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It is with pleasure that I announce the formation of an Australian Regional Group. To be more accurate it presently comprises 2 ex-admin apprentices living in South Australia but nevertheless, I felt it more appropriate to simply call it the Australia Group.
Tony Collins 46th Entry has sent me the following:
‘Two ex-Admin Apps have been meeting on a regular basis for over 5 years in Adelaide South Australia but have not, until now, decided to promote it. This is mainly because we live in such a wonderful country with amazing weather and a Rugby team to die for (and a Cricket that died); it may result in depressing the many members that live in the UK. However, now that winter is with us and we are experiencing colder days reminding us of UK summer weather (20°c) we thought we would reach out to any ex-Admin Apps both here and in UK to join our meetings (UK-Aus return only £800). The current membership is made up of Ian Bell (28th) and Tony Collins (46th). G’Day to you all!
On April 25th we take part in the annual ANZAC Day march in Adelaide. ANZAC day is a very big day here in Australia and there are Dawn Services and marches in virtually every town and city and they are all extremely well attended. In Adelaide there were about 6000 marching and some 30000 lining the route, it took two hours for the march to pass (as timed by my lady wife). We met up with a RAF Boy Entrant group and with another ex-App; David Brandon of the 39th and Trevor Courie(?) (Unfortunately Trevor was unsure of his entry but it was in the 30’s). Tony proudly wore his Grandfather’s VC, DCM who had a close connection with the ANZACs having fought on Gallipoli and won the VC at Beersheeba during the battle where the famous Charge of the Australian Light Horse occurred.’
As you will see, there are clearly other ex-Admin Apprentices and Boy Entrants, living in Australia, including also one that I know personally, Ted Huntley (24th). As Tony has said, I hope that others who either live in Australia or are visiting, may be able to make contact. Tony can be contacted by email at ajfcollins44
12th December 2018
I was very pleased to receive an email from Ian Bell (28th) recently and amongst other topics he brought me up to date with the Australian group. I am sure that Ian will not mind my summarizing his comments which you can read below:
Ian says ‘ I believe we have a number of ex-Apps. here in Australia – I am in regular contact with Tony Collins (ex-46th) on a monthly + basis for brunch and also to a lesser degree with Bob Shurville (ex-26th), I thought and intended to bring these two together but Bob decided to move out to the boon docks and this has proved to be difficult. Tony and I have recently made contact with Des Skinner – ex-41st Supplier, who eventually ended up as aircrew. Unfortunately, Des lives in NSW and so any catch up with him will entail some planning like a holiday that way. Nevertheless, we’ll keep at it. I should add that Tony and I are now regular attendees at Anzac Day and more lately Remembrance Day Ceremonies, along with a group of about half a dozen ex-Boy Entrants who, for some reason, are a bit stand-offish (we’ll have to work on that)’.
AUSTRALIAN ADMINISTRATIVE APPRENTICES
Now that our cricket team is in the UK, without sandpaper of course, and before they win the World Cup it is a good time to update the activities of the (renamed) Australian Administrative Apprentice Group.
Tony Collins ex-46th and Ian Bell ex-28th have been joined by David Brandon who is ex-39th Entry. We first met David at the annual Anzac day march in Adelaide and, through another ex-41st Des Skinner, met up for a catch-up lunch. Des resides in another State (New South Wales) so contact is by phone or e-Mail. Both David and Des were Suppliers and had known each other whilst at Maralinga. All four of us had been in South Australia in the early/mid-1960s – Tony at Edinburgh, Ian at 15 JSTU (Edinburgh) and Woomera, David at Maralinga and Des at Maralinga and Edinburgh.
