89 Entry RAF College Cranwell
Individual Squadron Reunions & Anniversaries
Report from Alan Ferguson -
Below are some photos for the "89A Chapter" . It was held on Sunday 5th November 17 at the Wroxton House Hotel, Banbury. Those attending were Black Robertson; Alan Ferguson: Henry Middleton: Barry Chalkley: Peter Squire: Peter Crispin: Ian Clark: Tony Ware: Chel Hibbert .. a fine bunch of warriors ....
This was the third 89A Reunion Dinner but the first one that has included a guest - in this case Henry Middleton from 89B.
When paying the bills before departure an ex-CAS noticed that all the drinks had been billed to Alan Ferguson but being an honest soul, as you would expect from a very senior officer this was corrected before the diners scattered to the four winds never to be seen again .. almost the 89A version of "doing a runner" ...
89A - October 2015
Ensuring that they stay ahead of the game A Squadron were first to get their re-union photos to 89 News, however, in true military tradition they kept the location secret, holding it "somewhere in England". They also kept their activities secret, but we are grateful to Tony Ware for smuggling out photographs of the event - their 2nd annual re-union. (They did supply photographs last year but again failed to supply any support information so the editor (like all newspaper editors) has just had to make up a story!)
Thanks to Tony Ware for sending the photographs (and we assume - taking them - since he's not on any)
Geoff Dryland, who supplied all 89Bs photographs, assures us that they were first to hold a squadron reunion this year just a few weeks ahead of A Squadron. He also reported that they are definitely getting older since they all arrived in the late afternoon, did not get a cup of tea on arrival, and then had to lay down before getting dressed for dinner in a hurry!
The "B" team at dinner - (Left to Right) - Andy Griffin, Jerry Pook (Guest of Honour from A Squadron), Dick Slogrove, Mike Laundy,
Henry Middleton, Simon Coy, Nigel Griffiths, Paddy Pyper, Tony Steel, Geoff Dryland
Geoff reports that "Not many funny comments I'm afraid - Only the one came from Mike Laundy whilst taking his soup. "Waiter there's a turd in my soup". Then Jerry Pook with his napkin to his mouth "Oh my God I had one of those, I thought it was a gherkin". Considering that Geoff reported few funnies, there seems to be an awful lot of happy faces.......
The smiles soon returned to thoughtfulness when the current state of the RAF was discussed...
A few more drinks, talk of the good old days and the everything is back to normal so another successful 89B reunion!
89B lead the way with reunions in 2014
It's amazing how "old boys" stick together - well the boys of 89B must be much older than the survivors of the other three 89 Entry squadrons because they really do stick together with a reunion every year!
This year the re-union was again held at the George in Wallingford. (We suspect someone in 89B has their pension fund invested there as they seem to get all 89B's business?) Geoff Dryland, 89's local reporter, reported that things did not quite get into the rousing start that we were used to - "It was a sign of old age that when people started to arrive in the afternoon, instead of a pint in the bar, it was a pot of tea in the lounge!!"
It is 51 years since 89B Squadron was formed at the RAF College - then there were 18 members. At the reunion this year there were 10 members - Simon Coy; Geoff Dryland; Andy Griffin; Nigel Griffiths; Mike Laundy; Henry Middleton; Paddy Pyper; Ron Shimmons; Dick Slogrove; Tony Steel; and one guest - Tony Ware from 89A.
The Squadron scrubbed up and formed up on time except for Nigel who arrived fairly late, apparently straight from his day job, hence his incorrect dress! A quick change after the "bubbly" saw him arrive in the correct attire for the dinner. The pretty barmaid was not in attendance so it was into the lounge for pre dinner drinks and long chats about old times and old timers! It was hard to believe that the party consisted of 69 and 70 year olds! Mind it was noticeable that the 70 year olds still had their hair and looked much younger whilst the "soixante neufers" had lost theirs and looked much older - obviously too much excitement at their age!!!
In summary it was an excellent reunion and despite 51 years since everyone first met, boys will be boys so the boys enjoyed another good night together remembering the good old times whilst we still can!
