From: Royal Engineers Association – Radio Branch Committee
To: The RE Command Support Community
Subject: REA Radio Branch Development Plan
The radio branch committee has recently come together with the RE Command Support Branch (CSB) to develop a plan for our trade group that meets the Corps Commanders requirements for the REA. This is to:
- Offer a lifelong experience built on esprit de corps, welfare, benevolence and remembrance.
Joined Up Working
To facilitate discussion, two joint meetings were held at 3RSME. At these, Branch secretary Stuart Dixon provided a gap analysis between where we are now, and the corps aims. His report covered work already complete and a forward plan. It concludes:
Lifelong Association. Current membership comprises a few dedicated serving members and an ageing core membership. Most members are ex sappers with a military and social interest in the trade group. The most active are a special interest group. This covers continuous personal development and lifelong, individual self teaching in our core subjects; radio, electronics, communications training, the industry and computing.
As a branch we don’t reach anywhere near the numbers of potential members and this is a risk.
- A number of opportunities exist to fill the gaps between the age groups by reaching out to all eligible members.
Esprit de Corps. The current location of the branch causes difficulty. The CSB has little input to veterans affairs and opportunities to bring serving soldiers and ex RE Signallers together must be created.
- A shift, re-focusing the REA Branch on its parent unit, CSB is preferred.
This will create the kind of joined up events which showcase our heritage and skills and allow for the exchange of ideas and information about our lifestyle, welfare and personal development. Serving soldiers will gain a view of life after military service while ex-sappers will be encouraged to retain the sapper lifestyle during and after their transition to civilian life. All command support personnel will be eligible.
- Holding an annual re-union at 3RSME combined with CSB during a major event in the corps programme will have a big impact on the branch.
Army Welfare and Benevolence. Stuart Dixon said “From the veterans point of view what we did while we served is just as important now as it was then. While we were young, social life was important. Alcohol played a big part in life and this can become relentless, leading to poor health in later years. The importance of this should be emphasised. The corps encourages people to develop their interests through hobbies and sports. When we earned our stripes and grew older, we began to take a leading role and our wives, children, hobbies and sport became as important as sapper skills. What we learnt ourselves supplemented what we were taught and made us the best – and we had fun.
There is a potential to lose some or all of these values at the point of exit from the corps and this can affect well-being. However the people in our membership generally tend to fare well, because they retain a part of the sapper lifestyle.” “Having lived it now, I realise mental and physical well-being is a big issue among veterans, as much as it is with serving sappers. The importance of filling your life with things you enjoy and achievements, and helping others, does far more for a person than prescription drugs”.
- Combining our assets and modernising them will help to develop the lifestyle in younger soldiers, while retaining and developing life skills, bringing that to the local communities where ex-sappers reside.
Plan. The forward plan is a number of projects requiring voluntary leadership, management and teaching skills in a number of skill areas. This is a big change from where we are now, and it requires funding, but the opportunities it creates for volunteering and participation are both challenging and rewarding.
What can you do to help?
This REA Branch is open to anyone in the RE Command Support community. Please subscribe and keep your subscriptions up to date. Donations are most welcome. Volunteers are badly needed to carry the plan forward and you are welcome to fill any post identified in the plan which match your skills and experience.
All Meeting Notes and the plan are listed below. Your comments are welcome.
This covers a number of questions you may have.
This shows a sample of the volunteers required to execute various parts of the plan.
Roger so far? All comments welcome.
The REA Radio Branch Committee
with thanks to OC, Command Support Branch, REWW, Gibraltar Barracks, Camberley.