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Light Infantry Day - Wells - Sept 17th 2006


Lt. Colonel David Eliot DL.


Sounding Retreat

at Wells September 17th 2006


Light Infantry Day, Wells – Sunday 17th September 2006.

The front page of the Daily Telegraph on Monday 18th September featured a photograph of the Bishop of Bath and Wells, the Right Reverend Peter Price carrying two swans to their new home on the Moat of the Bishop’s Palace at Wells early on the morning of Sunday 17th September. A few hours later the swans, which were a gift from HM The Queen from Windsor, must have wondered what they had come to as the finale to the Light Infantry Sounding Retreat at the Bishop’s Palace reached its noisy crescendo as the Light Division Band and Bugles supported by the Band and Corps of Drums of the Devonshire and Dorset Light Infantry played the final notes of the 1812 overture to the accompaniment of the Cathedral’s bells, canon fire curtesy of 266 (Gloucester Volunteer Artillery) Parachute Battery and rifle fire from Somerset ACF. The Retreat was an excellent spectacle with the contrasting uniforms and marching paces, and the sudden appearance over the palace walls of a hot air balloon sporting a scantily clad, voluptuous young lady advertising Triumph bras – Brigadier John Hemsley’s contribution to the proceedings!

Earlier in the day a Light Infantry Club lunch was held in the Bishop’s Palace Undercroft with the Lord Lieutenant, Lady Gass as guest of honour. This was followed by Evensong in the Cathedral with a strong Light Infantry presence. The Light Division Band played during the service, the Colonel of the Regiment, Brigadier Tim Gregson read a lesson and Bristol Branch’s standard, representing the standards of all the other Association branches in Somerset, was presented at the alter by the Branch Standard Bearer, Roy Jones.

Following the Retreat, a Regimental get-together was held in a large marquee in the gardens of the Bishop’s Palace, with the bar being run by Captain ‘Spanner’ Manley and a party of Rifle Volunteers from D (LI) Company in Cornwall, and the buffet kindly organised by Somerset ACF. The Bishop of Bath and Wells took the opportunity to present a cut glass bowl to Brigadier John Hemsley, who oversaw a week long programme of events to mark the 800th Anniversary of the founding of the Bishop’s Palace by Bishop Jocelyn, of which our Sounding Retreat was the culmination. This was followed by a presentation of veterans badges to members of Norton Radstock Branch by the Lord Lieutenant.

Our thanks go, in particular, to Captain Barney Barnes for providing a working party from B (LI) Coy to set up the arena, to Captain ‘Spanner’ Manley, and to Captain Peter Vile from Somerset ACF, who arranged the extensive cadet involvement in the day’s proceedings.

Proceeds from the sale of tickets, programmes and a bucket collection will be donated to three charities; the Palace Trust, the Somerset Community Foundation and the Somerset ACF Trust. The final sum raised is likely to exceed £1,500.

Lt. Colonel David Eliot DL.


Click on any image to enlarge and open in new window.

Captain Peter Vile. Somerset ACF.
Lt. Col. David Eliot (Regt Sec Taunton)
The Bugles
Tricky maneouvres
Lovely setting
Hot air balloon rising off Cathedral Green
Job well done, marching off
Tony Hood (SCLI) Mrs Slade, Peter Slade (SCLI, LI)
Group of DCLI veterans


Lawrence Weekes SCLI & LI. and his guest.
Captain Tony (Spanners) Manley, Captain Barney Barnes, Major Stephen Taylor.
Major Paul Weller SomLI. and Lt Col Eric Herrington. SCLI & LI
The High Sheriff of Somerset 2006-2007
Brigadier Alastair Ian Hayward Fyfe SCLI & LI


SomLI Group
Lt.Col Eric Herrington, Jay Tidmarsh MBE, he is the Lord Lieutenant of Bristol. He was a NS officer with the DCLI and did a spell with 4th Bn Som LI (TA)., General Barry Lane, Mrs Herrington.
Lt Col David Eliot and Guests
Major Stephen Taylor and Jim Wallace.
Eddie Murphy DLI - The last man to leave Brancepeth Camp on its closure.
Meeting old friends
Keith Petvin-Scudamore (SCLI) & webmaster
General Barry Lane chatting to Major Stephen Taylor.


Comment from Keith - Ex Webmaster.

I travelled up from Bournemouth with my wife Geraldine together with Stephen Taylor and his wife Heather, we had a pleasant journey and looked forward to meeting old friends and enjoying the event. We all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, the setting was just lovely and we did not want the music to finish !!! Full marks I say to all who took part and organised this event, thankyou.

During my stroll around the marquee I could not help hearing a few people say that they were not members of any veteran organisation, what a shame as they are missing so much, I did not have any links myself with the Army for some 40 years but here I am now not only a member of Taunton Branch but Durham as well. I receive so much back for my small donation, bucket loads of comaraderie and memory lane.

I fully realise it is not for all, but I do know that if more would give it a go, they might well have a surprise and want more. I know that I belong to a regimental family, I am proud of my links and no defence reviews can ever take that away from me.


The Wells Church Service and Retreat were wonderful and I was reluctant to leave the beer tent afterwards as I was enjoying it so much meeting old friends. I was delighted to meet Pete Slade again after 41 years, now looking forward to the SCLI Reunion in Taunton next April, I have pencilled in the date already. TERRY JOLL.





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