Having read the posts regarding the Royal Sussex Ladies Dinner there is unambiguous evidence that some of you were very proud to have served in the Royal Sussex Regiment (I include myself among them) but some have strong views about the amalgamation of the Home Counties Brigade resulting in us becoming members of the Queens Regiment. Personally, I do not have a problem with the amalgamation. While I am proud to have been a Royal Sussex soldier, I am equally proud to have served with the Queens Regiment.
Before I go any further, the ladies are free to call their dinner whatever they wish and equally invite whoever they wish. But I will come back to this issue later.
We became a battalion of the Queens Regiment in 1966 but did we somehow personally change overnight? I donít think we did. We continued to do our duties as normal, the new recruits that joined us in later months and years were still mainly from Sussex and we continued our close association with the county of Sussex for many years after that. The guys that joined us post 1966 served alongside us through many tours in Northern Ireland and some sadly were killed or received life changing injuries. Most us attending the Royal Sussex reunions served much longer under a Queens Regiment badge than that of the Royal Sussex and indeed saw more active service as a Queensman.
This website is called Ď1 Royal Sussex Ė 3rd Bn The Queens Regimentí and the shop window is the message board. I suspect that there are many more Queensmen looking at this site than Royal Sussex but the published views on this issue are from just a few vocal members; what are the views of the Ďlurkersí on this website or those who do not feel that they can adequately express their opinion for one reason or another?
If I had joined the battalion post 1966 and read through some of the posts I would not feel very welcome. Ross has made a point that the Queens Regiment is a separate regiment to the Royal Sussex (I would argue that it is not as regimental traditions were carried forward) and they have their own regimental reunion. He is correct but while there is an event for all the four battalions, I donít believe there is an event for 3 Queens (if there was I would attend it). There are many guys I served with post 1966 who Iíd love to share a drink with and exchange war stories but they donít attend the reunion. The question is why? So, we are back to the annual Royal Sussex dinner in Lewes.
Col Rod has pointed out that all members of the Royal Sussex Regimental Association are entitled to attend the dinner with the Queens and PWRR being given encouragement, especially 3 Queens when they join our Regimental Association. I am not sure where the encouragement is coming from. We need to be more welcoming to our colleagues and look to the future; if the Lewes event is to continue the empty seats vacated by the Royal Sussex men going to meet their maker will need to be filled by Queensmen. Look around you next month, we used to have tables in the bar area but no longer. The number of attendees is dwindling. In my opinion, we should be welcoming Queensmen and I will even go as far to say the name of the event (or dare I say even the association) should be changed to something along the lines that Dave Tilley suggested.
Returning to the issue of the ladiesí dinner, does it need to have an official name? I do feel uncomfortable with the title of Royal Sussex Ladies Dinner as there are a few Queensmen attending the event with their wives and they may feel excluded. In todayís society, there could well be wives of association members who are not of the female sex. Are they excluded? Trying to formalise something that has always been informal may produce problems in the future.
I shall now go and find my steel helmet and flak jacket and await incoming!
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