Menu and newspaper article courtesy Alfred Hall MBE.
This is a copy of Alfred's menu. The colours are as they were on the original, but have been re-introduced by me before publication on my web-site. No other alterations have been made. The original size of this menu was 4½" x 6". Battery Sergeant-Major George Goss organised the event, and catering was provided by the British Restaurant.
The newspaper article on the left appeared in the 'West Cumberland Times' on Saturday 23rd December 1944, and is a report of the 406th Battery farewell supper. A similar article appeared in the 'West Cumberland News' on the same day.
"A TOUGH CROWD"
Home Guard Gunners at a Farewell DinnerA SMALL UNIT of H.G. Gunners - little known to the public, but whose efficiency was legend throughout Western Command, entertained regular members of their regiment and battery, with whom they have served as one unit of the Royal Artillery, to a farewell dinner. The dinner, which consisted of tatie-pot and Christmas pudding, was held at their battery from which on numerous occasions their only advertisement has been the roll of their naval guns, the crack of their ack-ack and anti-tank weapons, and the stabbing beams of their searchlights.
The H.G.s had as their guests officers, W.O.s, and sergeants from the Battery and Regimental H.Q. After an enjoyable repast Lt. Dick Lawson read letters from absent friends and regrets from Brigadier Martin, R.A., and Lt-Col. Holt who were unable to attend. Gunner P. Boyes proposed the loyal toast.
In proposing a toast to the regiment Lt. Lawson paid tribute to the splendid instructors from whom they had learned their gunnery and recalled how, under their guidance, they had mastered heavy calibre naval guns at coast batteries in addition to their own.- Responding, Major W. Winter, M.C., said that he could now tell them that both regimental and Command H.Q. were very proud of this small but keen unit of H.G. gunners. Col. Holt would have told them, had he been present, that this particular unit was regarded as outstanding throughout the command for its keenness and efficiency.- Sgt. W. H. Bayliff toasted the battery and voiced the sentiments of his colleagues when he declared that one regret they all had was that it had not been found possible to take on a detachment of the senior officers and gunnery instructors in a challenge shoot.
HAPPY FRIENDSHIPSIn response, Major Oates, the Battery Commander, declared that he had only read about Home Guards (or L.D.V.) when he came to this country to take up this battery command. He had heard their weird weapons included sticks and pikes and it was a big surprise to him when he saw how efficiently they manned the guns and successfully shot. He and his regulars had formed happy friendships with the H.G.s and he would welcome them coming back as visitors whenever they wished.
Sgt. Alfred Hall proposed the toast "Our Guests" saying that it was with not a little regret that they said "farewell" but the fact that they had now got their "bowler hats" probably meant that before long the regulars would be getting theirs too. - Replying, Major McKendrick, Senior I.G., told how he had learned about this "tough crowd" before he came to Western Command and he had found that their toughness and keenness was a fact.
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