The cookie settings on this website are set to ‘allow all cookies’. Leaving your settings to ‘allow all cookies’ means you consent to a website remembering your preferences and generally enhancing the user experience. If you prefer a website to not remember your preferences, you can change your settings at any time by changing the privacy settings of your browser.

Find out more about cookies >

Reserve Forces & Cadets Association
Northern Ireland



25 March 2017

A team of 17 volunteers from 40 (NIH) Signal Squadron, based at Clonaver Park, Belfast, turned their hand to gardening as they transformed the memorial garden at the Somme Nursing home back to its former glory.

The Somme nursing home is a charity that provides treatment and quality care for service and ex-service personnel and is located less than one mile from 40 (NIH) Signal Squadron's Army Reserve Centre at Clonaver Park.

The site dates back to the outbreak of the war in 1914 when the Council of the Ulster Volunteers Force offered its complete medical organisation to the War office in the form of a fully equipped hospital for the treatment of sick and wounded soldiers. The offer was gratefully accepted and at the beginning of 1915 it was formally opened by Lord and Lady Edward Carson.

Seventeen volunteers from the Squadron took on the much needed gardening and general tidy up of the Memorial Garden. They were lucky to have Corporal James Smart on the team (his civilian job is as a tree surgeon) who took the lead in making short work of the tasks.

At the end of the morning both the Somme Nursing Home staff and the volunteers were amazed at what they had managed to achieve in a short time. The memorial garden had been transformed back to its former glory, to be enjoyed by the residents and their families.

After the hard work in the garden was completed, the residents invited the Squadron members in for tea and cakes. The Veterans thoroughly enjoyed a good old chat and reminisced with the team during their lunch hour.

Two veterans from the home were particularly close to the heart of the Sqn being ex Squadron members - Major (Retd) Noel Johnston (President RSA NI Branch) and Ex SSM John McAreavey. They were nearly coming back up to the ARC and fitting right back in to their old positions!

Nearing the end of the visit the team had a wee surprise for the Nursing Home.  All year the Squadron had been fund raising so were able to invite their Commanding Officer, Lt Col RM Jones, who was visiting from RHQ Glasgow that day, to present them with a cheque which was well received.