Apr 032017

“Falling Plates”

This name has dogged The Royal Green Jackets from the Early 1970`s.

The term falling plates is used within the military as a target but also it is widely known as a derogatory name for an easy target or loss of life.

It was first used in Northern Ireland during “The Troubles” in the early 70`s when the Green Howards Regiment suffered a significant number of loss of good men.

This name was also passed onto The Royal Green Jackets in the early 70`s as they too suffered loss of men, the RGJ have made numerous tours of the province throughout the troubles, and this name as dogged the regiment from there on.

Many fights would break out within the army if ever you used the term “Falling Plates” within earshot of the RGJ, on one occasion the term “Falling Plates” made national press, after the RGJ lost a soldier in Balleek, Armagh, when the RGJ came back to Drummadd Barracks, in Armagh City, they found paper plates hanging in the cookhouse with the words another “Falling Plates” put there by the Royal Marines, and also, other despicable things to upsetting mention, this caused fights inside and outside the Barracks, we are told that a marine was hospitalised during the events that took place after the cookhouse issue.

chfallingA former Rifleman alerted the men and the Winchester press to the situation, where upon a Facebook Group was formed, this became a worldwide issue, a total insult to every Rifleman. This one officer calling the cafe “Falling Plates” had brought the whole regiment into disrepute, letters of protest where sent and untold emails by former Riflemen to the Regimental HQ in Peninsula Barracks, where one senior officer, John Poole-Warren, replied in the local news paper, that he did not see a problem with the name.

The biggest shock to this fine regiment was for a high ranking officer to call a cafe in the old guard room of the Royal Green Jackets ancestral home, Peninsula Barracks, “Falling Plates,” this was an insult to the men, it seems no respect or consideration was given to the men or the regiment when naming it. I wonder if Sir John Moore would have allowed this to happen, after all the Royal Green Jackets are taught mutual respect between Officers and Men, as passed down by Sir John Moore.

The local MP Steve Brine was also alerted to the situation by a fellow Rifleman, the protests went on for over a year until the RGJRA and the cafe owner changed the name of the cafe to “Cafe Peninsula” ( The owner of the cafe who was in no way to blame for this as she would not have known the background history to the term ” Falling Plates“) but the Officer and others who gave it the go ahead would have.

An acclaimed Rifleman, who had been awarded the Military Medal, for his contribution to anti terrorism measures in a hearts and minds offensive whilst serving in the Northern Ireland province, had also stood firm with the Officer, whose statement had compounded the issue, (some would say an act of mutiny, in that the Officer had jumped ship, putting money before his men and that of the respect of his men, his Regiment and the Army, flying in the face of everything the ethos that had been bestowed by the great man himself, none other than Sir John Moore) he too could see no problem with the name. He had been awarded the The Military Medal for shooting Jim Bryson and Patrick Mulvenna, Bryson being a key player in the freedom Army, the IRA. He was Gazetted for his bravery award on the 18th of June 1974.

This whole episode had made us as a Regiment re-evaluate its strengths and weaknesses, some would say a very fine weeding, it made a them and us scenario, and bought into the arena, a situation of, “One Mans’ Army is another Man’s’ freedom fighter… the question that now arises is and as controversial as it might seem, “What’s it all about, is it correct in the light of the signing of the peace treaty to award the Soldier who was gazetted, for the killing of Bryson, when it is ok for an Officer to see no problem in calling an ex Military guardroom and jail, by a derogatory term which was used to belittle those serving the Sovereign, when used as a cafe. The ironic thing, was this Officer able to see in to the future, a fortune teller, after all some years down the line the very person that these chaps was serving was inviting into her Palace a terrorist activist of a freedom Army, inviting by the shake of a hand and sitting down to tea… the rest is in the making the brewing we will have to see it unfold.

The Cafe was renamed to Cafe Peninsula, the cafe has since been taken over and is now called

(Gorgeous handmade food for all occasions)


This is the link and story run by the Hampshire Chronicle news story about, “Falling Plates”


14th June 2010
Café name is a slur on regiment, say veterans
Chris Harris

ARMED Forces veterans have slammed a new Winchester café saying its name is an insult to their fallen comrades.

They are angry the Falling Plates Café has opened its doors at their historic regimental home, calling it a “slap in the face” and “an insult to the memory of the dead”.

