Page 1

ROTARY THIS WEEK Rotary Club of Ipswich Newsletter

Presidential Ponderings

Edition 200 – 06 May 2021

Club Officers President:

From comments received I know I’m not the only one to have found Thursday’s talk a highlight of the year. When Chris said he’d be speaking for 35 to 40 minutes I had one of those moments. I needn’t have worried though as the content and delivery were spot on with enough detail to inform without going into “anorak” territory. The meeting was recorded and you should be able to watch it via this link: John Skeates has done and excellent job in summarising the talk and his summary is on the following pages.

Rev Mervyn Dye!AnlD4hhDGSDTn60fEzoIKIBfcDmvOQ? e=mkNMTk


For the week ahead I hope the weather stays fine for the cuppa, cake/biscuits and chat events next Thursday morning.

President Elect: Roger Girling President Nominee: tbc

David West Treasurer: Mark Gladwell

I reported the sad loss of Les Howard (below) recently and my note is reproduced on the next page.

Rev Mervyn Dye, Club President

In This Issue • Presidential Ponderings • Last Week’s Meeting -

The Battle of Britain • 100 Club Draw • Forthcoming Meetings

(Ipswich Clubs) • The Rotating Gardener • The tarnished Golden Line • Photo Corner - Madagas-

car Animals Les Howard RIP

Newsletter copy should be sent to Editor Paul Seymour by Sunday evening to email:

• Notices

Les Howard RIP

It is with sadness that I report of the passing of former Member and a Past President, Les Howard, who died recently. The family have asked that I take the funeral service which will have a celebratory feel and will be on Friday 28th May at 15.15 at Ipswich Crematorium. Unfortunately COVID restrictions will limit the numbers attending to 28 people and family already account for half of that number. To say the least it will be challenging for those organising given Les’s association with Rotary, Lodge, Rushmere Golf Club and also the Gipping Locks project. Live streaming will be provided and it’s possible I could, as President of the club, be our representative. There are plans, however, for a larger gathering to remember Les at Rushmere Golf Club once restrictions are eased. Please continue to keep Jan, Leigh, Naomi and Ross and their families in your thoughts and prayers.

A life lived well by a larger than life character.

President Merv

Les (left) with Bob Sambrook - acting as comedians at our 90th Charter Dinner in 2013

Last Week’s Meeting - 6th May Chris Leworthy - `The Battle of Britain’ On Thursday, 6th May we had a very comprehensive, informative, and most interesting talk on The 11(Fighter) Group Operations Room and the Battle of Britain. This talk was given by Chris Leworthy, who lives between Reading and Newbury, and after retiring he decided to develop his interest in military history. He has been a guide at the London War Rooms and the Ops Room Bunker, and now lectures extensively on the Battle of Britain. This was certainly one of the best talks this year, if not for many a year. The No.11(Fighter) Group Operations Room, housed in what is now known as the Battle of Britain Bunker, is an underground operations room at RAF Uxbridge, formerly used by No. 11(Fighter) Group Command during the Second World War. Fighter aircraft operations were controlled from there throughout the War but most notably during the Battle of Britain and on D-Day.

Notices Future Events ——–———————— All future meetings will be via Zoom for the time being


Car Parking at Holiday Inn Please remember that we need to register our car registration number at HI Reception to avoid receiving a fine—currently £100

The Operations Room and Plotting Table

Member birthdays in May May 14th Marcela Tise May 15th Bernard Hindes May 20th Chris Jeffery May 24th Sue Wright

As the location of No. 11 Group RAF's Operations Room, The Battle of Britain Bunker was one of the key parts of the world's first integrated air defence system. Often known as the "Dowding system" (after Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding, Commander-in-Chief Fighter Command at the time), the system linked Fighter Command with Anti-Aircraft Command, Barrage Balloon Command, the Observer Corps, Chain Home Radio Direction Finding (radar), and the intelligence services. Under the system, these organisations worked together for the first time in order to achieve one goal: the successful defence of the UK's airspace.

