ISSUE  No  18

April  2001



20 discoveries in 2001




Fontainebleau Coach Trip




October Reunion




New Year Greetings

From Camp Guynemer






Late signings

Stan Bone

Monique Matthews

Jim Gunn

Don Draper

(details in the next Issue)






A number of initiatives were taken to enlarge our membership. These have resulted in the discovery of 19 Vets in 2001.  Details of those who have signed up are given on pages 2 and 3


The editor of the RAF Police magazine kindly inserted a notice prominently in GRIFF.


The RAFA Amsterdam Branch has an active membership and our Association was publicised in their last bulletin. 


I subscribed to the Forces network Newsletter which is published fortnightly and arrives automatically by e~mail to anyone who subscribes.  The editor will take copy from any subscriber. Details of our coach trip and reunion were included in a recent edition.  Subscription is free and I will give details to anyone wishing to subscribe. 


There are a number of Websites, ~ The British Legion is an example where we have published our activities. 


Dave Bennett concentrates on putting notices in various magazines ~ these have brought remarkable results.


Our North American Members were asked to ascertain contact addresses for ex USAF and ex RCAF Associations so we may target them to expand our membership.





Bookings have now almost reached the maximum that can be accommodated for the Dinner.  If you have not booked and wish to attend you are advised to ring the Courtyard (01926 425522) quickly.  Be sure to mention that you are in the Fontainebleau party. Please inform me when you have booked


A raffle will be held, the proceeds from which will be credited to the General Fund.  If you have a small prize that could be donated please bring it along.


The notice in the RAF Police Magazine caught the eye of Flight Sgt Reginald Wheeler.  Reginald was a member of the AIRCENT Police team between Apr 1961 and Nov 1963. On completion of 22 years service he left the service and after a short period on security at Selfridges he bought a Newsagents which he ran for over 20 years with his wife Joy.  Reginald and Joy now live in Colchester.



Sgt Peter Wright, pictured, was responsible for RAF pay at Fontainebleau from Mar 1964 until Sept 1966. In 1973 and 1974 George was attached to the British Embassy in Paris. How lucky can you be !!! He served in the RAF until 1990, the last 16 years as a Warrant Officer. He now “crunches numbers” at Dixon’s Garage in Grimsby where he lives with his wife Pat.  George’s main claims to fame are that he laid a wreath at the Flame Rekindling at the Arc and that he paid Charley Collyer’s pension.  George found us through a neighbour 3 doors away who was introduced by George Brown.


Squadron Leader Ray Johnston joined the RAF in May 1937 as an A.C.2 u/t Fitters Mate.  During the War he served as a Flight Rigger and Metal Rigger rising gradually from the ranks to take a commission.  After the War Ray transferred to MT and in Dec 1964 as a Sqn Ldr was posted to Fontainebleau with special responsibility for merging AIRCENT, AFCENT and LANDCENT into one HQ for the move to Brunssun in the Netherlands where they set up “shop” in a working coal  mine.  Ray now lives in Peterborough


Cpl Bill Halford, pictured, from Southampton saw the notice in GRIFF (The RAF Police Journal). He served in the AIRCENT Police during 1954 ~ 1956.  Some of his time there was spent in the French hospital.  After Fontainebleau he was posted to Chequers and after demob spent 19 years in a local shipyard, 4 years for Union Carbide and 12 years with the UK arm of an American Company which gave him an opportunity to travel the world. He still lives in his native Southampton with his wife Susan.  


Cpl Norman Furness, introduced by George Brown was a member of the AIRCENT Police Team from Mar 64 until Mar 67.  Norman lives in Bridlington, East Yorkshire with his wife Brenda and is still working as Sales Manager at the local Main Vauxhall dealer.  His 2 children from his first marriage live in New Zealand.


Brian Moulding, a native of Preston, who met up with the party in Fontainebleau last September served in the MT Section during 1954 – 56.  He is still a resident of Fontainebleau.  He is pictured right during our visit to Camp Guynemer last autumn.


Sgt Roy Thomas, MBE arrived at Fontainebleau in June 56 and spent exactly 3 years in ACOS Operations.  Having completed 29 years in the RAF he retired in 1970 with the rank of Warrant Officer.  After joining the Midland Bank’s Tottenham Court Road Branch Roy was transferred to open a new Bank at Gatwick Airport in 1975 and he remained there until his retirement in 1984 when he moved his home from Haywards Heath to his present residence in Beaminster, Dorset where he lives with his wife Evelyn.   Roy responded to Dave Bennett’s notice in Yours magazine.




SAC Peter Argent is another one who saw Dave Bennett’s notice in Yours magazine and contacted us.  Peter arrived in Fontainebleau in April 1952 and worked in the Equipment Section.  After leaving the RAF Peter worked for the Port of London Authority and after 30 years there joined the Ministry of Defence.  Now retired he spends as much time as possible on his boat.  Last year he attended the Dunkirk evacuation celebrations with the Royal Temple Yacht Club.  Peter who lives with his wife Elaine in Bexleyheath will join the September "pilgrimage" to Fontainebleau

Cpl George Stewart, introduced by George Brown, was an MT Fitter in the National MT Section from Jan 64 until Jul 66.  George left the RAF in 1991 with the rank of Warrant Officer after 37 years service.  George who lives in Grimsby with his wife Janis has been a part time Lecturer in Occupational Health and Safety at Grimsby College since 1992.



