John Webster is stepping down as Chairman on 27th February 2020. The NRA don’t want outsiders to apply.
Despite the importance of the Chairman’s role, it has not been publicly advertised, nor have others been given the opportunity to apply. Instead, when Webster leaves, only Evans will step up and become de-facto Chairman. He will then maintain the current course of the NRA and given his track record as part of the NRA Disciplinary Committee, will continue to victimise dissidents and pursue the personal agenda of Webster and other Trustees over that of the Charity.
John Graham Mead Webster (JW) has a finance background and is a Director of an investment fund registered offshore, in the Cayman Islands as well as Chairman & Partner, Altima Partners LLP. where he is also Chairman of Remuneration & Conflict Management Committees and Member of Valuation and Risk Committees. See bottom of page for full background. John Webster NRA Chairman lies to NRA Members and has been described as a bully.
Webster has denied suggestions that the NRA is “bullying” the clubs, arguing that they merely seek to put all club tenants on an equal footing as their leases come due for renewal. He describes the previous low rent as “subsidies” to a few clubhouses. There are many suggestions that John Webster has lost control of his CEO Andrew Mercer. This may be the case, but if there are skeletons in Mercers closet then Webster certainly has some too.
Webster resorts to publicly lying to keep these hidden. The NRA celebrated its 150th Anniversary this year and Webster is apparently desperate, as NRA Chairman, to be recognised for his services in an honours list. All the more incentive to cover up the fact that he is Chairing over a self-serving, aggressive Charity that acts in the interests of its Chair and Trustees over the Charity itself.
3 Blown Primers: NRA Chairman lies, NRA CEO Cover-Up, Trustees involved
- The NRA Chairman John Webster apparently cheats in competitions with the aid of his gunsmith ex NRA Trustee John Bloomfield who tampers with rifles
- NRA CEO Andrew Mercer helped evidence ‘disappear’ and cover up this major breach of NRA rules & range safety
- Webster lies to NRA Members at AGM, trying to blame an innocent party
The following is a report into an incident at the July 2016 Imperial Meeting at Bisley involving the Chairman and CEO of the NRA. The incident itself would not have been of great significance had normal operational and safety procedures been followed. However they were not. This led to lying, cover-ups, blaming an innocent party and the threatening of NRA staff by the NRA Chairman and CEO. This very much confirms the long held view of many NRA members that there is rot at the top of the NRA, that NRA trustees are not fit for purpose and are certainly not to be trusted.
Imperial Meeting July 2016
At the Imperial Meeting July 2016 John Webster, Chairman of the NRA, approaches an Ammunition Officer (AO) to get further ammunition for an upcoming shoot. The AO notices three empty cases with clearly blown primers in Websters ammunition box. (We have been shooting for decades and had one blown primer…to have three in a day is unheard of). The AO informs Webster they must take them, fill out a report and hand them into the armoury as per NRA regulations. Webster responds that his gunsmith, (ex NRA Trustee) John Bloomfield, had told him if he had an issue with cases he should give them to him.
The AO stands their ground and repeats that that is not the correct procedure, takes the cases at the reluctance of Webster, fills out the report and hands them into the armoury for safe keeping, pending an enquiry into the incident. A yellow form was completed and the AO handed the form and the 3 blown primers to an NRA armourer. The AO also reports the incident to her direct superior Rick Wells, NRA Head of Range Services. This is as per the NRA Bisley Bible – see here page 128/136
When reports of the incident leaked many members were curious what happened. Nothing of substance happens for a year until the NRA AGM of 16th June 2017. (see page 17 onwards). A question from Dr Robin Pizer, former Chairman of the NRA to John Webster, NRA Chairman. ‘’In July 2016 an Ammunition Officer (AO) noticed that you had three cases in your ammunition box with blown primers. Why did you not call the attention of the range officer as required by the rules? Who examined your rifle, what was wrong and was this the work of John Bloomfield?
John Webster’s reply: ‘’Let me answer those questions. Firstly I wonder whether you have the right Webster. I had no such problem with blown primers in my box. So if you are going to make allegations of that, I would prefer that you did that to me personally before you socialise such an obvious calumny in front of this group’’.
What is a blown primer and what is its significance?
