The FORTY FOURTH Entry was attested at the Administrative Apprentice Training School RAF Bircham Newton on 19 September 1961. Training was undertaken at RAF Bircham Newton and RAF Hereford in the trades of Pay Accounting, Clerk Secretarial and Supply until 5 April 1962. The School transferred to RAF Hereford in January 1963.
5th April 2023
This day marks the 60th anniversary of the passing out of the 44th Entry. The following message has been received from entry and committee member David Tinley.
‘Wishing all members of the 44th Entry, a happy 60th anniversary.
We passed out from Hereford April 5th 1963’.
11th January 2023
The Funeral Of Peter (Dusty) Miller
Our thanks to John Boston for providing the following short account of Peter Miller’s funeral.
‘On 9th January I attended Pete’s funeral at Medway Crematorium. AATS was well represented – as indeed were the 44th PAs. As well as me, Mike Peacock (who was also Pete’s brother-in law) and Alan Rich were there. We gave Pete a good send off and reminisced about our time together at Bircham and the times we met up together since then. I recall that in almost our first conversation, Pete told me that he was a big fan of The Shadows; that never changed and their music featured heavily in the service.’
15th August 2020
Obituary To Dave (Swede) Weavers Aged 76 – David Tinley (44th) I first met Dave on arrival at Bircham Newton on September 18th 1961. He was already in the billet, sat on the far end bed, holding a clipboard. He had been charged with recording the new arrivals. I told him my name, he replied, “You’re the one from Nottingham!” – we were instant friends. His girlfriend, Vangie, was from Nottingham. Whenever possible, normally hitchhiking, we went to Nottingham. He even volunteered us into the band, as we then got an extra 48hr pass! On the odd occasion we didn’t go to Nottingham, we went and stayed the weekend at his parent’s house in his beloved Oulton Broad. Dave’s mum was an old school cook and we would devour whatever was put in front of us, her peas with sugar were to die for! We were thrilled, when we were both posted from Hereford to Coningsby, just fifty-five miles from Nottingham and Vangie! Heaven knows the number of journeys we made in our 1933 Austin 7. Dave couldn’t drive, so he bought it (£16) and I chauffeured. Vangie and Dave married in 1964 and I was honoured to be their best man. In 1965, we were posted to different bases, but over the next ten years or so we kept in touch, until we eventually lost contact. Happily, prior to the 2011 Bircham “do”, we renewed our friendship and have continued to meet over the intervening years. A few years ago, Vangie and Dave returned to live in Oulton Broad and he was over the moon, he could see the old family home from their new house. As a young man, there was no one fitter, his favourite sports, table-tennis and football, always played with spirit and effort – sometimes a little too much spirit and always maximum effort! It was sad that in his later years his health was not too good, but whenever we met or spoke, he was always his old self and would put a positive spin on his situation. At our 44th Supplier re-unions, we could always rely on him for an entertaining story, complete with all the characters spoken in their regional voices, the highlight, of course, if it involved a Suffolk, “Swede” accent. He is survived by Vangie, they were married for 56 years and their two sons, Dominic and Joel and their families. Obituary – John ‘Pirate’ Evans – John Boston I first met John in September 1961. It would be nice to claim that that we met at Liverpool Street on the way to Heacham before being attested at Bircham and immediately struck up a friendship but that didn’t happen. Service numbers were being given out alphabetically by trade on attestation and we ended up with consecutive numbers – 594171 and 594172. As the first Pay Accountant (alphabetically at least) I had the bed nearest the door and consequently only John on one side to talk to. Thus was born a friendship that lasted over many years. Why the nickname ‘Pirate’? What else would you call someone with a sunken chest and a blue beard? At the time our family homes were fairly near each other. We travelled home together from Bircham and then from Hereford as far as Great Missenden where he got off the train to get a bus to Little Kingshill and I stayed on to Aylesbury. Our paths crossed again at Innsworth when we continued our leave travels together but this time in my 9th-hand Ford and later in Cyprus where I was at Episkopi and John at Akrotiri. I recall him telling me that before Akrotiri he had done a tour at Mountbatten. Clearly the Station authorities there were a little confused about a support trade Jnr Tech. He didn’t do Duty Clerk as ‘that was a job for SACs’ but instead he was put on the Duty Armourer list. Fortunately he was never required to issue anything. As so often happens, in later years we lost touch but as a result of the Association membership lists we were able to catch up on old times by the occasional telephone call. Sadly, the promised reunion never happened. 50th Anniversay Celebration – An Account By David Tinley On Friday April 5th 2013, ten 44th Entry Suppliers, celebrated the 50th anniversary of their passing out from RAF Hereford. We met (and stayed) at the Three Counties Hotel, which was also the name of the venue for a graduation dinner for parents on Thu April 4th 1963, although we quickly realised (those who could remember it), that the current hotel is a much newer building and about 3 miles from the original! With two exceptions, we had all been at the Bircham reunion in May 2011 and all quickly reverted to recollection mode and even the two “new” boys were soon enjoying reminiscing about their time in the service. We began the weekend early evening on the Friday. Saturday was spent in Hereford (travelling in to the city by public transport, which proved a new experience for some!). It would have been rude not to visit the Cider Museum, although it was generally felt that the tasters at the end of the tour were rather on the mean side! Certain group members were keen to watch the Grand National (After placing substantial bets – a WO pension must help to soften the financial pressures?), so we retired to a Wetherspoons for a couple of hours. The social secretary (me), had realised that grown men on their own need entertaining. So before dinner, a quiz on the year 1963 was held. Initially there were some dissenting voices, but it was surprising how quickly everyone wanted to be involved. It was very exciting……………..it was a tie! But after some further questioning a winner was declared. All too soon, on Sunday, it was time to say our farewells and so after a hearty breakfast we went our separate ways, vowing to meet again in a year or so………..as long as the social secretary (me) organises something. Three of the party decided to visit the site of the RAF Hereford gates that have been erected at the entrance to Aylestone Park in Hereford, a commerative photograph was duly taken. Website Manager Note The attendees as per left to right in the group photo were – John Wells, David Tinley, Roger Daniels, Gordon Gourdie, Jim Butcher, Tom McClurg, Dave Weavers, Doug Morgan, Dave Squires & Dave Newton.At the gate are Daves Tinley, Weavers & Squires.
