A MESSAGE FROM COLONEL RAC TO ALL EX MEMBERS OF THE ROYAL ARMOURED CORPS
Please excuse me approaching you out of the blue, but my aim is to reach out to as many of you as possible who have been in the Royal Armoured Corps over the years. If I could, I would write to individuals tailoring my words according to their interests, but for lack of that knowledge I have had to adopt this ‘one size fits all’ approach.
There are two things I would like to make you aware of. Although your regiment will naturally have been the primary focus of your loyalty throughout, the RAC, as the parent organization of all our regiments, has been intimately involved in shaping, serving and protecting our regiments and promoting them in the corridors of Whitehall and the open plan offices of Andover, though receiving little credit for it. This is primarily because our regiments are so strong and their identities so assured that there has been little consideration needed of the Corps we all belong to. But the situation is changing fast and the predominance of our regiments in the Army is being challenged.
2019 will mark the 80th anniversary of the RAC’s foundation. In April 1939 the looming Second World War forced the Army to group – somewhat loosely – the battalions of the Royal Tank Corps and the regiments of the line cavalry to form the RAC. Since that time the RAC and the regiments of the Household Cavalry have worked more and more closely as we have faced common challenges – especially financial pressures – but in particular, to shape the rest of the Army’s understanding of us. Amalgamations and pressures from other parts of the Army forced us to rethink the way we do business. By putting the RAC first and speaking as one, we are better at presenting coherent arguments to explain and justify our roles and capabilities in a way we did not need to before. Being only 10 regular and four yeomanry regiments and less than 5% of the Army, we are much more effective working in unison and having a common approach to all that we do.
So for the first time the RAC is working as one organization and hunting as a pack. As mentioned above, next year marks the 80th anniversary of the RAC and we are going to mark it by trumpeting ourselves wherever and whenever possible. The first goal of this note is to alert you to some of the things we plan on doing,to establish contact so that we can invite you to whatever you may wish to attend and to seek help where it might be available. The actual date of our anniversary is 4thApril; on that day we plan to have a parade at Bovington open to the public with a small historic drive-past, as well as a demonstration of our current capabilities. But we intend to do much more throughout the year.
For example, we will be holding a series of gatherings for serving and retired RAC members,ranging from open days around the country to a drinks party in London and all ranks event in Dorset; we plan to place 80 armoured vehicles in prominent locations ranging from surplus Challenger 2s permanently outside headquarters and military establishments, to current equipment in iconic sites, such as at the foot of the Angel of the North and on Horse Guards; we will be producing a souvenir journal of some description and we will be marking the entire year with bumper stickers, articles submitted to papers and magazines and with whatever advertising we can achieve as well as press coverage on the day.
My ambition is to involve as many serving and ex-RAC as we can in this activity, and it is my intention to keep you informed of what is going on so you can choose when, where and how you might wish to be involved. Our plans are ambitious and we may not achieve everything, but in order to make these aspirations a reality, I might need some assistance and some recipients of this note may be in a position to help (in kind and time rather than cash). I am therefore seeking your blessing to approach you if it appears you might have some special skills that may be of value to us, or could offer a service that will be mutually beneficial for us to call upon rather than look elsewhere.
My second wish, but more important in the long term, is to do for the RAC what most regiments already do well for themselves, and that is to harness the power of the network of fellow RAC officers and men in whatever capacity. Most regiments already have a very good network which helps people of their cap badge and this will compliment, not undermine it. There is already a loose network of RAC officers who dine together regularly, but it is pretty informal,and many employed in Defence Industry keep in touch, as do training providers,so linking all these groups together will result in a very powerful body.
I would like to try and build on that sense of belonging and link everyone together so they can help others from the RAC, as well as those from their own regiments, in whatever capacity is needed at the time and to help the RAC aswell. And in return, for example, I should be helping those technically trained officers working in defence industries with up to date briefings as they go about their business meeting the needs of the RAC in future. And it really should not be difficult to get all those from the RAC with common interests – be it bee-keeping or book-binding, golf or The Gulf – to link up and make the most of the potential an RAC network would have.
To that end, if you are interested/prepared to be more involved in the RAC, may I ask that you reply – with no commitment – using the form below:
All details submitted via the form will be held in accordance with current Data Protection and will not be shared with a third party or used outside of HQ RAC.
Colonel G H J Deacon OBE ADC
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