Just a short one — at the time of writing summer seems to have arrived and thoughts of holidays abound.
Branch members should find the updated members list (issue 36) enclosed. The Branch Secretary stated at the May meeting that although overall numbers were down, the decrease that we experienced related to members, who do not normally attend, leaving the ones who do, in theory at any rate, much the same. To assist members who are sometimes unsure whether they have the correct date for a coming meeting, the dates for the next six meetings are listed on the reverse side of the members list — these being the third Sundays in alternate months. Transferring these dates on to, or into, a calendar or diary might be an additional insurance against turning up on the wrong day! The dates, of course, are subject to amendment under exceptional circumstances.
At the last meeting the Branch Treasurer gave an update on our finances — a satisfactory balance, no cause for concern.
Alan Phillips mentioned that if we ever wanted an outing it might be worth considering the Wibbly-Wobbly floating restaurant at Surrey Quays. He had been to the restaurant on several occasions and had been impressed by the friendliness that he had found there. After discussion it was suggested that we should find out a bit more.
London Branch Social Meeting
Arrangements are being made by the Branch committee for the July meeting to be in the form of a social with a buffet very kindly organised by the Sea Cadets Parents and Supporters Association (PASA). To assist the members who are normally unable to travel to the Belfast to attend meetings, encouragement is given for them to arrange for a close family member(s) or carer(s) with transport to bring them along on this occasion and to stay with them on board for the duration of the meeting. As always, any arrangements we wish to make on the Belfast are conditional on the acceptance of them by the Chief Yeoman, so that conditions may apply.
Vera Mitchell will be drawing up a list of names of those attending, for catering purposes. lf you plan to attend the meeting please (even if you normally attend) ring Vera to ensure that you are on this list. She will be able to answer any queries and her contact number can be found on the Branch members list. Important note: – Vera is currently on holiday but will be returning home on June 22nd.
Leonard ‘Rover' Reynolds DSC It was with regret we learnt that Leonard 'Rover' Reynolds crossed the bar on April 18th aged 90. Author of several books on Coastal Forces he had first hand knowledge of combat, at times when it was as bad as it can be. An obituary that is detailed and makes compulsive reading about his Coastal Forces service appears on the cfv web site. The Branch Secretary and Nick Carter attended the service at Amersham Crematorium and the Branch Chairman and Peter Bickmore were present at a Service afterwards at Maidenhead. Perhaps it was a disappointment for those from the Branch that little reference was made to his time in Coastal Forces and his success as commanding officer of MGB 658. He was just twenty one and the youngest COs in Coastal Forces at the time.
Rear Admiral Sir Morgan-Giles DSO
The death of much decorated Rear Admiral Sir Morgan-Giles in the early part of May this year, aged 98, would have struck a chord in the memories of the London Branch members who served in the Adriatic. In 1942 he was appointed Senior Naval Officer in charge of liaison with Tito's partisans and was responsible for the co-ordination of commandos, MGBs and MTBs and the running of arms supplies from Bari in Italy to the island of Vis a hundred or so miles away. Sir Morgan-Giles thus became a Coastal Forces Vet!
He was well remembered by our Chairman, Charlie Smorthit. Charlie paid a simple lower deck tribute to Sir Morgan-Giles in just a few words. He said "He was always there on the quay when the boats went out. He was always there on the quay when they came back".
Best wishes to all.