On Tuesday the 3rd. of December retired army Brigadier Allan Mallinson gave a lecture on the causes and early days of The Great War (as the first world war was then known). The event was held at The Prince Consort’s Library in Aldershot, which was an ideal backdrop for such a talk as most of the British Army’s senior officers of that period had themselves attended lectures and talks in the library.
Allan Mallinson’s latest book
Allan is well-known for writing a series of novels chronicling the fictional tales of Matthew Hervey, an officer serving in the equally fictional British 6th Light Dragoons from the late Napoleonic Wars through subsequent colonial conflicts in India, North America and South Africa. He is also a renowned military historian and his talk was centred around his newly published book “1914: Fight the Good Fight”, which deals with the individuals, circumstances and events surrounding that great conflict.
On the evening of Sunday the 1st. of December we were back at St. Andrew’s church for the annual carol service of the Hampshire Constabulary. The concert included a number of favourite songs and musical pieces, along with traditional carols. There was also be a performance by the Aldershot Military Wives Choir. Admission was free, mince pies and refreshments were available and there was a collection for police charities and the Women’s Royal Voluntary Service.
The Aldershot Military Wives in action
Members of the Hampshire Constabulary Band are retired and serving police officers, police staff, their families and friends who all volunteer to make up the uniformed band. Established for over 110 years, the band is based at the Police Training Headquarters at Netley, Southampton. They are led by the excellent Major Pete Curtis who is the Director of Music for The Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines at HMS Collingwood
Later on Sunday the 1st. of December we were fortunate to attend the annual Christmas bazaar and advent carol service at Farnborough Hill Convent. The hall had been packed with stalls and visitors all afternoon and there was a full house for the carol service in their impressive chapel. The service is one of the highlights of Christmas in Farnborough and the singing by the school’s choirs is of a very high quality.
An impressive setting for a carol service
Farnborough Hill’s setting is very spectacular. The main house has an illustrious past, being the former home of the exiled Empress Eugenie, wife of Napoleon III, the last emperor of France. It is set in 60 acres of grounds and includes secluded gardens and woodlands. Situated on the highest point in Hampshire, it has marvellous views over the surrounding countryside.
Pipe Major Roger Huth greeted us outside the church
A busy Sunday of church services on the 1st. of December started with the annual St. Andrew’s Day celebration. The service was held at the church dedicated to the patron saint of Scotland in Queen’s Avenue, Aldershot.
The event was held against the backdrop of a terrible helicopter crash in Glasgow less than two days previously. The sense of togetherness for which the Scots are renowned was evident in the immediate reaction of so many people who went to lend a helping hand in the rescue operation immediately following the crash.
Stephen Gorys and Kathryn Rowcliff show off our transport for the evening
Saturday the 30th. of November saw us making another trip to Winchester. This time it was to have dinner with the Mayor and Mayoress of Winchester, Councillor Ernie Jeffs and his wife Barbara.
Before that we were treated to a trip around the famous Christmas fair held in the grounds of Winchester Cathedral. It is a truly magnificent spectacle with a wide variety of gift and food stalls on offer. For the more adventurous of us there was also an ice rink available to show off our skating skills (not me).
Ray Wilkins serves the cheese
Ray Wilkins played football 84 times for England and is a former Manchester United, Chelsea, Milan and Queen’s Park Rangers player. On Friday the 29th. of November he was a guest speaker at a sportsmen’s dinner held to help raise much-needed funds for Aldershot Town Football Club.
Ray was interviewed about his playing career and entertained us with his stories of life as an international football star.
Over 60 visitors to Rushmoor Council offices on Friday the 29th. of November helped us to raise £533.70 at the Mayoress’ Christmas tea party. With a raffle, a tombola stall, bring and buy sale and many other attractions there was something for everyone and an enjoyable time was had by all.
The Mayoress with Karen and Sebastian Stockbridge
This was the first of two such events and another will be held on Friday the 11th. of April next year, a week before Easter. Our thanks to all those who attended and to those who contributed cakes, raffle prizes and other items which helped to make the day such a success.