After a busy 2015, The Rifles had a slow start to the 2016 season. We began at Easter with an event on the Medway Queen, berthed on Gillingham Pier, the Queen has been restored to remember those men and ships who took part in the Dunkirk Evacuation in 1940. The following weekend, we attended an event at the Purfleet Military and Heritage Museum. This excellent privately owned museum hosted the commemoration of the shooting down of a Zeppelin in 1916.
Our first foreign trip was to the Passchendaele Memorial Museum at the end of April. This is our annual visit to the old battlefields around the Belgian Town of Ypres, the museum hold a top notch living history event and the Rifles have attended every year since 2005. On our return we were guests of the Army Cadet Force (ACF) at Bicester, Oxfordshire. The ACF have strong links with 6th (Reserve) Btn, The Rifles.
The Rifles offer our members a chance to participate in other living history events, one such example is at The Shuttleworth Collection, Old Warden, Bedfordshire. As part of the collections official re enactors, we supply both military personnel and civilians at many of their airshows.
To commemorate the Anniversary of the Battle of the Somme, the Rifles attended Armed Forces Day at the Peninsula Barracks, Winchester, then the prestigious Chalk Valley Festival of History. It was our honour at Chalk Valley to take part in a service of remembrance at 7.30am on the 1st July. Other commemorations took place on the Isle of Wight, here our members attended the Havenstreet Steam Railway event. July drew to a close with the Rifles at the Henley Vintage Boat and Vehicle event at Henley on Thames.
The National Trust Property at Batemans, East Sussex hosted our event in August. Owned by Rudyard Kipling, Batemans holds perhaps the best Great War event in England, this year The Rifles joined other Great War groups to recreate the first hours of the Battle of the Somme.
In September we returned to the small Essex Market Town of Thaxted for their Great War event. This is a very enjoyable event, much appreciated by all those who visit our display of First World War memorabilia.
The Army Benevolent Fund event at Royal Ascot Racecourse in October was a great success. We provided both military and civilian personnel, and our thanks go to the organisers who looked after us.
November is a very busy month for the Rifles, we attend Remembrance parades in both Britain and Belgium, our members also collect for the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal.We began with our annual parade at Purfleet Town Memorial, then the commencement of the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal 2016. Our members this year collected £3992.30p for the appeal on behalf of the British Legion. The highlight of the remembrance weekend was The Rifles trip to Ypres for Armistice Day on November 11th, our members also have the honour of attending the ceremony at Hyde Park Corner,Ploegsteert on the evening of the 11th. Then it was back to Blighty of Remembrance Sunday at Waltham Abbey. The Rifles mounted an Honour Guard at the town memorial, attended a service of remembrance at Waltham Abbey Church, then collected on behalf of the poppy appeal outside the church.
As another string to our bow, a contingent from the Rifles attended the Victorian Festival Of Christmas at the Historic Dockyard, Portsmouth at the end of November. (See History of the Rifles)
2016 ended with our trip to the Christmas Truce Trenches next to Prowse Point, St Yvon, Ploegsteert, Belgium. The event recalls the truce between British and German troops on Christmas Day 1914,a service of remembrance is held on the Sunday, and The Rifles have the honour of sounding The Last Post to end the ceremony.