2014,the 100th Anniversary of the outbreak of the Great War, proved a very busy year for the Rifles.
The year began with the 29th Division Memorial March at Wolston, this was the ninth year in succession the Rifles have attended this event. This was followed by a trip the Eastbury Manor House, Romford for some pre season training.
Our next event saw three riflemen travel to the Royal Green Jacket's Museum, Winchester, for the museum's open day. Edenbridge Heritage Museum was our next port of call and a chance to put our early season work into practice.
A special event saw a small contingent of our members travel to Netley to form and honour guard and fire a volley in remembrance for Royal Engineers killed by a 250 lb bomb in 1940. Then it was off for our first trip the Belgium for the prestigious DuCasse de Mons, the first British Living History Society to attend this event.
There was time for a breather after we returned from Belgium before we were off to Tenterden for the Kent & East Sussex Great War event. This was followed by the Colchester Military Tattoo, and the Royal Green Jackets Association reunion at the Sir John Moore Barracks
So to August and the busiest month of the year. We began with a Royal British Legion event in Newbury. Then our members took part in the prestigious Step Short parade in the presence of Prince Harry.
The Passchendaele Memorial Museum for "The Old Contemptibles" event was up next as the 100th anniversary commemorations drew near. A transfer to a château outside Mons was the prelude to our encampment at the Mons University, and meeting with the Prime Minister of Belgium.
Back home our first event in September was a service at the Merchant Navy Memorial opposite the Tower of London. We also had the chance to see the poppy field outside the tower. To end September we travelled to Thaxted and a chance to brush up on our show and tell. We had a recruiting office in the centre of the town as well as a Women's Volunteer Service and medical display.
In October we were off to France again. This time as the guests at the "Race to the Sea" event in Armentieres. A very enjoyable time was had by everyone,with parades, the best of French hospitality, and chance to once again meet many old friends. It was now time to prepare for Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day.
The run up to Remembrance Sunday began at the Purfleet Heritage and Military Museum. The Rifles mounted an honour guard and "Last Post" was played.Our members also collected for the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal,this year raising £3450, an exceptional amount and we thank the people of Waltham Abbey for their donations to the poppy appeal.On Remembrance Sunday, our members mounted an honour guard at the Waltham Abbey town memorial and then at Waltham Abbey Church.
The Rifles sent a small contingent to Armistice Day in Ypres, we were taken on a splendid battlefield tour by Kristof Blieck and our friends from the Salient Remembrance Detachment. In the evening our members laid a wreath at New Berkshire Memorial, Plugstreet.Then it was off to catch the 11.30pm ferry and home.
We perhaps left the best until last for on the weekend before Christmas our members attended the Christmas Truce event at St Yvon, next to Prowse Point CWGC.