Saluting the Gloucestershire Regiment

15 Mar 2015

This morning there was a special remembrance event in Gloucester, titled ‘Saluting the Gloucestershire Regiment’, which started at the Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum before moving over to Gloucester Cathedral for a dedicated performance by the Military Wives’ Choir.

The event celebrated twelve generations of military service, with particular focus on nine servicemen from the Gloucestershire Regiment; eight of whom hold the Victoria Cross, and one of whom holds the George Cross.

Stagecoach West provided a convoy of nine buses that were contained further information about each of the nine local servicemen on-board.

The event also had some VIP guests;

  • Margaret Purves – the only living woman to hold the George Cross
  • Major Pete Norton GC – chair of the Victoria Cross and George Cross Asociation
  • Sam Mercer MBE – Korean War Veteran who was present when Lieutenant P K E Curtis fell (one of the servicemen being remembered)

Below are a couple of quotes from those who have helped to organise the event:

  • Chris Chatterton, General Manager of the Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum:
    “The Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum are delighted to be a part of this fantastic initiative. The nine men we are saluting are all incredible individuals, who performed extraordinary acts of valour and bravery in the most challenging of circumstances. However, these men are representative of the thousands of others who have worn the badge of the Glosters with pride, who have served our country with honour and who deserve to be remembered by us all. As Lt Col Carton de Wiart VC said of his award at the Somme;  ‘It had been won by the 8th Glosters, for every man has done as much as I have.’ Whether they served with the 28th or 61st Regiment of Foot, the Gloucestershire Regiment, the RGBW or the current Rifles, soldiers from Gloucestershire have played a significant role in our history. We are extremely grateful to the RBL for the initial idea, and to Stagecoach West for their incredible support and generosity in allowing the people of Gloucestershire to learn a little more about these men.”
  • Anny Reid, county chairman of Gloucestershire Royal British Legion:
    “In 2013 we were delighted to launch the Poppy Appeal with a special poppy bus kindly donated by Stagecoach West, this bus was a great success and can still be seen around the County. Last year our thoughts turned to the Centenary of the Great War and whilst remembering those who had made the ultimate sacrifice I also remembered those men who had achieved acts of courage and bravery particularly those from my own County of Gloucestershire. It was at this point I considered approaching Stagecoach West and again contacted the Marketing Manager with my idea. I wanted to replicate an idea from the recent Olympics when those who had won gold medals had a post box in their village or town pained gold. I asked Stagecoach West to consider changing the livery on nine of their buses to commemorate the eight holders of the Victoria Cross and the one holder of the George Cross from the Gloucestershire Regiment, not only was I amazed when they agreed but we also extended the idea and we have worked closely with The Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum. I am pleased to announce the launch of these magnificent buses and I thank Stagecoach West and the Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum for their support and generosity in what will be a very special way for Gloucestershire to remember those men.” 
  • Nathan Griffith-Williams, Marketing Manager of Stagecoach West:
    “Stagecoach began working with the Royal British Legion back in 2013 when we unveiled the first ever dedicated ‘Poppy Bus’, and this is a fantastic second step in a very strong relationship between us. We struggled to get the wheels in motion for the concept until we managed to bring Chris Chatterton, the former Mayor, on board. But this is just the second stop, it’s by no means the end. We’re hoping that once we unveil the Centenary dedicated buses, we can take them into schools around the county and help to educate students on the rich history of the servicemen.”