08/02/2008

Big turn out needed on 28 February to salute the Royal Anglian Regiment

Posted in Armed Services, Ceremony, Heritage at 10:12 pm by henrysgauntlet

Great news that the Royal Anglian Regiment is to be honoured at a special ceremony in Grays.

The 1st Battalion, the Royal Anglians, did a tour of duty in Afghanistan last year, and, since their return, have been honoured by the people of Norwich and Bury St Edmunds, and other centres having close links with the regiment and providing a recruiting base for them.

Thurrock gave the Freedom of the Borough to the regiment in 1990, and it is greatly to the credit of our town that this ceremony will take place now to honour those who served in Afghanistan and returned safely, and, sadly, the nine soldiers who did not return.

The Roll of Honour of the nine brave Royal Anglians who lost their lives in Afghanistan:-

Captain David Hicks

Corporal Darren Bonner

Lance Corporal George Davey

Lance Corporal Alex Hawkins

Private Robert Foster

Private Chris Gray

Private Aaron McClure

Private Tony Rawson

Private  John Thrumble.

A special church service and parade will take place in Grays on Thursday 28th February, when C Company, the Royal Anglians, will visit the town.   The service will be in St Peter & St Paul Parish Church, Grays, and the Parade will be in New Road, Grays, where the Mayor of Thurrock will take the salute outside the Civic Offices.   The parade will begin at 12 noon.

A special fund has been set up to establish a permanent memorial for the nine who lost their lives, and to help their families and other members of the regiment who are badly injured.   The First Anglian Afghanistan Memorial Fund has so far raised £242,000.   Details of how to contribute can be found at

  http://www.army.mod.uk/royalanglian/vikings/memorial_fund.htm

There has been much comment nationally at how badly Britain’s servicemen and women have been treated.   They were sent to fight with insufficient and inadequate equipment.   They no longer have separate military hospitals, and the one dedicated military ward in a civilian hospital cannot cope with the number of casualties returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.   So injured service personnel must be treated in mixed wards without the companionship of their fellows.   Their pay is not good, and they and their families are living in sub-standard quarters.

Whether or not we agree with British troops being sent to fight in these wars, now that they have been sent they deserve our complete support.   The government does little to recognize their service and their heroism, so it is up to the towns, villages and cities of this country to pay tribute to them.

Make sure that Thurrock does just that, and does it in a big way.   Put the date in your diary now, and give up just a little time to be in New Road, Grays, on 28th February, and show these brave young men and women how much we appreciate what they are doing for Britain.

Discount to Dartford coming in the autumn

Posted in Transport at 7:49 pm by henrysgauntlet

Today has seen the long-awaited announcement of discounted travel  at the Dartford River Crossing for local residents, ie those living in Thurrock and Dartford.
                   
The discount will be nearly 90% of the increased toll charge, but it is not as simple as that.

To get the discount, local residents will have to register, and that will cost  £10 each year.   Then they will get 50 free journeys, and crossings above that number will cost only 20p.    At the same time, next autumn, the toll charge for all other car drivers will increase from £1 to £1.50, so a 50% increase, although DART-Tag users will still pay £1.  

The Freight Transport Association, though, has pointed out that the discount will apply only to local car drivers, and not local commercial vehicle drivers, so local businesses will be penalized.   As they say, local businesses use the crossing every day to collect and deliver to addresses across the Thames, but will have to pay the full toll, despite their key contribution to the local economy. 

There will be a twelve-week consultation period before the new charging regime starts. 

This is excellent news for commuters, who use the crossing every day to get to and from work, as their travel costs will be greatly reduced.

Not such good news for those residents who might only cross the bridge or drive through the tunnel once or twice a year.    It would not be worth their while to pay out £10 registration, so they will need to pay the full toll for their few journeys  –  no discount for them.

Having said that  –  and I realize I am in the minority in thinking this  –  I don’t particularly object to paying a toll to cross a bridge/tunnel.   It does occur at other crossings.