Darlington RSA Branch
We hold regular monthly meetings on the third Thursday of the month at the:
Army Reserve Centre,
The Bradford Armoury,
Darlington. DL1 4DF
Meetings start at 1930 Hrs.
New members are always welcome.
Darlington RSA Committee
|Vice President:||Ray Jeffery|
|Vice Chairman:||Paul Buckley|
|Assistant Secretary:||Volunteer Required|
|Assistant Treasurer:||Alex Armstrong|
|Branch Visiting Officer:||Fred Alexander|
|Branch Standard Bearer:||Gary Fletcher|
|Assistant Branch Standard Bearer’s:||Tony Knight & Christine Middleton|
|Entertainment Member:||Kevan Orton|
|Branch Facebook Manager:||Paul Standing|
|Branch Web Manager||John West|
Darlington Branch Entertainments – 2018/19
7th April 2018 – Cabaret Night.
21st July 2018 – Caberet Night – Singer JJ Stevens, Celebrating 100 Anniversary of WW1. Plus Disco
13th October 2018 – Ladies Dinner Night
8th December 2018 – Christmas Function
16th February 2019 – Valentine Dinner
Join your local RSAMembership of The RSA is open to any person – Regular, TA/Reserve, National Service, ATS, WRAC – who served with the Corps
THE ROYAL SIGNALS ASSOCIATION DARLINGTON BRANCH
THE FIRST 80 YEARS
The Branch was first formed in 1936 but for various reasons little is known of the history before WWII.
As a result of a letter to the Northern Echo by Lt Col WA Lee, R. Signals a meeting was held at the Imperial Hotel Darlington on 23rd October 1945 with the object of re-forming a branch of the Old Comrades Association. Chaired by Brigadier TTJ Sheffield TD ADC it was attended by 43 members or ex-members of the Royal Signals.
A temporary Committee was voted in as follows: –
Chairman : LtCol WA Lee R.Signals Secretary : Capt EN Atkinson R.Signals Treasurer : Mr RE Cobbing
The Committee was to obtain the necessary information with regard to the formation of a Branch and to arrange a further meeting in December 1945.
Meeting held on 10th December 1945 at the British Legion Club.
Chaired by Brigadier TTJ Sheffield TD ADC in the absence, through hospitalisation, of the Branch Chairman Lt Col WA Lee R.Signals.
In accordance with Rule 2 of Rules for a Local Branch of the Old Comrades of the Signals Association, it was agreed that the occupants of Secretary and Treasurer be reversed:
I.e. Hon Treasurer now to be Capt EN Atkinson R.Signals
Hon Secretary now to be Mr RE Cobbing
Efforts to be made to place adverts in the NAAFI Club Darlington, Cinemas and in the Daily Orders of the 1st Signals Training Centre, Catterick Camp.
It appears that informal meetings of members were held twice monthly on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of each month, Committee meetings held monthly and General Meetings quarterly.
In January 1946 it is noted that Lt Col WA Lee R.Signals is now shown as OBE.
In December 1946 the venue for the meetings changed to the Waterloo Hotel and it was voted on 5th December 1946 that in future the Waterloo Hotel be referred to as RHQ.
It was also announced that: –
An AGM of the Royal Signals Association will be held at Catterick Camp on 22nd June 1947 and as many members as possible to attend.
A AMeeting of Honorary Secretaries to be held in London on 2nd or 9th April 1947.
Announced in June 1947: – That the Drill Hall, Larchfield Street, would shortly be available for the Branch to use as HQ. That only 7 members attended the Old Comrades Association Reunion at Catterick on 22nd June 1947 which was recorded as a most enjoyable day. August 1947. The Drill Hall of 50(N) Div Sig Regt (TA) was offered for meetings and social events by LtCol WA Lee OBE R.Signals now 2IC 50(N) Div Sig Regt (TA). Committee Meeting 29th October 1947.
Noted that the Chairman was now Major WA Lee OBE R.Signals. It is noted that the Social Committee also holds meetings.