David joined on 20th January 1960 at Bircham Newton as a Supplier but transferred to Hereford in June 1960 as a BE Supplier Two. He passed out as SAC in Jul 1961 and was posted to 16MU, Stafford, and then to Maralinga in April 1964. On return to UK he worked at JSCBC, MOD, from April 1965 until medically discharged in September 1967. He emigrated back to Australia in 1967 and worked for Air Liquide and in the areas of accounting and logistics for a number of companies. His interest in Soccer continued and he played for a local team and also became a referee (Des, Ian and David have been connected through Soccer – Tony has no idea what they are talking about!). David still works part-time around 12 hours per week (invoicing/accounts receivable) and also volunteers as a guide at the Adelaide Oval, which receives thousands of visitors each year.
Des joined in September 1960 at Bircham Newton and passed out as a Jnr Tech Supplier One. Posted to Benson and given the Priorities Desk – great job involving the Queens Flight and the relatively new Argosy. Worked on the ill-fated TSR2 – a fabulous project, till late 1963. Volunteered for Maralinga and moved to Edinburgh in 1964. In August 1966 he was posted back initially to Coltishall but on arrival was told that he would be going to Biggin Hill for Aircrew testing and this led to OCTU and eventually becoming a Flying Officer Navigator. A short tour on Vulcans at Waddington followed by a posting to Abingdon, flying the wonderful Andover with 46 and 84 Squadrons. Became an instructor at 242 OCU then Examiner until the axe fell on the Transport world with the 1975 Defence White Paper. He took voluntary redundancy in April 1976. Lived in York working in Industry at Wetherby but decided to return to Australia in June 1981. He settled in Beresfield, NSW and worked for ‘Yellow Pages’ for 5 yrs before becoming Supply Manager for a coal mining equipment manufacturer. He spent the next 15 yrs travelling the world for the company until he retired in 2001. Apart from Soccer Des became a player and administrator of Lawn Bowls at the local, State and National level. He was Newcastle District Bowling Association, vice-president and state councilor to the Royal NSW Bowling Association from 1997 to 2004. He has been a Bowls Australia director since 2007 and president since 2012, as well as being a Beresfield Bowling Club board director for the past 18 years.
The Northern Ireland Group has now been officially formed. The coordinator for the group is John Davies (303rd) and details on how to contact him will be made available on the Contact Us section of the website. All ex-admin apprentices living in Northern Ireland are welcome to join the group.
From left to right: Sam Haslett, John Davies, Steve Ings and Silvana, Dorothy Davies, John Wells, Pat Wells and Arlene Haslett
On Friday, 27th July 2018 members in Northern Ireland held their Annual Reunion in The Edenmore Golf and Country Club, Magheralin, Co. Down. Those in attendance were John Wells (44th) and Pat; Sam Haslett (45th) and Arlene; John Davies (303rd) and Dorothy; and Steve Ings (317th) and Silvana.
Our numbers were down in comparison to our 2017 Reunion as our Senior Member, Pat Wedlock (12th) and his wife Marion, regular attendees at all our events, were unable to attend. Also, during the year we said goodbye to Alan Scott (310th) and his wife Irene who have moved to live in England. We later decamped to Sam and Arlene’s residence – which they had decorated throughout with RAF100 Flags – to enjoy their kind hospitality and partake in more socialising and impromptu entertainment in the form of poetry reading! – see Ode to the Reunion 2018.
Ode to R.A.F.Admin. Apprentice’s Association. Reunion. 2018 – Arlene Haslett. (27.07.2018
Another year gone: a new party we greet,
After a successful last year, where we all did meet.
Our new members all have settled in,
To join with the old, with Wine & Gin.
Our host John, pulled off another grand fete ,
Getting us together, through the Edenmore gate,
A pleasant venue with a beautiful view,
To chat & listen with our “Motley Crew!”
A significant year to celebrate these occasions,
Our Airmen fought to stop the invasions,
Many a battle with joy & tears
The R.A.F. has reached a 100 years.
Our veterans here are joined together,
By shared memories & lots of blether!
We wives & partners are driven insane,
As we hear the stories again & again!
