IN MEMORY OF 4 x RGBW SOLDIERS KILLED: PROJECT SUCCESSFUL AND COMPLETED

 


JAN 13 - LATEST NEWS.

Jan 13 - £800 received from an anonymous donor.  This will be divided; £200 to the Gorazde  Memorial Maintenance Fund,  and £600 to the"Gloucestershire Home for Veterans - Alabare', one of the project's three nominated charities.

Nov 12 - £250 received from Corporals Mess to the Gorazde Memorial Maintenance Fund. 

25 Sep 12: Thank you to all of you who have made this project successful with financial and other forms of support. 


£13,735 has been raised (including the above 'new' donations
of which 
£3750  is to be paid to our three nominated charities as follows:

 £2600 to 'The Gloucestershire Veterans Home - Alabare', 

£600 to The Rifles 'Care for Casualties

£550  to the ABF 'The Soldiers Charity'

 FACEBOOK: RGBW Return to Gorazde (rgbwr2g)  is the FACEBOOK PAGE with photographs etc of the project   

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THE MISSION - ACHIEVED 
To install and dedicate two memorials in Gorazde (Eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina) in commemoration of the 4 x RGBW soldiers killed during the battalion's first operational in 1994, 
 
and 
 
To raise money and awareness for our three nominated charities that help Service personnel and their families.

THE CONTEXT 
In 1994-95 the newly formed Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment (RGBW) conducted it's first operational tour. 

This was in the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR), the first of three international missions that assisted in bringing peace and stability to this troubled part of the Balkans.

During this tour, in September 1994,  RGBW Privates Ben HINTON, Philip ARMSTRONG, Martin DOWDELL and Chris TURNER were killed in two separate incidents. 

Both incidents were in the Eastern enclave of Gorazde (just south of Srebenica), whilst on operations to protect the 60,000 Bosnian Muslim refugees from the Bosnian Serb Army who had beseiged them. 

In addition, the incidents resulted in a number of RGBW and Corps attached personnel suffering from short-term and long-term medical effects.

Following the deaths, the rifle company involved procured two slabs of marble, arranged for them to be carved by a Bosnian refugee in the town, and with the help of the attached Royal Engineer section, constructed two memorials.  The Battalion's Padre (Rev Patrick Irwin) dedicated these memorials in Dec 94.  

However, in 2007, on completion of the British Army's involvement in Bosnia, the memorials were returned to UK. This was conducted without wide Regimental (RGBW) consultation.  

Since then, a number of ex-RGBW soldiers, including some of those injured in the incidents, have been committed to returning these memorials to their original locations, rededicating them, paying their respects and to visit the community of Gorazde who benefited so significantly from the Battalion's service.   

THE TEAM
A team of 13: Four are still serving in the Army - three of whom are in the successor regiment (The RIFLES). Ex Privates, Cpls, SNCOs/WOs and officers. 
 
Ian HARRIS, Danny ASHTON, Blaine 'Brads' BRADBURY, Maurice 'EB' EVLYN-BUFTON, Leigh DEACON, Pat 'Joey' DEACON, Andrew 'Rev' GRANT, Julian 'Clarence' HEAL, Andy PADDON, Alwyn 'WIllo' WILLIAMS, Neil 'Slug' SOUTHERN, Mick STACEY, and Tom BAILEY (researcher). 





 


Comments and messages are welcome to ivk.harris@gmail.com

THE PLAN
9-15 June 2012: A volunteer ex-RGBW team to travel from Gloucester to Gorazde with the original memorials, construct and replace them in their original locations, with the cooperation and engagement of the Gorazde municipal leaders, the local veteran's organisations and the wider community.  
 
The re-dedication of the memorials on Wed 13 Jun will be conducted by Reverend Andrew Grant, an ex-RGBW LCpl who miraculously survived one of the incidents in which three of his fellow soldiers were killed, and Reverend Patrick Irwin, who conducted the original dedication of the memorials in 1994.

In addition, to raise money and awareness of our three nominated charities: a national one, a Regimental one and a local (Gloucester) charity. See below for full details.

THE REQUIREMENT
This is a private expedition. It cannot be officially funded by the Army. Therefore all funds have to be found through personal contributions and sponsorship.

Objective: To raise at least £10,000 to; 
fund the return, construction and re-dedication of the memorials in Gorazde, and to support our three nominated charities to ensure long term benefit to service personnel.  Our three selected charities are: 

- ABF The Soldiers Charity.
 
We are The Soldiers’ Charity. We give lifetime support to serving and retired soldiers and their families. They risk so much for us, but for them, it’s just doing their job.

- Care for Casualties 
Care for Casualties is an appeal that gives the severely wounded, their families and the families of our fallen Riflemen the support, the inspiration and the means to rebuild their lives and make the best of their futures.

- Alabare Homes (Gloucester) 
Alabare cares for vulnerable ex-service personnel. It provides a safe home, professional support and advice, training in life skills, care, compassion and respect, and support.  Alabare's Gloucester home for ex-service personnel that is being established will benefit directly.