Air Chief Marshal Hugh Caswall Tremenheere Dowding, 1st Baron Dowding, GCB, GCVO, CMG

No.11 Group was an important part of the system for several reasons: Firstly, as one of four group headquarters, No.11 Group's Operations Controller was responsible for making key decisions that would affect the outcomes of aerial battles - how many fighter aircraft to scramble, which type of aircraft, which squadrons to use, when to scramble them, where to scramble them from, where to scramble them to, etc. Secondly and also due to its role as a group headquarters, No.11 Group was responsible for organising and coordinating the activities of seven sector stations at which its fighter squadrons were based - RAFs Kenley, North Weald, Debden, Biggin Hill, Tangmere, Hornchurch and Northolt. And thirdly, the Bunker and its Operations Room were the prototypes by which the other five group headquarters (No. 9 Group at RAF Barton Hall, No. 10 Group at RAF Box, No. 12 Group at RAF Watnall, No. 13 Group at RAF Newcastle and No.14 Group at Raigmore) were planned and constructed. The Operations Room displayed various pieces of information in different ways, which the controller would then use in order to make his important decisions. The location of both enemy and friendly aircraft formations was displayed using numbered blocks on a map table. The current activities of No.11 Group's squadrons e.g. "At Standby", "Enemy Sighted", "Ordered to Land", ”Scramble” etc. were displayed on a "tote" board using a series of lights. Current weather conditions at No.11 Group's sector stations were indicated with a system of coloured discs.

And the passage of time was tracked using a coordinated system of clock and coloured indicators. All information was received from either Fighter Command headquarters or the sector stations via telephone. The floor of the Bunker is 60 ft underground and is accessed by a staircase of 76 steps. The walls, floor and ceiling are approximately 1 metre thick and are made of concrete with waterproof lining. The solid concrete walls and the approximately 30 ft of earth above the Bunker's ceiling meant that no bomb of the period could penetrate it.

The Operators (above) and Controllers Desk (below)

The Sector System with No 11 Group at the heart of our aggressive defence system that won the day

The mainstay of the battle - The Hurricane

The Tote Board on 15th September 1940

The Luftwaffe waged a campaign against the Royal Air Force aimed at destroying Fighter Command. Of the four Fighter Command groups, No. 11 Group, controlled from the bunker, saw the most action and shot down many of the 1,733 German aircraft lost. On 12 August 1940, the Luftwaffe which had been attacking British ports, switched targets and attacked the Chain Home radar system but only minor damage to the radar system was sustained. On the following day, known to the Germans as "Eagle Day", they started targeting British airfields. The prime minister, Winston Churchill, visited the bunker on 16 August 1940 and spoke the famous 1940 Battle of Britain Spitfires words "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed, by so many, to so few". He said the phrase as he got into his car, close to the entrance of the Bunker. After the Luftwaffe switched its target to London on 1 September 1940, Churchill visited again on 15 September 1940 and wrote in his memoirs about the moment at which "all of the bulbs glowed red", referring to the squadron state boards in the Operations Room and indicating that every No. 11 Group squadron was engaged in combat at the same time. 303 Squadron – Brought down more German aircraft than any other squadron – 20% were overseas pilots. 544 Pilots of Fighter Command lost their lives in the Battle of Britain – 1940 For more information go to:

No. 11 Group moved to RAF Martlesham Heath on 14 April 1958 and Dowding unveiled a memorial, close to the entrance to the bunker, commemorating its role during the Battle of Britain. With the re-organisation of the RAF in the 1960’s it then moved to RAF Bentley Priory in Stanmore (which was where Downing operated from in 1940 at Fighter Command HQ) before being subsumed into Strike Command (now RAF Command) at RAF High Wycombe in Bucks.

John Skeates

Memorial Stone above the Operations Room – Laid 22nd April 1958 by Lord Dowding

100 Club Results of Draw - 22nd April 2021 1st Prize - £100 - Geoff Collins 2nd Prize - £45 - David Graham 3rd Prize - £25 - Christine Reeves 4th Prize - £15 - Prema Dorai

Colin Grimwade 100 Club Coordinator




2020 Thurs 20th May 2021


Michael Warren - general knowledge Quiz suitable for all Rotarians. Pen & Paper required. Christopher Norman (John’s son) - COVID restrictions in Copenhagen.

