Singing With The Troops : Chah & The Airborne Warriors





The story,
In January of this year I had a mad idea. I approached my niece Chanelle Aristide , a well-known young singer and shared my idea of recording a song in order to commemorate the 75th anniversary of VE Day and at the same time, raise much needed cash for the charity DMWS (Defence Medical Welfare Service) who work with hospital Trusts and local authorities to help serving members of HM Forces, veterans and their families when they are suffering from poor health.
I suggested the song choice should be where veterans could be involved. Auf Wiedersehen by Vera Lynn seemed quite apt and though the aim was to commemorate VE Day and raise cash to help forces veterans in hospital, the words matched exactly how we all feel today with the Covid19 crisis.
Chanelle loved the idea and went to work locating the music and looking at the musical arrangements with fellow musician and producer Roger Betts.
It was at this time that I confess, I wondered if I had made a mistake? Firstly, I knew that by no stretch of the imagination could I be described as a decent singer and I was not sure if I knew any veteran that could hold a note let alone sing!
Secondly, whilst I admire Dame Vera Lynn very much, I did start to think that the song was a bit slow and dated. Chanelle though, remained upbeat and asked me to leave things with her for a while, as she was working with Roger to lay down a backing track.
In the meantime, I asked around for veterans who might be willing to give it a go. Originally I had around 25 veterans putting their names forward.
Before Social distancing and isolation rules, we had planned to attend a formal recording and be filmed at the same time. Sadly and perhaps for obvious reasons, all of that was cancelled.
Chanelle asked that we do not give up. Instead she wanted to explore virtual and remote options

We were not defeated by the challenge ….


April 2020
Subsequently, on Saturday the 11th April 2020, 11 veterans; all ex-paratroopers, our singer and producer all connected through a platform called Zoom and we each recorded our part, both individually and as a group.
It was down then to the magic of the producer, Roger Betts. The completion means that we have a fantastic and modern take of an old classic.

We, the veterans are not a choir and we are not singers but we are enthusiastic and we named
ourselves The Airborne Warriors. Chanelle, Roger and the musicians are brilliant and the track sounds wonderful.

Chip Walker
Virgin Money Giving
The DMWS is our chosen charity and the beneficiaries of donations. Donations received via the ‘Virgin Money Giving’ charity page go directly to the charity. A link from the charity page to The Chah website is where the free exclusive link to the song and accompanying video can be obtained.
Charity Comment
‘The Defence Medical Welfare Service are absolutely delighted to be the chosen charity for this single. It is wonderful that the vital work our welfare officers are delivering in NHS Hospitals is being recognised’ Jess Liston, Regional Manager South, Defence Medical Welfare Service (DMWS)


April 2020

Vocal: Chanelle Aristide (THE CHAH)
Choir : Chip Walker, Tommy Onions, Jim Chalmers, Steve Franklin, Rob Eldrett, Robin Hughes, George Cummings, Don McNaughton, David Martin-Nash, Richard Leppard, Bill Coleman, Steve Kallis
Piano : Melissa Messenger
Guitar : Stephen Messenger
Orchestration: Roger Betts
Production: Roger Betts
Recorded at Ashtray Studios, Fleet, April 2020 and remotely by video link April 2020.

Original performance: Dame Vera Lynn
Written by: Eberhard Storch
Publisher: Warner Chappell Music, Inc. Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Chanelle Aristide is a professional singer who has performed professionally at private and public function and who writes original music as THE CHAH. Recent project with musician and producer Roger Betts has produced their latest single, ‘Saved Me’.
Roger Betts: Musician and Producer—has been working with Chanelle as a recent contributor and producer with THE CHAH. Roger has independent projects with releases expected this year as he successfully collaborates and records, with fellow musicians and other great singers.
Chip Walker, Age 62, enlisted into the Army Catering Corps in 1974 aged 16, underwent parachute selection and was attached to 7 Para RHA and 2 Para serving in Germany, Cyprus, Northern Ireland, Switzerland, Belgium and GB reaching the rank of SGT. Following discharge from the regular army in December 1985, he joined the police and also enlisted into the Territorial Reserve with 10 Para, joining Support Company 1991/92.
Richard Leppard: Joined 10 Para in recruit training in 1983, passed 84 and posted to 4 company at the Duke of York’s on Chelsea London. Left as a L/Cpl in the middle of 1990.