A rifle bullet has the copper/lead bullet set into the brass case at the front. At the rear is the primer with detonation cap which, when struck by the firing pin ignites the powder causing the explosion which propels the bullet down the barrel. The ammunition supplied is from GGG and it is confirmed that these bullet cases have primers that would require pressures significantly above Birmingham Proof House accepted levels to cause the primer to blow.
There is one action that will cause a well fitted primer to blow, and that is increased/abnormally high pressure on the primer. With high pressure the hoop strength of the solid case head is exceeded by the expansive chamber pressure acting from within the primer pocket. The brass head of the case expands plastically outwards until supported by the steel chamber leaving a larger than usual pocket for the primer. The primer cup will also expand but mostly elastically so that when the pressure subsides the primer cup will shrink back to near normal dimensions. It therefore becomes a loose fit in the enlarged primer pocket. Initially the primer cup cannot go anywhere else as it is restrained by the closed bolt face. When the bolt is opened the loose primer cup falls out of the enlarged primer pocket. Quite often it ends up somewhere that jams the bolt or trigger. In some cases the rifle bolt could be ejected backwards into the firer. For the above reasons there are very strict regulations if such an incident occurs.
John Bloomfield – NRA Gunsmith & Ex Trustee
NRA tests, done by John Webster’s gunsmith, John Bloomfield have been ongoing since 2016 without a conclusive answer. John Bloomfield reported to members at the NRA AGM 25th May 2019 (from page 23). ‘’We are well aware of the problems people are reporting (re blown primers) and I’ll come back to that in a minute. I do not want to get into the detail of the investigation because it is still by no means complete (since June 2016!!) and the problem with giving, how shall I put it, interim reports and interim updates is that things may change, and then you have been given the wrong information and that I do not want to do.
There are no safety issues with any of the ammunition that we have seen. It has been tested for pressure by the manufacturers, GGG, and comes exactly where we would expect it. It has been tested for pressure by the Birmingham Proof House and is within the two limits we are set.
What is causing the elongation of the cases at the moment we do not know. We have a number of theories and we are working towards trying to come up with an answer that we shall be able to give you in due course. The final thing to say is it clearly shoots extremely well. A less than full strength team shot a National match and made the third highest score on record’’.
Mr Bloomfield has spent several years testing this theory and can only conclude that the GGG ammunition in question is of excellent quality. The real reason for the number of blown primers is being covered up because the perpetrator is in charge of the investigation!
The maximum pressure allowed for any rifle is set by the Birmingham Proof House and once they have tested each barrel will give it the proof mark to confirm it complies. Pressure is essential especially when seeking extreme accuracy at long distances. The more pressure the faster the bullet and thereby greater accuracy. One of the factors built into rifle barrels is the distance the head of the bullet sits in the barrel when the rifle is ready to shoot. It is essential that there is a small gap between the bullet and the open chamber of the barrel to allow any excess gasses to escape without danger.
However John Bloomfield cheats the system, with total disregard to safety regulations or honour of the sport, in order to gain an advantage (both personal and for his clients) over other competitors. We have it on good information that Bloomfield unscrews the barrel, shaves a small amount off the base of the barrel and re-screws the barrel back on. The rifle looks exactly the same, the proof mark is still there but importantly the now shorter barrel means the bullet is now squeezed into the barrel. This will substantially increase the pressure giving greater accuracy but, apart from being illegal, is exceptionally dangerous and risks blowing the primer. It is easy to hide evidence of malpractice if one fears scrutiny by simply unscrewing and replacing the barrel with the standard measurements
- Why did John Webster not report the first blown primer to the Range Officer as required?
- What possessed Webster to continue shooting and do nothing when he had two more blown primers?
- Why did John Webster who knows the Range Regulations as well as anyone say his gunsmith had told him to give any blown cases to him rather than the normal NRA channel that requires an inquiry?
- Why did John Webster when asked about the incident at the following AGM lie and say he was not involved and furthermore tried to pass the blame onto another shooter with the same surname?
- NRA Gunsmith John Bloomfield has spent three years investigating the issue, getting both the manufacturer GGG and Birmingham Proof House to do extensive pressure tests, yet never looked into another obvious cause of the problem.
