February 6, 2023

The Royal British Legion, Kyrenia Branch

Remembrance Sunday Lunch

Following the beautiful Remembrance Sunday service at the Old British Cemetery, a large group of RBL members made their way to the Ship Inn, Karaoğlanoğlu for lunch.

There were 171 people attending the lunch so the dining room of the Ship Inn was buzzing.  Major Brian Thomas BEM, the Chairman of the Royal British Legion, Kyrenia Branch, made a short speech of welcome and spoke about the reason for all of us being together on that day.   He told the members of the very successful Poppy Walk the previous day and said there were 261 people participating and from the registration fees and raffle alone 3,500TL had been raised.   The final figures for the Poppy Ball and Poppy Walk will be published in our article “News in Brief” in due course along with the results of other charity events.   Brian thanked all of the walkers who had arranged sponsorship and made special reference to Lilian White who had raised a staggering 700TL from her sponsors.

The Ship Inn did us proud with a 3-course meal comprising soup, a roast chicken dinner followed by apple tart and ice cream.   The food was hot and delicious and the service was excellent especially with the number of diners present.   Well done to the management and staff of the Ship Inn.

Once the meal was over, Anne Lloyd gave a repeat of the performance she did at the Poppy Ball much to the enjoyment of those present, some of whom had not been at the Ball but even having seen it before, it was well worth watching and listening to Anne rendering again “Walter, Walter lead me to the Altar”, The Biggest Aspidistra in the World” and the “Thingy-me-Bob” song (my personal favourite).

The tables were cleared by the very efficient Ship Inn staff and following this we were all given a song sheet for a spot of community singing.  There were 14 songs, well-known wartime songs which also included “Land of Hope and Glory”, “Rule Britannia”  and “Jerusalem” all very rousing and sung with great enthusiasm.  Of course, the members were not on their own as we had the support of some of the recognisable members of various choral groups to give us some help who Brian christened “The Legionettes”.

During the afternoon there was a presentation of a banner from Roger Handley, ex Royal Corps of Signals, and he proudly took it around the dining room for a closer look by the members.  It was indeed a work of art and must have taken weeks if not months to complete.  Brian Thomas had told us when the banner was presented that Roger had come to Cyprus for the last 4 years and each time he brought a banner for the RBL.  

I spoke to Roger at the end of the afternoon and he gave me some information about himself.  He served in Cyprus in 1955 and 1956 and was based in Famagusta with part of his service also in the Troodos area and since that time he had never returned to Cyprus.   4 years ago he had read about the Memorial which was to be erected in the Old British Cemetery in Kyrenia and his daughter persuaded him to make a trip back, which he did and during this time he met 2 other veterans who he now keeps in touch with and for the last 4 years they have all come back to Cyprus together for the Remembrance event.  What a lovely story.

Roger joined a company in Leeds after his demob which he then ran for 50 years and now his son and 3 daughters manage the business.  They produce specialised band uniforms, (Roger has spent more than 50 years visiting bands all over the country and in those years has travelled in excess of 2 million miles),  they also make banners, accessories etc. and Roger said one of their major production items is waistcoats which are made in all shapes, sizes and colours.    The company did a huge amount of work for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games when they produced 100’s of items for the opening and closing ceremonies.

As we were about to leave I spotted the bugler who played the Last Post at the Remembrance Service and asked him for some information as well.   This is Andy Cornish who did band service for 23 years and is now with the Royal Naval Careers Advisory Section in Chatham.  He has served a total of 28 years with another 11 years to complete so this really is a long term service career.

Andy was at leisure but he kindly donned all of the trappings of his uniform so that we could take photographs and he looked so smart.  We positioned him in front of a large poppy backdrop and he was then joined by Mick Bone with the Union Flag so we managed to get some really nice photographs of them together.

Time was getting on and people were leaving so we said our goodbyes and thanks for an exceptionally poignant but lovely day.

By Margaret Sheard

For those that would like to hear the sounds of this great event, please click on the links below and then minimise your windows media player so you can continue to view the slide show.

RBL speeches: click here   Thanks to Roger Handley: click here

Mrs Thingy-me Bob: click here         Songs of Yesteryear : click here

Finally for those that would like to relive the experience of the Remembrance Sunday event. Please click here.

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