From the Chairman
Your Association President, Chairman and all members of the Committee wish you and your families a very Merry Christmas and a Happy, Prosperous and, above all, a Healthy 2016
Reminder for all members that 2016 membership subscriptions are due on 1 January 2016. However, no need to wait until then, cheques can be sent to the Treasurer whenever convenient. Also, members can pay for more than one year. For members paying by cheque: cheques for £10.00 for each year payable to “RAF Administrative Apprentice Association” should be sent to the Treasurer – Garry Hoyland, Bourts House, The Bourts, Lydbrook, Gloucester, GL17 9QB – OR, if you wish to subscribe by Standing Order please contact Garry (Direct debit is not available to us).
Thanks to Alan Bell our new and up-to-date website is now up and running. Over the last few months, Alan has spent many hours on his computer, on Skype and on the telephone with the website design company to ensure that the website met our requirements and, as Chairman, I thank him for his commitment and dedication to our Association.
The website is now much more user friendly and contains links to social media which, hopefully, will help to encourage non members to join the Association. You will see that the Newsletter page of the website is password protected – the password is your 6 or 8 digit Service number with no pre or post nominal letters included.
There are occasions when some aspects of personal contact details are included in website pages because of notified address, email or telephone number changes etc. If you do not want to see your contact information included on the website please make the Chairman aware.If you feel that you would like to make any comments, good or bad, about our revised website please pass them on to our Website Manager.
Annual Reunion and Annual General Meeting 2016
The 2016 Reunion will be held at the Northampton Marriott Hotel over the weekend 10/11/12 June 2016. Full details were contained in the last Newsletter. A Booking Form for the Reunion is included with this Newsletter; please return your form to our Social Secretary, Bryan Hoare, by 31 Jan 2016. Room half-board prices have been agreed at £65 per person per night with a £15 per night single occupancy supplement. In addition a discount of 35% has been negotiated on all bar prices throughout the weekend.
A former RAF Hereford Flight Commander, Air Vice-Marshal T B Sherrington (Rtd), has accepted our invitation to be our guest and “sing for his supper” at the Saturday Gala Dinner.
ACCOMMODATION COSTS DOUBLE /SINGLE
Option A (Frid/Sat Nights) £260 £160
Option B (Sat Night Only) £130 £80
Option C (Fri/Sat/Sun Nights) £390 £240
Option D (Reunion Dinner Only) £50 £25
Future Of The Association – Jim Wilcox Association President
Bob Danes’ letter in July drew attention to problems that need to be addressed to ensure the future of our Association and in the September Newsletter the Association Chairman commented on that letter. Both were intended to be “wake up” calls but unfortunately have met with mainly negative responses; with some members suggesting that the Association will not be viable beyond 2017. This negativity is ill conceived.
New members are needed to replace those who, sadly die, resign or allow their membership to lapse. But it is a fact that there are hundreds of ex administrative apprentices with whom we have not had any contact. As well as many who are aware of the Association but who need to be encouraged to join (or even re-join). For far too long we have relied upon our website to attract new members. It is time that we became more proactive, not only the Association Committee but every member who has knowledge of a non-member ex-Admin App. A concerted and continuous effort by all of us would quickly reverse the decreasing membership trend.
The Association Committee will need volunteers to fill posts that become vacant through age or illness of the present incumbents. A regular plea is for volunteers from the 300-series of Entries, and rightly so, because they are the future of our Association. There appears to be a perception that members from the later entries are not interested, but let us not lose sight of the fact that of the 13 current committee members, 6 are from the later entries. Another point to bear in mind is that it would only need a committee of about 6 to administer the Association; although it would mean doubling up on some of the tasks undertaken by a single committee member.
The third point made was that fewer members are attending the annual reunions and AGM. There are many reasons for this age, death, illness, distance, financial constraints, to name but a few: location is probably another factor. We have a good relationship with the Marriott chain of hotels and obtain very favourable rates for our reunion weekends. However, because of the numbers that currently attend reunions, not all Marriott hotels are able to accommodate us (insufficient dining space, car parking, rooms etc) which in turn restricts our choice of location. Although we would like to see more of our members attending the annual reunion, a reduction in current numbers would not be a disaster.
Less numbers attending would increase the number of Marriott hotels (or other hotels) available to us and also give us a greater choice of locations.
Finally, let us accept the fact that not all members wish, or are able, to be active in the Association. Having joined they are content to remain just members. It is not for us to deride them or attempt to portray them as second class members. To do so would undoubtedly result in losing them as members and worsen the membership situation.