Thurs 03rd June 2021


Thurs 17th June 2021


Club AGM and Assembly

Thurs 01st July 2021


Club Handover (plans in hand for a face to face meeting - tbc)

We welcome Rotarians from the other Ipswich Clubs to join us. Meeting ID and Password are below:

Contact Us We meet on Thursdays at 13:00 (We gather from 12.30pm for fellowship) The Holiday Inn Hotel, London Road, Ipswich IP2 0UA 0870 400 9045 email: Visit us on our website at

The log-in details are: Meeting ID: 829 2197 6372, Passcode: 548698 All meetings will now be via Zoom while the current Government regulations are in force

Rotary Making a Difference


Club WhatsApp Group Merv has set up a WhatsApp Group for Club Members. This allows us instant communication where the need arises to pass messages to all in the group - either important news, updates or something to brighten your day. We all need a bit of light relief in these troubled times. If you want to join the group, you need to have a Smart Phone, upload the WhatsApp app and let Merv have your phone number (if different from what is in the Club Directory). Merv will then invite you to join. There are currently 23 members in the group.

Holiday Inn meetings – blue Other Events - black - currently all via Zoom Meetings

Rotary Club of Ipswich Wolsey

Programme 2021

May 2021 24th - Simon de Last - East Anglian Air Ambulance Invitation to all members of Rotary Club of Ipswich Please see above our programme for your club's information. We start our meetings every Monday at 7.00 pm, except for those Mondays which are Bank Holidays when we do not meet. Should any of your club wish to join our club zoom meetings one person from your club should collate and provide to John Quarmby (our zoom meeting host) the names of your club members who will be joining any specific meeting. John should be contacted by email and he will provide the zoom meeting ID and password. Kind Regards, Tony Box Programme Co-ordinator Rotary Club of Ipswich Wolsey As usual, our meeting by Zoom will start at 7.00pm with the talk lasting up to about 30 minutes plus questions afterwards Our Zoom Id is 87288265296 and password 548752. If other clubs are attending this Zoom meeting would one member of that club please collate their club attendees and inform the Rotary Club of Wolsey' host, John Quarmby, by email ( Visiting club members are welcome to stay for the rest of our meeting or leave once Michael Strand has finished his talk.

You are invited to the next Ipswich East Club meeting on Tuesday 11th May at 7.30pm (room opens at 7.15pm) The log-in details are: Meeting ID: 873 4741 1522 and Password 049324

The Rotating Gardener Week No. 43 This week I can report on two lovely gardens visited. One is Colin & Ena Grimwade’s new garden in Rushmere Road. They have skilfully left some of the established plants, added some favourites brought from their old garden and added some new. I especially liked the scented Wallflowers so rarely seem these days.

At the Grimwades, Wallflowers, worth growing for their perfume in Spring

Aronia, flowers white followed by black berries for the birds

Biennials, you need to sow seeds in July and transplant in Autumn for the following Spring. Like many of us, the wicked frosts we have endured for some weeks have caused some damage. I reassured them shrubs like the Hebe and the Coprosma will recover, indeed, shoots lower down had escaped unscathed and would grow after damaged wood was cut out in a few weeks time. As with most of my visits to gardens there is one plant I get the interesting task of identification. This time a shrub, with healthy glossy new foliage and clusters of buds waiting to open white to be followed by black berries. After a sleepless night the name came to me, Aronia, the “Chokeberry”, originally from the USA. The berries are edible but like those that form on Amalanchier, the birds usually beat us to them, devouring them before they Aronia, the "Choke Berry" at a flower show are really ripe.

The other garden was an NGS open garden from the Yellow Book where it is necessary to book an arrival time and pay online. The monies raised by the kind people are distributed to charities such as Macmillan Nurses, Marie Curie, etc, mounting to millions each year. The garden was Moat House near Bury St Edmunds and I share a photo with you. Do go online NGS and seek one open to visit but sadly I have to tell you the home-made cakes and tea are not available at present.

