89 Entry RAF College Cranwell Reunions
The 40 89'ers and a very distinguished guest at the 40th anniversary re-union
Back Row - Jerry Pook, Tony Ware, Paddy Pyper, Simon Coy, Dave Donelly, Alan MacDonald, Paul Buckland, Grant Taylor, Malcom Coe, Nigel Griffiths, Graham Horder, Steve Wrigley, Dick Shuster, Dave Harlow, Brian Synnott, Steve Baines
Middle Row - Barry Chalkley, Andy Griffin, Henry Middleton, Pete Squire, Dick Northcote, Colin Hinds, Roger Wood, Peter Robinson, Chris Saunby, Ian Robertson, Black Robertson, JC Newland, Dave Foulger
Front Row - Roger Cresswell, Chel Hibbert, Pete Crispin, Ian Clarke, Sqn Ldr Geoffrey Wellum DFC RAF (Rtd), Allan Ferguson, Dave Hayward, Derek North, Jock Reid, Dick Slogrove, Les Quigley, Malcolm Caygill
Forty 89ers get together
People don't change - despite many not having seen each other for as long as 40 years, it took only minutes for the 40 chaps to revive their old relationships. It took only slightly longer for us to revert to the antics of our late teens and early twenties. Our bodies may have slowed down but our repartee was as quick as ever. The strange thing was, that whilst old sites were revisited, the South Brick Lines, Junior Mess, the Parade Square, etc there was hardly any reminiscing of events, the talk was always about people, the characters who helped shape our characters - especially the Senior RAF NCO's like Perkins, Eastwood, Scaife, Noddy, Campbell, and College Warrant Officer Gibbons who pruned us to equal size before letting us grow back as a highly disciplined yet independently minded team.
Well this weekend the team was far from independently minded since the universal target was the BAR. Sadly, but probably wisely, it seemed closed more than it was open. However, it was well utilised when it was open.
It was a warm evening and reminiscing in the beer garden was a big improvement over the "60's" bar
Luckily the bar opened shortly before 89 rioted (which we hadn't done since the Junior Mess uprising of Easter '64), and some serious pre-dinner pint sinking began.
Dinner was an excellent affair, with several highlights. These included the traditional post horn gallop performed by an SAC from the RAF Central Band - ably assisted by Malcolm Coe. The after-dinner talk by the guest of honour, Geoffery Wellum, the last surviving Battle of Britain pilot and author of the superb book - "First Light", was as excellent as his book. The final coup de grasse was administered by Snotty. He produced a bottle of 40 year old Armagnac - 1966 vintage - which he kindly shared with his old mates from "C" Squadron amidst the envious glares of the other squadron members!
After dinner it was time to return to the bar. However, it didn't seem to be open long before someone called last orders - it was 02.00 Hrs - we finished our drinks and crawled back to our pits at 03.00 Hrs to grab some sleep before church parade later that morning!
Despite the rigors of the previous night a few made breakfast, and most made the church parade. Luckily 89 was at the back of the church, because tradition, developed at 89's attendance at over 100 church parades, meant that "Sermon Cricket" was being played by the rear echelons. After church we withdrew to the "Orange" to watch a very commendable march past of all the College Cadets. It was much better than during our previous re-union - The extra weeks that cadets are kept at the RAF College Cranwell is obviously paying off on the drill front at least!
Before lunch we took a short bus trip to Cranwell Village Cemetery to honour our dead with a wreath laying ceremony. As at our previous re-union this took place at Martin Barents' grave. After a moving ceremony, when flowers were laid for each of our departed comrades, we visited many of the other graves to pay our respects to other Old Cranwellians laying there. Amazingly, amongst the hundreds of headstones we found Frank Whitehouse's headstone. We new Frank's Ashes had been returned to RAF Cranwell from Singapore but did not realise he had a headstone. (To see article by Nigel Griffiths - click here). We had missed Frank's headstone in 2003 but now made up for this omission by placing his wreath and flowers on his grave,.
Frank was lost amongst the Cranwell ranks
* Andy Griffin researched the quotation on Frank's headstone "Mizpah Gen 31-49" - Andy reports that it reads ...
"And Mizpah; for he said , The Lord watch between me and thee when we are absent from one another."
Our thanks go to all the staff and cadets of the RAF College for making the brief stay back in our old home such a success. Thanks are also due to "Big X", Dick Slogrove, and his team of Squadron "whippers-in" for making sure it happened!
More photographs of the 40th Reunion
Held at the RAF College Cranwell on 17th & 18th June
We couldn't find any 89ers participating in sport (been there - done that!) so here' a few odd pictures taken whilst wondering around the RAF College....
Some hit the bar the moment it opened and hadn't changed for dinner - others wasted good drinking time and dressed up for the occasion!
Old habits die hard....
More drink & more chat
The Photographers photograph each other!
The Bar closes before dinner so everyone starts looking dejected - Good news there's more booze in the Rotunda!
What ever happened to 89's hair? - It was the hats! - They made us wear them until '64!
(89 Entry were the last RAF Cranwell cadets to have to wear a hat when outside a building - Failure to do so was a chargeable offence!)
The Royal Air Force College Cranwell Queens Colour
Grace before the Old Cranwellian Association Dinner
Snotty's Special Treat (for "C" Squadron) ......
A 40 year old Armagnac
The Morning after the Night before...
Hangovers? No! - Looking sober & pious before church? Or are they holding their dodgy stomachs??
Yesterday's cadets waiting for today's cadets to arrive!
Today's Cranwell cadets parade the Queens Colour in time honoured tradition in front of the RAF College
It may have looked like it, but sadly we weren't going on an old farts day trip to the seaside, or even to a wedding......
but not forgotten
Gone but not forgotten
Joined Sept 1963 - Nothing Heard
89 Entry Commissioning List - Nothing Heard
* Ex Henlow