IBB and IJLB Association Reunion 3rd Sept 2016
By popular request following the gathering in June 2015 the next Re-Union is now confirmed for Saturday 3rd September 2016. The format will be similar to last year.
On Friday 2nd Sept Golf (Course ,Prices Etc later ) for those interested.
Curry night in the evening ( Same Venue as 2015) Organised by our Chairman Brian Kilty. I believe it’s 42 max so get your name down quickly 1st come 1st served.
Saturday 3rd, Gathering and AGM in Rugby Club (Old Officers Mess) Park Hall Camp.
In the evening Formal/Semi Formal Dinner in the Wynstay Hotel. Max 130 ( Menu and cost below)
Those who have been before will know the form.
In addition , as a result of our donation of The Presidents Cup (paid for with your subs and donations)to be presented to the outstanding recruit in the local CCF Oswestry School on 24th Sept 2015,we have been offered their assistance with possible transport, Mini buses, for visits over the weekend. Standby for possible suggestions.
If you wish to attend please PM Colin Cole, Association Secretary or email william_cole @sky.com Please include number of attendees whether
1 Golf 2 Curry Night 3 Gathering 4 Dinner.
Please confirm attendance as soon as possible as half the available places for Dinner have already been booked.
Those booking should be Members of the Association.
Menu for the Re- Union Dinner Saturday 3rd Sept 2016
Chicken liver parfait, Mixed salad, Mango and Ginger Chutney, Toasted Brioche.
Cream of Leek and Potato Soup
Roast Breast of Chicken wrapped in Smoked Bacon served in Red Wine and Rosemary Port Gravy.
Served with a Panache of Vegetables, New and Roast Potatoes
Chocolate and Raspberry Torte with Chantilly Cream
Coffee and Mints
Caramelised Red Onion and Goats Cheese Tart.
Jan Leeming- Melon
Dairy Free Mushroom Stroganoff or Risotto
Dairy Free Chocolate Dessert
Cost £27 per person.
For those attending the ‘Curry Night’ on Friday please add £15 per person to the above.
Cheques to IBB& IJLB Association Dinner and send to Alan Griffiths 34 Inglewood Avenue. Marske by the Sea Redcar TS11 6DU
New Committee for IBB and IJLB Association
At Association AGM on 6th June 2015 a new Committee was Elected.
Life President Ray Ironmonger
Chairman Brian Kilty
Secretary William Colin Cole
Treasurer Alan Griffiths
Membership Secretary Sandy Henderson
Committee Member Charles Derbyshire
The Committee communicate regularly by email to keep things running smoothly.
If you have anything you want to discuss find us on Forum and send a PM to Colin Cole our Secretary.
Welcome to the IBB/IJLB Website
A warm welcome to the official website of the Infantry Boys Battalion & Infantry Junior Leaders Battalion Association . If you served in any of the following units then this Association is for you :
Infantry Boys Battalion – Tuxford/Harrogate/Plymouth.
Infantry Junior Leaders Battalion – Plymouth/Oswestry/Shorncliffe.
Junior Infantry Wing – Oswestry.
Junior Infantry Battalion – Shorncliffe.
The video is , as far as we are aware , the only film of a Passing Out Parade from the Oswestry era which exists and was shot by the late Tam Melvin of the Black Watch who was not only a Junior Leader in the early 1960s but returned as a PS Instructor in the early 1970s . The POP is the Summer of 1973 , you may well recognise some of the faces.
We trust that you will find our new website easy to use and to navigate around and look forward to hearing from you.
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Great 2016 Reunion leads to Instant Confirmation of the 2017 Reunion
Another Great IBB & IJLB Association AGM and Reunion with the addition of Golf on Friday the 2nd September and informal Curry meal and AGM on Sat 3rd followed by ‘The Gathering’ in the afternoon leading to a very enjoyable Dinner in the evening. The reality I have found over the 10 years I have been attending these Reunions is that original notions that I must meet people I served with (which is still important) takes 2nd place on the realisation that meeting ex boys and Juniors from all the time IBB and IJlB existed is in itself well worth attending as despite our differences in time and outlook we share something unique that does bind us in a special way.
So do not delay if you want to attend next years Reunion at Oswestry in September 16th 2017 with Golf on 15th and the now famous or notorious Curry or Italian then get your membership payed from January 2017 (you can do that now) and join us in recapturing those days of long ago.
Memorial Garden Park Hall
We , as the Association , have had a number of queries from newer forum members and the general public regarding the Memorial Garden at Park Hall . How did it come to be , who created it , does it belong to the Association etc .
