RAF College Cranwell
Black joins the 89 author's club
The back cover
Coronavirus - May 2020
89's Next "Zoom In" Happy Hour
Following the success of our first two Zoom In Happy Hours you are reminded to bring your own drinks and turn up, from somewhere in the world, at our next Zoom meet at -
17:00 Hrs BST on Thursday 21st May
If you are not sure of the joining instructions - call ATC, Chris Saunby (by email), before you get downwind - let him know you are joining and he will give you landing instructions,
A screen shot of the last Happy Hour with 89ers locked down throughout the UK as well as in Australia & Chile
A total of fifteen 89ers called finals. But only 13 managed a safe landing -
Buckland (D); Ian Clark (A); John Coates (D); Crispin (A);
(A); Dave Harlow (C); Colin Lovegrove (D);
Derek North (C) ;
Dick Northcote (D);
Quigley (C); Chris Saunby (C);
Robertson (A); Grant Taylor (D)
However, although he did make the final approach, Colin Hinds (D) only managed a visual without R/T and since everything is IFR he had to eventually abandon his landing. On the other hand Ian Robertson (C) only managed to signal that he was somewhere in the circuit. We received his squawk, he was spotted on radar, he appeared to orbit for while and then nothing! Ian's ID appeared on radar but with no visual or R/T! Eventually he disappeared - obviously to a more attractive diversion. Colin did have an excuse for the kit not working - he is an ex-Henlow Engineer! - But Ian, no excuses, he was a C130 captain - no doubt missing his co-pilot! (We think he was offered a better diversion and is orbiting a bar in Scotland? - We're still trying to contact Ian but haven't got past Hadrian's wall yet.)
Most of the chaps landed safely
In addition to those listed above, late apologies were received from Anthony Kent (D); and Dave Archbold (A) who lives in the Cayman Inlands. Both failed to take off due to admin problems.
The meet started as an early evening pre-dinner happy hour with everyone briefing as to where they where, and the sort of life style they were being forced to live. It turned out that 11 members were spread all over the UK, and all had very similar problems. In addition we had two overseas members, Ian Clark, who was strandard in his beach house near Lima in Peru (6 hours behind BST i.e. it was 11:00 Hrs and pre-lunch drinks for him)! Ian panned his camera around his pad to make us all envious of his super location. Les Q was the other overseas member and is stranded until late June in Western Australia. Again in a beach house - in Dunsborough WA. For Les it was tomorrow and the end of a 6 hour drinking session - past 00:00 Hrs & pitch black - so no views. In summary, it appeared that despite his beach location, Ian had the worst national lock-down conditions - sounded worse than the UK - whilst Les had the best with virtually no lock-down, only a lock-in - "locked-in" in a place the size of Yorkshire where, other than closed restaurants & bars, everything was functioning normally!
Obviously everyone's concern was their age, since Covid-19 is reportedly taking it's major toll on those over 70 - US!!!! Paul Buckland reported that he had had the dreaded covid-19 - Paul reported that he had suffered terribly with all the nasty symptoms, but thankfully he had recovered. He looked well and sounded well. It was re-assuring that there is life after Covid-19. A general discussion followed on the life and death statistics being produced by the government and the press. It was generally agreed that we can't believe any of them - based on the old saying ... "There are lies, damn lies and statistics" - The only statistic that we believed was that ..."people are dying who have never died before!".
Remote internet partying is a bit tricky as you cannot break down into smaller groups of 3/4 and then move around as in a bar - it is a one to 12 relationship, however, the banter continued for over an hour with members offering various solutions to putting the world right......
In conclusion it was the general opinion that we should repeat the "Zoom-in" happy hour in a couple of weeks on Thursday 7th May at the same time -17:00 Hrs. Those wishing to attend should email Chris Saunby who organises and issues the joining instructions.
Heading home after a successful "Zoom In"
See you on the 7th May?
2020 what an unusual start!
But comradeship survives - we are not isolated
For the surviving members of 89 it is now 57 years since we joined the Royal Air Force in what was then recognised as the best Air Force Training establishment in the world. Cranwell trained you for everything - it started in the "Pits" where as a small team you were isolated, restricted and threatened for long periods. It has eventually paid off - At aged 75 we are now isolated and restricted in even smaller teams and threatened with something even worse than a Flight Sergeant or Senior Entry - a potential killer bug!
All of 89 are now retired from the service, but although we are now recognised as "old blokes", and threatened by this alien bug, many have not retired from "service". Many 89er's are still providing the public and personal services for which they were trained. Who would have thought that all that military training would have left us fighting a bug? Those proud 18 year olds are now proud 75 year olds who, although isolated, still maintain their youthful comradeship with routine get-togethers. Like the Coronavirus itself, 89 are spread throughout the UK and the world, but Old Cranwellian's are not daunted by distance - whenever an opportunity arises, that doesn't place others at risk, the old comrades will get together.