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LATEST NEWS - FINAL UPDATE. 

25 Sep 12: Project Completed successfully. Thank you to all of you who have made this project successful with financial and other forms of support. 

More details and hundreds of photos are at the Facebook site 'RGBW Gorazde'


+    24 Jun. The collection of funds for our three nominated charities continues via Pay Pal or cheques - details to the right.

+    14 Jun. The final objective in Bosnia has been achieved. The team handed over the medical life-saving training equipment to the Director of the Sarajevo Children's Hospital. This equipment had been gathered by the Advanced Life Support  Group (ALSG) of Manchester http://www.alsg.org/uk/  and sent to the hospital via the MCAI (Maternity and Child Advocacy Initiative) http://www.mcai.org.uk/   charity. The equipment will be used to train paediatricians from all over Bosnia (including Gorazde) in advanced child life support.  This was filmed by national Bosnian TV as well as by the BBC and was included in the final of the four evening BBC Points West and Midlands today reports on 15 Jun 

+    14 Jun.  It is wonderful to be able to report that the memorials have been re-installed and re-dedicated back in Gorazde on Wed 13 Jun. The team of 14 were supported in the service by The Prime Minister of Gorazde Kanton, The British Ambassador, the British Defence Attaché, the Minister of War Veterans, The President of the War veterans Association, representatives from NATO HQ Sarajevo,  HQ EUFOR, the Peace Support Training Centre, and many others including the war veterans and people of Gorazde. Al Jazeera, local and regional Bosnian TV, Radio Gorazde, as well as BBC TV (Gloucestershire Points West) and Radio Gloucestershire. Photos to be posted shortly. Many photos are on Facebook at 'rgbw.Gorazde'.

A huge thank you to so many of you who have contributed to making this possible.

+    11 Jun. More details/diary and photos are on the RGBW.Gorazde Facebook site. The team are all in Gorazde having travelled via the infamous Rogatica Serb checkpoint site, the Ustipraca RGBW hostage site, and the town of Gorazde. All locations created much discussion and varying emotions within the team. An incredible welcome from Gorazde on arrival including the Minister of Veterans and the President of the Veterans Associations. Both have supported this visit in an incredible manner. 
Wednesday (the memorial services) are  being planned as a very big day by the locals. The Prime Minister of the Drina Canton, and the British Ambassador will be in attendance as will be Al Jazeera TV, national and local Bosnian TV, (and the BBC Points West team).

+     8 Jun: Gorazde team (x13) meet at London Heathrow Airport to travel from 9-15 Jun. 
.....10-12 preparation of memorial sites, interaction with Gorazde community, visit the RGBW UN 1994 sites.
......13th (Wed), the two x dedication services at original locations in Gorazde.
......14th - Sarajevo Children's Hospital to present medical equipment, and  UN/NATO battlefield tour

+    6 Jun:  BBC TV are planning to show short TV reports on BBC Points West on the evenings 12,13 and 14 Jun - including footage from the 13 Jun dedication service.

+    27 May:  BBC Radio Gloucestershire - played a BBC interview with Rev Andy Grant today on the 'Richard Atkins Show'. 

+   26 May: BBC Website 25 May 12

+   25 MayThe project media launch on 24th May at Custom House, Gloucester Docks was a success. This event also saw the loading and departure of the memorial stones for Gorazde and the medical equipment for Sarajevo Children's Hospital. All is now en route to Sarajevo, courtesy of our sponsor - 'Palletways UK - European Freight'.  Photographs of the event are on the 'RGBW Gorazde' Facebook page. 

BBC Points West TV, BBC Radio Gloucestershire, The Gloucester Citizen and Gloucestershire Echo were
present. The first of several articles in The Gloucester Citizen was on 23 May - more articles to follow soon. BBC Points West (TV) items will be on regional TV shortly.    

The BBC are now planning to send a TV/radio team into Gorazde 10-13 Jun to join us.  They will film the re-dedication service on Wed 13 Jun and the associated community projects in Gorazde and Sarajevo.  

+     13 May:  FACEBOOK: RGBW Return to Gorazde (rgbwr2g)  FACEBOOK PAGE (with Gorazde photographs) launched.   

+    23 Apr: The Reverend Patrick Irwin, the Battalion's Padre who dedicated the original memorials in Gorzade in 1994, is now the Anglican Chaplain in Bucharest with Sofia. He will be returning to Gorazde to join us on 13 June to co-lead the dedication services. 

+    22 Apr: The Gloucester Citizen newspaper is supporting this project.  More details to follow.

+    21 Apr: Our freight sponsor (Palletways UK - Birmingham) have kindly agreed to assist UK children's charity MCAI (Maternity and Child Advocacy Initiative) http://www.mcai.org.uk/   by taking training equipment donated by the Advanced Life Support  Group (ALSG) of Manchester http://www.alsg.org/uk/  We will present this equipment to Sarajevo Children's Hospital during our trip. The equipment will be used to train paediatricians from all over Bosnia (including Gorazde) in advanced child life support.  

