The ROCA Heritage Team is very active all over the UK. Not only in replying to enquiries on the Heritage website, but throughout the UK, by bringing the history of the Royal Observer Corps to the public with their displays and presentations. Those who attended the 2013 National Reunion will have seen the excellent presentations by members of the Team who explained some of their projects.
The Team covers all of the UK: - In Scotland by Cheryl Stewart and Frank Alexander, in England & Wales by Simon Craine (Assistant Heritage Officer & Heritage website founder / manager), Jenny Morris, John Shere and Justyn Keeble, and in Northern Ireland by Paddy Malone and his team. We also call on Lawrence Holmes, and Neville Cullingford when we are in need of extra help with an enquiry. The ROCA National Chairman John Sharpe also gives invaluable help to the Heritage Team.
There are so many activities going on around the country that not all can be mentioned here – currently very many Underground Posts have been bought or tenanted and fully restored by enthusiasts, many of whom didn’t serve in the Corps but are keen to preserve our heritage. We welcome them into the Association as Associates.
Plans are currently in hand to renovate the old WWII ROC Post on the site of a fully restored Underground Cold War Post - for which the owner already holds Open Days for the public. Lottery Funding is being sought, and the local Council are supportive. An architect has advised on the Health & Safety issues.
The ROC Camps, held at RAF Waterbeach in the early 1950’s, have suddenly come to prominence, by great coincidences, with postings on our Heritage website. We did not know that Waterbeach had a Museum, but contact with a friend revealed that he is one of the Museum’s Trustees. Their artefacts are currently in storage, pending moving to a new location whilst the former military site is being developed. Suffice to say that the Museum will be delighted to have our memories and photographs of the ROC Camps; we have recently been promised, by a member in Scotland,a copy of the Souvenir Programme of Entertainments at the Camps in 1951, a rare find indeed. We have also discovered that Soham in Cambs had a Wartime ROC Post but knew nothing about it so they will be provided with information.
Towards the end of 2013 the ROC Benevolent Fund received an email, from NBS News Documentaries in the USA, asking about the role of the ROC in the Battle of Britain as they were preparing a documentary on the subject. The Team was most helpful to them and we await news of the documentary.
The War Room project in the Guild Hall at Bury St Edmunds is moving ahead under the Directorship of Air Vice Marshal Michael Jackson. The Heritage Team has supported this project from its inception and look forward to hearing of the first Open Day.
The Team is very grateful for the support of Coventry and Durham Groups, and other individuals, who have supplied many items for the National Archive. These will be logged and loaned to Museums and Collections around the country in due course. We preserve the provenance of the donors with the items.
We maintain a personal contact with the Bentley Priory Museum where we are mentioned on many displays including a Memory Board to the late John Simmonds.
On a personal basis I pay tribute to the knowledge, dedication and support of the whole Heritage Team to the aims of the Association. The Team was set up only a few years ago but has achieved much more than could be imagined during that time.
Edwina J Holden MBE National Heritage Officer ROC Association. Heritage website: www.roc-heritage.co.uk