Soldiers of 21 Signal Regiment, who returned from an Operation Tour of Afghanistan last year, were present at Bristol Rovers' Emirates FA Cup tie versus Chesham United at the Memorial Stadium. Rovers have had a strong relationship with the Regiment at Colerne and this has included their youth team being hosted several times for team building and fixtures. The guard of honour were all members of the Regimental Football team.
Rovers Chairman, Nick Higgs laid a wreath on the centre circle and observed a minute’s silence ahead of the match. During the tribute the Armed Forces personnel were joined by a standard bearer and bugler, Corporal Franklin from 1 Rifles, based at Chepstow.
Chairman Higgs said: “It is imperative, first and foremost as a football club, for everyone connected with Bristol Rovers to show our respect for the magnificent job and the role that the Armed Forces have in the community. We recognise their great contribution and demonstrate our support and respect for the Armed Forces.”
Army FA Secretary Major Billy Thomson (pictured far left) was a guest of Aldershot Town FC Chairman Shahid Azeem at the Hampshire clubs FA Cup tie at home to SkyBet Football League One side Bradford City. The two sides commemorated the occasion by wearing special shirts adorned with the Royal British Legion's iconic poppy. Both clubs donated 100 tickets to personnel based in Aldershot Garrison and Yorkshire, including 27 Regt Royal Logistic Corps, 10 Queen’s Own Gurkha Logistic Corps and 1 Bn Scots Guards, all of whom are based in Aldershot.
An immaculately observed two-minute’s silence preceded kick-off, which was heralded by the arrival of standard bearers representing the Armed Forces, an address by Shots Club Chaplain, Rev Mike Pusey, and the playing of the Last Post by a single bugler.
The match was also attended by Aldershot Garrison Commander, Colonel Nigel MacGregor, and the Garrison Sergeant-Major, WO1 Tom McCabe. Normandy Veteran Lewis Trinder and Michael Mills, Secretary of the Aldershot Branch of the Royal British Legion also attended.
The special poppy shirts will be auctioned off with the proceeds donated to the Royal British Legion.
Photo: Ian Morsman