April 2020
Robin Hughes: Age 77 joined the TA. At 18 and then joined the Civil Service (MAFF) and moved to London where enlisted into 305 Sig Sqn (Jx Yeo) 44 Ind Para Bde Grp (TA) based at the Duke of Yorks HQ Chelsea. From there he attended a parachute training course at RAF Abingdon and qualified as a parachutist in October 1963. In December 1964, volunteered to join 216 Sig Sqn and took part in a major exercise where, following preparation and briefing in Malta, carried out a night jump into the Libyan desert. Currently sings in a Choir (Phoenix).
Rob Eldrett: Joined 10th (v) Bn Parachute regiment in 1972 and was discharged through injury. Rejoined 1974 passed selection and para school in 1975. Joined Raf regiment reserves RAF Honington late 80s.
Currently in the process of applying to S.S.A.F.A as a volunteer.
Don MacNaughton: Enlisted into the army 1960, first posting 2 Para, Cyprus 1961 travelling there by troopship. Summer 1961 the Battalion sent to Kuwait. Iraq threatened to invade but didn’t so the Battalion sat in desert for 4 months. 1963 sent to Bahrain for year tour. 1964 joined Red Devils Regimental Free Fall Team, original member. In 1972 re-joined battalion.
Completed four tours of Northern Ireland. Three, two year tours with 10 Para and 15 Para,TA Battalions before leaving the army in 1983.
George Cumming: Enlisted in 1983 Served continually as an airborne chef in 5 AB Bde from 1987 to 1999…….Pre to WO1. I don’t know if I’m the longest serving Para chef ever….but there certainly won’t be many more who served 12 straight years in the Bde. , Served in Aldershot, Germany, Belize, United States, Northern Ireland, Cyprus, Kenya, Canada and the Middle East.
Left the army in July 2005.
Jim Chalmers: Enlisted into the army at Glasgow in June 1974, at the age 17yrs and one week old. On the 2nd of July I took the overnight train from Glasgow to London then on to Aldershot. I arrived Aldershot station 3rd of July and walked up to St Omer Barracks to start my 25year military service.
Serving in Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland (8 Tours) America, Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, France, Germany, Holland, Iraq, Italy, Jamaica, Kuwait, Portugal, Saudi Arabia.
He passed parachute selection and gained British, Canadian and American parachute wings.
Now working with the Combined Cadet force (CCF), as WO2 School staff Instructor (SSI).
David Martin-Nash: Enlisted into the Parachute Regiment in 1980 and served in Northern Ireland, Falklands, Belize, Kenya, Germany, Cyprus & Cyprus (UN). Brunei, Iraq and Afghan.
Steve Franklin, Enlisted into the army joining 7 Para, RHA in 1976. Served in various places inc Norway, Germany , Canada , Portugal , USA , Australia, Borneo . He was the Troop Sergeant of Mercer troop in the Junior Leaders Regiment Royal Artillery for 2 years responsible for the training of recruits.
Completed 2 active service tours in Northern Ireland ÷ awarded the CSM medal

April 2020
Awarded USA Para wings , Canadian Para wings and French Commando emblem after successfully completing the relevant courses .
Steve Kallis: Enlisted in 1972 aged 15. Passed Parachute selection at just 17 and was posted to 2 Para. He served in Northern Ireland, Malaya, Norway, Germany and Belgium.
Bill Coleman: enlisted into the army in 1971 , served with a medical unit which specialised chemical and biological decontamination . Qualified as a military parachutist in 1973, Served in Norway (3 cdo Brigade ) Germany , Canada , 2 Active service tours in Northern Ireland , awarded G S M N I ,, wounded in bomb explosion N I 1975.



All of the artists and veterans involved have given their time freely and have paid for services and recording from their own pockets

VE day

Chip Walker
Email: Tel: 07470 349404
Chanelle Aristide (THE CHAH)
Email: Tel: 07954 349 266



Defence Medical Welfare Service (DMWS) Jess Liston—Regional Manager South Email: Tel: 01264 774000 Mobile: 07377 722711

LINKS Virgin Money Giving Page