- Bloomfield mentions he does not know what is causing the elongation of the cases, when there is no evidence of elongated cases, so a clear red herring, and ignores the potential of barrel tampering that would have the same effect
- Rick Wells confirmed to the AO that he was told by Andrew Mercer that Tim Webster (not John Webster) was the person who had 3 cases with blown primers and Mercer apparently had evidence of this. Where is that evidence and why, if true, was this not presented to clear the Chairman?
- Tim Webster has also confirmed that before he could collect his squadding cards for the Target Rifle part of the Imperial Meeting in July 2016, he had to have his rifle checked by NRA staff for compliance with Rule 150. His rifle passed and NRA staff put a new green sticker on the rifle to show that it complied with the rules.
- Tim Webster also confirmed he had no issue with blown primers and that he uses Tom Rylands as his gunsmith, not John Bloomfield.
- The Ammunition Officer confirmed in June 2017 that they had reminded Rick Wells about the incident and Rick Wells confirmed he recalled the incident but could not remember who it involved! (No one forgets when it is the Chairman involved). Rick Wells then confirmed to the AO that he had binned the yellow incident card evidence early in 2017 because they were taking up space in his office! As Head of Range Services he admits destroying vital evidence knowing the inquiry had not been completed. Who told him to do that and what happened to the three blown primers?
Andrew Mercer – NRA CEO Cover Up
Rather than even appear to investigate the matter, NRA CEO Andrew Mercer focusses all his attention on trying to establish who the Ammunition Officer is, writing to Dr Robin Pizer in July 2017. Dr Pizer respects the anonymity of the source and is badgered for the name. Meanwhile the source is concerned, knowing what the NRA Mafia are like and fears being dragged into a disciplinary committee.
MP’s Investigate NRA
Julian Brazier MP (now Sir Julian Brazier) in 2016 was in email contact with John Webster, regarding the rent and other onerous changes in leasehold arrangements. Also copied into the email were Gerald Howarth MP, Julian Lewis MP, James Gray MP, Adam Holloway MP, Jonathan Lord MP and Mark Garnier MP. Julian Brazier warned that they may write to the Charity Commission notifying them of their concerns. In the email exchange, JW rejected the suggestion of an independent review after deliberating with trustees (14 November 2016).
Why does Chairman lie to Members?
On 25 May 2019 at the NRA AGM, five days before the Charity Commission issue an alarmingly scathing report to Webster, Webster expresses disappointment that Members have complained to the Charity Commission, and tries to mislead Members with the following:
Bisley Shooting Ground
There is a huge amount of discontent with the lack of transparency and the arrogance of the way in which many NRA trustees run the organisation. Why is the Chairman also lying to us about Bisley Shooting Ground?
In the most extraordinary turn of events that we have ever seen at a Bisley Meeting, Webster was asked, at the 23rd July 2019 BGM 2019, by a Member about the planned takeover of the sporting clay shooting at Bisley Shooting Ground (BSG) and the British Sporting Rifle Club (BSRC).
Webster response… “We are not short of the ability to invest a much more modest number in either of those two activities, sporting rifle or sporting clays, if we so choose. And it is not beyond the realms of possibility that if the returns on one or two of those
activities would be relatively attractive, that we would be able to borrow the money to do it faster if required. I happen to be opposed to a charity borrowing money, but we do have a trading subsidiary which has a large P&L. I’m sure that if we so chose, we could borrow money to fund such capital investment”.
So the NRA are thinking of borrowing money, going into debt, in order to spend funds on things other than rifle shooting. What is going on?
The NRA Member goes on to ask more specifically regarding BSG: “You said it was going to be under new management, you put an article out in the Journal, you hired a Clay Manager, presumably you had a business plan otherwise you wouldn’t have hired the gentleman, and as you say, you can make significant capital investments, and I don’t expect you to be able to talk it off to the nearest decimal place, but I would like to know how quickly you think you will be able to replenish our reserves from the expenditure spent on taking over something like BSG. It could be a number of, we think, two to three years, three to four?? I’m not talking massive amounts of detail, but I’d have thought sir if that was that significant you’d have been very well briefed and you’d be able to give us the answer.”
