RSA Berwick Branch
The Branch was formed in early 2000 with founder member Frank Dempster wearing the hat of each office holder until a recruiting campaign attracted enough members to form an official branch and gain formal recognition from RHQ.
Our first elected President was ‘Railway Man’ Eric Lomax, sadly departed, Eric’s autobiography ‘The Railway Man’ was made into a film; Eric was portrayed by oscar winning actor Colin Firth in the film of the same name. Our first Chairman was Mick Bennett and Treasurer/Hon Sec Frank Dempster. Since 2000 we have gone from strength to strength. We meet once every two months and encourage spouses and partners to join us on a regular basis. As Berwick is a tight knit community, without a functioning RBL Social Club, we spread the net for associate members to include those personnel who have had previous service alongside R SIGNALS. We are proud to boast ex members of RAMC, RAChD, REME,KOSB, SDG and ACC. So we have our own Medic, Padre, Mech Tech, Infantryman, Tankie and Master Chef.
The Branch recruits from both sides of the border – Major Gus Boag, our current Chairman and he commutes from his lair up in Selkirk in the Scottish Borders to all of our meetings, some members travel from South East Northumberland and we even have a member who resides in Spain but returns for our special occasions.
The Northern outpost of Berwick upon Tweed is two and a half miles from the Scottish border. It has a turbulent past, having changed hands between England and Scotland no less than thirteen times. Berwick has the first purpose built barracks in Britain and owns one of only two churches erected during the ‘protectorship’ of Oliver Cromwell. Natives of the town describe themselves as ‘Berwickers’ rather than Scottish or English. We ‘Berwickers’ have a dialect of our own – a mixture of lowland Scot and North Northumbrian with the odd word of Romany, Afghan and Hindu thrown in for good measure.