216 Parachute Signals Squadron Guestbook

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Terry Brown | terryvivbrown~AT~virginmedia~DOT~com
I am unable to help with your requests,but I do look at the guest book nearly every day, but there is'nt much activity on it. Wishing everybody well.
Tuesday 3 May2016 - Whitley Bay

Webmaster comments   Good to know you are out there Terry - thanks

Keith Weller | keith~AT~keithweller~DOT~plus~DOT~com
We appear to have received very little interest in filling the vacancies in our RBL branch and replacing Dick on the OCA committee. It prompts the following questions:-

1. Is it there is no interest in the RBL or maybe the website is not used as much as we would hope?

2. Craig is asking the question has our RBL branch just run its course.

3. I guess I should ask the same question regarding the website. The cost is increasing year by year and we are now spending nearly £200 a year on hosting and domain registration. We have no way of knowing how much it is used by you, the only register being the comments received on the Guestbook and the number of photos/articles received for publication. They have reduced dramatically over the last few years. So guys, besides the question posed above I would also like to ask you if you would like the website to continue. We were promoting the website as our primary means of communication but I think we need some positive feedback to confirm it is actually being used.

4. Although I am happy to look after the website for the foreseeable future it would be good to know if there is anyone who might be interested in picking up the reins.

We are grateful for your comments via the Guestbook or if you prefer direct to me on keithweller@216parasigs.org.uk

Many Thanks

Tuesday 3 May2016 - Worcestershire

Ray Duffy | ray~DOT~duffy1~AT~ntlworld~DOT~com
Further to my earlier message regarding the RBL Meeting at Barnsley. It has been decided to change it an OCA Meeting rather than RBL where we can consider the future of our RBL Branch and whether we have volunteers to take up the vacant posts. All matters put forward by members can be discusses to allow the Committee to take a view on them. The "no AOB" rule means that we will not consider any new issues raised from the floor of the meeting. All Committee members are happy to serve for another 2 years at this time but nominations for replacements can be made provided they are made, with a seconder before the meeting.
Tuesday 3 May2016 - York

Ray Duffy | ray~DOT~duffy1~AT~ntlworld~DOT~com
We will be holding a Legion Meeting at Barnsley this year. It will have to take place just before the evening meal on Saturday to ensure maximum attendance. I would request items for the Agenda please. Also we will be looking for volunteers to take up appointments within the Branch to replace myself as Secretary, John Aspinall as Treasurer and Craig as Chairman. It will be an important meeting as it will decide on the future of the Airborne Signals Branch. There will be no AOB.
Sunday 24 April2016 - York

Billy Haslam | haslam216~AT~icloud~DOT~com
Barnsley 2016 Golf The Marshall Cup.
S72 0HW on Sat 28 May 2016.
Tee times are from 1100 to 1148. The green fees are £27.50p and are payable on the day to the club. Buggies can be reserved by phoning the club (01226 755079) would you please confirm your attendance by email using the address below. Good weather has been applied for.
Thursday 14 April2016 - Northampton

Peter Whitehead | peter~DOT~whitehead48~AT~live~DOT~co~DOT~uk
I have been reading with interest the various articles concerning our WOTG RBL branch. As a long serving Chairman of my local RBL branch I am familiar with the challenges outlined in the previous articles. I think the WOTG branch reflects the remarkable success of the OCA and that success is based on a specific era.
Welfare is no longer a branch issue as SSAFA and other organisations have taken this on. However, as Craig points out we have beneifitted from our membership of the RBL but perhaps the time has come to review where we are and where we want to go.If this review is to take place at Barnsley this year then I would be very happy to attend. Peter
Wednesday 13 April2016 - Worcestershire

Webmaster comments   Thank you for your contribution Peter. Are there anymore comments from our membership.

Brian Earl | bribety~AT~talktalk~DOT~net
Myself Roger Burrow and Frank Kelly are going to visit the NMA in May before travelling up to the reunion if anyone wants to join us get in touch and I will tell you where we are staying
Sunday 10 April2016 - Ryton Tyne&Wear

Chris WHITE | chris~DOT~debs~AT~hotmail~DOT~co~DOT~uk
I have just read a circulation on facebook relating to and showing the grave of Lt Jim Barry on the Falklands. Lt Barry Royal Signals was killed fighting as a Pltn. Cmd. with 2 Para during the battle of Goose Green. I ask the question. Why is his name not on the Falkland Memorial Stone at Caythorpe Church or his name not mentioned during the service at Caythorpe weekend
Friday 8 April2016 - Llanelly Hill

Webmaster comments   Good question Chris

Keith Weller for Craig Treeby | keith~AT~keithweller~DOT~plus~DOT~com
There are obviously some questions which require addressing regarding the past the role of the Weston on the Green RBL Branch and linked to that what is the best route to support any welfare request.
In answer to Alan’s initial input I would like to provide some background to what the Weston on the Green Branch has achieved but also to recognise that perhaps it has run its course unless others are willing to take up the reins.

