At our meeting on 12th August, we departed from the usual format and started with a Curtain Raiser by DAVID LONSDALE, member of the Medal Collectors Society and ex-member of the Scots Guards. He showed us a series of Military Medals in excellent condition, which had been awarded to Scots Guardsmen from 1847, and also entertained us with amusing as well as poignant anecdotes about their recipients.
This set the stage for FRANK W. BULLEN'S talk on the Troops of The Household Division. As member of the Guards Association and our Society in Johannesburg he offered us a fascinating insight into the long history of the Guards Regiments from 1642 to the present day.
Talking to any former Guardsman today, the lay person will probably be surprised to discover no evidence of resentment against indoctrination. Instead, he will find pride, a sense of comradeship and of belonging to a unique brotherhood of Regiments with an unequalled tradition of military achievement. There are numerous reasons for this. One of the most powerful is the sense of accomplishment; of having survived and won acceptance in a regime which is not for the fainthearted or fragile. But this is not merely male macho posturing. More significant is his acceptance of a system which emphasises personal accountability in ensuring that the highest standards of behaviour are maintained. The basic rule is that there shall be no acceptance of anything that is, in any way, second rate. Throughout The Household Division one MAY well be surprised to observe the calm, friendly and supportive environment that belies the harsh images of past centuries. Today's Guardsmen are recognized/and treated as/ the responsible professionals their training has equipped them to be; available 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year, to protect the Sovereign and Britain's interests.
The Guards have served practically all over the world with few exceptions, and have trained regiments throughout the British Army and armies of various foreign countries, and provide most of the staff for the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst. Frank closed his talk with a video clip on the Falkland's campaign and the 1997 Sovereign's Birthday Parade; and with posters put up by him, promoting service in the Guards as a worthwhile career for young men, some of the ex-Guardsmen in the audience might have wished to be young again to join up.
Major Anthony Gordon thanked the speaker and added a couple of his own stories to round off an entertaining evening.
ADRIFT ON THE OPEN VELD. The Anglo-Boer War and its Aftermath. The Deneys Reitz Trilogy, 1899-1943, is now available in one book
FIVE FRONTIERS TO FREEDOM. Jeff Morphew's escape story from an Italian POW Camp in WW II.
Book orders can be placed with Johan v.d.Berg Tel.: (021) 92 7923
Anyone planning to visit him can obtain directions to the Retirement Home from Derek O'Riley or John Mahncke.
John Mahncke, (Vice-Chairman/Scribe), (021) 797 5167