Meeting June 1950. The Chairman is now LtCol WA Lee OBE R.Signals Commanding Officer 50 Inf Div Sigs (TA) Meeting 19th January 1951
Chairman : Major FF Ellis MBE R.Signals Secretary : Mr L Burnside
Meeting February 1951 Financial concern, £3 in cash, £20 outstanding in loans. A proposed Social and Dinner should be changed to a Social, for which no charge should be made as raffle should defray expenses but the Dinner should be quashed. Meeting 25th May 1951. Secretary now Mr GE Dean MM.
There is an unexplained gap of minutes between 29th September 1951 and 4th November 1954 when a meeting was held to “carry on the Branch”. This was carried unanimously, and a new Committee elected.
Meeting December 1954. That a Bank Account be opened. Meeting 24th February 1955.
Brigadier H Firth, General Secretary of the Royal Signals Association in attendance. Committee of the Darlington Branch is now: – Chairman : Col WA Lee OBE Secretary : Mr GE Dean MM Treasurer : Mr W Rawson Branch funds £8.12.3. Cost of Branch Standard £14.18.0. Proposed payment on delivery will be an initial £5.
It now appears that Branch meetings are held every month with the exception of each February when the Annual General Meeting is held. Annual General Meeting February 1967 It was announced that this would be the last meeting at the TA Centre, Larchfield Street. Enquiries would be made into the possibility of meeting at the new TA&VR Drill Hall, Neasham Road, Darlington. This enquiry was successful and the first Branch meeting took place on 6th April 1967, after meeting at the old venue for 20 years. Meetings still continue to be held at the TA Centre 44 years on. The attendance numbers have varied alarmingly over the years from as low as 7 (including the Committee) to as high as the mid 30s. There is no apparent reason for these fluctuations.
The first evidence of an appointment of a President is in the minutes of February 1993. LtCol E. Thompson filled this appointment until his death on 6th October 1995. The position remained vacant, due to the Association Rules at that time, until November 2000 when Major (TOT) R. Todd agreed to accept the appointment. He served until February 2009 when he had to resign due to ill health. Mr C. Cooke was then elected President of the Branch. Mr Cooke resigned in 2014 and Mr R Botham stood down as Chairman and was elected as President of the Branch.
VICE PRESIDENTS At the Branch AGM in February 2016, the Branch approved a new position of Vice President and Capt R Jeffery accepted the appointment following his standing down as Branch Secretary.
1945 Brig TTJ Sheffield TD ADC Oct 1945 LtCol WA Lee R.Signals Jun 1950 Capt (then Maj) FF Ellis MBE Nov 1954 Col WA Lee OBE Jan 1963 Capt TA Jacks R.Signals Feb 1969 Mr H Whitfield Feb 1972 Mr A Stenning Feb 1974 Mr GE Dean MM Feb 1976 Mr AET Bosten Feb 1978 Maj A Stirk R.Signals Feb 1987 Capt T Cushen R.Signals Nov 2000 Mr R Botham Feb 2014 Mr B McSherry Feb 2017 Mr D Courtenay
In 1956 the Branch Committee decided to appoint a Vice Chairman and the first appointed was:
Sep 1956 Capt TA Jacks R Signals Jan 1963 Mr R Mellis Feb 1974 Mr C Cooke Oct 1975 Mr WA Bennett Feb 1977 Capt T Cushen R Signals Feb 1987 Mr W Munro Feb 1992 Mr F Sampson Feb 1997 Mr D Rees Feb 2004 Mr B McSherry Jun 2006 Mr V Forsythe Feb 2015 Maj PA Buckley R Signals
Oct 1945 Capt EN Atkinson R.Signals Dec 1945 Mr RE Cobbing May 1949 Mr WJ Evans Jun 1950 Mr L Burnside Oct 1956 Mr GE Dean MM Feb 1973 Mr WA Bennett Oct 1975 Mr C Cooke Mar 2005 Lt ST Wise R.Signals Oct 2007 Capt R Jeffery RAMC (V) Feb 2016 Mrs J Fletcher
Oct 1945 Mr RE Cobbing Dec 1945 Capt EN Atkinson R.Signals Nov 1954 Capt J Rawson R.Signals Feb 1966 Mr F Green
Feb 1970 Mr JA Dobson Feb 2000 Mr J Meaney Jan 2003 Mr E Morton Jun 2006 Mr B McSherry Feb 2012 Mr T Thorp Feb 2018 Mr J Arkley
NOTABLE MEMBERS Colonel Sir WA LEE Kt OBE TD DL,
Former High Sheriff of Durham, Chairman of the Northern Regional Health Authority, President of SSAFA Darlington, Commander of 4 Corps Signals and 50(Northumbrian) Div Sig Regt (TA).
