December 1914 to December 1999
You may be familiar with the activities of The Association for Military Remembrance - "The Khaki Chums". Since 1990 we have raised nearly £10,000 for ex-service charities and, with our 'first hand' knowledge of the life of the British soldier, have lectured to hundreds of people at schools, museums and Regimental Association branches all over the country. Our insistence on getting the detail right with everything from food to underwear and shaving kits has given us a reputation as leading historians in our field. We have decided that this year we will be making a fund-raising trip with a difference...
While most of you are tucking into your Christmas dinners, recovering from the effects of too much food and drink, or just stretching out in front of a nice warm fire - the Khaki Chums will be suffering the worst of a Flanders winter.
To commemorate the 85th Anniversary of the 1914 truce, 9 of us will be travelling to 'Plugstreet' and staying at the exact spot where cartoonist Bruce Bairnsfather (creator of 'Old Bill') spent Christmas Day 1914 and where he fraternised with German soldiers.
The trip will be from 23rd to 27th December, and there will be no sleeping bags, tents or other luxuries available at all. All building materials will be contemporary for 1914, as will all food eaten. As you can imagine, it will be extremely cold (-3 last year!) and there will be little or no cover from the worst that the weather can throw at us. We shall be parading at the Menin Gate at 8.00pm on Christmas night and laying a wreath. We shall also lay another wreath at the Ploegsteert Memorial to the Missing during our stay.
So why am I telling you all this?
Firstly, we are not doing this purely for enjoyment(!). We hope to raise a lot of money for charity. If we raise enough, we hope to donate sums of money to the RBL Poppy Appeal, The British Limbless Ex-Servicemens Association, St Dunstans, the Friends of War Memorials and lastly a small donation to the Buglers who play the Last Post every night at the Menin Gate, Ypres. Please support us and make the onset of pneumonia worthwhile!
If you would like to contribute, please make your cheques payable to:
'The Association for Military Remembrance'.
Secondly, it will take quite a bit to keep the Chums morale up over these five days. Therefore, if you could find the time to write to the boys, they would be very pleased to hear from you. Feel free to send comforts too - knitted scarves, gloves, balaclavas or maybe plum puddings, chocolate or other foodstuffs. Use your imaginations - anything would help to cheer the boys up! If you would like to write to any individual Chums 'at the Front', or send them Christmas gifts or comforts, here is a complete list of participants, listed by number, rank, name, and Regiment - latest list of participants (30.11.99):
5248 Sgt. Taff Gillingham 1/Royal Warwickshire Regiment
4943 Pte. Rob Barnes 1/North Stafford Regiment
2711 Pte. Tim Clover 2/Scots Guards
1795 Pte. Tim Godden 1/Norfolk Regiment
4079 Rfn. Steve Maltby 5/London (London Rifle Brigade)
2958 L/Cpl. Kevin Smith 6/Cheshire Regiment
3093 Pte. Bob Stedman 2/Bedfordshire Regiment
110 Pte. Colin Wright 2/Argyl & Sutherland Highlanders
4616 Pte. Mike Johnson 1/Royal Warwickshire Regiment
1256 Pte. Steve Fairbank 1/Hampshire Regiment
We may be joined on 26.12.99 by:
198 Pte. Mo Stokes 1/Devonshire Regiment
7940 Pte. Dick Knights 2/Essex Regiment
All letters shall receive a reply (as long as you include your name and SAE !). Please send donations or letters/comforts to either: HQ, The Khaki Chums, 218 Colchester Road, Ipswich, Suffolk. IP4 4QZ - to arrive by 22nd December.
Advanced HQ, The Khaki Chums, c/o 'Varlet Farm', Wallemolenstraat 43, 8920 Poelkapelle, Belgium.
Thank you for your support. Taff Gillingham, Chief Chum.
To contact the Khaki Chums by e-mail, click here
Copyright © Taff Gillingham, December, 1999.
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