Moat House NGS garden Moat House, near Bury St. Edmunds

A garden club member at Battisford sent me a photo of a Moncjac Deer enjoying her garden, later to be joined by another who proceeded to dance a courtship ritual, no doubt leading to additions to the 100,000 already in Suffolk. It was noted that the Cowslips were left but I imaging it was just leaving them for Dessert. I once pointed out Cowslips in the garden of a French friend and said that we made wine from them. He, Leopold replied, you make wine from everything, except grapes, how times have changed. A very sharp pair of snips came my way this week, made by Niwaki in Japan, they are made from carbon steel, very sharp and ‘hollow ground’ by way of a grove in the middle of each blade. Japanese steel is hardened more than that of our own tools, so avoid twisting when cutting. Niwaki also included a very comfortable pair of garden gloves which allow the wearer to be able to feel what they are doing. As I review these tools, I feel obliged to read the instructions and they especially recommend oiling often, I simple little task that I know so many gardener’s neglect!

Moncjac feeding so sweetly (phone camera through bathroom window) Niwaki Snips, available through 'Perennial Charity' online shop

In my own garden, the late tulips are lasting well due to the cool weather, Peppermint Stick is a delight and Queen of the Night appearing black at times, both repeat flowering year after year. The raised Alpine beds continue to give us great joy, every week another plant flowers, giving continuity with interest and the containers add so much colour (next page), watering and feeding is needed even if it should rain!

Tulip 'Queen of the Night'

Tulip 'Peppermint Stick'

Raised Alpine beds, full of interest

Downtown at the Ipswich & Suffolk Club the Clematis armandii are flowering well, an evergreen specie which has a few cultivars, one called ‘Apple Blossom’ is my favourite. Just to show how plants travel, my friend Colin was given some cuttings off a Regal Pelargonium ‘Birthday Girl’ at The Battisford Flower show in 2019. Last Saturday he presented me with one of the plants he propagated and I gave him some cuttings from some of mine, that is what gardening pals are like, like Rotarians, Happy Gardening. Happy Gardening. Michael Warren enjoys hearing from you on: 07748 908907

Michael Warren

Clematis armandii, evergreen at Ipswich & Suffolk Club

Regal Pelargonium 'Birthday Girl'

Colourful Spring containers need water and feed

The tarnished Golden Line The collapse of a section of the elevated Mexico City metro line doesn’t come as quite the surprise it may have seemed to be as reported by the world’s media. Line 12 or the Golden Line was only built in 2012 but had to close within 15 months, in March 2014 to address structural and technical problems, issues that put passengers and others in danger! Residents living near to the collapsed section had already, occasionally closed the road under the elevated section, in particular preventing heavy vehicles (with their associated vibrations) using the route. Residents became even more concerned following the September 2017 earthquake which left visible cracks and displaced concrete in the structure.

Following the earthquake the director of the city’s Metro system at the time, Jorge Gavino said the line “was born with endemic problems that would never be solved” and vowed to a programme of ‘permanent maintenance’. The Mexican President Lopez Obrador refused to be drawn into the scandal “we cannot get into speculation, much less blame possible perpetrators without proof” he told reporters defending an obvious issue before it had been raised.

Mexico City’s Metro is one of the busiest in the world transporting some 4.5 million people every day, Line 12 is the newest on the system and is less than a decade old, parts of the line are underground, elsewhere the line is elevated. Engineers have constantly criticised the design suggesting the tight curves were wearing away the track and putting an undue twisting load onto the columns and expansion joints. Residents had reported sagging beams close to the site of the incident and the authorities had decided on quick patches, welding props under the bowed beams in an attempt to keen trains running. Line 12 cost 50% more that the projected cost, suffered repeated construction delays and was hit with allegations of design flaws, corruption and conflicts of interest. Cross Rail may be late but the contractor assures me that he has delivered quality.

John Norman

Mexico Metro - Before and After

Member Photos This week, I share some photos taken by John Skeates in MADAGASCAR - Some of the Animals of this diverse ecoclimate

As there are so many species of the Lemur, I have grouped similar ones together & named them.

We had to trek through various jungles to find them, sometimes at night with small torches, I was convinced we were going to get lost & never get out!

John Skeates

Madagascar Animals

£1,000 to Marie Curie

Profile for ipswichrotary

Rotary Club of Ipswich Newsletter No 200 - 6th May 2021  

Rotary Club of Ipswich Newsletter No 200 - 6th May 2021  


Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded