Association Description
Geoge Shearer
It was Francis Bacon who said, "The worse solitude is to be destitute of sincere friendship" and the formation of the Birgelen Veterans Association proves, yet again, how we in the Services realise what a bounty in life we inherited and are determined to retain.
In 1951 I was the Adjutant to Lt Col Peter Lonnon in 1 Wireless Regiment in Munster Germany. It was he who designed Mercury Barracks and who fought long and hard to see that the facilities we all enjoyed were provided. The result was, in my view, the best barracks the British Army had anywhere in the world.
Subsequently, when I commanded 13 Signal Regiment from 1969 to 1971, I joined a sequence of Commanding Officers who recognised it was their duty to maintain and enhance the 'camp'. At the closing down ceremony it was clear that this
had undoubtedly happened.
We are all indebted to Fred Searle and Taff Harding for their pioneering work in establishing our Birgelen Veterans Association. When allied to the Langeleben Association it shows how certain military skills foster a community within which continuing friendship is cherished.
I wish it well.

Peter Baldwin
The Birgelen Association and website was founded solely by Fred Searle on the 5th October 2000.

It is dedicated to the many professional men and women of all Corps and Agencies regardless of rank who served with: 1 Wireless Regiment Munster, 13th Signal Regiment Birgelen, or any of their sub-units and to imbue the family tradition of those Regiments.

Among the first to join (Founder members) were: Andrew Riddell, Don France, John Francis MBE and Cyril Harding. The latter immediately offered to undertake the duties of Secretary, a post he has held with distinction until October 2013,
Our first AGM/Reunion so professionally organised by Cyril, was held at the Trecarn Hotel in Babbacombe Torquay on the 22/23 September 2001. At the same time, the name Birgelen Veterans Association(BVA) was formally proposed and adopted.

It was further proposed that Major General P.A.C. Baldwin CBE, former Adjutant of 1 Wireless Regiment and Commanding Officer of 13 Signal Regiment (Radio), be asked to become the President of the Association. He graciously accepted and was appointed to this office on Tuesday 25th Sept 2001.
Thanks to Peter Clifton's design work, we moved to our own website in October 2001. The web domain name, was registered by the Association.

By our first anniversary, we had reunited many dozens of members with old friends and our membership had grown to 164. By December 2001, it had grown to over 200. Now international in outlook, our members include those from Australia, Belize, Canada, Cyprus, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Philippines, South Africa, Spain, Turkey and the USA.

The BVA was granted Affiliated membership of the Royal Signals Association by the Central Committee of the RSA on the 04 April 2003.

The 24 September 2003, saw the launch of the first BVA charity which was proposed and initiated by the President. (Raphael Geiser charity)

In July 2006, our website had recorded over 100,000 unique visitors.

By October 2009, our membership had grown to over 460 members and we had celebrated our 9th successful annual reunion in Torquay. During the same period, Peter Clifton painstakingly carried out a complete re-vamp of the association web site and we are indebted to him for what he has achieved.

We held our tenth anniversary special reunion in Sept 2010, when we nominated the Royal British Legion, Garats Hay Branch Loughborough to be recipients of our annual charity monies.

Our eleventh annual reunion was held in September 2011, again at the Cavendish Hotel Torquay, when our charity became the "Kinderkrebshilfe" (Help for children with cancer) in Ophoven Germany.

Reunion 12 was held again at the Cavendish hotel, Torquay, on the 27 Sept to 01 October when we had 83 members attending.

By September 2013, we had in access of 500 UK and international members.

We welcome all eligible applicants from those willingly to share our aim and who wish to play their full part.

Whether you wish to join us or just browse, please feel free, but we would ask that you place an entry in our Guest Book to record your visit.

Thank you

Notable Dates                         Event                                                           Place

05 Oct 2000        Birth of Birgelen Veterans Association               West Sussex UK.
22 Sep 2001       1st Reunion/AGM Trecarn Hotel                          Babbacombe
25 Sep 2001       Maj General P.A.C Baldwin CBE Accepted
                             Presidency of the Association                              Babbacombe.
21 Sep 2002       2nd Reunion /AGM Trecarn Hotel                        Babbacombe
13 Sep 2003       3rd Reunion/AGM Ramada Hotel                         Loughborough
04 Apr 2003       Granted Affiliated member of the RSA
                 Victory Club London
14 Sep 2003       BVA charity launched                                           Birgelen,Germany,UK.
02 Oct 2004       4th Reunion/AGM Trecarn Hotel                          Babbacombe
02 Oct 2005       5th Reunion/AGM Trecarn Hotel                          Babbacombe
07 Jul 2006        100,000 unique visits to the BVA website
01 Oct 2006       6th Reunion/AGM Trecarn Hotel                          Babbacombe
05 Sep 2007       BVA Membership reaches 400
12 Oct 2007       7th Reunion/AGM Cavendish Hotel                     Torquay
05 Oct 2008       8th Reunion/AGM Cavendish Hotel                     Torquay
09 Oct 2009       9th Reunion/AGM Cavendish Hotel                     Torquay
19 Sept 2010    10th Reunion/AGM Cavendish Hotel                    Torquay

18 Sept 2011    11th Reunion/AGM Cavendish Hotel                    Torquay

29 Sept 2012    12th Reunion/AGM Cavendish Hotel                    Torquay