In addition to creating funds for the RBL, money has been allocated back to the Branch which we have used to pay for post and admin expenditure, two Standards and associated equipment, standard bearer expenses to attend funerals/ Caythorpe etc, our dedicated tree and memorial plaque at the National Memorial Arboretum and web site admin costs. In addition we had put by a sum of money in the event of immediate welfare needs should they be required.

We have now reached a cross roads; after 12 years in post Ray Duffy as Secretary, John Aspinall as Treasurer and myself as Chairman have decided to retire, without replacements the Branch will need to close. It is reasonable to conclude that perhaps we no longer need to have an RBL Branch but to rely on the OCA to maintain our links as an Airborne Signals community, howbeit with no regular funding scheme to administer it or provide money for other expenses. One other point to consider is that we would have to lay up the RBL Standards, presumably at Caythorpe.

I suggest that a decision needs to be made when we meet at Barnsley and would ask you all to consider:

a. Do we need to continue with the Branch?

b. If Yes, then would you step forward to take on a committee role as Chairman, Secretary or Treasurer?

In order to get a straw poll of feelings I would ask that you make your comments either on the website or to myself (crtreeby@gmail.com) and Ray (ray.duffy1@ntlworld.com)”

Turning to the question of welfare support, the simple answer is that the RBL is not now necessarily the organisation to approach if seeking welfare support. During my time with the RBL almost all Branches had a welfare committee (my patch, Ox and Bucks, had just under 100) and they had recourse to contact me and my staff at the County office for professional assistance and funding. In conversation with an ex County Chairman for Oxfordshire a few weeks ago he said there was now only one caseworker to cover the County with no direct County professional support; individuals are otherwise expected to visit the “RBL shop” in Aylesbury (Bucks) for help.
Regardless of a local Branch I am willing to help in providing welfare assistance and advice using my past experience of RBL and working for the Parachute Regiment.

In the event I would advise possibly discussing the situation with me (see above) and ultimately I would probably expect a SSAFA caseworker to be appointed who, if funding is required, will approach the R Signals Association (topped up by ABF) and possibly Airborne Forces Security Fund. Rarely will RBL get involved, exceptions may be to approach the RBL for debt/benefits advice but local CAB may be just as good.

I hope that helps.
Thursday 7 April2016 - Worcestershire

Webmaster comments   Please take a few moments to answer Craig's questions.

Alan Hogg | alan~DOT~hogg2~AT~btinternet~DOT~com
Hi Gus, I can only agree that being able to access or facilitate help is a good thing and probably what most of us would expect. My question however still stands, is an WOTG Member able to get direct help from our branch in a way that could not be achieved by simply ringing RBL in London?, and is our committee able to influence such requests? maybe Craig can answer that? personally I don't necessarily agree with the media criticism of the often high salaries earned by those at the top in the RBL provided that they are the right people for the job - charity is now big business and having to compete strongly against increasing competition
Saturday 2 April2016 - Pateley Bridge

Webmaster comments   There must be more people out there with questions/comments.......

Gus Emery | kenemery~AT~btopenworld~DOT~com
Hi all, as an answer to Allan I would say that the membership of our branch is most important. It is our link with the RBL and one that I have found extremely useful. The RBL is only as strong as the number of branches it has. Our branch although small is very important to our association and acts as a contact point for members. Should it disappear then that is yet one more link broken in a chain that does so much good work for ex service men all over the world. Should we ever need help "and at my age I am keeping my fingers crossed" the a phone call to the secretary, who you know, can put you in touch with the necessary people.
I hope some one comes forward to take over from the committee to keep our name on the register of the Royal British Legion.preferably one of our younger members. The Branch belongs to you
Friday 1 April2016 - Hampshire

Webmaster comments   Thanks Gus for taking the time to say a few words. I think it's important we all have a say, perhaps there are a few more that would like to comment. Obviously without replacing key people it makes it harder to keep things going. We are still looking for replacements for Ray Duffy - Secretary, John Aspinall - Treasurer, Craig Treeby - Chairman and for the OCA we are still looking to replace Dick Hamilton as Vice Chairman. If you are interested in helping to fill any of these post please contact Ray Duffy/or via the website.