The latest get-together is over the "air" - Sadly not zooming through the air, but using "ZOOM" on the internet!
Unusually 89 were beaten to the Bar by those young reprobates in 91 Entry - They introduced the first Happy Hour via "ZOOM". (We think it a ploy so that they didn't have to buy drinks for 89!) Mind it was led, and well led, by a would be 89er Chris Coville, so he obviously learnt something from 89. The upshot is that in the absence of being able to get together physically, 89 are now organising their own "ZOOM IN" - as soon as we get 3 greens we'll be coming into land in a lounge, dining room, study or patio near you.
In the meantime you can taste your own beer, wine or cocktail in the comfort of your own home and in the company of a bunch of fellow old farts by clicking below and signing up. The next Old Cranwellian's Happy Hour is at 17:00 Hrs BST on this Friday 17th April so give it a go even if it's just to listen and see how it works.
We hope to see you there!
The Old Fashion Reunions
Before the Coronavirus SHTF, 89ers were organising annual re-unions ....
89 B beat the other 3 Squadrons to the pub again!
A report and photographs from Geoff Dryland on the pre-Coroanvirus activities of 89B...
"2020The annual reunion for 2019 was postponed owing to a number of members unable to attend. It was deferred to 1 February 2020 when all members were able to report to the usual meeting place of the George Hotel, that is: Simon Coy, Geoff Dryland, Andy Griffin, Nigel Griffiths, Mike Laundy, Henry Middleton, Paddy Pyper, Ron Shimmons, Richard Slogrove and Tony Steel. The Guest of Honour this year was Colin Lovegrove.
Before we sat down, Geoff had a few words to say (he doesn't know many). In recognition of the years of work that Henry has put in, organising our annual ritual, Geoff had painted a portrait for Henry to use as emergency fire lighting material. Henry was delighted as he was indeed running short of suitable bonfire rubbish. Mike Laundy availed himself of a painting of Snowdon and donated a sum to the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal.
The Mob (Left to Right) - Nigel Griffiths, Paddy Pyper, Geoff Dryland, Henry Middleton, Ron Shimmons, Richard Slogrove, Colin Lovegrove, Simon Coy, Andy Griffin, Tony Steel, Mike Laundy
89C Annual Re-union?
After about 6 months of trying to find dates when as many 89C members as possible could attend, the members eventually agreed a 3 day, two night re-union in historic York the wartime centre of Nos. 4 & 6 Group Bomber Command. The dates scheduled were 27th to 29th April with 7 members and their wives in attendance and with a full activity programme in addition to the re-union dinner. Hotels were booked & paid, venues and transport organised - and then - LOCKDOWN!
Fortunately Les Q, who was organising the York re-union, was in Australia and managed a mini-reunion in Melbourne with John and Glenys Liddell before the worldwide pandemic broke.
The plan is to re-organise later in the year once the dust has cleared.
Bullshit doesn't pay!
Having just moved into his new office, a
newly graduated young admin officer was sitting at his desk when an airman knocked on the door. Conscious of his new position, the Flying Officer quickly picked up the phone, told the airman to enter, then said into the phone, "Yes Sir, I'll be seeing the Station Commander this afternoon and I'll pass along your message. In the meantime, thank you for your good wishes, sir."
July 2019 - Sad News from 89C
In his RAF career, as well as getting an AFC at 23, Dick managed several other unique 89 Entry & RAF achievements ....
# Dick is the only person in the RAF to get the same award as his father, the AFC, and both on the same aircraft type, the Canberra - Dick's father was awarded the Air Force Cross in the 1950's for record breaking flight in a Canberra - many years after receiving their awards father & son took to the sky together in a jet aircraft on on a very special sortie ...
# 1st (and we believe the only) 89er to be awarded a Master Air Pilots Certificate - Click here to see the details
# Longest serving RAF College Cranwell graduate in the rank of Flight Lieutenant - 35 years
# Never had a job that kept him on the ground - Dick's passion was flying, so on his one "ground" posting, training pilots on the Phantom simulator, he volunteered to fly more than 50 Phantom ferry flights between Coningsby and Aldergrove, Northern Ireland!
# The oldest RAF pilot ever to lead an RAF formation - At age 59 years 9 months - Click here to see the details
# Most hours strapped to a bang seat - over 9,500 Hrs
# Last 89 pilot to fly RAF Jet aircraft as PIC - 30th August 2004
89's 74 year old Wing Walker!
After over 50
years in a ground job Roger
Roger Cresswell a former "groundie" has, after 55 years in the RAF decided to show the "flyers" what the pen pushers, store stackers and elastic band winders are really made of. Roger has decided to take to the air, not in the drivers seat, a back room seat or even in the toilet - At the tender age of 74, Roger is going to stand on the wing - from take off to landing!!!! Mad? - No - bloody mad! Also bloody brave since he is doing it to raise money for a good cause - his local hospital. (Definitely a Catch 22 situation cos' it's a place he is likely to end up in!)