AN army veteran of more than 23 years has started the first Royal Army Medical Corps Association in Essex.

Tony Johnson, of Main Road in Harwich, was dismayed to find the county had never had a branch to help medical personnel since it officially began in 1898.

The nearest group in Cambridge closed down two years ago so Mr Johnson decided to found his own from scratch.

“Our branch is designed to look after the old and bold who served in the medical field and help them out when they need it,” said Mr Johnson, who was ranked as a staff sergeant.

“To date we have more than 30 members and our ethos is to come along and mix, mingle and chat about old times or experiences with likeminded veterans of the Royal British Army Corps.

“The branch is open to any ex-forces members who served alongside the RAMC over the years.

“We plan to meet three times a year in Colchester at the Sergeants Mess and will welcome veterans to come along to our social evenings.”

The branch was formally recognised by the RAMC at St George’s Church in Aldershot last month in front of hundreds of people where the Regimental Standard Flag was also blessed.

Anyone who wishes to join can contact Mr Johnson on 01255 507524.