Mr George Dean MM
As a Signalman serving with 50 Div during WWII he was awarded the Military Medal for action as a Regimental Runner in the run-up to Dunkirk. He served as Chairman of the Branch for 2 years and as Secretary for 17 years.
Mr Jack Dobson
He served as a Corporal in WWII and saw action in Italy at Monte Cassino. After joining the Branch in 1945 and serving on various committees he became Branch Treasurer from 1970 to 2000 a total of 30 years. For giving such outstanding service to the Branch and the RSA he was awarded Honour Membership in April 2000. Jack was 94 in October 2011 and although he is now unable to attend regular Branch Meetings he was enthusiastically applauded when he was able to attend the 75th Anniversary Dinner.
Mr Cyril Cooke
Past Branch President, was awarded Honour Membership for his 30 years service as Branch Secretary and enthusiastic involvement in all aspects of the Branch and the Royal Signals Association.
Mr Fred Alexander BEM
A former member of the White Helmets, he was awarded Honour Membership for his work as the Branch Visiting (Welfare) officer, regularly visiting members having difficulties through illness and disabilities and for his organisation of the Branch’s contribution to the Annual Poppy Appeal which, under his leadership, has increased the collections year on year. The amount of the collections in 2010 being in excess of £9300.
In 2008 it was decided that the Branch would support a charity each year, starting with Help the Heroes in 2009, and the sum of £1,203 was raised. The following years achieved these results:
2010 Great North Air Ambulance £700. 2011 Macmillan Cancer Support £700.
2012 Star & Garter £500. 2013 Butterwick Childrens Hospice £600.
2014 British Heart Foundation £600. 2015 Gurkha Welfare Trust £600.
2016 ABF The Soldiers’ Charity £600. 2017 The Not Forgotten Associaton £500.
CELEBRATING A MILESTONE
On 2nd July 2011 a formal dinner was held in the TA Centre Neasham Road to mark the 75th Anniversary of the Branch. In attendance were over 120 members and ex-members of the Royal Signals and their partners.
The Worshipful the Mayor of Darlington, Councillor Lee Vasey and her Escort, Councillor John Vasey, together with the Representative Colonel Commandant and former Signal Officer in Chief, Brigadier John Thomas MBE and his wife Janet were invited as guests.
After dinner the Chairman gave a short history of the Branch and concluded by presenting the Mayor with a Corps Plaque.
The Mayor responded with her thanks and a short speech, ending with her presenting the Branch with a Ships Decanter on an inscribed wooden base, which was warmly received by the Chairman.
The Brigadier then followed with a brief resume of the state of the Corps and took great delight in being asked to present a 75-year pennant to be displayed with our Branch Standard. He was ably assisted by founder member Jack Dobson to tie the pennant on to the top of the Standard.
The Branch President was invited to “cut the cake” and then light music was played in the background as the evening slowly wound down over “happy memory” discussions.
From its humble beginnings the Darlington Branch of the Royal Signals Association is now a thriving and vibrant concern looking forward to supporting its members and other ex-R Signals, and continuing its involvement in local events such as the Armed Forces Week, the Annual Poppy Appeal and Remembrance Day.
19TH February 2018