I trust we will meet many more times,
With stories I hear of Don Rule & Mick Grimes,
I trust the evening has been fun & pleasant,
And hope I don’t get complaints from the rest of the Crescent!
22 December 2015
Report Of Meeting 7th July 2017
On Friday, 7th July 2017 members in Northern Ireland joined together to enjoy an evening of food, drink (a small quantity of) and comradeship in The Planters Tavern, Waringstown, Co. Down. Those in attendance were Pat Wedlock (12th) and Marion; John Wells (44th) and Pat; Sam Haslett (45th) and Arlene; John Davies (303rd) and Dorothy; Alan Scott (310th) and Irene and Steve Ings (317th) and Silvana. Following which we all decamped to Sam and Arlene’s residence to enjoy their kind hospitality and partake in more socialising and impromptu entertainment in the form of poetry reading! – See Ode to the Reunion 2017 below:
Another year older another year gone,
And we meet again with our best gear on.
We pick a venue and a suitable date
For the Rafaaa reunion and we’re never late.
More new members, & some old ones too,
John has worked his magic as he is wont to do
He lifts the phone & it rings & rings
And now he’s got back his friend: Steve Ings!
We haven’t tracked down a colleague so cool
He was discussed a lot. Who? Don Rule!
The old faithfuls, Crawford & Sam
Turn up with John, for their Steak or Lamb
The craic is good & their spirit doesn’t wane
They forget the stories were told again & again!
But who cares, it’s the company that matters,
With plenty of wine, chat & natters.
The Group has expanded from the famous six,
Doubled in size, so we must take pics!
We end the evening with drinks & dance
And some music which makes Sam rant.
Some too modern, which makes him moan.
He would play Russell Watson ‘til the cows come home.
In 2002 four members of the Association met up one evening at the “Moon under Water” pub (Wetherspoons) in Watford, Hertfordshire with a view to meeting up on a regular social basis All were from the Watford area – Trevor Moore (14th) Haydn Illingworth (21st ) Phil Gough (31st) and Peter Ralph (46th) Noel Hayes (also 31st friend of Phil) but from London joined us later. Apart from Phil and Noel we had never previously met during our RAF service. Thus the “Watford Flight” (really only a “Squad” !) was the original foundation of what is now the “South West Herts Group”.
These get togethers carried on for a few months, until Trevor organised a visit to the Officers’ Mess at RAF Bentley Priory on a Saturday lunchtime and from there the PMC approved that we could meet on a 6 monthly basis using the Mess facilities. The membership quickly grew and on a “focal point” basis, not simply County based (ie Herts), and that principle owed much to the success of what fast became the South West Herts Group. RAF Bentley Priory, the former famous HQ of Fighter Command, and then HQ Numbers grew to some 25 on the mailing list from Herts and the surrounding Counties, and functions included ladies guest days and guided tours of the Priory. One of the photographs on this site shows our largest ever gathering of members, on the steps of the Priory, at the final formal re-union inthe Summer of 2007 prior to the closing of the Priory as an RAF base.
It was at one our meetings in 2005 that we invited four ex-Ruislip members and the photograph shows the four, two who subsequently joined our Association ,and in particular Jack Marshall who has continued with the SW Herts Group as a regular member to our now quarterly functions.
When the Priory finally closed in early 2008, due to Government defence cut backs, we decided to continue the Group if we could find an alternative venue ideally in the same area as the Priory. What better place than one of the oldest pubs in the locality – the Three Crowns in BusheyHeath. Our first meet there was on Saturday 3rd May 2008, and thanks to the continued support of our regular and new members, we have held quarterly meets usually on the first Saturday of the month – Feb, May, Aug , and Nov.
Our 10th Anniversary of the Group’s foundation was held in May 2012 and the photos and report are within this site records.
