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RAF College Cranwell

89 ENTRY 2022 NEWS

The 2022 "89 Bash"

Despite 89's shrinking numbers we do have a two day get together scheduled for April 2022....

Back in 1963 89 Entry started with 69 keen teenagers. These were the keenest, brightest and best from over 10,000 applicants  They were principally grammar & public school pupils but also included the brightest and best graduates from RAF Halton & RAF Locking apprentice colleges. After their first term the original 89ers were joined by an additional 4 teenagers who had proved to be outstanding in their 3 month Direct Entry basic training. The result was that 89 Entry commenced with 73 members. The 89 numbers further increased in 1965 when the RAF Henlow Technical College closed down and its students moved to Cranwell. 

Sadly of the 73 original 89ers only 42 remain as members. Of the missing 31, 16 are known to be deceased with the remaining 15 having simply disappeared from our records. In normal times 89 has a sizeable turnout for re-unions but due to illness, Covid and other commitments there are just 15 confirmed attendees with a further 25 who are uncommitted. We anticipate our numbers increasing to around 20 members, but in any event, following the success of 89C's re-unions,  our long suffering wives are also invited. This means that more than 30 persons are anticipated for the 2 day event. 

The "Bash" will take place over two days at the RAF Club in Piccadilly on the 6th & 7th April.  The RAF Club was chosen because it is one of the remaining bastions of the old Royal Air Force and is reasonably central (see the map where 89ers have retired to) with good train services from all parts of the country and an excellent taxi service.  [Driving to and in London has become an expensive nightmare and is not recommended]

The programme is planned as a formal lunch on day one with drinks and supper in the bar later on. This enables us to get together to talk about the last 50 years! The following day a visit to the RAF museum and a casual lunch is planned. 

Those visiting from "the sticks" who wish, can stay on to enjoy the fleshpots of London such as theatres and restaurants as individuals or in groups.

Interestingly we had more dots on the map for operational airfields in 1963  than we have for surviving 89ers today!


89's Happy Hour Continues

It is planned to continue the 89 Thursday Zoom Happy Hour for as long as members enjoy it  The last one of 2021 was on New Years Eve -1 and was attended by 12 members of which 2 were from overseas - John Liddell in Melbourne Australia and Ian Clarke in Southern France. As usual the banter flowed free covering a range of subjects from saving ourselves from the ailments of Old Age to saving the world from the ailments of all ages. 

The next Happy Hour is scheduled for 18:00 Hrs on Thursday 13th. If you haven't Zoomed in before make your New Year's resolution to join the Happy Hour Zoomers!



Last Years News - 89 Entry 2021...

Happy Hour 2021 ... Started at the beginning of lockdown in 2020 and kept as a regular two week meet by Chris Saunby,  the 89 "Zoom Happy Hour" has proved an ongoing success. With 19 overall members and a regular turn out of 8 to 12 members the Zoom meetings have proved interesting, fun and didactic.  89er's have joined from all over the UK as well as from overseas. We have had 89ers joining from Australia, Peru, Turkey, Barbados, France and even from sea in the Mediterranean and Caribbean as well as from the air at 36,000 feet above the Indian Ocean!

Members at the 18:00 Hrs Zoom Happy Hour on 2nd December - working their way through Chris Saunby's agenda...

The man in the middle, Ian Robertson, is over the wall - in Scotland  - hence the fog


  1. Should attendance at the 89 Entry meeting on 6/7 April be compulsory?   (Click here for the programme)
  2. Why did the F35 crash and why does it need rain guards?
  3. Solution of the Channel migrant crisis.
  4. Eradicate Covid.
  5. Solve Global Warming.
  6. Eradicate World Poverty.
  7. AOB

We didn't actually follow the agenda other than to speculate about item 2, plan for minefields in the channel (on the French side) to fix item 3,  and generally make fun of life. Some time was spent on item 7 "AOB". This appeared to be the abbreviation  for "All Over Balls" since that is where the conversation headed! Needless to say solving the worlds problems has been adjourned until the next meeting.

Sadly we lost one regular member, Derek North, in October 2020 when he died without any warning. Then because of the restrictions caused by the pandemic only one 89er, Paddy Pyper, was able to attend the funeral service. It was, however, broadcast on the internet so we were able to view the event and hear Paddy's excellent eulogy.  A memorial service for Derek was held in October 2021. Three members of 89C attended but a further 3 had to pull out at the last minute as a result of covid and other infections.

Derek North at one of the original  "Zoom-ins"

It is planned to keep the Zoom Happy Hours going at 2 weekly intervals until members decide otherwise or numbers drop to unsustainable levels. On one occasion we had just five 89ers, but nevertheless the chat and repartee resulted in much mirth and a happy hour!


