It is all systems go as our plans are falling into place nicely. A party of 35 will travel by an Executive luxury coach on 15 Sept and it is hoped that we will hit Paris in time to join the RAF Parade in the Champs Elysees. The Paris Branch of RAFA have invited us to march with them to the Arc de Triomphe to rekindle the flame on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on this the 60th Anniversary of The Battle of Britain.
Our activities in France include a day trip to Paris followed by an evening at the Chateau de Vaux-le-Vicomte with its candlelit display and dinner. The highlight of the trip will be an escorted tour of Camp Guynemer on Monday which Charley Collyer had kindly arranged. The camp is now a highly secret base and training centre for the French Army. The Sunday is set aside for a tour of the local area which gives us an opportunity to re-visit our favourite haunts of yesteryear.
A few of our erstwhile colleagues now living in France will join us in Fontainebleau.
Full details of the tour will be sent in due course to those on the trip.
The bookings for this are strong with 55 having informed me that they will attend. However the Courtyard confirm only 35 names on their booking register. It must be stressed that the maximum number the hotel can accommodate for the dinner is 70 and the line will be drawn at at that number. So if you intend to come and haven’t booked with the hotel please do so now to avoid disappointment and to save me the trouble of chasing the laggards. Do not forget to mention that you are in the “Fontainebleau Party”. If anyone requires a Hotel brochure please let me know. Bookings must be made direct with the hotel ~ Telephone 01926 425522
Menus will be circulated in the summer for attendees to make their choices. These must be back in my hands quickly to pass over to the hotel.
It has been suggested that after the dinner formalities are over we hold a quiz for those who wish to partake. This should enable us to socialise more ~ last year people tended to sit at their table the whole evening. Other ideas to enliven the proceedings please on a postcard
SACW Jean Senior was a Dental Nurse at Fontainebleau from Oct 58 to Dec 60. She married Alan Johns. They had 5 children (including 2 sets of twins within 18 months) Jean now lives in Bridgend.
Leading Radio Operator Alan Johns (RN) served in the Commcentre from Dec 59 until May 61 He was one of about 14 Royal Navy personnel attached to AAFCE.
Airman First Class Richard Christensen is our first USAF Member. He worked in the Commcentre between Mar 55 and Nov 58. He now lives with his wife Gail in Florida. Richard will join the coach party returning to Fontainebleau in September.
Cpl Tony Course worked in the Office of the Scientific Adviser from Jan 60 to Jan 63. In September Tony and his wife Gillian will be relocating to Menton in France.
Cpl Dave Evans worked in the Admin Section of the Commcentre from Dec 57 to June 60 and was a regular member of both the Soccer and Cricket XIs at AAFCE. He left the RAF in 1979 with the rank of Warrant Officer.
Gunner Peter Thomas (Royal Artillery), attached to ALFCE from Jul 53 to Feb 55, was
a regular member of the International Rugby XV. He now lives with his wife Joan in South Wales.
Cpl Paul Harris worked in the Staff Message Control Centre between Feb 58 and Aug 60.
Sgt Ken Tomkins worked in the National M.T. Section from May 61 to Dec 63
SAC Colin MacLean is another ex Commcentre airman where he served from Mar 1963 to Mar 1965 and is currently living in Scotland
SAC Gordon Lawrie is another member of the MT Section (Apr 57 ~ Jul 59). After leaving the RAF in 1959 he rejoined in 1960 and retired as a Warrant Officer at the age of 55. Gordon now lives in the South of France with his wife Irene who he met at Fontainebleau.
Sgt John Mercer arrived at AAFCE Nov 53. After a spell in the Orderly Room he transferred to the Code and Cypher Office in the Commcentre.
Cpl Brian Williams was part of the RAF Police Team from Oct 55 to Oct 58 Originally from Cheltenham, after demob he settled in Michigan, USA with his wife Ann who was with him at Fontainebleau.
Flt Sgt Tony Chapman worked in the Commcentre from Aug 57 until Jan 60. During his 39 years service Tony played hockey for the RAF and whilst at Fontainebleau captained the International Hockey XI there. Football was also among his sporting activities. He left the RAF in 1976 to settle in Peterborough. Tony is a life long supporter of Ipswich Town.
Our activities have resulted in a useful top up to the Admin Fund. There are a few blazer badges in stock including a couple suitable for displaying in a frame 6” x 4” and which sell for £15 each.
The last of the original consignment of ties was sold recently and 20 more are on order. They will retail at £10
There are plenty of enamel badges (£3.50) remaining in stock.
It is about time the Membership was updated. This appears on pages 7 and 8 and is restricted to those who are or have been active members and whose particulars have been provided.
THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT FONTAINEBLEAU by Mike Capon
"The Chateau of Fontainebleau
Upon arriving in Fontainebleau a visitor will feel strongly the link between the Chateau and the forest: the forest comes to the limits of the gardens from which every view opens on the forest, you do not know where one starts and the other finishes. Even the buildings have a part of this symbiosis, as they are constructed with materials from the forest, sandstone and even the sand for the mortar.
From the beginning (the 12th century) the reason for the Chateau was royal hunting. When Francis I, in 1528, decided on an entire transformation of the old buildings, the reason was his liking to hunt "red and black furred animals in the Biere forest". All the sovereigns after Francis I, Valois or Bourbons, kept the tradition of hunting."
"The House of Centuries"
"Eight centuries of nearly uninterrupted occupancy by more than thirty sovereigns from Louis VI "the fat" to Napoleon III, makes Fontainebleau the symbol of French history. Napoleon I put it well into words: "Here is the real abode of Kings, the house of centuries", is what he said in
Saint Helena, thinking of the Chateau he, as his predecessors, loved so much.
Making a tour of the buildings and the gardens, the visitor will see a succession of examples of art of every period and every style from medieval tower to the famous horse-shoe staircase (1634) and to the great pavilion built by the architect Gabriel in 1750. The successive transformations of different reigns make a real catalogue for history of art."
to be continued
I could not resist including this superb picture, lent to me by Dave Evans, of the RAF Cricket team c 1958, captained by Sgt Stan Fenney (in the foreground wearing cap.) Dave Evans is standing back row, third from the right.
Others in the photo include
Wing Cdr Brown, Norman Davidson and Vallentine
If anyone can identify others in the picture please indicate position and name on here.