Entry Reunion May 2014 – David Tinley Although we are not all members, I thought you might like to know that ten of the 44th Entry Suppliers still keep in touch and have been having reunions since the 50th Anniversary “Do” at Bircham Newton in May 2011. This year seven of us met in Chester for the weekend of May 16, 17 & 18. The format must be like many other get togethers, catch up, chat, reminisce, generally enjoy one another’s company and of course, eat, drink and make merry! The weather was warm (in fact hot!) and sunny for the whole time, so we managed to walk the City Walls and take a trip on the River Dee. Those attending were, Doug “Sharkie” Morgan, Dave “Ginge” Newton, Dave “Swede” Weavers, Tom “Hamish” McClurg, Gordon “Jock” Gourdie, John Wells and yours truly. The other members of our band are Jim Butcher, Rog Daniels and Dave “Lofty” Squire. A Bit More Info – Dave Tinley September 2016 Further to my previous two articles, I thought readers might like to know that this group have continued to meet, last year we met in York and this May we got together in Liverpool, attendees were Doug Morgan, John Wells, Dave Weavers, Dave Squire, Roger Daniels, Gordon Gourdie, Dave Newton, Tom McClurg and yours truly. John came over from Ireland, Tom travelled by train all the way from Elgin and Dave Squires flew in from Spain – what commitment!
An Email From Graham Reid November 2014 Hello, my name is Graham Reid (Jock). Ex 44th Clerk Secs. Only just discovered the web site! Great memories. My best mates were ‘Hank’ Hollinrake, ‘Chef” Topping and ‘Brum’ Pritchard. Met Chef when RAF Lyneham played RAF Stafford in semi Final of RAF Senior Soccer Club (1967, I think). Chef was Stafford goalie. Finningley beat us in the Final at Uxbridge. Since leaving RAF in 1974 I have lived in Wootton.Bassett, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia and have retired to Bramhall, Cheshire.Left RAF and joined ICI Pharmaceuticals hence my spells in NZ and Saudi. Now divorced with 2 children and living with Pauline, my patient partner. Would love to attend any future reunions. Regularly attend the Comet (216 Sqn) reunions.Administrator Note: I have contacted Graham suggesting he might consider joining the Association. If you woujld like to contact him also his email address is email@example.com. 44th Suppliers Annual Reunion This is now our fifth meet, since reuniting at the Bircham 50th. Lincoln was the venue for two reasons, Day One – visit the new International Bomber Command Centre in Lincoln (http://internationalbcc.co.uk) and Day Two -the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight at RAF Coningsby. If you are not aware of the former I have added a link to their website, but if in the area would highly recommend a visit once the site opens officially next year. We were met by two ex RAF vets as our guides and given a comprehensive oversight and tour of the facility, which is nearing completion. The height of the main “Spire” is symbolically the wingspan of a Lancaster and around the base, on metal plates, the names of ALL those BC aircrew who died in WW 2. Very moving. Day two was the BBMF visit…..brilliant! We had a conducted tour of their hanger, seeing the various stages of work being carried out on the glorious Spitfires & Hurricanes. Sadly the Lancaster was away having repairs at Duxford. A bonus was seeing AND HEARING a Spit & a Hurricane fire up and then proceed to give a display over the airfield. My colleagues wouldn’t believe I had arranged this especially for us…..I hadn’t-they were practising for the upcoming season! After, we looked into the Petwood Hotel in nearby Woodhall Spa, which was used by 617 (Dambusters) Sqn as their officers mess, during WW2. They have a bar dedicated to the Dambusters, again well worth a visit! Back in Lincoln, we managed a sneaky visit inside the Cathedral & then went to the famous Browns Pie Shop on Steep Hill for our evening meal. Day Three – After breakfast a lazy stroll around downtown Lincoln and then it was time for goodbyes & go our separate ways. Doug Morgan, Dave Newton, John Wells, Dave Weaver & me made the meet this year, unfortunately due to other commitments, Dave Squires, Tom McClurg, Gordon Gourdie & Roger Daniels weren’t able to join us, although on the BBMF flight we had a guest – Dave Newton’s brother, Bruce (ex RAF Regiment).