David Rogerson - Chairman
I joined the RAF in February 1952, four days after the death of King George VI so I was one of the first airmen to swear allegiance to the Queen. After the preliminaries at Cardington I was posted to Bridgenorth for 8 weeks basic training. A week before passing out I was sent home on 3 weeks Embarkation Leave prior to a posting in Egypt. After 2 weeks bliss at home I received a telegram to return to Bridgenorth where I spent 2 months in Pool Flight. As Col Nasser kicked the Brits out of Egypt the RAF Base Pay Accounts was relocated at Titchfield, Hampshire 7 miles from home.
After I joined the Unit being the new boy I was sent on various attachments and courses. It was at Kenley that a Sergeant collared me to remind me that I was on the Posting Overseas Roster and asked if I would like to go to Fontainebleau. Thinking that it did not sound like a place in the desert I said “Yes please”.
I arrived at Camp Guynemer in September 1953 for work in the Central Registry, Building 1. I left the RAF in February 1955 with 5 interviews lined up for a job in Civvy Street. My first was with Cunard who offered me a position. Working on the Queens whilst in port would fill any young man’s dreams. When Cunard relocated its Head Office to Southampton I was offered the position of Insurance Manager when the present incumbent retired in 5 years’ time provided I qualified through the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII). I achieved the qualification in Marine Insurance. In 1970 Trafalgar House (TH) who had acquired Cunard agreed to establish a Broking Company and I was appointed a Director responsible for Marine, Aviation and Oil and Gas programmes. With a year to serve I was made redundant in 1992 by Hong Kong Land who had acquired TH and decided to outsource all central functions.
In 1993 I received a letter from Ted Caton a room-mate at AAFCE. Fortunately we both lived at the same addresses since our last contact in 1956. Ted found a letter from me in a drawer. We decided to search for our erstwhile colleagues through telephone directories, adverts, and Channel 4’s Ceefax. The Association grew to the extent that we held our first Reunion Dinner in 1997 with over 50 attendees. It was then that we decided formalise the Fontainebleau Veterans Association. Over 300 Vets have joined but alas many have gone to the big airfield in the sky.