Posted 7th November 2019
On 6th August 2019 five members of the SW Herts AAA reunion group took a sortie to the Battle of Britain museum and bunker at the former Fighter Command 11 Group headquarters at Uxbridge. We were made welcome as ex-Apprentices with free entry, and after a light lunch and a tour of the interesting modern museum, descended the 78 steps 60 feet below ground to the Operations and Plotting rooms. The latter was shown as it was on 15 September 1940, the day Winston Churchill visited on that crucial day. David Dyer a former Boy Entrant Clk GD gave a lively account of what we were seeing and conveyed something of the tension and excitement of the air battle.
Present from the SW Herts reunion group L to R are: Tom Price-Rees (40th), Peter Moir (17th), Phil Gough (31st), David Marshall (24th), Peter Ralph (46th).
This was the last time we shall see Tom Price-Rees who sadly died on 4th November after having been in intensive care since he collapsed on the golf course on 20th September. This is a deep shock to us all as he was an active tennis and golf player as well as a passionate hill walker in Spain.
REPORT OF MEETING HELD ON 4 AUGUST 2018 – PHIL GOUGH (31st)
The second of our three meetings of the year at the customary venue of the Three Crowns at Bushey Heath, Herts. The pub staff was thanked for providing an excellent lunch that was enjoyed with good conversation as ever. Absent was Ken Roost (1st) whose son told us he had just come out of hospital after a month of investigations, and apologies from Peter Ralph (46th), Phil Gough and Noel Hayes (both 31st) Peter Moir (17th) and Ron Anders (29th). We were saddened to learn afterwards that Haydn Illingworth (21st) had died a few days previously after coping with cancer for several years, he was just on the point of being discharged from hospital. Haydn was one of four founder members of our ‘Flight’ founded by the late Trevor Moore (15th) in 2002 in Watford.
Back row: Derek Hobden (19th), Terry Waine (35th), Tom Price-Rees (40th), David Marshall (24th). Front: Tony Parsons (19th), John Forshaw (20th), Irene and Brian Scott (32nd).
Our next reunion will be on Saturday 1st December 2018, arrive after 11.15 and all ex-AA’s and partners welcome.
A good turnout of AAA members on December 2nd for the last of our three meetings in 2017. A pleasant natter after we had reorganised the table layout followed by lunch at the habitual venue of the Three Crowns in Bushey Heath, Herts. Apologies from Peter Moir (17th), Haydn Illingworth (21st) and Brian Scott (32nd). We signed a card to John Summers (18th) who has moved to a care home in Kent. We were saddened to hear of the death in late November of Phil Eltringham (31st). Next meeting Saturday 7th April 2018 11.15hrs.
Back: John Forshaw (20th), Peter Ralph (46th) George Masson (29th), Tom Price-Rees (40th)
Middle: Terry Waine (35th), Tony Parsons (19th)
Front: Noel Hayes (31st), Phil Gough (31st) Ken Roost (1st) David Marshall (24th) Derek Hobden (19th)
MEETING HELD 24TH AUGUST 2019 – SHAY FOLEY (46TH)
The Dorset Branch held its quarterly meeting in The Ship in Christchurch on Saturday 24th Aug 2019.
Those present were: John White (13th) John Gent (14th) Tony Richards (14th) Peter Reed (30th Tony Peters (34th) Mike Hamill (40th) Shay Foley (46th)
Website Manager Note: I am hoping that Shay will be able to provide me with a photograph taken at this meeting.
MEETING HELD MAY 2018 – SHAY FOLEY (46TH)
It was my turn to host our 3 monthly get together. It was held in The Half Moon Inn in Sherborne, where, though we were a bit short of troops due to the May Bank Holiday and Shay Foley convalescing from an “op” on one of his legs, we enjoyed a good natter.
We held our quarterly meeting in The Ship in Christchurch on 26 Aug 17. Those present were John White (13th), Tony Richards (14th), Peter Reed (30th), Tony Peters (34th), Mike Hamill (40th) and Shay Foley (46th).
The next meeting will be in the RNLI HQ Poole on Saturday 25th Nov 17. 1230 for 1pm and casual dress.
