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London Branch October 2013

Written by London Branch | Posted on 16th October 2013

Those who travelled by car on the Sunday for the September meeting met with a formidable array of diversions in the City – diversion after diversion followed one after the other, until it seemed pretty certain that even the bus drivers must have been sorely tried in responding to the mass of temporary signs erected to assist them to follow non scheduled routes that were necessary to avoid construction work destined to provide ever more office accommodation in ever more congested areas. There must be some logic in it somewhere! With a decrease in numbers present at the September meeting, one of the large round tables seated everybody, and conversation turned out to be informal, interesting and varied, enabling everybody to join in.
members of the london branch of coastal forces veterans meeting onboard hms belfast
October meeting of the London Branch held onboard HMS Belfast
There had been some concern, following a recent Branch meeting, that the task of being Branch Chairman might be proving too much for Chairman Charlie and a rather delicate approach had been made to him by the Secretary, to find out if he might wish to relinquish the post. ln reply, Charlie had said that he really liked being Chairman, but didn't get on so well with the control aspect of the meetings and would be very happy if he could hand that part over to the Branch Secretary if he would agree. The Secretary explained the situation to the meeting – with Charlie being a friend of his, he had no objections to the proposal and agreement was secured and future meetings would embody the change, and Charlie could then continue to hold his present role as Chairman. lsn't it nice to get over these hurdles so easily! The Treasurer followed with a review of Branch finances, which he felt (and those present agreed) were in a satisfactory state. Conversation turned to the future – was the satisfactory state likely to continue, what were our commitments? At the moment, our Treasurer’s figures show that expenditure is slightly exceeding income – not by a great deal, but enough to signal a small, progressive deterioration, although nothing to worry about. Following the Treasurer's report, the Secretary briefly referred to our commitments – mainly the Branch Newsletter, the annual donation to the City of London Sea Cadets, the moderate refreshments provided at the meetings which, coupled with other minor outgoings, are exceeding the Branch’s income. Our income is basically derived from the annual member's subscriptions and any occasional donations that the Treasurer receives. The recent hike in the price of postage stamps is being felt – the cost of one stamp at fifty pence a time takes £3.00 out of each £5.00 sub annually – the cost of producing an average newsletter, stationary, printing, envelopes, etc is approximately 5p per copy – multiply that ten times for one stamp! Fortunately, our reserves are quite adequate, no action required, other than perhaps to bear in mind that these reserves, ideally, should be kept at a level sufficient to ensure that our web site can continue to be serviced well beyond the time when we, ourselves, decide to call it a day – which happily, is not just yet. Thoughts turned to this year's annual Remembrance Day Service on the 10th of November. Vera Mitchell will be contacting the regular attendees to ensure that their names are recorded for use on the Belfast, as this will avoid any problems over admission to the ship. If you do not usually attend – and therefore would not have been contacted – ring Vera (her number is in the members list) and she will have the latest information available. We are given a certain number of places, and are expected to keep to that allocation unless other arrangements are approved beforehand. We were pleased to see James Battison again at the meeting. James is the current owner of MTB 208 (now a houseboat) and we first met him in July when he came to our Branch meeting seeking whatever information members might perhaps have on the boat. This time he came armed with more pictures and a series of pleasant chats developed. He did realise, at one point, that he had stayed much longer than intended and as he had left a chicken cooking in the oven at his flat nearby, he thought it better to beat a hasty retreat to find out what was happening to it. Sadly, we do not know the fate of the chicken. Ted Else rounded off the occasion with a short film of the type probably made during the war for propaganda and morale boosting purposes, showing the role then being played by Coastal Forces boats and their crews at sea, much as we remember in our own times. A bit of nostalgia. In looking back, we were all a bit young weren't we? Apologies for absence were received from Ken Gadsdon and John Williamson – difficulty in travelling, but more so for John who has not yet recovered from a fall, with injuries, some weeks ago. Bill MacAngus is finding difficulty in adjusting to a permanent care home environment, and is in need of constant attention. Wife Pat has had some of Bill's Coastal Forces memorabilia, photos etc. put into his room in the hope that they will help. We have received news that Branch member Ken Speed had recently passed away. Ken was a long time member of the London Branch, although he did not attend (or was unable to attend) the meetings. He was always one of the first to renew his annual subscription to the Branch, and from his CFVA membership number – twelve – he must have been one of the original founder members of the Association. It is with much regret that we record his passing. Which brings us, in closing, a reminder that the next Branch meeting is on the l7th of November. Best wishes to all, Sec.