The former Royal Green Jackets (RGJ) soldiers say Falling Plates is a derogatory nickname for heavy casualties suffered in Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan.

The ex-soldiers say the term — which refers to the stationary targets at a shooting range — is disrespectful to those who have given their lives for their country.

A 221-strong Facebook group is demanding the café, at Peninsula Barracks, changes its name before up to 3,000 ex-Green Jackets flood into the city for a reunion on July 10.

Winchester-based Sean Wheeler, who served with RGJ, now The Rifles, from 1989-95, said: “They (RGJ veterans) are very angry about it, the nickname has caused a lot of fights in the past.

“I don’t think we’re being oversensitive — it’s disrespectful to the Green Jackets.”

The 38-year-old, of Romsey Road, added: “They lost men and it’s disrespectful to their families.

“She’s a German lady (the owner) and she put the café’s name through the museum.

“I’d have thought the people in the museum would have a bit more sense than to okay this.”

Tony Cotton, 47, who served with RGJ from 1983-89, said: “I don’t know whether it’s a big mistake or a provocation.”
Steve Barrett, who toured Northern Ireland with the regiment in the 1970s, said: “I’ve seen so many fights about this nickname.

To have this put on our old barracks is like a slap in the face.”

But Lt Col John Poole-Warren, chairman of the Royal Green Jackets Association, denied it was a derogatory term and said it was named after a military shooting competition.

“The name was chosen by an ex regimental sergeant-major who works in the RGJ museum in Winchester,” he said.

“I don’t think there’s any reason for the name to be changed.”

Annette Bergen, café owner, said: “I did not mean to cause any offence, I chose the name in good faith and I chose it after running it past people at the museum.

“If I had known it was controversial I would not have chosen it.

“In the foreseeable future I have no intention of changing the name, we have had many positive comments and only two that have been negative.”

Miss Bergen, originally from Germany, opened the café in April.

It came less than a year after she co-founded Leaf & Bean in Fulflood with Daniel Mills.

But she struck out on her own after deciding that business was not big enough for two.

Comments below.

People of Winchester please read this, the Officer and RSM would have known about this one incident years ago and this made National press at the time.We are not about shutting the cafe just a name change. If you go onto our site you can read more comments and new names for Annette this was post on the site for a ex RGJ. I can remember clearly one incident where the use of the slagging term ” falling plates” was clearly directed to 1rgj in fermanagh in 1987, when on the first day of his arrival l/cpl tom hewitt on patrol in advanced party taking over from marines was shot in the head from across the border in beleek by an ira sniper.Later that evening when 1rgj visited the naafi,the marines had placed a figure 11 target up and written on it ,green jackets take it in the head,falling plates.There was lots of fighting between these units and serious injuries inflicted upon some,the trouble lasted days and progressed as the rest of the company arrived,this incident made the national newspapers and was the reason why helmets then become worn as compulsory,this still lingers and is hurtful in my memory ,other comrades memories who remember,this alone to me justify s enough reason why the cafe called by this name should be renamed,. i cannot believe there is such a cafe with this name in such a place,what a travesty to the memories of the fallen heroes,i am totally disgusted and can only say ,something should be done to rectify this ,any genuine ex green jacket knows his history and would have some knowledge of this term being used in memory,so if a comrade in arms of the same rgj has no knowledge of this,i can only assume he has been locked away in the cupboard under the stairs for many years. To a green jacket it would be like calling the sky green,now lets rally around this boys and have our voices heard in memory of those who are now unable to speak.

Hi Steve, As you know the origin of falling plates, you could explain it to the press, as far as the stigma that has been placed not only on us, the Royal Green jackets, but Green Howards, in the early 70s in Northern Ireland the Gre…en Howards lost a few good soldiers trying to keep the peace out there, it was a diffi…cult job to do at the best of times, but other members of the Armed Forces thought it was funny thus giving them the name, ” Falling Plates “, which to me is an insult to the memory of those who lost their lives out there. regards John

This is from Tony cotton shown on our site. Annette, i hope you read this,we no you didn’t mean to upset anyone,it was a mistake,the powers that be are more to blame for telling you it was ok.
change the name and u’ll make a whole regiment of friends and i am sure we’ll invite you to our reunion.you can see how the blokes are upset.you can make the guys happy,you hold… the key.we do understand its hassel for you but it’ll be worth it .its not just a storm in a teacup.

