ISSUE No 15 AUGUST 2000
It is time for another Newsletter already. As my computer skills improve I think I am getting the format into shape but remember this is your magazine and I would welcome comments on layout and content. What would you like to see in the Newsletter? I am sure there are some good ideas out there, so please let us hear from you.
38 of us will set off on 15 Sept for a 5 day tip to Fontainebleau. We had hoped to arrive in Paris in time to join the 60th and last Anniversary Battle of Britain Parade in Paris at 6 p.m. when the RAF will rekindle the flame on the tomb of the unknown soldier at the Arc de Triomphe. However the French Authorities have advanced the Parade to 5 o’clock and it is not possible for our coach to arrive in the centre of Paris for Assembly at 4.30. Another 6 members will meet up with us in Fontainebleau where Charley Collyer is on hand to meet and greet us. The Commandant at Camp Guynemer has agreed to our making a conducted tour of our old home. Included in the programme are some other exciting tours including a visit to the Chateau Vaux le Vicomte to take in a candlelit display and an evening meal.
Support for this function is excellent and there will be many new faces this year . It has all the ingredients for another super party. If you are thinking of coming and have not booked then hurry because we have almost reached the maximum number the hotel can accommodate for the dinner.
POLICE CHIEF IN STREET PUNCH UP
It was a lovely Spring evening one Sunday, worshippers were returning home from church when an old lady was mugged by two young thugs. Charley Collyer, fearless as always was passing on the opposite side of the street and remembering the parable of the Good Samaritan went immediately to her aid. In the altercation that followed Charley broke an arm when he was thrown to the ground but not before he had kicked the thugs where it hurt most. The attackers who were Albanian immigrants fled but were later caught and taken into custody. They are now in prison in Melun awaiting trial.
John Christian saw Dickie Rogers’ notice in AIR MAIL and rang him because they had served together in Greece in 1949/50 and also during the 50s at Fontainebleau. John, then a corporal, was posted to Aircent in October 1953 and assigned to the Fiscal Dept in the HQ Building before transferring to Intelligence. He then looked after the administration of the Bachelor Officers’ Quarters where he remained until April 1956. John left the RAF in 1973 on being appointed director of Age Concern, Northamptonshire a post from which he resigned at the end of 1989. In 1981 having been appointed a candidate in waiting in 1973, John was appointed to the Queen’s Body Guard of the Yeomen of the Guard as one of only six RAF appointees. In this capacity he attends about 8 functions a year including the State Opening of Parliament, State Banquets, Investitures etc. Although a life time appointment John will not be required for duty when he reaches the age of 70. John lives with his wife Iris in Barton Seagrave, Northamptonshire. He is pictured above in his Yeomen of the Guard uniform.
Sgt John Pearce’s appeal in Sue Cook’s column in The Sun for colleagues who served with him in Fontainebleau was seen by one of our members and followed up. John was a Radio Fitter in the Commcentre from Sept. 54 until April 57. No-one else has replied to his appeal. He now lives in Kent with his wife Elsie.
SAC Gordon Lawrie made contact when he saw the notice of our trip to Fontainebleau in RAF News. Gordon worked in the National M T Section from April 57 until July 59. While in Fontainebleau he met Irene who he married. The couple now live in the South of France. Gordon will meet up with the coach party in Fontainebleau and will also be with us at the Leamington Spa Reunion in October.
Cpl Audrey Jones nee Britten arrived at AFCENT in Sept 59 She worked in Cour Henri until Aug 1961. Whilst at AFCENT Audrey met RTO John Jones (RN) serving with NAVCENT and they were married at the British Embassy in Paris in March 1961. John and Audrey are now living in Preston, Lancs
Cpl Doug Chennell who arrived in Fontainebleau in Oct 59 replaced Audrey Jones in 1961 when he was promoted to Cpl. Doug left Fontainebleau in May 62 and now lives with his wife Barbara in Spencers Wood near Reading.
SAC Bill Bloy spent almost 3 years at AAFCE from Dec 54 until Sep 57. Bill was an Airframe Fitter at Melun Airfield and now resides with his wife Susan in Chichester, West Sussex.