“We think it will be 18 months in pay back. We did hire people, and they put together plans, we gave notice for these people (BSG) to quit a year ago, and their lease expired on 30th June. Up to 25th June, they gave us every indication
that they were leaving. But they haven’t.”
This then causes Alex Roupell, MD of Bisley Shooting to take up the microphone and say “The simple question is, you’ve just stated that up until the 25th June, Bisley Shooting Ground said that they were going to leave. I have factual, documentary evidence that since 2017 I have been offering to communicate, negotiate and discuss with your Chief Executive and your Trustees. I have personally sent you, and your Trustees, because your Chief Executive refused to
pass it on, a proposal that was preferential to the NRA, cost saving to the NRA, it offered increased rent, greater access to ranges, and I have in a year not heard back from any single one of the Trustees, or yourself…”
Why is Webster lying and why are the NRA wasting member funds on clay shooting when what we want is better facilities for rifle shooting!
NRA Looking to Co-Opt 2 New Trustees
On 7th November 2019 the NRA released a post saying The NRA, a registered charity, is seeking to appoint two new co-opted trustees to the Council of the Association (the board of trustees). How convenient that the Chairman, of whom many questions are being asked, should have the benefit of choosing which sycophants will be chosen.
The comments to the post are suggesting Mik Maksimovic, an ex NRA Trustee (and old friend of Webster) who in 2019 was in crown court proceedings for illegal arms smuggling into the UK and who, together with fellow ex Trustee John Bloomfield ensured there was a change to NRA rule 156 allowing them both to profit from selling an item that was required by that rule change.
NRA Chairman Background
As well as being Chairman of the UK National Rifle Association, Webster holds a number of other chairman and director positions, largely in investment funds and investment advisory firms, such as Altima Partners, DWS Investments UK Ltd, Stevenson James Group, Quaero Capital and Gladstone Capital. He is also a fellow of Green Templeton College, Oxford.
- Chairman and Independent Non-Executive Director, DWS Investments UK Ltd September 2015 – Present. London, United Kingdom. Part of the DWS Group
- Director, QUAERO CAPITAL. January 2019 – Present. Geneva, Switzerland. An independent specialist fund management firm.
- Chairman, Stevenson James. June 2014 – Present. London, United Kingdom.
- Director, Lasker Funds. Jul 2013 – Present. Registered in the Cayman Islands. Total Assets reported as $47 million. Part of Gladstone Capital (Lasker Fund’s parent fund is Gladstone Capital Management LLP, registered in the United Kingdom)
- Chairman & Partner, Altima Partners LLP. January 2012 – Present. London, United Kingdom. Chairman of the Board. Chairman of Remuneration & Conflict Management Committees. Member of Valuation and Risk Committees.
- CEO & Partner, Altima Partners. September 2006 – December 2011. London, United Kingdom.
- Global Institutional Services Advisory Committee, T. Rowe Price. December 2006 – October 2015.
- Partner & Managing Director, Greenwich Associates. April 1993 – September 2006. Acted as a consultant to investment management and brokerage clients.
- President/CEO of North American Operations, at James Capel December 1985 – April 1993. London & New York. Various senior management positions over this period, ending as President/CEO.
- Consultant, C & K 1984 – 1985. London, United Kingdom.
- Managing Director, Moira Pottery Co Ltd. 1982 – 1984 Moira, Leicestershire, United Kingdom. Family pottery business.
NRA Chairman Character
The Winans range was refurbished in 2013 as a miniature rifle range to comply with S11(4) Firearms Act (1968). The range changes to the structure of Winans involved demolishing the sleeper wall at the rear. This is within 20 yards of a paying tenant, the Surrey Clubhouse who had, for years, had a live in female steward. She complained about the increased noise levels and was rubbished by Webster with the phrase “What can you expect when you live on a rifle range”.
This insensitive and curt response shows how the NRA Chairman completely missed the point. Rather than look to find a solution, the arrogant response resulted in Surrey Council being complained to. The council took readings of noise levels which were through the roof. Well over what is permitted in shops and factories. This complaint also opened the doors to noise complaints from locals outside of Bisley Camp. The NRA finally saw what should have been obvious from the start and made adjustments to Winans, however Surrey Council are still concerned over the complaints they receive regarding excessive noise levels from us shooting on Camp.