The Association Chairman's Page
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It is a year since I took over the reins from my predecessor, and I am pleased to report that the shrinkage of membership has been reversed, with more applications being processed as I write. Many Branches are thriving – but sadly others have found that they can no longer survive. Behind the loss of these Branches is a combination of lowering member numbers, the age of remaining members and – perhaps the overriding factor - a lack of willingness to take on the posts required to keep Branches viable. This is a problem experienced by other Associations and the Royal British Legion. Apart from recruiting new members, the remedy rests with stepping up to the plate and volunteering to take on positions within your Branches and I must encourage you all to think about this. Use it or lose it!

We have had an eventful year.The National Secretary has set about “fixing” some of the bits that were, if not completely broken, certainly less than serviceable. You will have noticed that the Association website has been given some spit and polish to make it more useful to us all, and I encourage you to use it to publicise Branch events. Membership application procedures including the issue of membership cards are once again fit for purpose. We have been well represented at many events across the country - and indeed further afield as wreaths were laid at the RAMC Memorial in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin on 25th June by the Representative Colonel Commandant RAMC, the Northern Ireland Branch and myself, supported by the Royal British Legion Republic of Ireland – see picture above.

We had a good turnout on Corps Day for the 125th anniversary of the founding of our Corps, and I trust we will have a similar attendance at Corps Day 2024, which is to be at the National Memorial Arboretum on 19th June.The Blue Book programme for 2024 is now published on the Association website, and you are encouraged to attend the various functions advertised there.

Remembrance Week in London saw wreaths being laid at the RAMC Memorials in Westminster RC Cathedral and Westminster Abbey, attendance at the Field of Remembrance and a contingent marching past the Cenotaph. Many individuals and Branches also took part in Remembrance functions across the country, ensuring that the Association and the RAMC were kept in the public eye. Keep up the attendance rates in future; it doesn’t have to be a special anniversary!

We are in the final stages of planning a Battlefield Tour in early September 2024 to reflect on the medical problems which had to be addressed in the early stages of OP OVERLORD, the Normandy landings in 1944. As soon as details are clear, they will be publicised widely; there will be subsidies available for Association members who wish to attend – details to follow.

It is clear to me that the concerns over providing adequate care for veterans are being better addressed centrally. Although they may not yet be perfect, they are a lot better than they were! Some of these are Government sponsored, others are provided by charities, but the movement is in the right direction so we have cause for at least some celebration.

Finally, as you may be aware, there are changes in the wind for the RAMC and the other AMS Corps. Some of these have already taken place, with amalgamation, reorganisation and retitling of Units. Further changes are likely to be announced in the New Year, and some of you may be speculating on the future. Although I am not yet able to inform you what these changes may involve, what I can tell you is that whatever happens, the RAMC Association will remain with its purpose unchanged for the foreseeable future.

May I wish you all an excellent Christmas and a successful and happy 2024.

In Arduis Fidelis
Ken Millar