The concept was the brainchild of Neil Wilson RWF , a former IJLB graduate who lived in Oswestry . He had managed to obtain the rental of a small , unused section of land from the Oswestry Rugby Club roughly located where the Armoury had once stood . Neil’s dream was to create a small garden where ex IJLB members could sit and remember their time at Park Hall .
He made contact with the Association in early 2009 but we were fully occupied with the Memorial Weekend ,however , members of the Committee subsequently met Neil at the site in late 2009 . He wanted financial help to complete his project and we , as an Association , promised to donate a wooden bench for the site .
Sadly Neil had been diagnosed with cancer and passed away in the February of 2010 , before he could complete his project , we resolved to assist Neil’s son Scott to complete Neil’s dream . The money for the works was donated by individuals and did not come from Association funds . A group of mainly Oswestry based ex JLs worked on the site to create the garden in the Spring of 2010 and the garden was dedicated and handed over to the family in May 2010 . The garden belongs to the family and Neil’s son keeps the grass trim throughout the year and Neil’s sister is a frequent visitor often leaving floral tributes . She has recently added a new plaque to one of the beds in memory of her brother and her mother .
Whilst we have no responsibility for the garden we appreciate that it is perhaps too much for one person to maintain and to that end we intend , as an Association , to assist Scott this year to re stain the bench , paint the extensive fencing around the site and help with a general tidy up . If any of you would care to be involved in these works which will take place in the Spring of 2013 , weather permitting , or to donate to the cost of such works then please contact any of our Committee members .
As previously explained , the garden is the property and responsibility of the Wilson family , however , we , as an Association , have agreed to assist from time to time , where possible , in the larger maintenance projects from the current membership who live locally . We have to accept , however , that when the baton passes to the Shorncliffe lads , which it must in time due to age , that the garden is unlikely to be given any high priority .
Remembrance Sunday 2012
Bill McKenna laying the wreath at the IJLB Memorial
Ray , Bill , Dave , Rory and Ken with Charles in the background .
Sunday 11 November , 2012 dawned bright , clear and cold in Oswestry as we met up on the Bailey Head in front of the Town Hall . In Oswestry , as elsewhere , attendance seems to grow year on year with more and more taking part in the parade and many making the effort to come along simply to support and take part in the service . It’s very heartening to see how many children take part , it is so important for them to understand the sacrifices that previous generations made to give them the freedom they now enjoy .
As usual we marched to the memorial at the gates of Cae Glas Park for the service , the last post and the wreathlaying and , as ever , gave the church service a miss to lay our own wreath at our own IJLB memorial in the park .
Tree Dedication Arlewas
Dusty Smith often repeated observation that The sun shines on the righteous proved to be prophetic on Sunday , 6th of May , 2012 , the day dawned clear and sunny after what seemed to be weeks of rain . We met at the Visitor Centre of the National Armed Forces Memorial before making our way together to our tree for the Dedication Service . Most of us were Junior Leaders from the 1960s so it seemed entirely appropriate that three of the assembled company were men who had trained us in those halcyon days . Ian Cartwright who was a Platoon Commander in Z Coy in the early 1960s , Ray Ironmonger CSM A Coy who provided not only discipline but a superb role model for young lads and Ray Woodfine , one of the excellent civilian lecturers , who not only gave all of us an excellent educational foundation but who also gave us the self belief that we could achieve academically .
Laying the Wreath
The service was taken by our own Association Padre , Rev Norman Setchall , himself an ex JL who passed out in 1961 . The service was short but very moving and included the Battalion Prayer which we all recalled from IJLB . Graham Fowler , the Association Treasurer , laid the wreath on our behalf and did so in the memory of his great friend Bob Ball , Grenadiers , who sadly passed away in the last few months . The idea to dedicate a tree came originally from Bob .
We sincerely hope that if any of you visit the NAFM that you spare a few moments to locate our tree and give a minute of your time to recall those of our number who laid down their lives for their country .
Locating our Tree
Enter the site via the Visitor Centre and exit by the side café door , walk down towards the main Memorial with its distinctive high walls . Take the stone flagged path round to the right until it ends then turn quarter left and proceed across the grass towards white stone path known as the Mall , there is a small , grassed footbridge . On reaching the Mall turn left , proceed towards the Household Division Memorial and just before you reach it turn right up a short , unmade track to the Army Apprentices Memorial , our tree is located on the left side of that structure .
Tree Dedication National Arboretum Arlewas
The Association has resolved to dedicate a tree at the National Arboretum to our comrades who gave their lives in the service of their country .The arrangements for the Dedication are below We have now had a chance to discuss this with the relevant staff at the National Memorial Arboretum and have been offered a tree in the Kingfisher Wood which is close to the Army Apprentices Memorial. The wood is relatively close to the Visitors Centre,
about a 10 minute walk , we were advised. They also have a land train to transport visitors around the site .