Thanks to Geoff Dryland for the report and the photographs.
SOUTH BRICK LINES 2004 ANNUAL DINNER
Relaxing after the Port but before the Champagne was attacked by a sabre ....
Les, Richard, Nigel, Ron, Simon (upfront), Paddy (trying to get a look in), Henry, Tony, Andy
For more photographs click on "B" Squadron"
"C" Squadron's 2017 reunion is a bit late!
89C's members are inveterate travelers so it is very difficult to pin down enough members for a re-union. As a result the 2017 89C reunion was held in 2018 and even then apologies were received from several members who were out of the country or otherwise committed. These were Dave Donnelly, John Liddell (in Australia), Duncan Swift & Ian Robertson. Nevertheless 7 members and their wives were able to make the RV at Barton Hall Kettering.
89C - condemed to be behind bars!
Left to right - Chris Saunby, Les Quigley, Dave Harlow, Dick Shuster, Brian Synnott, Derek North, JC Newland
Uniquely amongst 89 Entry squadron re-unions, C Squadron have taken to inviting their wives to their annual Squadron get together since many of the wives have known each other since the boys were at Cranwell or from their early days in the RAF.
The day started with early arrivals having a very pleasant lunch and afternoon drinks at the Saunby's. Here we found that Chris had developed into both a fine chef and a brewer! We were fed the finest homemade food accompanied by good wine and, for the discerning drinkers, Chris's home brew from his own micro brewery in one of his out buildings. The company, food and drink were so good that it was early evening before we new it so we all had to head to Barton Hall where we were staying and where the re-union dinner was being held.
And a good time was had by all with a promise to do it again before the year end in order to catch up with the other squadrons!
89C December 2015
It was hoped to convene an 89C reunion earlier but with 3 of our members still hard at work (well "working") and others travelling, the earliest 89C could get together was December. Chris Saunby was the 89C whipper in and by mutual consent we chose to meet at the Haycock Hotel, just off the A1 south of RAF Wittering - one of the few RAF airfields left! Like all good re-unions it started in the bar. However, unlike other reunions we chose to bring our wives since they all know each other - many from our Cranwell days. Sadly Dick and Shireen Shuster could not make it as Shireen was having treatment for cancer. We send Shireen our best wishes and our hopes for an early recovery. Keith Jackson sent his regrets that he and Sue would not be able to attend.
89C Survivors - Back row - Dave Harlow, Dave Donnelly, Brian Synott, Chris Saunby, JC Newland
Front row - Ian Robertson, Derek North, Les Quigley
Unlike our compatriots in B Squadron we were welcomed with afternoon tea and certainly did not need an afternoon kip. This despite us having less hair between us than the other squadrons. (Apart from Dave Harlow that is - and anyway we think that's a wig?)
After the welcoming afternoon tea party - 89C dressed down for dinner and set about the food and drink...
After an excellent dinner, lots of chat and a few drinks the old boys of 89C and their ladies retired for a good nights sleep. Next morning we met for breakfast and made our farewells with a promise to meet again in 2017.
"89C" head overseas for their 2011 Reunion
The 2011 89C re-union took place in France over 3 days and followed the usual eat, drink and be merry routine that one expects from the best Squadron in 89 entry! Sadly only 7 of members could make it, Dave Harlow, JC Newland, Derek North, Les Quigley, Ian Robertson, Dick Shuster and Brian Synott, but we swelled our ranks by having our lady wives with us. The reunion was scheduled to coincide with "Battle of Britain" day - 15th September.
"Battle of Britain Day" 2011
89c Honours 7 young airmen "KIA with no known graves"
The inscription on the wreath placed by 89C
One of the highlights of the reunion was a trek in the mountains to honour the crew of a 624 Squadron Halifax that had crashed nearby in the Pyrenees in July 1944 whilst delivering supplies to the local French Resistance. The crew, although still listed as "missing in action with no known graves" are actually buried at 4,500 feet up in the mountains. The aircraft had left RAF Blida in Algeria on a secret mission to drop supplies to the French Resistance. The French Resistance found the crashed Halifax and buried the crew in the canisters that they were supposed to drop.
