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With Remembrance just passed, not long prior, on 23rd October was the 80th Anniversary of the start of the Battle of El Alamein in 1942. A turning point in WW2 when the British Eighth Army defeated the German Afrika Corps. The Warwickshire Yeomanry participated, an armoured regiment in the 9th Armoured Brigade, 2nd New Zealand Division.

There were commemoration ceremonies in Egypt to mark the occasion and the British Army Band Catterick took part. The Band's Sergeant Major WO 2 Alastair Smith is the son of John Smith well known in Shipston today as a leading member of the Town Band. John's father Bert was in the Warwickshire Yeomanry in the battle in which 19 troopers from the regiment were killed. Quite a few Shipston men served in the Warwickshire Yeomanry during WW2. Those men whose names are known are in addition to Bert, Ben Bland, Harry Parry, Pete Drinkwater, John Vokins and Monty Sumners. The Shipston troopers were not among those killed in action. Sadly, Ben Bland's younger brother Ronald was a casualty of the war killed when the merchant ship he was serving on was torpedoed in 1942. He is named on the Town War memorial.

There is no doubt that the Warwickshire Yeomanry had a strong association with Shipston due to the town's men who served in its ranks. Alastair Smith visited the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's cemetery where the fallen in the El Alamein battle are buried. He found the grave of one of the 19 Warwickshire Yeomanry troopers who fell and placed upon it his medals and those of his grandfather Bert. A fitting touch.

At 11.00 a.m. on Friday 11th November the centre of Shipston fell silent as the people of Shipston and the British Legion gathered to remember the fallen from both World Wars and conflicts since.

The Last Post and Reveille was sounded by cornet player Bob Pitts of Shipston Town Band.

At 11.00 a.m. on Sunday, there was not a sound to be heard apart from the odd leaf fluttering to the ground, as the people of Shipston remembered the fallen from the two great wars and conflicts since.

Their names were read out by the prefects from Shipston High School before Last Post and Reveille was sounded by Bob Pitts the solo cornet of Shipston Town Band, who as usual had led the parade from the High Street to St Edmunds Church.

The British Legion and the representatives of local government and voluntary organisations laid their wreaths at the memorial before the service concluded in St Edmund’s Church.

The parade reformed after the Service to process back to the High Street where the Town Band performed a period march Erimus in standing formation after the parade had been dismissed.

This year’s Remembrance Sunday is 13th November. The Royal British Legion (RBL) has been working closely with the Town Council, Police, Lions, St Edmund’s and the Town Band and plans are being finalised for the Remembrance Sunday parade and service at St Edmund’s.

Parade participants and spectators are invited to assemble in the High Street from 10am in preparation for the parade, led by the Town Band, moving off promptly at 10.45am.
Following the positive feedback received about last year’s arrangements we will again be laying the wreaths, reading the names of the Fallen and undertaking the Two Minute Silence in Church Street in front of the War Memorial.

The members of the parade and those members of the public comfortable to be indoors with other people will then enter St Edmund’s for the remainder of the Service. For those who are unable to attend in person we will be streaming the Service online and will share details in advance.
At the end of the Church service the parade will reform and, led by the Town Band, return to High Street, which is closed for the duration. Following fall out, all are welcome to join the RBL in The George.

Please watch out for more details both on Facebook (Shipston Notice Board), the Town Council and our own websites and on our Notice Board in The Bury. Please do also share this information with friends who are not on social media.

Armistice Day will be observed on Friday 11th November with 2 minutes silence in the High Street outside The George at 11.00am

For more details about Remembrance fortnight or to find out about joining the RBL as a member, contact Mike Wells on 01608 664026 or wellsms4@aol.com.

The Poppy Appeal will be upon us before we know it and so we would ask you to consider assisting with this year’s collection please. Those who gave their lives in any conflict are remembered through the Poppy Appeal and the Period of Remembrance. The Poppy Appeal also raises funds to enable The Royal British Legion to help veterans and their families throughout life. This year saw the 40th Anniversary of the Falklands conflict when on the 2nd April 1982, Argentine forces invaded the British overseas territory of the Falkland Islands, sparking one of the largest major conflicts since WW2 and which utilised all elements of the Armed Forces. During the conflict 7 ships we’re lost to enemy action, 9 aircraft were shot down and 255 British personnel lost their lives defending the Falklands. In Shipston there were special events and displays, including a service of Remembrance at the Gyratory Garden, to commemorate those lost and injured in this conflict. These held special relevance to some members of our Shipston Branch of the Royal British Legion.

We completely rely on the support and help of volunteer collectors. Many loyal and long serving collectors have kindly agreed to take part again but as the town grows, people move on, or personal circumstances change, we would like to welcome new volunteers.

This year’s appeal runs from 29th October to the 13th November. Please do consider volunteering. It is very enjoyable and a great way to get to know more people in your local community. You could assist by collecting in the Town Square during the week leading up to Remembrance Sunday or by volunteering to carry out a house-to-house collection round. You can do as much as you have time for, even simply covering one street would help enormously.

Shipston on Stour is one of the very few places in the country to have house to house, street, and static collections - only possible because of the fantastic level of support that the Royal British Legion enjoys in the town. I hope that we can count on you again during The Poppy Appeal 2022.

If you’d like to volunteer or find out more, please contact Sharon Harcourt,