The only a quiet part of the day they can offer is Sunday May 6th 2012 so we are going to book that for up to 50 personnel and the Dedication will take place at 1100 hours and should not take more than 30 minutes. The suggested dress will be blazer , flannels , Association tie , medals and Regimental headdress.
We suggest that you book accommodation for the Saturday and Sunday nights and we can perhaps have a get together for a meal on one of those evenings . You may also wish to consider visiting the NAFM on the Saturday , it is a huge site .
We will meet at the Visitor Centre at 1030 am on 6th May , 2012 this will give us time to walk the short distance to our selected tree . There is a charge of £2 for parking but this allows you to park all day . N.B. There is also a charge of £2 per head for all persons attending a Dedication .
The plaque will have a red background and will display the IJLB badge at the top , the title of the Association and will simply say Dedicated to the memory of our members who gave their lives in the service of their country . Deus Vult (God Wills)
There is no need to book with us but it would be useful for us to know the sort of numbers likely to attend so could you please let Ken know if you are attending . E mail him on the address on the Contact Page .
Should you wish to donate to the project then please send your cheque to Graham , all his contact details and details of the Assn account can be found on the PRI page on our website . Please mark cheques TREE on the back .
We suggest booking at the Fradley Arms Premier Inn which is very close to the site , the link is www.premierinn.com/en/hotel/LICFRA/lichfield
We know that many of you have caravans etc and Bill McKenna has located a suitable caravan site close to the NAFM . Their contact details are as follows :
Cathedral Grange Touring Caravan Park
Grange Lane, Lichfield, Staffordshire, WS13 8HU
Tel: 01543 251 449
If you intend to participate then I would suggest booking now . In addition these dates link to the early Spring Bank Holiday
Remembrance Sunday Oswestry
The Remembrance Sunday parade in Oswestry grows bigger every year ,we have been attending as an Association since 2009 and the parade has swelled to more than double over the last 3 years . This year we had the usual Oswestry area lads in attendance and we were joined by Derick Hearn who travelled all the way up from his home in Brixham to be with us . Also in attendance was our Association President , Ray Ironmonger , who is still in the process of recovering from a second hip replacement but nothing will stop this old warrior ! Below are some photos of our Association group at the IJLB Memorial in Cae Glas Park .
Hong Kong Revisited
In late November 2010 Pat and I visited Hong Kong for our 40th wedding Anniversary having been stationed at Stanley Fort for 6 months in late 1981 to 1982 with 1SG prior to being posted to BAAT Nigeria leaving Hong Kong, just prior to 2SG capturing the other Stanley!!.
Just a few thoughts and observations on Hong Kong for those who served there or may be thinking of going there.
The Journey now only takes 13 hours on Emirates including a one hour stopover in Dubai instead of the 26 hours with the RAF!! Which included stopovers in Bahrain and Colombo in Sri Lanka .Emirates airlines was paradise compared to the RAF trooping flight which had no videos uncomfortable seats and those dreadful white box haversack rations.
The main Hilton hotel is still in Central and still has its wonderful cocktail bar as is the Mandarin Oriental hotel, the captain bar in the Mandarin is still there even though it has been fully refurbished still retains a colonial feel about it and beer is served in silver tankards exactly as it was back when we lived there.
What was HMS Tamar is a municipal headquarter building and is 300 metres back from the harbour as they have just completed a huge reclamation project on the waterfront and a major four lane runs between Tamar and the harbour.
Stanley is much bigger no shanty town on the hills now replaced by new high rise municipal flats provided for the illegal immigrants that got into Hong Kong under the then government policy of touch base in Hong Kong without being stopped and you will not be returned to mainland China which never made any sense to the Guardsmen who when on border duty spent night after night in mosquito infested swamps near the border trying to apprehend illegal immigrants.
There are also some municipal housing for the Vietnamese boat people who made it to Hong Kong and were held in detention camps whilst we were there, Stanley Fort is occupied by the Chinese PLA and we were not allowed access although they do have an open day each year in August when locals and ex patriates can visit and see what equipment the Chinese army uses. We could still view our married quarter from Stanley waterfront which is now full of chic bistro style restaurants and bars.
The jewellers Ellis Lai who used to visit the Sergeants mess still has a shop in Stanley and Willie Wong who was the Regimental tailoring contractor has retired but his son now runs the business in the Wan Chai
The Smugglers Inn in Stanley is still there, as is what was the Resident Battalion boat club on St Stephens’s beach run so efficiently by Willie Whitten who had a constant supply of ice cold tiger beer for its members .It is now run by a civilian club.
