Retired REME soldiers sought to join happy band

Members of the Brighton, Hove and West Sussex branch of the REME Association at the Hummingbird Restaurant. Picture: Steve Robards SR1805953
Members of the Brighton, Hove and West Sussex branch of the REME Association at the Hummingbird Restaurant. Picture: Steve Robards SR1805953

Former soldiers who served in the Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers enjoy getting together for social gatherings.

The Brighton, Hove and West Sussex branch of the REME Association has about 15 members who meet regularly at the Royal British Legion Club Lancing and they are looking for more to join their happy band.

Barry Loveridge, chairman, said: “What we are looking for is older people, those who are retired who have time on their hands. We can’t reasonably expect the younger people to join because most soldiers when they leave in their 40s, it is difficult for them. They are too busy setting up their career.”

Gerry Mitchell, vice-chairman, added: “We are looking for commitment and that is the biggest part of it. We want people who come every month and take an active part.”

Current members come from Hove, Southwick, Upper Beeding, Lancing, Worthing, Haywards Heath and Pagham, so people from a wide area are welcome.

Barry, who joined at 15 and worked on aircraft, said: “The REME stared in 1942. Most of us are from the 1960s onwards.

“To be a full member of the association, you have to have served in the REME but we can have associate members.

“The monthly meeting is only an hour. It is fairly formal and we have a proper structure. We also have social functions at the Hummingbird Café and we do as many visits as we can. We like to go to places that are of interest to us, for example Ricardo and Bordon Camp.”

Glen Bruce served from 1954 to 1956, for his national service, as an electrician vehicle and plant at Malvern.

He said the association had an important role as benefactor, offering support to those who needed it.

Geoff Bowring joined the branch 30 years ago, 15 years after he came out of the army at the age of 42, having seen a newspaper advert.

Brian Meredith, treasurer, was a commando in the Royal Marines and earned the coveted Green Beret.

Roger Cross, who serviced in the Royal Artillery, said: “Wherever the army goes, the REME goes with it. REME is responsible for every piece of electrical equipment the army has, from rifles and radios to vehicles and aircraft.

“A lot of us joined as trainees at 16 or 17 and many had 22-year careers.

“The function of the association is social, to create an atmosphere of like-minded people who have a drink and a chat, and reminisce. We talk about posts we have had and stations we have been on.

“We also have a welfare function, which is very important to us, and it is now primarily related to widows of members we have lost.”

The branch meets on the third Tuesday of the month a the club in Culver Road, Lancing. For more information, telephone Barry Loveridge on 01273 870523.