News in 2021 has been a bit thin!

Thanks to Covid, and an otherwise engaged editor, published news and accompanying photographs have been a bit thin in 2021. However, we are making a final push to gather in news (new & old) from the individual squadrons. Before it's too late, and we have all zoomed off to meet our creator, please have a look in your archives, scan & forward your stories and photographs. I am sure that everyone has a least one good tale to tell that is connected to his membership of the inglorious 89?  

Thanks to Dick Northcote and Alan Macdonald for their tale for 1964. (See "D" Squadron below)

In the meantime here is some brief news from the squadrons....


"A" Squadron

ANOTHER BOOK - Black has written another best seller to match "Fighters in the Blood" - as soon as we have the full info we'll publish the details.

Chel Hibbert is the last 89er flying JP's - albeit mark 5's...,

Surely - too young to be an 89er?

Chel is the Chief Pilot for "Jet Aerobatics" - and this is what they say about him....

After attending Officer and aircrew selection at RAF Hornchurch, he went straight from school to RAF College Cranwell, where he did his basic flying training on Jet Provosts 3 & 4s. Then multi engine advanced training followed by posting to first C 130 squadron (36). This was followed a tour as pilot leader at 6 FTS RAF Finningley ( on Varsities) and then to RAF Northolt on Devons as VIP pilot.

On completion of service , he spent next 25 years in Automotive,Aerospace and Transport sectors culminating in running a £340 mill Aerospace company. Instead of retiring, he rejoined the RAF at RAF Woodvale. After completing CFS ,instructed on 10 AEF, Manchester & Salford as well as Liverpool UAS's where he accrued 2,500 hours in Grob Tutor.

Jet aircraft qualified on include Jet Provosts, Strikemaster, L29, L39 and Hunter. Tailwheel types include Auster, Chipmunk, Pitts, Tiger Moth, Stearman, Harvard, Cub and Spitfire.

Now instructs at RAF Flying Clubs based at Waddington, Scampton and Barkston Heath teaching PPL/LAPL, aerobatics, tailwheel and IMC/IR(R) as well as flying XW324 during the air show season and being our Chief Pilot.

A CONDOM LUNCH - Two 89ers,  Ian Clarke  of "A" Squadron, who now permanently lives in his French Chateaux in the Dordogne ,  &  Les Quigley of "C" who has a country house further South in Gascony met up for lunch in September as a result of 89's Happy Hour.  Remembering the good old days when condom meant so much more -  They chose CONDOM as their RV and report it as an excellent place for a lunch time reunion.


"B" Squadron

A HELPING HAND - In June Andy Griffin came to Dick Northcote's rescue when he produced the following photographs from his archives - plus the Barkston Heath photo below

ANNUAL REUNION - It is rumored that "B" Squadron was to hold their annual re-union in November. However, it was cancelled due to Covid restrictions (In truth they were probably banned for trying to seduce the barmaids during their previous bashes.) No doubt the news will filter through once they have re-organised.


"C" Squadron

A SHRINKING MEMBERSHIP - Despite their shrinking numbers, with Dick Shuster and Derek North having completed their final take-off, "C" Squadron have maintained their ascendancy in Happy Hour by fielding 4 players at virtually every Zoom-in.

On a sadder note, despite 1/2 the 89 survivors being hit by medical problems 3 members of 89C, and their wives - Chris & Kate Saunby, Dave & Elizabeth Harlow and JC and Carro Newland - did attend Derek North's memorial service which was held on 13th October almost exactly one year after his tragic death. They reported that the service was well attended.   In addition to Derek's wife, Val (an ex-Sqn Ldr), and family, there were many ex-RAF colleagues from Derek's old squadrons, representatives from the British Legion and representatives from the County of West Sussex.  Derek had been Sussex County President of the British Legion from 2002 to 2016 and was Deputy Lord Lieutenant of the same county.


SAUSAGE STUFFER - All that diverse training at Cranwell has regularly been proved to be beneficial to those of us that suffered it. Apart from it's usefulness within the military, it has led to many of us acquiring new skills and talents. The latest, taken up in his retirement by that eminent V-Bomber pilot, lawyer and judge, Chris Saunby, is making sausages. This naturally compliments his well proven beer brewing and pie making skills. Samples of which have been washed down and eaten in quantities whenever an 89er visits him. 

So sit tight and watch out for Saunby's Super Succulent Sausages & Pies in your local delicatessen. Unfortunately you won't get to buy his beer because he and his mates drink all of that!