+    15 Apr: ......"My names is Edis Ligata, I am from Gorazde and I just found the web page where it says that you guys are returning memorial of 4 RGBW soldiers killed in Gorazde during the War.  I was there as a 15 years old boy, and I remember well everything and I think that idea is excellent, and not just that, but realy needed, because these guys deserved it." (from email)

+     8 Apr: "The [Gorazde] Minister For Veterans Affairs and 3 of his senior veterans were all very upbeat about your visit.  They are still full of pride and respect for what your Regiment did here.  You will be very well received." (British Embassy Sarajevo representative during liaison visit 8 Apr)




ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
We express our thanks and deep appreciation to those individuals and organisations below who have already supported us by pledging or donating services, support or finance.

Worldwide battlefield & remembrance tour operator
 

- (via Mark Evans) Palletways UK (Birmingham) European Freight
 
http://www.palletwaysbirmingham.co.uk/en.html



- (via Pat Deacon) Glatfelter Paper (Lydney) 
http://www.glatfelter.com/default.aspx

- Savills Estate Agents.

- RGBW Regimental Charities Fund
http://www.rgbw-association.org.uk/

- The Glosters:  http://www.glosters.org/

- The Rifles: 
 
-  The British Embassy - Sarajevo
-  HQ European Union Force Sarajevo
-  Unite the Union (Glatfelter Branch)
-  Taylors of Harrogate 
-  Lydney Boxing Club

-  Phoenix Fine Drinks Gloucester http://www.phoenixfinedrinks.com/
-  The Ormond Hotel at Tetbury. info@theormond.co.uk
-  Peppers Café – specialising in home made foods: Peppers.org.uk  Tel 01452 384 343, Gloucester.

Individuals/communities: C Ryland, C Williams, A Bomberg, C Newbould, D Lee-Browne, D Allen, L Southern, S Oxlade, R Hall, I Savage, J Biggs, A Rouse, J Dakin, M Houghton, J Woodley, R Evlyn-Bufton, M Harris, N Shanahan, M Vine, D Long, A&M Hinton, J Hodder, D Lee-Brown, G Wilkinson, A Cooper, J Bower, C Rees, M Stacey, T Ayres, N John, E Brown, P Holt, P Roberts, J Devoy, A Hazell, S Rashid, M Potter, G McFarlane, S Firth, B&M Collins, G Curtis, M English, R Porrit, R Hind, A Bartlam, P Smith, Parishioners from the Benefice of Bramham (York Diocese), Pickhill Parish, K&J Writer, D&G Hopper, M Widd, S&B Woolhouse, F Briten, J Wadsworth, P Hall, CB Harris, A Simpson, J Foster, C Mousette, W Jefferson, Alanbrooke Primary school staff, C Bradbury, RAOB Tor Abbey and Babbcombe Lodge, R Ladds, I Bailey, J Flexman, P Bentley, R Evans, R Deacon, P Wightley, G Fishwick, J&B Bean, J&E Craddock, Rev R & Mrs Grant, Mr and Mrs T Slade, Sainthill Baptist Church Devon, S Farmer, Cpls' Mess 1 RIFLES, and all 13 team members of the 'Return to Gorazde' Project.  And in Bosnia: M Tutic, N Gluscic, A Buzadzic Rodic, A Alagic, J Carr, R Tomlinson.


MESSAGES

+   23 Jun - (Gorazde citizen - now living in Sweden)Hello, I was only 9 when the war in Bosnia started. I was born in Gorazde and we happened to live very close to the stadium (where your base was set up). I would come every day and bug you guys by climbing on your bunkers when you were on your guard shift and try to talk to you even though I could not speak english at that time. After the war, whenever I drove by the memorial site I would remember the great sacrifice you guys did by coming to my country. We were surrounded by Serbian military in Gorazde and the only thing preventing them from coming in or shelling the town was your presence. I would like to extend my deepest grattitude for your service and utmost respect for your fallen comrades. Atif Colo

+   (Relative of one of the soldiers killed): "I feel it is a very lovely gesture of all of those involved to take the time and go to the effort of making this endeavour possible......I sincerely wish you the best."

+    (Ex-RGBW soldier): "I would like to thank you for putting this together in the memory of the A company lads that we lost in Bosnia." 
 
+    (Wife of ex-RGBW soldier): "I remember very well what it was like as a dependent hearing the news about the men who died and wondering if my husband would make it home. I would therefore be delighted to pledge £+++ towards this trip"

+      (Ex-RGBW soldier): "Bosnia very much changed my life in many different ways. I would like to wish you and the team all the very best of luck for this project".

+     (Member of the public): "Great initiative – a cheque is in the post".

+      (Ex-Norwegian Army soldier): "My mind will be with you on your trip. What you do is very good, and very important to many. All the best for a safe trip....."

Comments and messages are welcome to ivk.harris@gmail.com