Gloucester – Mike Day 38th
Our first luncheon of 2017 was held in our usual haunt at The Royal Oak, Birdlip on the 5th May. Unfortunately we were a bit scarce on the ground with only 6 of us, this may have been because I had been quite pre-occupied and had to arrange it at a late stage. However it was good in one way that we could hold a conversation between us discussing all sorts of memories. Sadly one of our regular attendees Tom Worsfold (5th Entry) died last month. Although he was not a well man it came as a shock as I only found out on the morning of his funeral (at the Burford Seniors roll up) but was able to attend his cremation as a representative of the Association. On our previous luncheon on the 18th October 2016 he is positioned top left.
Gloucester Group 5 May 2017 from left to right:
Mike Day (38th) Barry Sturgeon (36th) Jim Wilcox (5th)Bill Huggins (5th) John Dyer (46th) Patrick Bunn (34th)
( New members are very welcome so if you are interested please contact me by e mail firstname.lastname@example.org)
The embers of the Cyprus Group are still faintly flickering.
Dave Pyant visited the island during June and we managed to squeeze in a meeting on Saturday 8th June at our favoured location of Avdimou Beach where Dave and his wife plus myself indulged in food and drink as usual.The usual orgy of memories was indulged in and a pleasant lunchtime was had by all. Ben Casey was unable to be present owing to illness but I am hoping to set up a meeting with him as the year goes on.
It was a fine day without the usual strong winds and there were a lot of folk on the beach or just lounging around in the beach restaurant.
Sorry this report is a bit long after the event but it happened just before I left Cyprus bound for the delights of Northampton and then a tour to the North and then on into Scotland before returning to Cyprus last Tuesday –
Cyprus Group Meeting Monday 8th May 2017 – Ray Burrow 29th
The Cyprus Group held their second meeting of 2017 on Monday 8th May 2017 at the Kyrenia Beach Restaurant on Avdimou Beach. This meeting was pulled forward by a month to accommodate 4 members of the 29th who were visiting Cyprus on a mini reunion.
The weather was good and the wind speed was acceptable so we had the pick of the seats on the main verandah to enjoy a couple of beers and a good lunch. There was plenty of conversation and, because of the visitors, we got out of our normal rut and enjoyed talking of a variety of different experiences. Everybody seemed to gel well and the chatter never stopped until it became time to leave. We, of the Cyprus Group thoroughly enjoyed our visitors company and I, as an ex-member of the 29th, probably enjoyed the event more than Ben Casey and Dave Pyant. As I’ve said before, we would welcome any ex-app who is passing through Cyprus and would fancy a couple of hours chit-chat in a very nice location.
Our next meeting will be at the same venue on Monday 4th September at the usual time of 1230 – 1300 and anyone is welcome.
Cyprus Group Meeting Monday 4th September 2017 – Ray Burrow 29th
The Cyprus Group held it’s third meeting of the year on Monday 4th September 2017 at The Kyrenia Restaurant on Avdimou Beach. It was a fine day with just a light breeze and we welcomed Sandie, the wife of Ben Casey on this occasion. She certainly added a new dimension to the afternoon conversation and it made a pleasant change on a day which did have a touch of sadness about it. The Cyprus Group are dwindling again as Dave Pyant has left the island to return to Sussex which leaves only Ben and myself to carry on. Dave and his wife, Pam left us last Wednesday 6th September and we that are left in Paradise wish them both ” All the best ” in sunny Sussex. I believe they are planning to attend the AGM at Swindon next year so I’ll probably catch up with them both there.
I enclose the usual photo to enhance the rogues gallery
Message From Ray Burrow – Group Coordinator 24th April 2018
Just a short line to advise about the future of the Cyprus Group.
Ben Casey and myself, who are the two remaining ex-apps known to be on the island of Cyprus, met at our regular rendezvous at Avdimou Beach on Monday 23rd April for a couple of beers and a yarn or two.
