RAF College Cranwell - 89 Entry
The 31 who could make it - not a bad turn out for bunch that have surpassed 3 score + ten
Cranwellian Association Reunion Weekend 2016 23-24/ July
As usual the 89 Entry re-union was held within the Old Cranwellians weekend at the RAF College. With the demise of the Old Cranwellians, which was restricted to those who had served as "Flight Cadets" on a 2 or later 3 year course, and the rise of the Cranwellian Association which is open to all officers who trained at Cranwell, a different weekend was expected. We expected more of the younger fraternity. In the event there were very few younger Cranwellians. The turnout was virtually all the older generation with 89 Entry representing the younger end. With a bunch of 70+ year olds being at the younger end it was 89 that had to maintain a late night bar presence.
In the event the weekend was a little different with with a sunset ceremony and a Spitfire fly past. We also had a chance to find out a little more about the current state of the Royal Air Force and the College. The evening followed its normal pattern with much banter during pre-dinner drinks, dinner and in the bar after dinner. 120 Cranwellians attended including the current CAS Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier. The guest speaker was Rory Underwood who entertained us for a while with his tales of Rugby and the RAF.
Throughout the weekend Geoff Dryland acted as the unofficial 89 Entry photographer. In true 89 style Geoff arrived in his Rolls Royce, parked it on the parade ground in front of the college and commenced his unofficial duties poking his camera up many noses! Unfortunately his Rolls got up the nose of the College authorities so it had to go! Nevertheless Geoff continued ..
Signing in & afternoon tea
The dinner finished with a bit of an anti-climax since the traditional post horn gallop played by members of the RAF College band was missing. We guess that it is indicative of the RAF in the last 50 years - at our 25th reunion dinner we had 3 trumpeters, 40th 2 trumpeters, 45th 1 trumpeter and 50th - NONE. However, the disappointment did not dim or desire for a drink - we hit the bar and enjoyed the rest of the evening.
Sadly Geoff Dryland had obviously enjoyed too much gin, wine, port and beer for his assignment as 89 Entry official photographer seems to have come to an abrupt end!
The weekend continued with a full church parade the next day and terminated in traditional style with someone setting fire to the College - well at least that is what the fire section thought! - A re-run of our 40th in 2003!
Even in our 70's 89 Entry, Cranwell's best, is still on fire
50 Years on - How the RAF has changed
Comparing like with like is always difficult with historic data, as life, technology and political circumstance change, however, history is interesting and so are the statistics associated with history.
89 Entry is history, so let's examine some of the basics...
1945 - Most of 89 Entry were born in late 1944 and in 1945 when the Royal Air Force was at its peak with over a million men and women in uniform. At that time it had some 9,200 operational aircraft with over 1,000 UK bases and around 200 overseas bases. (Click here for details of operational aircraft. You can find a list of most, but not all, the wartime bases in Wikipedia by clicking here.)
1963 - When 89 Entry entered the RAF College, the RAF had about 140,000 personnel, around 2,000 operational aircraft, with 200 UK bases and 30 overseas bases (Click here for details of flying bases and squadrons) - (NOTE - All the aircraft were British designed & built)
2013 - 50 years on, from when 89 entry arrived at Cranwell, the Royal Air Force now has 37,000 personnel in uniform,. 760 aircraft*, 45 (35 manned) UK bases and 5 overseas bases. - (Note - 63% of the aircraft are British built, but only 13% are of sole British design - How times have changed!)