Conductors old and new gathered at the usual venue of the RLC HQ & Central Sgts' Mess for the period 5th - 8th June 2008 to celebrate the eighth annual Conductors' Day and Parchment Ceremony. Our thanks go to the new DRLC, Brigadier C J Murray, CBE, for extending the hospitality of the Blackdown facilities.
Events began with the now established Regimental Dinner with our guests of honour Brigadier and Mrs Chris Murray, CBE, Colonel Mark Baker, Regimental Colonel RLC, WO 1(RSM) Jason Lowe, RLC Corps RSM and 59 other guests. As always the mess looked splendid with a collection of the regimental silver on display and the Mess staff also lived up to their usual high standards in producing and presenting an excellent dinner.
After dinner a joint presentation of four sets of family medals to the Mess on behalf of the RLC Museum was made by retired RAOC Conductor R.J. 'Bob' White and his cousin Mrs Jane Allen-Melvin. The framed medals covered a period of four generations of Conductors from 1839 to the present. Family relatives to Bob were Great Grandfather, Great Uncle. Uncle and himself. The date span of presentation of medals was 98 years, the first and last being LSGCs. Bob made an entertaining speech before handing over the medals to the RLC Corps RSM.
The DRLC then presented Parchments to former Conductors Captain (Retd) John Giles and Major (Retd) James Prior.
John enlisted in 1942, was appointed Conductor in 1962 and Commissioned in 1966. In addition to postings in UK he also saw service in Italy playing an important part in the supply roll during the allied advance, Palestine whilst the troubles were in progress, Cyprus, Egypt, North Africa, Kenya and BAOR.(see also 'Conductor Profile' on the home page of the Conductors Web Page)
James enlisted into the RASC in 1959, transferred to the RAOC on Mcloud in 1965, was appointed Conductor in 1983 and Commissioned later the same year. His service history is also impressive having served in UK, BAOR, Denmark, Cyprus (before, during and after the last coup), The Falkland and in two theatres of the Far East. Whilst on his last tour stationed in London as OIC ASU London District (East) he learned to ride with The King's Troop also riding on occasions with the guns as did his father before and during the war. He also rode with the Household Cavalry and , he tells me, learned how to pose for the tourists ! There can't be many former Conductors who have had such an unusual climax to their careers.
This brought the total number of personal presentations to 51.
Have you got yours yet ?
Brigadier Murray gave a very complimentary speech on the subject of Conductors and in particular paid a glowing tribute to the Corps Senior Conductor David Patterson who was leaving the army at the end of June. It is worth recapping that it was David who, on taking over the reins of Senior Conductor in 2002, opened up the Ceremony to retired RAOC Conductors who had not received a parchment during their service. The first presentations took place in 2003 on the 10th anniversary of the formation of the RLC. Responding, David thanked the Brigadier and also thanked the retired Conductors who had supported this and other associated events over the years. He also paid special tribute to his wife. Steph, for her unwavering support during his career and particularly her help with Conductors Days.
Finally we all retired to the Medal Room (and bar) to cement old friendships and make new ones.
Day two was, of course, the special day for the newly appointed RLC Conductors of which there were seven, namely (in alphabetical order and with their original.Corps in brackets)
Cliff Burnett (RAOC),
RLC Systems Analyst,
Logistics System Support Team
Nick Homer (ACC)
DE & S, DFS IPT
Kerry Mann (RAOC),
HQ Land Forces
Andy Martin (RASC),
Transport Control WO,
Defence School of Transport
Craig Morgan (RASC),
Defence Master Driver,
Defence Supply Chain Ops
'Billy' Paton (RASC),
Regimental Port Operator,
Regimental Operations and Movements
Dave Woodward (RASC),
Senior Master Driver,
Defence School of Transport
We were delighted to welcome our VIP General Sir Kevin O'Donoghue KCB CBE Chief of the Defence Staff, accompanied by Lady Jean, who had very kindly agreed to come along and make the presentations to the new Conductors. After the individual presentation of parchments Sir Kevin and Lady Jean viewed the Conductors' Memorabilia display, met Phase 2 Chef recruits (who had produced an excellent lunch under field conditions), and spoke informally to small groups of attendees and Mess staff.
The rest of the afternoon was spent at leisure and in the evening a musical entertainer took us down memory lane.
On day three we were coached to Fort Nelson, one of many overlooking Portsmouth
harbour built by King Henry VIII, where we enjoyed an excellent conducted tour
of all the Fort's facilities and extensive display of artillery.
After lunch we had a most interesting visit to Southwick House which had played a very important part by the Allied Commanders in the planning and execution of the D Day landings. We afterwards paid an interesting visit to the RMP Museum
Back to the Mess for evening meal and further socialising. Once again a wonderful get together with a great programme and looking forward to next year's festivities.
Before closing, and on behalf of all retired RAOC Conductors and guests who
have attended these events, a special thank you must be made to David Patterson,
assisted by his wife Steph', for introducing and organising the Conductors
Days and Parchment Ceremonies over the years. These have been, and will continue
to be, one of the highlights of our social calendars. However, we are not losing
David altogether as he will be staying on as Chairman of the Conductors Branch
of the RLC Association (which is open to all serving and retired Conductors)
and he and his committee will be organising the social events associated with
the Parchment Ceremonies and the AGMs of the Association.
For further articles, stories and photographs and to register your interest in attending next year's festivities visit the Conductors web page at www.rlc-conductor.info or contact David direct on tel 01304 800491 or email email@example.com
Photo's Here and here
PDF of the Programme