Ben was accompanied by his wife Sandie and we enjoyed a couple of hours of chit-chat and the usual sorting out of the world’s problems.
We came to the conclusion that we would keep in touch and meet from time to time but not hold regular meetings because of the shortage of members.
We also reckoned that if anyone is passing through Cyprus and would like to meet ex-apps who live here we would still be pleased to meet them but they would need to contact me with dates and then I would advise Ben and then we could fix a meeting at a convenient venue.
Dave Pyant is passing through here on holiday in June and e-mailed me with his dates and I will be delighted to see him again but Ben and his wife will be away at the time Dave has suggested. I will drop a note after that meeting along with a photograph to let you see how fit we still are.
The weather at Avdimou on the day was pleasant but there was still a bite to the strong wind so we stayed inside and looked out of the windows and admired the sand passing by.
I attach a photo just to remind everyone just what we look like these days.
Cyprus Group Report – June 2018 – Ray Burrow 29th
The Cyprus Group may not be flourishing but it is still alive…just!
Dave Pyant, a former regular member of the group, was out here on holiday and contacted me with a view to joining Ben Casey and myself at Avdimou Beach for a beer or two. Unfortunately Ben was away so it fell to the two of us to wile away the lunch break together at our favourite meeting place. Conversation was good and covered a lot of ground including the shock of Dave’s re-introduction to life in the UK.
Just form a change there wasn’t a strong wind blowing so we were out on the verandah enjoying the sun from the shade. The people on the beach were enjoying not being sandpapered by flying sand.
Dave returns to UK next week but Ben and I will keep in touch. Our meetings will not be regimented as before so if anyone is passing through Cyprus and they give me a call we can arrange to meet them.
I enclose the usual photo.
The Costa Blanca Branch of the Administrative Apprentices Association attended a luncheon on Monday 14 March at El Campello, north of Alicante. We were a party of eleven, including three guests, Syd Avery, Alan and Judy Bacon, Barbara Carroll, Bill and Pauline Laverick and David and Sue Squires. Our guests were David and Sandy Barnes from RAFA Torrevieja and my own Aunt Edwina, a spritely 87 year old, who has attended several previous lunches and loves the company and the conversation.
We got off to an inauspicious start because, although the restaurant, La Cova, had accepted and confirmed Syd´s booking, we arrived to be confronted by a notice stating ¨Cerrado a Lunes¨or Closed on Mondays. Further consternation when we discovered ALL restaurants are closed on Monday in El Campello! Barbara came to the rescue when she phoned friends who organised our lunch at Mim`s, a restaurant only ten minutes more up N332. The food, wine and service were all excellent, so good in fact that we are thinking of making it our future venue.
The conversation was animated, especially between David and Sandy and Alan and Judy, who were reunited after 30 years, a meeting arranged by yours truly without Alan and Judy being privy to it.
We ended our afternoon on a `poignant note when claiming the privilege of senior entry, Bill made a short speech about Frank Carroll, our friend and founder member. I knew Frank for 50 years and he was someone special, always warm hearted and friendly, never had a bad word about anyone and possessed of that droll sense of humour peculiar to those of Liverpool. Although Frank was born in Zimbabwe, his Dad, a Ch/Tech was Liverpool born and bred and Frank reflected his roots. Frank went through the ranks to WO and in 1984, which was our last meeting in the service, he went to Cranwell to be commissioned, later retiring as a S/Ldr and I went to 431 MU Bruggen for my last tour. Barbara has received many tributes from men and women who Frank helped and encouraged throughout his long careerer Our affection and sympathy goes to Barbara, who is leaving Spain in April and retiring to Cherwell, and all our good wishes go with her.
Frank, you were one of a kind. Everyone who knew you liked you, and your friends loved you and will always remember you. God Bless you mate, it was truly a privilege to know you. Bill Laverick 30th