In summary, it is not all “doom and gloom” for the Association. We all need to be more proactive, get more members and with a little more effort there is no reason why the Association cannot continue for a further 15 – 20 years.
As a result of the appeal for more Committee members, three members have agreed to support the Committee in some way: Thank you Gentlemen. At the October meeting the Committee agreed to invite one of the volunteers to become the Association Recruitment Officer and to ask him to concentrate most of his efforts on the 300 series entries. The other volunteers are invited to the April 2016 Committee meeting to discuss with them how they can support the Committee.
Amendments To Member Details
Richard Oborne 5th Entry Telephone 01255 507500
Mike Needham 34th Entry email@example.com
Peter Charnell 40th Entry firstname.lastname@example.org
Rest In Peace
David Smale 20th Entry
Peter Buchannan 5th Entry Lapsed member
David Cook 48th Ruislip Non member
Richard Scarratt 50th Ruislip Non member
Ardyn (Rex) Harris 53rd Ruislip Non member
Roy Larcombe – 1st Entry by Ken Roost
Roy Larcombe was my very oldest friend. He passed away on the afternoon of Friday,5th June with his wife and son at his bedside. I attended his funeral on Monday 22nd June at Bournemouth Crematorium. We go way back to well before our apprentice days. We met when we sat next to each other on our first day at Infant School in September,1936. As children we were in and out of each others houses and we grew up together in Parkstone, Dorset. Poole Park was one of our favourite play spots and we often took a boat out on the lake. We were lucky to be born in such a beautiful part of the country. When we were 16 Roy saw an advert for RAF Aircraft Apprentices to train as Instrument Makers and we decided to give it a go. We must have been mad because neither of us had a technical bone in our body. When we got to North Weald we both failed our aptitude tests and we were told we would probably be better at clerical tasks and were offered the chance to join as Administrative Apprentices which we accepted. Roy trained as a Clerk Accounts and myself as a Clerk GD which meant we were put in separate billets and consequently we palled about with those we trained with. After 10 months Roy was invalided out through ill- health. He was unfortunately dogged with ill-health throughout his life but he persevered at night school to gain his accounting qualifications. He worked for many years for Bournemouth Corporation Transport until he retired in 1991. Roy married his wife, Vicky, in 1958 when I was in Aden I always used to see Roy when in the area. Roy was best man at my first wedding in 1960. When we had both retired I always used to ring him around his birthday. It was his 84th birthday on 11th November last year. Shortly after his birthday he told me he had been diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus. Due to his weak heart the hospital were unable to give him chemotherapy treatment. He said he did not wish to know how long he’d got. He said he’d just take life one day at a time. I spoke to him regularly after that. He faced his end very very bravely. I only hope I can be as brave when my turn comes. Roy leaves his wife Vicky, his children Theresa and Paul and grandchildren Sam and Ben. Roy is the third recent 1st entry death after Joe Green just before last Christmas and Ted Bolton in May this year. Joe was a regular at the main reunions and will be missed by all. Ted attended the 1st Entry 50th reunion and I always remember him with a big smile on his face. Roy attended the 2000 reunion in Bournemouth and resigned from the association in 2007 as he felt the association was not for him.
Brian De Vecchis (36th Entry) By Peter Holland (36th Entry)
Brian’s formative years began, like so many of us, with his journey to Bircham Newton on 22 January 1959 to join the 36th Entry as an Apprentice Pay Accountant. He soon rose to the rank of Sergeant Apprentice which is testimony to his ability and the high standards he set himself and encouraged others to do the same. On completion of training Brian passed out as a Jnr Tech Pay Accountant and awarded the Air Ministry Education Prize for highest marks in Education subjects, which didn’t say much about the rest of us!
His first posting was to the Accounts Flight at RAF Marham and on promotion to Cpl Tech he was posted to High Wycombe. In September 1965 he was posted to Masirah for a 12 month tour and on his return he was posted to Wattisham pending selection for commissioning. Brian went to OCTU and was commissioned as a Flying Officer on 23 Jun 67 followed by a posting as the Cashier at Leconfield. In October 1969 he was promoted to Flight Lieutenant and posted to Changi as OC Accts Flt. It was whilst at Changi that Brian began to dabble in the stock market and decided he could do better for himself doing this rather than a career in the RAF. He asked to resign his commission, however, he was made to serve a period of 5 years from date of commissioning to “amortise” the cost of his training. Brian returned from Changi in Jul 71 with a posting to Innsworth to complete his 5 year period, finally leaving the RAF on 23 Jun 72.
