Brigader Articles

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Here are two articles from previous editions of "The Brigader," a magazine provided to members of The Brigade's Historical Group.

A History of St. Paul's Cheltenham Company

The Company originally connected with St Paul's Church was the 4th Cheltenham (St Paul's) Boys' Brigade. It was started on the 16th October 1905, with about 50 boys being enrolled on that day. HQ was at the Drill Hall, Swindon Road (later Cheltenham Press). The first Church parade was on Sunday 6th April 1906, and annual camps were held at the Sidney Hall, Weymouth. The Company Commander and Captain was the Rev T H Cave Moyle, the vicar for 22 years 1904-1926. By 1910 the company was about 70 strong and a second company, the 5th Cheltenham (St Paul's) Boys' Brigade, was formed.

The two companies were very active until the outbreak of the First World War when many members served in the armed forces in all parts of the world. The memorial Chapel in St Paul's Church with the altarpiece (The Divine Son) was provided by the CO and dedicated by the Lord Bishop of Gloucester "In memory of the members of the 4th Company who died in their country's service 1914-1918. The oak panelling in the chapel (added about 1930) was the gift of the congregation and former members of the BB, in memory of the Rev. Cave Moyle, who died on 9th February 1932.

There was little activity by the company after the war, until the 1920s when the Church Lads' Brigade was formed by the Rev Hutchinson, curate at the time. A fairly strong company was again active during the 1930s until the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939. Despite the fact that 13 members served with the forces, St Paul's was the only company in the Gloucester Diocese to carry on throughout the war until 1945 when it became dormant. It was revived in December 1958 by Capt Jack Vernon - at the request of the vicar at the time, the Rev Stanley Howard, and within a short period was again at strength of about 60 members.

The company met in the old St Paul's Mission (Church Hall) on Swindon Road, until it was sold in 1980 (now the Hindu Community Centre). At this time, meetings were transferred to the Church Centre (the old St Paul's School) next to the Church.

Rob Bolton was Making History - BBC Radio 4

My e-mail inbox was the first indication that the BBC was interested in making a programme about the 16th Bn KRRC Church Lads Brigade. Nick Patrick, the Producer, was interested in knowing if we had any information about the 16th since there had been a request to the programme for information about a "Church Lads' Brigade Battalion" in WW1 and a banner in Westminster Abbey. The person who had contacted the programme was HG member Alan Carter, but I didn't know that at the time.

Perhaps, needless to say, I responded in a positive manner, indicating that we did. Indeed know quite a lot about the Battalion. A number of e-mails and a telephone conversation soon made it clear what he wanted and what we could provide. Nick was very keen to focus on just who were these CLB & ex-CLB members who volunteered, went out to France to fight and die for their country, but were they still remembered? Since Nick was based in Suffolk and a meeting at St Martin's House would mean a long journey for both of us, it became clear that all the information required could be provided by a visit to my own home to do some of the recording with some further location pieces at the Brigade Memorial Garden, which is only a twenty minute drive away from there. Fortunately, my being available on a weekday was very helpful, along with the fact that I have most of the sources here which were required to provide the factual background. It's good to know that at least some people in the BBC really do their "homework"

Having collected a table full of information, including the 16th War Diaries, the book The Hell they called High Wood, Jimmy Duncan's Book With the CLB Battalion in France, details of the St Martin's Banner, photographs, Brigade Magazine extracts, Lyn MacDonald's Somme, The History of the KRRC, etc., I felt that I had everything covered. When Nick arrived, he seemed most interested in getting a good quality of sound on his tape recorder, and my book-lined study provided him with the perfect acoustic quality he was looking for,“just like a studio" was his comment. We talked for some time about the way in which the piece would go together for the programme and after about an hour's worth of discussion and recording the desired information was "in the can".

It had become clear during the recording that Nick would be using at least one actor in the programme to add a bit of variety to the finished show, so I eventually managed to find some pieces which could be voiced during the programme. These extras were all scanned and e-mailed a few days later. After recording at home we travelled together to the Brigade Memorial Garden at the National Memorial Arboretum to add a little bit more to the production. As usual, it was quite windy at the NMA, but the best BBC Radio 4 microphone could cope with it! The plan was to mention the Garden as one of the memorials in addition to the St Martin's Banner, and to focus on the Brigade caps with their green band, a constant and ever-present memorial of those KRRC CLB men. A cap was placed on the plinth at the centre of the garden and photographs were taken for use on the "Making History" website. Nick and I were both very pleased with the results of a couple of hours work so I was looking forward to hearing the programme broadcast.

Tuesday April 22nd at 3.10 and the "Making History" programme was broadcast, and towards the end was the piece about the 16th KRRC Battalion. Perhaps a little less than ten minutes in all, but packed with information, and well presented. Nick had used an actor along with some music and sound effects and the detail was quite accurate as well as being sympathetic to the subject. It was short, but I was very happy with the production since Nick had managed to get in everything I wanted to say, albeit in a very condensed format. But had anyone listened to it? Well, the phone rang a few times after the programme with people wanting more information, and I had some extra e-mails. For quite a few days afterwards, a number of people stopped me to say “I heard you on the radio the other day" a mighty powerful tool that Radio 4!

As for Alan Carter, well, I spoke to him about the programme when I discovered that it was he who had sent-in the request. He too seemed quite happy with the outcome; a little piece of the Brigade's proud history which is now out there in the public domain.

As I write, the BBC website still has details of the programme (Programme 4), pictures taken at the Memorial Garden, a link to the CLCGB Website and a "Listen Again" feature. This can be found at: www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/history/making_history