Stanley market was disappointing now selling just tourist tat as the antique stalls, vegetables , live fish and meat stalls are no more, as there is a huge superstore in what is called Stanley Plaza a shopping Mall on the outskirts of Stanley situated between the temple and the road to Central. Cost only 70p to get from Central to Stanley on the number 6 bus which is still a hairy journey around the steep bends and where the cliff edge drop away from the road, the seating is definitely not built for six foot three Guardsmen.
Stanley military Cemetery is well maintained and looked after by the war graves commission some graves had poppies on them as is the War Memorial in Central again well maintained and respected.
The officers married quarters in Repulse bay are long gone and luxury high rise flats have taken their place and there is now a large marina at the east end of the bay.
The Wan Chai is pretty tame to what we knew the red light district is centred on Lockhart Rd however the Pussy Cat Club is still there. This was the Battalions favourite night club defended on many occasions from American sailors on shore leave from the American 7th Fleet. The tattoo parlours are also still on Lockhart road maybe not as many as in our day, but i am sure there are many bitter sweet memories of a tattoo or two done after a night out in the Wan Chai the cost which would include the military fine for having a tattoo without permission and is now the only lasting memory of Hong Kong!!. The famous Bottoms up club made famous by the James Bond film a man with a golden gun has moved from Kowloon side and is now a sports bar in Lockhart road with a mock-up of the original bar in the back bar. The Hopewell centre with its revolving restaurant at the top of its 65th floor and outside lifts is still in the Wan Chai but is due to close for refurbishment we managed to get a booking and the views at night are still breath-taking but i would not recommend the food . Nowadays the Wan Chai is mainly a business district with five star hotels a huge conference centre and tower blocks with international companies located there. Interestingly the American 7th fleet still pull into Hong Kong for visits and of course still visit the Wan chai.
The building of a thousand portholes!! Situated just down from HMS Tamar which was one of the tallest buildings in Hong Kong in our time is dwarfed by its new neighbour which is 185 floors high
Hong Kong’s new airport is on Lantau island. Not an island loved by the Battalion as the Ghurkha Brigade which we came under seemed to insist all test exercises took place there. The island is bigger than Hong Kong Island but with steeper mountains and very little coastal plain for settlement and is now linked to Kowloon side by a series of suspension bridges one of which is the longest suspension bridge in the world. A long road tunnel from the north (airport side) of Lantau island links into these suspension bridges which then go via stonecutters Island (which was the biggest ammunition depot in the Far East in our time for all three services) to Kowloon side Stonecutters island is now the 3rd biggest container port in the world. The commandant House at the highest point of stonecutter’s island is still in use and still has the look and feel of an old colonial house a bit like the Commanding Officers house was in Stanley Fort.
Kai Tak the old airport is being converted into a cruise liner terminal and the old H blocks that we flew between when landing have all gone and replaced by more modern high rise buildings.
The whole island is criss crossed with Tunnels flyovers and new roads you can now get to the New Territories in 45 minutes from Kowloon these days.
The night markets on Kowloon and Central are again just full of tourist tat even the fake designer watches are sold under the counter as the police have been cracking down on counterfeit goods. Due to avian flu they are not allowed to sell poultry or live animals anymore in the markets.
The Jumbo restaurant in Aberdeen is still operating but there are no Sampans in Aberdeen harbour as it is now a Marina housing luxury yachts and i mean luxury yachts owned by wealthy Chinese.
The place is so sterile and spotless no spitting or smoking allowed on the buses or star ferry, smoking is banned from all restaurants bars and public buildings very strictly enforced with fines of £1000 for not complying.
The tram up to the peak now has several stops and the Peak has at least twenty restaurants and numerous shops and a large art gallery all in a high rise complex.
The world’s biggest laser show held every evening at 8 pm is very impressive best viewed from Kowloon side. We went across on star ferry (first class of course on the upper deck which cost 28 pence) but the pier head on Hong Kong island now has 9 piers and ferries all going to different locations on Kowloon side and the islands and not a single rickshaw anywhere.
We saw no visible poverty unlike our day only a thriving bustling 24/7 community with shopping malls in virtually every major building where the rich Chinese from the mainland and tourists worldwide come to shop. To visit these malls you soon become an expert in guiding your way through the Ariel walkways which link all the buildings and road crossings above street level.
Overall a nostalgic trip down memory lane the place still has a British feel about it as street names have stayed the same British double Decker buses still operate the police and customs still wear British style uniforms and people still feel a strong bond with Britain.
Words and photos by Graham Fowler
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