Initially, Brian worked in Norwich working for Norwich Union specialising in large scale insurance brokerage before moving to Anthony Gibbs Merchant Bank in Leeds followed by a move to Ashworth Sons & Barrett in Manchester as a broker working on the stock market. He moved to Brown Shipley Stock Broking Ltd where he became a Director Feb 87 – Aug 90. At the same time as he was at Brown Shipley he also set up his own stock broking company, Paxsted Financial Services, in Jul 75 until retiring in November 1991.
Brian put down his success to the bromide in the tea at Bircham – it worked for quite a few of us. He regularly attended our AGM and 36th Entry reunions. His idea of breakfast was taking fresh air outside the hotel entrance wherever we stayed; he also won the prize for being fined the most by hotels for smoking in his room! Whenever we went into the bar Brian would always ask for single whisky and at the last minute say “make it a double”.
Brian and I did not meet from leaving Bircham until 45 years later. His first words to me were “do you still clean the welts on your shoes”. I had never heard of welts on shoes until going to Bircham so I was very pleased to report to Brian that yes, I still clean the welts on my shoes, not only that but I have the original shoes brushes issued at Bircham and the one for cleaning welts was made by Remploy Ltd in 1958 – stores reference 22B/45! In addition to myself, three other members of the 36th Entry attended his cremation, Keith Rossiter, Leslie Porter and Steve Maden together with some 90 guests which is testimony to Brian’s popularity. He leaves behind a wife, 3 sons, 1 daughter and 3 grand children.
Death Of MRAF Sir Michael Beetham – Dixie Dean 40th
Dixie Dean has asked me to include this short tribute to Sir Michael who died on 24 October 2015 aged 92. Sir Michael was one of the two Patrons of the RAF Heritage Centre (HC) at Bircham Newton and regularly gave his support by attending formal activities etc. Dixie met him on numerous occasions at such and was most impressed by his attentive and friendly manner. Our sympathies are extended to Sir Michael’s family.
Remembrance Day In Thailand – David Cartwright 38th
As usual I attended the Remembrance Day Service at the foreigners cemetery in Chiang Mai, Thail and on the 11th November and what a surprise! I saw another attendee wearing our RAFAAA tie! Of course I immediately introduced myself and discovered that I was talking to Mike, an ex-telegraphist ‘brat’ from RAF Cosford, 39th Entry! He had ‘stayed the course’ during a colourful RAF career having served in many theatres of operation in a variety of countries, with the medals to prove it!
He was, like me, now enjoying a much deserved retirement here in Chiang Mai. I’m sorry I missed him at the buffet lunch provided at the neighbouring Gymkhana Club after the service but I do hope our paths will cross again. I failed to exchange emails or phone numbers, but if you’d like to get in touch Mike Here’s mine:
email@example.com or phone/sms 0830800195 – local mobile.
South West Herts Group Meeting – Phil Gough 31st
The Autumnal quarterly parade of our SW Herts Flight assembled on 7 November, with a good showing of 10 travelling from around London and the Home Counties. Present at the Three Crowns, Bushey Heath for an excellent lunch were: L to R, back row: Tony Parsons (19th) Haydn Illingworth (21st), Ron Anders (29th), Terry Waine (36th), Peter Ralph (46th). Front: Jack Marshall (56R), Ken Roost (1st), Phil Gough (31st), Noel Hayes (31st), Brian Scott (32nd).
Apologies from Gerry Singlehurst (15th),Peter Moir (17th), John Forshaw (20th). It should be noted that the pub has altered its opening hours, we will have a special dispensation but in future do not arrive before 11.15hrs.
The Dorset Branch – Shay Foley
The quarterly meeting of the Dorset Branch of the RAF Admin App Assn took place at Bournemouth Flying Club at Bournemouth International Airport on Saturday 29th August 2015. This was a new venue for our Branch and many thanks must go to John White and Tony Richards for organizing a terrific flying display by 2 Typhoons, a Spitfire and a Hurricane.
