Op Grapple Revisited
Gorazde Memorial Ride 2023
27th to 30th April 2023
In 2023, the bike ride will begin from Vijećnica (Sarajevo City Hall) to Hrenovica, through to Bijele Vode before finishing at the Goražde School. The route will take you on a beautiful journey through the mountains, around the Miljacka River, and ending in the eastern city of Goražde. After the bike ride, the rest of the weekend will be spent relaxing and exploring the sights of Sarajevo. Hired bikes will be available in country and will be organised ahead of time (unless you wish to travel with your own).
So far, together we have raised...
To advance the education of the pupils at Gorazde Primary School, Bosnia and Herzegovnia, through the provision of facilities not provided by local education authority, for the education through the medium of English at school.
To also assist in such ways as the charity trustees see fit to advance education at Gorazde Primary School. This is done by developing their mental, physical, and moral capabilities through sporting and leisure activites.
To assist in any other projects, which would enhance and support the education/ wellbeing of children, that the charity trustees see fit from time-to-time.
Please keep giving by using the link below to our just giving page.
Who we are
GCF Bosnia: For the children of Gorazde
GCF Bosnia is a UK-based charitable foundation which is committed to helping rejuvenate the previously war-torn town of Gorazde in Bosnia. The charity specifically supports Gorazde Primary School and seeks to provide a brighter future for its students and to date has raised £106,500.00
Where it all began.
GCF Bosnia: For the children of Gorazde
GCF Bosnia was founded by Maurice Evlyn-Bufton in 2013, who was previously a captain in The 1st Battalion The Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment (1RGBW) in the Bosnian conflict (1992 - 1995) and is currently CEO of global financial services advisory firm, Armstrong Wolfe.
The foundation was set up in memory of four of Maurice's comrade's, Privates Ben Hinton, Philip Armstrong, Martin Dowdell, and Chris Turner who were killed on two separate incidents whilst on United Nations' duty on Operation Grapple 1994-1995 in the eastern enclave of Gorazde.
In 2012 Maurice along with sixteen other former comrades of 1RGBW returned to Goražde to replace the memorials stones of their fallen comrades. On the last day of the visit the group were invited to the local primary school where they were greeted by the children singing them a song in Bosnian thanking the British Army for saving their parents and grandparents.
Moved and inspired by this gestured Maurice asked the school headmistress what can be done to help. From this discussion a commitment was born to establish an English language teaching centre and to re-establish a playing field both in memory of their fallen comrades and as an investment that would benefit the future generations of Goražde.
Through his company Armstrong Wolfe, Maurice set a target to raise £25,000 to meet the schools ambitions and set up the Goražde Children’s Foundation to manage these funds. The charity has now gone on the raise £106,500.00, and is committed to raising further funds for improvement to the gymnasium and resurfacing of the playground.
In memory of four much loved soldiers and friends...
Pte Phillip Armstrong
Pte Martin Dowdell
Pte Chris Turner
Pte Ben Hinton
A Company, 1st Battalion, The Royal Gloucester Berkshire & Wiltshire Regiment
Gorazde Primary School
In 2012, seventeen former comrades of 1RGBW returned to Goražde to replace the memorials stones to their fallen comrades. On the last day of this visit the group were invited to the local primary school and were surprised by the children singing them a song in Bosnian, thanking the British Army for saving their parents and grandparents.
Moved and inspired by this gesture, Maurice Evlyn-Bufton, one of the group and a Captain in 1RGBW in 1994, asked the school’s headmistress what could be done to help.
From this discussion was born a commitment to establish an English teaching centre and to refurbish their playing field, both in memory of their fallen comrades and as an investment that would benefit the future generations of Goražde, the Bosnian town the soldiers of 1RGBW had defended many years before.
Elms School Essay Competition2
The Children of Gorazde Primary School entered an essay competition. The essay was entitled ‘I dreamt of a Faraway Land’ There was a great variety of imagination and talent used to tell us about their hopes and dreams.
We are excited to announce the winners of our Essay Competition Emela Šuman and Ahmed Cengić.
The competition was judged by Chris Hattam (Headmaster) at The Elms School who said:
“I particularly liked Emela’s because she comes across as being Elms through and through: she dreams of nature, sport and a world full of kindness. She loves learning about different cultures and new languages. She’s passionate about animals, and most importantly, she dreams of happiness rather than anything that is materialistic. I chose Ahmed’s because of his humour, imagination and weaving Ancient Rome and Greece into a contemporary tale. His story was quite unique. The fact that he named the hero Chris has nothing to do with it!"
Emela and Ahmed have won a trip to the UK in June with their Teacher. Their time will be spent sightseeing in London before staying at The Elms school to partake in learning and social activities, finishing with exploring the glorious Malvern Hills with Maurice Evlyn-Bufton and his family.
News and Media
Stories from Gorazde: How One Bosnian Town Survived a Siege
Balkan Transitional Justice, 28th January, 2022.
"From 1992 until the ceasefire that ended the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bosnian Serb forces laid siege to the town of Gorazde in the Drina Valley. During the fighting, as the Bosnian Serb military pummelled the town with rockets and artillery shells from the hills overlooking the River Drina, 7,000 civilians were killed or wounded, of whom 548 were children. Despite the high level of casualties, no one has yet been prosecuted for the crimes that were committed against the people of Gorazde."
Bosnia is in danger of breaking up, warns top international official
The Guardian, 2nd November, 2021.
The international community’s chief representative in Bosnia has warned that the country is in imminent danger of breaking apart, and there is a “very real” prospect of a return to conflict.
In a report to the UN seen by the Guardian, Christian Schmidt, the high representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, said that if Serb separatists carry out their threat to recreate their own army, splitting the national armed forces in two, more international peacekeepers would have to be sent back in to stop the slide towards a new war.
Maurice Evlyn-Bufton being interviewed on a Bosnian news channel - October 2021
‘Quo Vadis, Aida?’
Set in Bosnia, July 1995 during the conflict . Aida is a translator for the UN in the small town of Srebrenica. When the Serbian army takes over the town, her family is among the thousands of citizens looking for shelter in the UN camp. As an insider to the negotiations Aida has access to crucial information that she needs to interpret. What is at the horizon for her family and people - rescue or death? Which move should she take?