Right - Chris is still working on the packaging presentation - These, as you can see are the "80th Anniversary of Pearl Harbour brand - 7th Dec 2021" - specially packed to look as though they were hit by a bomb! Nevertheless he has a large overseas order for these and they are  (hopefully) winging their way to the Caribbean for consumption by an 89er who is experiencing Pork Sausage withdrawal symptoms!

NATIONAL SHORTAGES - Latest intelligence info is that Chris has decided to come clean and admit several offences under the planned Official Stuffing & Smoking Secrets and Sharing Act (2063).   Following disclosure of his clandestine sausage factory, he has also admitted to the secret processing and distribution of other strategic foodstuffs. This has lead to severe UK shortages due to stock piling resulting from rumors of a driver shortage, as drivers are refusing to carry such dangerous goods without adequate compensation. There is also a further shortage of Loo Rolls, again caused by stockpiling in anticipation of the country's increase in the consumption of such quality foodstuffs!

Some of the products from Saunby's Secret Processing Plant

Chris's Kippers

(Currently under investigation by the Isle of Man Kipper's board for damaging the IOM export trade)


Right - Saunby Smoked Salmon

(Under investigation by the Scottish Smoked Salmon board since it is reported as being better than theirs)

Saunby's Super Salami


Special Saunby Chorizo

(Like the Salami these can be used as offensive weapons so are restricted under anti-terrorism legislation)


"D" Squadron


Old but very interesting - Alan MacDonald sent this note to Dick Northcote ....

"Dick, You might be interested to hear that during some recent rummaging around the home, I came across a copy of a very old report headed “Trenchard Memorial Award”. It details a trip taken by the Potholing Society to Finale Ligure during August and September 1964.   The report itself is a little long-winded, covering some sixteen A4 pages but I thought you would like to share few selected excerpts, including those where we are mentioned. There are references to some other events / names that may jog the grey matter! I take no responsibility for the grammar, spelling or accuracy of the items attached that are in quotation marks .................

Incredible to think this all occurred some 54 years ago.  Nostalgia Lives!

Yours aye, Alan"

Click here - for the attached report and some olde photographs


HELP FOR DICK - As mentioned above in the "B2 Squadon report, in June, Dick Northcote requested photographs of JP's and Chipmunks from our days at Cranwell.  -

Hi All,

Anyone got a colour photo of a JP Mk3 or 4 or of a Chipmunk from our time at Cranwell?

Needed for a bit of model making for the Grandsons.

Needless to say he was rewarded with a selection from a number of members including those from Andy Griffin. 

The reason Dick had to ask everyone was because the photographs on this website had all disappeared due to finger trouble by your editor. Somehow I had wiped them all out when changing servers and, since I was locked in Australia for over 6 months,  I was unable to update them all. Hopefully this has now been remedied and our 89 historic photos re-instated.



Barkston Heath around 1966 - taken by Andy Griffin

Barkston Heath around 2000 - taken by Google

Have you spotted the error - How did it happen?     Answers to the Editor - First prize - a weekend in the South of France (paying your own fares)

The 89 Bash for those who make it to 2022

We have organised a 2 day re-union bash for 89 survivors and their wives/mistresses/girl friends, and, to follow the RAF's latest trends, "boy friends" and "in betweenies" ??? - No!  (The Barkston Heath photos above prove that the world has gone "a" about "f" since we joined?)

The venue is to be the RAF Club and the dates are 6th & 7th April.  For those wishing to make the best of their London visit, your stay at the RAF Club can be extended.

Estimated costs = 4 course lunch with wine £65 per head; double room from £155 for members (£190 for non members) ; breakfast £12.50 per head + drinks & bar supper/dinner, etc down to individual choice. (Without doubt the best prices in Mayfair - these are 1/2 the cost of the Sheraton next door!)

The outline programme is ........

Wednesday 6th April

12:00 Hrs - Arrive & pre-lunch drinks in the Victoria Bar

13:00 Hrs - Lunch in the Presidents' Room

16:00 Hrs - Retire to the Running Horse (or bed for the really old?)

18:00 Hrs onwards - snacks/supper/dinner/drinking/talking in the Running Horse

Later? - Bed

Thursday 7th April

08:00 Hrs + - Breakfast

09:30 Hrs - Leave for RAF Museum Hendon (or ladies shopping/RA, etc.)

12:30 ish - Casual Snack/Lunch in Museum

14:00 ish - Head for home,  visit London, stay at RAF Club, etc. ?

To book a slot and introduce your loved one to your old mates - email Les Q - - Currently have 12  89ers & 10 wives confirmed ....

 Space is running low so act soon!

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