Those in attendance were John White (13th), Tony Richards (14th), John Gent (14th), Peter Reed (30th), Tony Peters (34th), Mike Hamill (40th) and Shay Foley (46th). Apologies from Bob Mussard (330th)
Find A Friend
I have received the following requests to Find A Friend:
From Anthony Hope who wishes to contact Edward Stout (311 Entry Supplier). Anyone with any information please contact Anthony at firstname.lastname@example.org
From Brian Carlin who wishes to contact Dave King (41st Entry). Brian says they were friends during their service on the Kestrel Evaluation Squadron at RAF West Raynham during the years 1964-65. Anyone with information contact Brian at email@example.com
From Bill Almen who wishes to contact Bernie Dix (320th Entry) Bill says that Bernie was with him at Hereford in 1971 and then after training at 71 MU Bicester. Anyone with information can contact Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org
From John Boston who wishes to contact Tony Pearce who he believes was 39th Entry. Last seen at Uxbridge in the 1990s on a resettlement course. Anyone with information please contact John at email@example.com
To find the latest list of all those seeking ex-admin apprentices please visit our website
75th Anniversary Of The Battle Of Britain – attle Of Britain – Dave Ainsworth – 304th Entry
As an ex-regular RAF serviceman I was invited to a 75th Anniversary Battle of Britain Memorial Service and took my place (an area reserved “at the side” for “Veterans” as we’re now called) among thousands inside a vast St.Paul’s Cathedral. The Royal Family were represented by HRH The Earl of Wessex, a word-perfect Prime Minister read the lesson and our Secretary of State for Defence was among so many notables present. This Service rightly centred on “The Few” and their achievements with special mentions for those who’d given their all, and a handful of ex-pilots still with us. Praise continued in speeches as anybody who’d lifted a finger in support of the Battle-of-Britain campaign was rightly thanked for their efforts : Battle Commanders, radar boffins, plotters, maintenance crews who’d serviced & repaired planes, Observer Corps (as then called – in 1941 Royal status was achieved in recongition of their B-of-B service), NAAFI wagon tea girls etc., and also a long-suffering Civilian population on the ground below. Representatives from other Nations who’d participated were present, including the Polish Prime Minister, while outside many Poles waved flags and cheered his arrival and departure. Serving RAF personnel were boosted by Reservists and ATC Cadets in good numbers.
Media were present but little positive reporting of this Service ensued…as around 90% of coverage
was about 1 attender not singing our National Anthem. There was great volume when our National Anthem’s 1st verse was sung…as few present even noticed one politician’s inactivity. Afterwards a Parade was held along St.Paul’s Churchyard on the Cathedral’s south side.
Credit to the Royal Air Force Association who were prominent as Organisers; and who clearly did well when collection plates were passed around, as few few coins dropped in…just the rustle of notes from pews packed with so many of the well-heeled.
A word too for partners/sponsors, to wit : Applewhite, Costa, City of London Corporation, City of London Police, Lloyds Bank, LTDA, St.Paul’s Cathedral, Transport for London, XS Creativity, BT, The Confederation of Service Charities, ICAP, The Office Group and Pricewaterhouse Coopers.
All contributed in some way towards this memorable occasion and were favourably mentioned in handouts. A special mention for Costa who provided all with complimentary sandwiches/snacks/drinks and even a Loyalty Card, pre-loaded with enough points for a free large coffee, for
use at one of their outlets on journeys home. A moving occasion and I feel sure other Association members were present…but not recognised by me in such a large gathering.
A Bit Of Christmas Cheer – Tony Parsons – 19th Entry
A couple of one liners reminding us all of how old we are!
Q: Where can men over the age of 60 find younger women who are interested in them?
Try a bookstore under ‘fiction’.
Q:How can you increase the heart rate of your 60-plus year old husband?
A: Tell him you’re pregnant.
Q:What can a man do while his wife is going through menopause?
A: Keep busy. If you’re handy with tools, you can finish the basement. When you’re done you’ll have a place to live.
Q:Is it common for 60-plus year olds to have problems with short term memory ?
A: Storing something in memory is not a problem, retrieving it is the problem.
Q:Leading cause of diminished sex drive among senior citizens ?
And Finally A Word From Me Alan Bell – Your Website Manager and Newsletter Editor
This is the last Newsletter of the year and will be have been sent in the normal way by post to those of you who do not have access to the internet. It will also be sent by email to those of you that do. However, I am also going to place it on the Newsletter page of the new website which you can access by visiting https://www.rafadappassn.org. Please note that future Newsletters will not be sent by email but will available via the website only. Please note also that the Newsletter page is password protected and you will be required to input your service number (just the 6 or 8 digits and without any alphabetic prefixes that you may have been allocated).
Please do continue to send me your articles which again can be submitted via the website or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Without these the Newsletter will not be as interesting as I am sure you would agree.
It remains only for me to wish you all the Seasons Greetings and A Happy New Year!!