or Brothers in Arms

Young men from cities, valley’s and farms

Sworn to the crown and a countries peace

Honour, Pride and Courage, the Soldiers Creed

The Shilling is taken, the deal is struck

This code of honour, this game of luck

Pain’s now his friend in so many ways

A soldier’s burden for the rest of his days

Why go to war, a war without end

If not our hero’s, then who do we send

Sentenced to hell in a war torn land

Dodging the reaper hidden in sand

But this isn’t new, it’s from centuries past

From bow and arrow to bullets and gas

But what of the lessons when our hero’s return

In a flag draped coffin, what did we learn?

So we begin our journey on neighbouring shores

This one was called “The War to end Wars”

Trenches were dug and Tommies were slain

The First World War was all done in vain

From the first to the second and a new kind of hell

A bully’s in power, a country has fell

To Europe again, they answered the call

Young men gathered all standing tall

On land and at sea the battles are fought

Inch by inch their liberty’s bought

Then came the time of the Battle of Britain

Defending our skies, our future was written

And then the Tyrant had fallen and peace was restored

You never know, this could be the war to end wars

And for a while, we thought it was true

As our hero’s stayed home with nothing to do

But conflicts still raged in far distant lands

Korea, South Africa and then Viet Nam

Cyprus and Turkey and God only knows

How the hell we still think we are friends and not foes

But then to the Cold War, Political Chess

A Nuclear stalemate between East and the West

The Hammer and Sickle would not bend

To the Star Spangled Banner with no means to an end

The fear of destruction would not make them see

The horrors of fallout that could so easily be

The end of mankind for a political cause

Maybe that would be the war to end wars

But the wait was not long before violence returned

Because in ’69 innocence burned

In the Emerald Isle, the theatre was set

A land full of hatred, fear and regret

The Ministers said we’d be home in December

How quick they forget, how long we remember

We arrived as heroes but the message got lost

As the price we paid wasn’t worth the cost

Bricks and Nails and Bottles and Sticks

With the odd petrol bomb thrown in with the mix

Kids line the streets and shout out abuse

These guns that we brandish are completely no use

A rebel song sang of green, white and gold

Of a deep routed hatred of young through to old

No matter the threat we must remain true

We swore our allegiance to red, white and blue

But what was the reason for this civil war

Was it religion or politics or just hate for the law?

Whatever the reason, the blind lead the blind

With the politicians and priests all standing behind

But while the war raged within our own land

Fate was close by to deal its next hand

Ships and troops were rallied in panic

To go fight a war in the South Atlantic

The Task Force arrived and the job began

To liberate our people from an occupied land

But the Alter of Freedom came at a cost

As once again lives were tragically lost

The desert was next to become the damned

As war broke out in the Holy land

Reactions were quick and the job was done

But yet again, many had died at the point of a gun

And then back to Europe but this time the East

To Bosnia and Kosovo to ensure there was peace

Still the lessons of history had not been learned

As, once again, the innocent were banished and burned

Villages and roadsides were full of the dead

As ethnic cleansing stained the government red

But all our hero’s could do was watch in vain

As the horror unfolded again and again

Then that was that and peace was restored

Even in Ireland they were talking once more

Could it be that we were now finding peace

At last, all the killing and dying could finally cease

Then all of a sudden Armageddon came

As the Twin Towers fell and war broke out again

But this time they faced a new kind of foe

Back to Iraq and Afghanistan our hero’s would go

And there in that land they continue to fight

In a terrorist war with no end in sight

IED’s and ambushes, fire fights and mines

And yet again, we’ve ignored the danger signs

But they died for our freedom and our right to live

On land, sea and air their lives they did give

Those that survive still live with the pain

Reliving their nightmares again and again

So when we come to remember, lest we forget

The pain and the courage, the blood and the sweat

We owe so much as Churchill once said

So as the Last Post ends, bow your heads and remember our


We will remember them

Written by Pablo Snow

| 30

Poetry Corner

Win This Fantastic Title

This unusual and beautiful book collects

together twenty five of the often read, wellloved

poets. Each poet is illustrated with an

original watercolor portrait by the talented

young artist, Charlotte Zeepvat, who

reproduces in pleasing script one of their

works, giving a biographical summary that

placed the poet firmly in the battlefield

context in which their work was conceived.

To have a chance at winning this

fabulous book, simply email your

poetry to:

Remember Me

(The voice of the dead)

Remember me

Duty called and I went to war

Though I'd never fired a gun before

I paid the price for your new day

As all my dreams were blown away

Remember me

We all stood true as whistles blew

And faced the shell and stench of Hell

Now battle's done, there is no sound

Our bones decay beneath the ground

We cannot see, or smell, or hear

There is no death, or hope or fear

Remember me

Once we, like you, would laugh and talk

And run and walk and do the things that you all do

But now we lie in rows so neat

Beneath the soil, beneath your feet


On the boot muddied fields where the grasses once grew

Swaying tall proud and strong stirred by only the breeze

Where the blood of good men drained deep into the soil

And the silence is marked by soft whispers from trees

No more guns blast the air striking men as they ran

Seeking shelter from hell as their brothers fell still

No more screaming and tears as brave men breathed their last

Just the silence of death floating far to the hills

The breeze carries the scent of shells recently spent

And it bites thick and sharp on the ground and the air

Though the years have passed by yet the shadows remain

We remember them all as we offer our prayers

When the sun hits the ground warming seeds from her womb

So the poppies burst through in a tide of bright red

And they sway and they swell in great ribbons of love

Born to remind us all of our mens resting heads

Many summers pass by in the fields where they fought

And the scars of their souls will forever remain

But as sun warms the lands so the poppies will shine

Bringing life to the lands from the death and the pain

Jane Shields ©

Poetry Corner

Send your Poems into us at

Remember me

In mud and gore and the blood of war

We fought and fell and move no more

Remember me, I am not dead

I'm just a voice within your head

Harry Riley 31 |

The Veterans’ Magazine

The War Poppy Collection

Jacqueline Hurley talks to the SBT

about her stunning works of art

100 Years of Vera


As Dame Vera Lynn celebrates

her 100th Birthday we look back

at her incredible story


The SBT News

This week’s latest national

and international news

from the world of Veterans

and Armed Forces

Issue 29 | March 2017




Ken Brooks







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