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From Larry Smith

The Reunion Weekend
It's a long way to travel from four corners of the United Kingdom, Canada and Spain to Tonfanau in Mid Wales in spring. To make the journey for a regimental reunion, in the hope of seeing companions who were boys when you last met seems absurd. But whatever motivates former junior leaders and their teaching and admin staff to get together for the first time in 40 years has some strange attraction and they still turned up.
The website www.aajlr.org brought us all together and such is its popularity that over 50 former members some with their wives and partners travelled to the Corbett Hotel, Tywyn on 2/3 April 2004 to attend the All Arms Junior Leaders Regiment (AAJLR) inaugural reunion. It was pleasing to note that, apart for the former junior leaders, the Permanent Staff were represented, namely, Lt Col (QM) (Retd) David Paterson, the last Quartermaster, Sgt Tom Silverside (Gallipoli), Sgt Dennis Parry (Egypt Pl), his lovely wife Barbara (B Coy Clerk), Derek Oliver (PTI) and Mr Roy Rowlands and Glyn Kirkham who taught us all to drive. Other local people that had been employed in Tonfanau Camp joined us in the bar over the weekend to chat about old times.
Sandra, the Hotel Manager was terrific throughout and she welcomed everyone with a smile which was a good omen for the rest of the stay. The Friday evening was a "warmers into the bank" evening and a getting to know you session. Name tags were worn for identification purposes. A forum was convened to discuss regimental business and it was agreed that we should form a comrades association with the aim of reaching those former members not on the internet with newsletters and other correspondence to keep them informed of comrade association matters. An initial management team were volunteered and Larry Smith agreed to put together a framework for the association and seek approval from members through the website. It was also agreed that the proceeds from the reunion raffle would be used to offset the cost of running the website. Business over reminiscing and gazing at past photos carried on until the early hours.
The Saturday began with the 'Cader Idris' team posing for photos before the trip up the mountain armed with a haversack ration very kindly supplied by the hotel manager. Ably lead by Rene (Acker) Dee we reached the top in appalling conditions. The AAJLR flag made by Alan Agar's wife Jery was hoisted on the summit in the mist and rain. It was a great idea by Acker to retrace our steps up this notorious mountain and on our return to the car park, some soaked to the skin everyone concluded that they are glad that they had done it. A special mention of Dorothy Straughan who showed great determination and stamina in finishing the course. The photos taken on the venture are testament to the conditions.
The next serial of the Fire plan was the visit to Tonfanau Camp as guests of the Motor Cycle Club. As well as meeting some very nice people it was an ideal opportunity to have a closer look at the remaining buildings in the camp. The guardroom received many hits and individuals had many memories of what went on in 'Cpl Fagg's' pride and joy. An enjoyable afternoon was had by all!!
The evening proceedings began with the arrival of our guest The Lady Mayor of Tywyn. Dinner was called at 2000 hours and all assembled moved into the main dining room. The tables and walls were adorned with AAJLR memorabilia produced by Stan Green. Larry Smith was presiding member and asked people to stand and observe a short silence for all those former members of the regiment who had passed away since 1966. That over Gus Boag said Grace and being Scottish quite appropriately narrated the 'Selkirk Grace'!
After the meal glasses were charged for the toasts. Larry Smith informed those present that a message of Loyal Greetings had been sent to Her Majesty the Queen to which Her Majesty was graciously pleased to reply and read out the letter from the Queen to a proud audience. A toast to the regiment was followed by a toast to the ladies by Alan Crompton. A special toast was reserved for Ken Hart our superb webmaster, the person responsible for bringing us all together.
Apologies were read out and included: Terry Hope, Chris Honey, Dave Wakelam, Fred Smith, Dave Johnson, Paul Treen, Malcolm Palfrey, and Keith Glen. Oh! And Cpl Fagg!!
Special thanks was given to: Alan Ager for producing the flag, Stan Green for producing the superb table memorabilia, Acker for his organisation and leadership of the successful Cader Idris venture, Bill Straughan and his charming wife Dorothy for their assistance in providing the administration for the weekend, and last but not least Colin Gunning for doing a great job in putting it all together.
Colin then rose and welcomed everyone. He then spoke on topics concerning the reunion and reinforced one or two thank yous. He spoke on the way ahead for future reunions and then in timely fashion welcomed the Mayor to speak. Tywyn Mayor Cllr Eileen Ellis then welcomed us all back to Tywyn and said that the area had along tradition with the Army dating back to 1795 and that we were the first army unit to return for a reunion. She hoped that we would all return again in the coming years and enjoy the hospitality of the local people.
The dinner concluded with a birthday celebration for Richard Abraham which included a cake adorned with a few candles. He responded by narrating a humorous tale which was well received. Dinner over we all retired to the bar. The Raffle then took place and Bill Straughan and his helpers managed to raise £200 which would be used to offset the cost of running the website.
The evening finished with sandbags, swinging the lamp and reminiscing until the early hours. The next morning and after a hearty breakfast, personal departed promising that they would return next year and enjoy the comradeship that only the AAJLR family can bring.
I would like to conclude by saying, it was a resounding success, everybody made it happen, although certain individuals have been mentioned for praise I would like to mention a couple who have also contributed and they are Titch Brown for his initial recces of Tywyn ad Johnny Thompson for his morale boosting repartee. If I've missed anybody get me on retiredcolonelsbollicking.com. End of Mission.

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If you have any reunion photos I would love to show them.

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