An excellent night for the annual dinner at the Union Jack Club on Saturday 30th September. It was great to see so many friends and meet lots of new people of all ages and generations! A fantastic turnout given the challenges of the train strike – and also very poignant that it was the first dinner without a 9th Battalion Veteran present. Our French Friends from Merville were in attendance – although our standard-bearer Gaetan was not able to make it, having his hands full with his new daughter Louise!
Our President Tony Lea reflected on the past, present and future of the Club, and how it will change as we move forward towards a world with no veterans, and with only the 9th friends and family to keep alive the memory of the men and the achievements of the Battalion. Tony also read a letter from King Charles, a reply to the greetings sent to him in the event of our annual dinner by our secretary Paul Hill (who sadly couldn’t be present due to a bout of COVID!).
Major Adam Jowett, assistant Regimental Secretary to The Parachute Regiment, gave an update on the Parachute Regiment, and our Treasurer Mike Woodcock talked through the initial plans for the 80th D-Day Anniversary Pilgrimage to Normandy. I’ll be posting more information soon about how you can book to join the pilgrimage, so please keep an eye out.
It was also a sad moment – with some tears – when Tony Lea and Mike Woodcock announced their plans to step down as treasurer and Chairman of the 9th Battalion Reunion Club after the 80th Pilgrimage to Normandy next year. Both of them have been heavily involved with the club for a long time, and instrumental in organising most of our club events, for decades. They will leave some very large shoes to fill, after decades of amazing work. I’m hoping at least that it will give them more time to put pen to paper and start on their long-promised book with all of their stories and experience, which I’ve been badgering them to write since 2014!!
If you are interested in joining the reunion club committee to help out with organising the dinner, pilgrimage and other events in future years, please get in touch.