Alan Hogg | alan~DOT~hogg2~AT~btinternet~DOT~com
I note that a search is on for new administrators for our Weston on the Green RBL Branch. I suppose I have to ask the question - what exactly does the branch achieve and have the sterling efforts of Ray Duffy, John Aspinall and Craig Treeby been worthwhile? obviously all subscriptions are welcomed by the RBL but I think we all were under the impression that our branch would have the ability to help those members of the OCA who were in need. As I understand it our branch does not have the power to provide direct help to anyone. Should the branch perhaps close down and those who want to contribute to the RBL could do so in some other way?
Wednesday 30 March2016 - Pateley Bridge

Webmaster comments   Interesting question - are there anymore thoughts/opinions out there. We are still looking to replace Ray, John and now Craig.

Phil Kirk | philkirk~AT~me~DOT~com
Hi Guys. Just checking everyone is ok. I'm still alive and kicking. Its been two and a half years now since finish my cancer treatment. I trust everyone is keep healthy. All the best to all.
Wednesday 30 March2016 - Rustington

Webmaster comments   See you at Barnsley.

Keith Weller | keith~AT~keithweller~DOT~plus~DOT~com
Minutes - Minutes of the OCA meetng held at our last reunion can be found on the Newsletters page.
Tuesday 03 May2016 - Worcestershire

Chris White | chris~DOT~debs~AT~hotmail~DOT~co~DOT~uk
Stella it's a closed group I repeated what was put onto this site.So far there has been 42 likes and four comments.To quote just one,"RIP BOMBHEAD Airborne warrior" Chris
Saturday 26 March2016 - Llanelly Hill

Stella Parkes | stella~DOT~parkes~AT~gmail~DOT~com
Thanks Chris for putting the info about my Dad, 'Bombhead' Mitchell,on 216 paras Facebook page. Not a member myself so can't see what has been said but Dad would have been well chuffed! Thanks to you all.
Saturday 26 March2016 - Gloucestershire

Chris WHITE | chris~DOT~debs~AT~hotmail~DOT~co~DOT~uk
Stella, I put the information about your Dad and the details of your intentions for your Dads ashes on the Parachute Signals Facebook Page. It has caused a great numbers of likes and comments.(Respect) Chris
Friday 25 March2016 - Llannely Hill

Stella Parkes | stella~DOT~parkes~AT~gmail~DOT~com
In response to Ricky Richardson asking where 'Bombhead' Mitchell will be buried. He is being cremated and we are hoping to get his ashes scattered by plane over Salisbury Plain where he did some of his training. Family legend runs he did 99 jumps so this will make his 100th drop.
Friday 25 March2016 - Gloucestershire

Webmaster comments   Nice touch Stella - I hope you are able to arrange it.

Bill Braniff | william~DOT~braniff~AT~gmail~DOT~com
Hi Bob
Spoken like a true Airborne brother. Wish I could be there, but I'm sure our Squadron representation will be in good hands. Mitch would be proud to be remembered in this way. Give a solute on my behalf.
Thursday 24 March2016 - Great Yarmouth

Bob O'Hara | bobnmau~AT~hotmail~DOT~com
Bill, I am happy to represent the Sqn at this sad event, it is a short drive from here and I can take time out from work. Bob O’Hara
Wednesday 23 March2016 - Cheltenham

Bill Braniff | william~DOT~braniff~AT~gmail~DOT~com
I have been in touch with Stella Parkes since she posted the news of her father GTM Mitchell's death. The GTM foxed me for a bit so I wasn't sure if it was my old tent Cpl., known to all as Bombhead from doing a "Feet, Arse, Head" landing. She confirmed that this was her Dad, telling of how he long remembered his Para Squadron days. Stella agreed when I asked if I could copy our mail to the site. This follows:
Mitch was my tent Cpl in Egypt. In those days there was no rank by trade so promotion was more by merit. Your Dad was of course addressed as Corporal but he revelled in the name Bombhead. He was an older soldier than me and was always given the respect this merited. I remember him as being firm but fair. He had been in 16 Parachute Brigade since it was formed out of 2nd Independent Parachute Brigade so we young soldiers looked up to him.
You asked for an anecdote, I remember one when we moved to a new camp. The tents we lived in were of the large square (EPIP) type long used by the British Army in India. Designed as 4 beds per tent but very often 6 men were squeezed into them. Tents were joined together in rows of 6 tents. In St Vincents camp, electricity for lighting was eventually provided from a pole, with a fuse box on it, at the end of each row. Well one night there was a problem of some sort and Henry Paul a Radio Mechanic started to put things right. Before he started, Henry pulled the fuse and left it on top of the fuse box. He was working by torch light with all the lights out when some else decided to restore the lights by replacing the fuse. Henry, up a ladder, was almost electrocuted and fell off the ladder. Chaos reigned with much shouting and swearing until Bombhead took charge, he seen to Henry, then read the riot act to the guy who replaced the fuse using words not usually heard from him, with references to the miscreants parentage. Anyway as happens in the Squadron it ended with a laugh and a lesson learned: when working on electricity "put fuse in your pocket".
I'm afraid that I won't be able to attend the funeral but will of course will be thinking of Mitch on the day. By the way, our march past tune is "Begone Dull Care", "Ride of the Valkyries" is the march past of the Parachute Regiment who are the infantry part of the Brigade.
Fond Farewells from One old Para to another on his journey to the big DZ.

