Bernie Cowan took over from Major Lee Byers as chairman of the branch at the annual general meeting.
Lee hands over to Bernie
Burns Night 2014
Branch members joined the serving Tyneside Scottish at the Battery Burns night a Kingston Park. Accepting the kind invitation of the Battery Commander once again members were able to enjoy the skirl of the pipes, a highland dancing display as well as the words of the Robbie Burns. Oh and yes ...the Haggis !!
Op Drum 3
Normandy Commemoration and Battlefield Tour
As part of the of the commemorations of the 70th Anniversary of the Liberation of Normandy the villagers of Ducy Ste Marguerite invited the Tyneside Scottish Branch to share in their celebrations.
In June 1944 the 1st Battalion Tyneside Scottish (Black Watch) established their Headquarters in Ducy, and the people of the village never forget the men who liberated them. To remember those lost in the Normandy Campaign the villagers organised a ceremony to place a Roll of Honour in their church.
Supported by two Detachments of Northumbria Army Cadet Force, nearly 50 people deployed to Normandy at the end of July 2014.
The commemoration began with a lunch at a local cider farm. In attendance was Brian Stewart, a Normandy Veteran from the Tyneside Scottish, together with his son Rory Stewart MP, Chairman of the Defence Select Committee.
Tyneside Scottish Branch RAA & Northumbria ACF with Normandy Veteran Brian Stewart and Rory Stewart MP
After a fine lunch, the Branch, the supporting ACF Detachments, and French veterans carrying their standards paraded to the Tyneside Scottish Memorial at the edge of the village. Joined by the villagers, a service and wreath laying (conducted in French and English) was held.
Tyneside Scottish Memorial Commemoration
Following the wreath laying, the parade marched through the village to the church where a dedication was held and the Roll of Honour placed. Duty done it was time to renew the friendship between the Branch and the people of Ducy St Marguerite. A request by the villagers that members would not leave until the beer barrel was empty was duly complied with.
The Branch then led a three day battlefield tour for the Northumbria ACF cadets. The first day focused on the events in the American Sector on 6th June 1944. The tour started at the Airborne Museum in Ste Mere Eglise, before moving to Omaha Beach American Cemetery. The day ended on Omha Beach.
Branch members Omaha Beach
The second day concentrated on the British Sector on D-Day. The first stop was Pegasus Bridge with its fine visitors centre recalling the capture of the bridges over the River Orne and Canal. Behind the Branch Piper, the members and cadets marched across Pegasus Bridge as Piper Bill Mallin had in June 1944. Next on the agenda was the Merville Battery, then Juno Beach for lunch and a visit to the visitors centre.
In the evening a Branch Dinner was held in a restaurant in Port en Besin, the base location for the visit. A fine evening ended with a march “back to barracks” behind the piper playing Black Bear, much to the delight of the American tourists in the hotel, though the local Gendarmarie were less enthused.
Base location Port En Besin
The last day started at the 50th (Northumberland) Division Artillery Memorial at Ver Sur Mere. Following a brief on the Royal Artillery Run In Shoot on D-Day, a wreath was laid at the Royal Artillery Memorial that commemorates the Gunners of the Division.
Next, Gold Beach which was captured and secured by the 50th (Northumberland) Division on D-Day. The Tyneside Scottish arrived with the 49th (West Riding) Division on 12th June 1944. Retracing the steps of those that came ashore that day, a march off the beach behind a piper was conducted.
Tyneside Scottish march off Gold Beach.
By 1st July 1944, the Tyneside Scottish had moved inland and were dug in around the small village of Rauray. It was here the Battalion blocked a German counter attack and so many men lost their lives. A tour of the battlefield was concluded with an act of remembrance at the 49th Division Memorial.
Act of Remembrance 49th Division Memorial
Commemoration of the start of World War One
The Branch paraded at North Shields with serving, cadet and veteran organisations to commemorate the start of World War One on Sunday 3rd August.
TS Branch and other veterans North Shields WW1 parade
Tyneside Scottish Formation Parade and Church Service
The origins of the Tyneside Scottish lie with Kitchener’s Pals Battalions and the Call to Arms in 1914. To commemorate the formation of the Tyneside Scottish, the Branch worked with Northumbria ACF and St Cuthbert Church, Bedlington, Northumberland to organise a parade and church service.
The event commenced with a march down Front Street Bedlington to St Cuthbert’s Church.
Parade marching to St Cuthbert Church
The church service focused on the Call to Arms in 1914, with presentations and readings around the events at the start of World War One. The Branch sponsored a WW1 poetry competition ran by the church in conjunction eight local schools, ranging from first to high, and prizes were presented during the service. Guests included local government officials, schools, community organisations as well as Armed Forces.
Beamish WW1 Recruiting Experience
To assist Northumbria ACF on OP REFLECT (British Army WW1 Commemoration) the Branch organised a World War 1 recruiting experience at Beamish Open Air Museum to give the cadets an appreciation of the social and economic conditions in 1914.
Using actors and the locations in Beamish Museum, the cadets met local characters, miners, even a white feather girl, to understand the reasons why so men rushed to the colours in 1914. Everyone started in civilian tops, as civilians, before proceeding to the Recruiting Office ran by the Branch, where cadets signed up and accepted the Kings Shilling. Now as new soldiers, the cadets changed in to uniform and paraded through Beamish Town.