Years later with the help of a French Air Force helicopter to ferry the materials to the site the local French people built a special cemetery next to the remains of the Halifax. It was here that we hiked to lay wreaths to honour this young crew.
89's withdrawal - Age is beginning to tell!
"89C" Squadron 2005 Reunion
89C decided it was time to catch up with "B" and have a squadron re-union. This was held at the "Whipper Inn" (very appropriate I hear you all saying) in Oakham. The event was well attended with 9 of the original 14 surviving 1963 cadets making it. A further 4 sent apologies. There is only one that we can't find - Crag Carter - Crag if you're out there drop us a line!
Those making it were - Dave Donnelly, Dave Harlow, "JC" Newland, Derek North, Les Quigley, Chris Saunby, Dick Shuster, Duncan Swift, Brian Synott. - Apologies were received from Dave Foulger, John Liddell, Keith Jackson and Ian Robertson.
In addition as our special guest we invited Jerry Pook - We needed someone to buy the drinks! - Although Ian [who's wife Pat was recovering from a serious operation] kindly sent a bottle of vintage port! - we all managed to get at least one glass before Dick downed it!
Back - left to right - Dave Harlow, Derek North, JC Newland, Brian Synott, Duncan Swift
Front - Jerry Pook ("A" guest), Les Quigley, Dave Donnelly, Chris Saunby, Dick Shuster
Not to be out done by the boys in "B", "C" held their first formal reunion since parting company in 1966. The reunion was held in Oakham in the "Whipper Inn" Hotel. The original plan was to hold it in the mess at Wittering as this was determined to be central for everyone. However, this proved impossible as, unbelievably, the Mess is closed at weekends! How times have changed!
The venue proved to be popular with 9 former members attending including 2 who hadn't seen any of us since we left Cranwell in '66. In addition we had invited Jerry Pook as our special guest. Needless to say much beer, wine, champagne, port and jollity was had by all.
Apologies were received from 4 other members, Ian Robertson, John Liddell, Keith Jackson and Dave Foulger. In addition Ian Robertson sent a bottle of Port, and John Liddell sent lots of photographs. (Which are now on this website.) The photographs were also put to good use in an audio visual presentation that helped revive memories.
A toast was drunk to our fallen comrades Pete Thompson and Paul Cooper and to those who couldn't make it.
POST SCRIPT - Whilst still sober, everyone present contributed to send a bouquet to Ian's wife Pat as she had just come out of hospital having had a serious operation. Ian and Pat wrote and thanked us all.
Thanks again Ian for the Port!
Some of 89C got together at RAF Linton-on-Ouse in 2002
Dick Shuster, Les Quigley, Brian Synott & Chris Saunby deciding whether to go home and drink their ill gotten gains or pinch the JP - or both!!
(You can tell it's not a Cranwell JP - they have to have an arrow to tell the students which way it goes!)
"D" Squadron have struggled to have squadron re-unions over the years due to the fact that their members were spread far and wide throughout the globe. However, once they got going they did so with a vengeance. They reported that this year 8 stalwart members turned up for the re-union at the White Horse in Deddington on 12/13th October.
(Only snag is - when checking out their report I find that there is no White Horse in Deddington - it is in Duns Tew some 2 miles away - [with target identification like this no wonder they were a few missing] Still 8 members found the RV and appear to have done a lot of eating, drinking and being merry so no wonder they didn't know where the where!)
50th Wedding Anniversaries
Over 50 years ago, pre-mobile phones and internet, after being locked away for 3 years in the barren wastes of Lincolnshire, far away from one's loved one, it was not surprising that many a young Officer wanted to secure his bride before an exciting posting to some equally barren part of the world. Many did and were married even before they qualified for a married quarter - so 50th wedding anniversaries abound!
Alan Macdonald's 50th Wedding Anniversary in the RAF Club - 2017
Chris & Kate celebrate 50 years together in 2017