Dear Annette, can I ask you please to rethink the name of the cafe, it’s only a name but the one you have chosen is making so many people unhappy. I’m sure you can find a compromise that will suit everyone.

I have had a long hard think about this one not only is it disrespectful to name anything military this. (regardless weather their green jackets or Green Howards they are all fallen hero brothers) it just goes to show what the bureaucratic people really think of the soldiers past and present. (DEAD OR ALIVE).

From Gary Best …. They obviously have no respect for those who are brave enough to step up to the mark and lay their lives on the line for their country.

Thought I’d heard the last of that saying in the 70’s. Tony Mayers.

Philp Morrison on our group pages…. The comment was also used in s amagh in 1981 where 1 rgj lost 5 in a bombing and deano in a shooting rip guys !!!!!!!!.

This Comment was left on our group site by NoHandsignals….. It goes back a long way, it was a bad nick name given to the all the RGJ for the amount of fellow rifleman killed in NI. The regiments that called us this name where the ones that had only one battalion and did NI tours once every couple of years. We had Battalions serving in NI from 1969 to 92. When we became The Rifles,:Please support our cause!!!!!.

This Comment was left on our Face Book site by Bob Ross…. I have just read Lt.Col.John Poole-Warrens comment in the Hampshire Chronicle saying he did not think that ‘Falling plates’ was derogatory.It just shows how out of touch he is with the feelings of Riflemen,and he is meant to be the Chairman of our association.Wake up man!.

This Comment by Len Readle left on our Face Book Site; Typical Diplomatic ****
If he or the other turds there can’t see it, then they aint true Black n Greens
This was the standard attempted insult thrown at us so many times back in the day, caused many a punch up.
I think in this day and age a visit will not work, a letter referring her to the posts here, but better, a letter explaining the support against this name, then the news paper, if not.. well then early July it is.

2 RGJ Recce
I can’t believe that this has got to go as far as it has, the Regimental Museum should know better, anyone who says that they believed it as not being a derogatory term are either lying or completely out of touch with The Royal Green Jackets, EVERY ex Green Jacket I know sees this name as an insult, it’s time something was done before the reunion in July because quite frankly I can see trouble coming.

The cafe would have been a natural magnet to all ex members of the regiment revisiting Winchester myself included and it will still be but for all the wrong reasons now.
A little commonsense should have been applied and a more suitable name chosen given the buildings history, a name such as “The old Guardroom Cafe” “The Green Jacket Cafe” “The Peninsula Cafe” or even a little more obscure “The Imber Clump” any of these would have been better than “The Falling Plates”.
I originally trained in Winchester in 1972 and returned there in 1980 where I spent another 6 very happy years, I still think of Winchester as my second home and it saddens me to see that commonsense has not been applied when naming this cafe, as Green Jackets we are normally much better than this.

Kevin Stevens Oxford.

This Comment from Paul Axtell …..Most Ruperts tend to live in a bubble so that they forget the feelings of others. Its when it explodes in there faces that they wonder what all the fuss is about. I echo Bob “Wake up that man” listen to the those Sjt’s who use to wisper in your ear “no sir not like that,like this”–” look after your men and they will look after you
Call it the ‘Guard room’ after all thats what it was!!!!!!!!!!!!
Swift & Bold.

This Comment by Martin Wyness on our Group Site ……. well on the 71-73 2RGJ tour in Derry I first heard this nickname but then it was the Anglians or the Green Howards who lost a couple of lads in the little diamond.Heard it again in the 90s when an ex-engineer said it to me about the RGJ needless to say he didnt get the chance to say anything else!.

This Comment by Michael Allan Elliott ……This rupert is too busy drinking pimms to give a **** about the blokes !!!!!.

This Comment by Sean Wheeler……Gents this ex officer has said that this is not directed towards the men and regiments of the ROYAL GREEN JACKETS but toward china plates.THEN WHY and i REPEAT WHY does it also say on the advertising boards SWIFT service and BOLD flavours AND a drawing of A BAKER RIFLE i rest my case !!!!!!!!!!.

Sourced from the Hampshire Chronicle.

Sourced from Google