60th. Anniversary of 'Operation Musketeer' (Suez Landings)
This was held on the weekend of 5/6th November 2016 at the Tillington Hall Hotel Stafford and attended by 44 Royal Marines and family members.
Sunday morning started with a 9am Coach trip to the Arlewas Arboretum for the ceremony.
The Remembrance Service was superbly conducted by Lieutenant Commander Simon Clark RN (retired) who opened with 'The Bidding Prayer' followed by the Act Of Remembrance.
Binyons' Lines were said by Corporal Colin Ireland ex Baker Troop 45 Commando RM 1955/57 who subsequently won the Silver and Bronze Medals in the 1976 Olympiad for the physically Disabled at Toronto Canada. Followed by the Last Post, 2 Minutes Silence and Reveille.
The Kohima Epitaph was spoken by the Chairman and Secretary of the Baker Troop Organisation Mr David Bell.
Colonel Timothy Wilson RM (retired) delivered a very moving address to the assembled members, recalling the events that led up to his injuries and subsequent casivac to the Hospital ship. He then laid two wreaths; one at the Royal Marine Memorial and a second at the Baker Troop Memorial.
Simon said 'A Prayer For The Departed' and the Royal Marines Prayer, finally closing with the Blessing.
Stafford RMA supplied the Standard Bearer in the form of it's Branch Chairman Mr Frank Colclough
The Service of Remembrance was supported with the aid of a grant from The Royal Marines Charity.
The Anniversary Dinner was held at the Tillington Hall Hotel attend by;
Major General Nick Vaux CB DSO RM (Ret'd) Guest of Honour
Colonel Tim Wilson RM (Ret'd) Toasted The Captain General)
Lieutenant Commander Simon Clark Royal Navy (Ret'd)
Major Michael Mead MM RM (Ret'd)
Captain Brian Bellas MBE RM (Ret'd)
Captain Lesley Gordon RM (Ret'd)
And thirty four ex Marines form differing parts of the3rd. Commando Brigade of 1956 with their wives and guests
Grace. George Ferguson RM
The Queen. Barrie Harris. RM
The Captain General. Col. Tim Wilson. RM
The Royal Marines. Cpl Colin Ireland. RM
The Ladies. John Thorne. RM
Our Guests. Brian Clark. RM
Absent Friends. Nick Guyer. RM
Well wishers included:
From: Buckingham Palace, The Captain General Royal Marines HRH the Duke Of Edinburgh
I very much appreciated the kind message from former members of 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines attending the dinner to mark the 60th Anniversary of the landings in the Suez, at the Tillington Hall Hotel, Stafford, on Sunday 6th. Nov. 2016. I hope you will enjoy a happy evening together.
From: Commandant General Royal Marines Major General Robert Magowan
Offers his best wishes to the veterans of Operation Muskateer who are meeting on Sunday 6th November 2016 to mark the 60th Anniversary of this unique operation by 3 Commando Brigade RM. The fact that this operations not only the first ever battalion level helicopter assault conducted, but that it was delivered from the sea, mark it out as a vital part of British amphibious history, epitomising the Corps' unique role. It is an action that resonates and remains relevant today
Per Mare Per Terram
From: Rear Admiral K. E. Blount OBE FRAeS Royal Navy Command
As you of course know, the Suez campaign was the first time British helicopters were used in an assault (and indeed the worlds first) and still has much in common with today's military operations. Indeed the Helicopter carrier HMS Ocean acted as the main platform for that aspect of the campaign -- 60 years on the current HMS Ocean is still the main Royal Navy Helicopter Assault Ship. In Port Said and elsewhere the Royal Marines conducted their trademark assault from the sea in formidable fashion.
The Suez Campaign therefore is an extremely notable campaign in my mind and that of the Fleet Air Arm, Royal Marines and Naval Service today. I wish you the best of luck in you search and hope you have a very successful anniversary dinner. Well done for having the determination to make it happen.
From: Lt. Col. (Retd) Graham Meacher MBE MD British Forces Philatelic Service BFPO
I hope the dinner goes well and the cover adds a little value to what should be a memorable event.
Note We are indebted to LT. Col. Meacher who supplied a First Day Issue Cover of 'Operation Musketeer for every member attending
The complete weekend was organised by The chairman and Secretary of Baker Troop 45Cdo. RM 1956 Mr. David Bell. and founder member Mr. Brian Clark who also was Master of Ceremonies for the night.
The Saturday nights entertainment was totally the realm of Mr Brian Clark with a two hour show and talk on 'Operation g Musketeer' including the previous history of the Suez Canal, The politics involved both National and International (and it's repercussions) The Nations and Politicians involved, and an in depth description of the ensuing battle with the aid of a screen and projector.
The departure the following morning was with enduring handshakes by group of octogenarians who appeared to have grown at least two inches over the weekend!