Welcome to another summer blog post from the Mighty Barum as we keep you up to date with what is happening at the club including details of Barum Fest 24 which is next weekend, the pre-season fixtures and who is joing the club.

We begin though with a special celebration for a genuine WW2 hero and massive Barnstaple rugby supporter, Centurian Dick Raymond who celebrates his 100th birthday this Monday. Dick Raymond’s life is deeply intertwined with the history of Barnstaple and the dramatic events of World War II.  

Born in 1924, Dick’s early years were spent above his family’s bakery on Boutport Street in Barnstaple. The Raymond family was well-established in the town’s business community, owning not only the bakery but two additional shops. 

In 1943, at the age of 19, Dick answered the call of duty and enlisted in the Royal Air Force (RAF). His skill and bravery quickly propelled him into one of the most dangerous roles in the air war over Europe.  

By 1944, he was flying with the Bomber Commands Legendary Elite Pathfinder Force, a unit tasked with the perilous mission of leading bombing raids. These courageous airmen would fly ahead of the main bomber force, using flares and markers to illuminate targets, ensuring more accurate bombing by the following aircraft. Dick survived 17 missions in a Lancaster Bomber before being shot down where his wartime service took a dramatic turn. 

in May 1944. While returning from a mission over Europe, his aircraft was shot down over enemy occupied Holland. Captured by enemy forces Dick began a harrowing 10-month ordeal as a prisoner of war at Stalag Luft VII, in Bankau Poland. Stalag Luft VII was not a pleasant place. The accommodation could only be described as dog kennels with straw for bedding and six to a kennel  

During the Winter of early 1945, with the Russians advancing from the east, in what became known as “The March”, Dick was one of around 80,000 Allied prisoners of war in camps across Germany and Poland who were forced to march westward by the Nazis in brutal winter weather with blizzards and temperatures as low as –25 °C, wearing ill-fitting and unsuitable clothing. 

Living in appalling conditions, and a total lack of food the camp was eventually liberated by the Russian army. The Russians weren’t ready to hand over Dick and his mates to the Allies just yet, so rather than waiting and with the camp in disarray he along with a small group of others, took matters into their own hands and made good their escape, finally returning home. 

Dick’s RAF career didn’t end there. He was one of four Lancaster flight crews that went to Africa photographing the continent. Finally in July 1948, Dick left the RAF and took on the family bakery business – H Raymond & Sons in Boutport Street. Dick ran the family bakery shops for many years whilst also serving as a magistrate in the town.  

He was a keen member of Barnstaple rugby club and was still watching homes games on a regular basis until his 98th year when the ascent into the main stand for a seat became too tricky. 

As Dick prepares to celebrate this incredible milestone, the entire Barnstaple Rugby community joins together in wishing him the happiest of birthdays. His life story serves as an inspiration to all, embodying the values of courage, perseverance, and community spirit that the club holds dear. 

 

Barum Fest 24 

It is almost upon us folks as the Barum Fest gets into full swing next Saturday. We have mixed juniors and seniors touch rugby to keep you entertained. 

This year’s Barum festival will be held this Saturday 13th July at Barnstaple Rugby Club. 

We will have 8 teams (Little ones U11s and below and Bigger OnesU12’s and above) as before They will be spilt into 2 pools and play 3 games with the winners of each pool going into the final. 


The Rugby Games will start about 1230 and once the matches are over, we will be having an OPEN MIC night. If you wish to get involved with that then contact Llewyn Jago on 07717 201932 

Pre Season Fixtures 

Barnstaple rugby will host 2 home pre-season games this August to get you prepared for the oming season 

August 17th Barnstaple Chiefs v Devonport 

August 24th Barnstaple Chiefs v Camberley 

Athletic are away to Tiverton on August 22nd whilst the Chiefs travel to Hornets on the 31st August before the season gets full into swing on Setember 7th. 

The first to league home games involve Barnstaple Athletic to start off the season at Pottington Road as they face visitors Pirates Amateurs and Tavistock in successive weekends with the Chiefs on the road to St. Austell and Brixham. 

21st September is the date to watch the Chiefs back in action on home soil this season as they welcome Chew Valley to Pottington Road. What a game that one will be. 

Of course, as ever there will be a few new faces this season and if you follow Facebook you will know some of them b now but if not here are the new to returning players we have for 2024/25 

New Signings 

  • James Fraser – Joins us from Leamington RFC in New Zealand 
  • Bertie Stretch – Joins us from Clifton RFC 
  • Declan Smale – Joins us from Bideford RFC 
  • Alex Macmillan – Joins us from Bideford RFC 
  • Sam Carr – Joins us from Bideford RFC 

Returning Players 

  • Jordan Petherbridge – Rejoins us permanently from Taunton RFC following his loan spell at the end of last season 
  • Troy Willis 
  • Brendan Darley – Rejoins us from South Molton RFC 

We also have 8 Colts who are graduating to the Senior squad this season they are 

  • Keyan McLenery 
  • Sam Young 
  • Ewan Davies 
  • Jack Neil 
  • Matt Purchase 
  • Kyle Basset 
  • Jenson Bates 
  • Rory Wilson 

 

That’s it Folks for this session, Just 2 moe months before the season is in full swing, I will have some membership information for you all after the AGM which is Next week July 11th when the 2024/25 membership season starts. 

Enjoy yourselves whatever you’re doing and I will catch up with you next weekend with all the membership details

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