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 20th September 2021
The SW Herts group of the Association had a variation on the routine of our reunions on 11 September 2021 when we made a trip to the Bentley Priory Museum at Stanmore. We were welcomed by volunteer guides Clive and Steve and given a tour of the exhibits and the reconstructed Filter and Ops room. Our last visit in 2013 was led by the late messrs Haydn Illingworth (21st) and Trevor Moore (15th). We thought that the story of the Battle had been brilliantly brought together and was coherent and absorbing. We were cheered by the fine job made of preserving the landscaping of the setting of the Priory in no way spoiled by the housing development nearby. It was then a short drive to our usual venue the Three Crowns in Bushey Heath for an enjoyable lunch and natter.
In the photograph taken at the Priory are (L to R) John Forshaw (20th), Peter Moir (17th), Tony Parsons (19th), Phil Gough (31st), David Marshall (23rd), Peter Forster (29th), George Masson (29th). Not on visit Peter Ralph (46th). Apologies from Derek Hobden (19th), Noel Hayes (31st) and Terry Waine (35th).
Posted 2nd December 2020
Suitably distancing ourselves the SW Herts AAA reunion at the Three Crowns, Bushey Heath, Herts formed up in brilliant sunshine on 1st August 2020. The social distancing was eased by being able to dine in the garden, well looked after by manager Kat and her team. Undoubtedly the urge to socialise after months of lockdown made for the best turnout we have had for a while, the 29th entry being well represented.
The picture shows group members:
Phil Gough (31st), George Masson (29th), Peter Ralph (46th), Pete Forster (29th), John Forshaw (20th), Ron Anders (29th). David Marshall (23rd), Pat Hayes and Noel Hayes (31st).
Our next meeting of the year is scheduled for 6 December, but at time of writing is not certain so I will email members if we are going ahead with it.
Posted 6th February 2020
SW HERTS GROUP MEETING – 7TH DECEMBER 2019 – PHIL GOUGH – 31ST
The third SW Herts reunion of 2019 took place as usual at the Three Crowns Bushey Heath on 7 Dec. Numbers have dropped over the past year to around seven from nine or more so we welcome any member who has not been for a while for what is always a convivial and excellent lunch. In the photo (indoors this time, are we getting soft?) are L to R Irene Scott, Brian Scott (32nd), David Marshall (23rd), Ken Roost (1st) Tony Parsons (19th), Phil Gough (31st). A great joy to welcome back Ken our “Senior Man” who is still under treatment for a serious illness.
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)