Bill Braniff
Stella extended a welcome to the funeral service which is at 1.30pm on 31st March at Gloucester crematorium and afterwards at Rodborough Community Hall, Stroud). Though I can't be there, as Mitch was a founder member of the 16th Para Bde it would be nice if anyone in that area could attend
Sunday 20 March2016 - Great Yarmouth

Ricky Richardson | george291~AT~btinternet~DOT~com
Stella.So sorry to hear about Mitch, I could not have known him, but it sounds like he was a true Airborne Brother.Where is he to be buried?
Saturday 19 March2016 - Peterborough

Wee Mac and Linda | macdonald508~AT~btinternet~DOT~com
Sorry that we wont catch up in Barnsley. Hope we can catch up next time we're strolling in Wales
Wednesday 16 March2016 - Scotland

Stella Parkes | Stella~DOT~parkes~AT~gmail~DOT~com
Just to let you know that Mitch ( GTM Mitchell) passed away on March 9 at Scarlet House Nursing Home in Stroud. He was 86.He joined 216 paras in 1946 and served in Germany, Palestine, Cyprus, Egypt. He left the service in 1955. Later on he joined he TA and was a sergeant major in the Royal Gloucestershire Hussars until 1977.
Tuesday 15 March2016 - Stroud, Gloucestershire

Chris White | chris~DOT~debs~AT~hotmail~DOT~co~DOT~uk
It's time to be sensible and I have decided that as it stands at the moment Deb's and I will not be attending the reunion. Deb's has to be my primary concern and I think the journey to Barnsley would be just to far for Deb's. All being well I hope we can make Caythorpe. Chris
Tuesday 15 March2016 - Llannelly Hill

Webmaster comments   Will miss you Chris + Debs

Keith Weller for Stan | keith~AT~keithweller~DOT~plus~DOT~com
"The 2016 Reunion is getting closer and I would be grateful if anyone who intends coming but hasn't returned their profroma does so before the end of March. I will be going to Barnsley shortly to finalise with the hotel as I am going to be on holiday for a large part of April. Looking forward to seeing you all in May".

Saturday 12 March2016 - Worcestershire

Robin Stanley (Stan) | maddison135~AT~btinternet~DOT~com
Have had letters from Jake Mateyawa in Fiji to say that he would like to come to the reunion but requires financial help to do so. He has contacted the Royal Commonwealth and ex services League (London) who helped him 2006 but unfortunately his request for his fares has been declined. Are there any secret millionaires out there, if so, please don't hesitate to get in touch.
Friday 11 March2016 - Hereford

Keith Weller | keith~AT~keithweller~DOT~plus~DOT~com
Dear Members of the OCA/RBL Western-on-Green Branch,

We now need to fill a number of positions in the association and in our RBL branch. Our RBL secretary, Taff Duffy and Treasurer, John Aspinal have held the reigns for well over 12 years and now feel they would like to hand over their responsibilities. Is there anyone out there willing to take on these duties, if so please contact Taff and John direct or via the website for more information.

The OCA also needs to replace Dick as vice chairman. The duties of vice chair are covered in our constitution but broadly entail, deputise for the chairman, assist chairman to produce an annual news letter. Write obituaries and articles for the Wire and Pegasus Magazines and liaise with the current Squadron. If you wish to be considered for this position you should be sponsored by two ordinary members and the position confirm by a show of hands at the next AGM. Please contact Taff Duffy, secretary OCA direct or via the website for more information.
Saturday 5 March2016 - Worcestershire

Brian Earl | bribety~AT~talktalk~DOT~net
Hi. All I have spoken to Mal (Taff) Parker this morning and as you all know he has missed the last couple of reunions including Caythorpe the problem is he has a bit of a heart problem and finds it hard to travel long distances he will be missing from Barnsley this year so let's all wish him well and hope they fix him soon.
Wednesday 2 March2016 - Ryton Tyne & Wear

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