Sgt Peter Fryer was traced through the Daily Mail. Dave Bennett wrote to the paper’s Lost and Found Column who succeeding in tracing Peter living with his wife Ruth near Alton in Hampshire. Peter was chauffeur to the Commander, Sir George Mills between Jan 56 and Mar 59. After leaving the RAF in 1961 Peter could not settle to civilian life and he spent the next 17 years as a driving instructor for the REME at Bordon . After teaching in the classroom he moved into management. Peter retired in 1994 and he and Ruth enjoy caravaning.
SAC Vivian Hill was one of that rare breed of National Servicemen selected to serve at AAFCE. He arrived in Feb 55 and left in June 56 after serving in the Orderly Room of the RAF Support Group. He is presently living with his wife Christine in the Vale of Glamorgan.
SAC Terry Vine was traced thanks to Brian Gibbons determined efforts over the last couple of years. Terry worked in the Education Office at Fontainebleau from Aug 58 to Jan 60. He now lives with Victoria in Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset. His work takes him to the Florida Keys for 6 months of the year.
SAC Barry Croad is our first member from the Isle of Wight and is one of the last to serve on the Base at Fontainebleau. He worked in the MT Section from Jan 64 until Nov 66.
LAC Tony Wallis was one of the first to serve at Fontainebleau in the Communications Dept. he arrived in Apr 51 and left in Oct 53. Tony lives in Canada.
Steve Tait who was in Fontainebleau with his father, the late Fight Sgt “Jock Tait” agreed to join the “Association. He has been out of touch recently due to illness ~ his details will follow.
There are quite a number of others who were sent details of our “Association” who have not sent in their details before going to press.
LAC Tony Jones worked in the Base Commander’s Office from Jan 57 until Aug 58 and lives with his wife Valerie in Eastleigh, Hampshire.
OUR READERS ASK
Doug Chennell wishes to know if anyone remembers who painted the mural in the Airmens’ mess in the early 1960s?
Doug Chennell asks if any of our members were in the Guard of Honour in the Moulin Rouge c1960 on the day of the London-Paris Air Race, won by Mike Lithgow in a Swift? Among the guests were Madame Bleriot and the British Ambassador. After the formal ceremony the Guard was treated to a meal and free entry to the show.
Thanks to all those who replied to the query re the Station Sick Quarters.
Courtesy Mick Capon I have a few copies of the Souvenir Edition MPH Club Bulletin No. 8 dated 11 July 1959. It is an interesting and amusing publication. If anyone wishes to see one on a “read and return” basis please let me know.
Blazer badges, enamel lapel badges and ties remain in stock. If anyone wishes to purchase any of these special AAFCE items which are reasonably priced please let me know.
Have any of you suggestions for other items we might introduce and which bear the AAFCE Motif
Below is the Menu for the Airmen’s Mess on Christmas Day 1954. The Menu from which this was copied is signed on the back by B E Spencer, R J C Gutteridge (C of E Padre), Thomas D Glasgow (The Third and Last Noel), Ian, M Galloway, Diane Lewis and W E Butler
CORNFLAKES – GRAPEFRUIT
FRIED EGG TOMATOES
TEA OR COFFEE
BREAD BUTTER and MARMALADE
COLD BUFFET TEA
COLD ROAST PORK
MACEDOINE OF VEGETABLES
FRUIT and NUTS
TEA and COFFEE
ROAST PORK with APPLE SAUCE
CHRISTMAS PUDDING with RUM SAUCE
HOT MINCE PIES
FRESH FRUIT and NUTS
BEER MINERALS CIGARETTES
Here is an edited E mail received from Alan Lake on 26 May
“At last! I finally met Tony Wallis on. He rang from Toronto to say he was coming over for the Cup Final, and would take in a trip to see me. Apparently, he bought a package trip for about £700 which consisted of a ticket for the Cup final, four nights hotel in London, a ticket for the European Cup and two nights hotel in Paris. Like me, he was disappointed with Villa's performance.
He rang on Thursday to say he was on his way from Bristol, and that he expected to be with us in about an hour and a half. Although he made the same trip last year, he got lost, went to the police station for directions and finished up going next door. Still, it was great to see him again. We worked it out that the last time we met was back in 1963, just before I moved to Devon and a year before he emigrated to work in Canada. We popped to our local for a nice meal and a glass of cider (he doesn't drink these days). I showed him the photographs from the reunion, but the only people he recognised were Davy Allan and his wife who he remembered waiting in the NAAFI queues!”