Cpl Brian Eastwood worked in the Station Sick Quarters as a Nursing Attendant from Nov 59 until May 62.  Having seen service in Aden, The Canal

Zone and Malta Brian left the RAF in 1977 and spent the next 10 years as Personnel and Training Officer with the N C B,  Married to Jean who was a Corporal in the WRAF he now lives in Barnsley.



We were all shocked to hear that John Aylward was admitted to hospital last month when a growth in his mouth was discovered.  John underwent major head and neck surgery but after he came round he was bright and cheerful in the face of adversity.  By the third day he was organising the Medics and has made a remarkable recovery due to his positive and determined approach. 


John writes  : ”Thank you all for your thoughts, best wishes and prayers.  I am so glad to have all the AAFCE Vets at my side.  May I take this opportunity to wish you and your loved ones all that is good.  So as the man who jumped off the Empire State Building said as he passed the 25th floor ~ So far so good” 


We all wish you well John and hope to see you at the October Reunion when no doubt you will be the life and soul of the party.


Audrey Britten who was a corporal in the WRAF and Leading Radio Operator John Jones (RN) met while they were serving in Fontainebleau.  They were married at the British Embassy in Paris in 1961 and in March this year celebrate their Ruby Wedding Anniversary.  Congratulations to you both.  I hope John is taking you somewhere nice Audrey.


Brian and Claudine Gibbons also celebrate their Ruby Wedding Anniversary this year.  Brian met Claudine, a local girl, while he was stationed at Fontainebleau


Our best wishes go to Les and Jean Goddard who both retired at the end of February.


Dickie Rogers is due to enter dry-dock in September for routine maintenance.  Knowing Dickie I am sure he will enjoy the attention that the nurses bestow on him.


During a short visit to Portugal in February Peter and Ruth Fryer made a surprise call on Peter and Ellie Taylor who were on vacation there from Canada.  Although they served at AAFCE at different times they had a lot in common and got on like a house on fire.  It was thoughtful of Peter to give me his holiday address before he embarked on his trip, and it proved worthwhile.

AVON YESTERDAY AND TODAY                                  from Mike Capon


The name Avon originates from the Celtic word "avo" meaning water , which testifies its remote  past.                                                                                                                                        

The town harbors many prestigious places such as le Prieure des Basses Loges (where Gurdjieff and Kaytherin Mansfield used to stay), le Couvent des Carmes, le domaine de Bel Ebat, melting pot for   French music, and especially the eleventh century church Saint-Pierre which stayed Royal Parish unti1 1661.         

Let's not forget the railway viaduct built in 1847 and inaugurated by Napoleon m in 1852.                                                                                                                                                               

Since then, the town has developed into a modern city while preserving its peaceful surroundings and its architectural heritage.                                                                                         


Based on initial indications that all 49 seats on the coach would be taken we went ahead and made a booking with Palmers Travel. However, for a number of perfectly valid reasons, some fell by the wayside and at the time of going to press deposits have been received for only 35 seats with another 3 -in the post-. This exceeds the minimum required to make the trip viable..

Palmers Travel our Tour Operator has advised that West Kingsdown Coach Hire, whose coaches they have used over the past seven years, ceased trading at the end of last year. The Kings Ferry Coach Company will provide coaches for their 2001 programme. They are the premier coach company in Kent and have won many awards within the industry for excellence. However it uncertain at this juncture if Bob will be our driver this year.

Charley Collyer will be on hand to greet us in Fontainebleau. Gordon Lawrie and Brian Moulding will meet with us. Agreement has been obtained to visit Camp Guynemer , Chataux Quartier and Cour Henri IV. In respect of the last site the Director has written In French advising that the building is unsafe for the general public, but we will be able to walk in the gardens.

If anyone is having second thoughts and wishes to come along please let me know. Our Executive luxury coach leaves on Thurs 13 Sept and returns on Tues 18 Sept. There will be embark1tion points in London, Sevenoaks and Dover before boarding the ferry. Palmers have offered free car parking in their compound at West Kingsdown. We will stay at the IBIS Hotel in Melun on a bed and buffet breakfast basis. Saturday will be spent in Paris ahead of the Parade at the Arc de Triomphe at 1800 hours. The cost is £200 per person including all travel and accommodation costs at Melun.

As the itinerary develops details will be circulated to those in the party. Meanwhile please give. me any suggestions of any places of interest to visit .


There are only a few seats remaining for the Reunion Dinner at the Courtyard, Leamington Spa on Saturday 20 October. If you intend to join the party please make your booking now with the hotel.



 Many of you disappear for long periods especially in the winter. Could I ask that you let me know if

    you expect to be away from home for more than a couple of weeks. Some of the newsletters sent out last November and other circulars are stuck mid-circuit which means that by the time those at the end of the list see them the news will be stale.




“Sadly, the passing of another AFFCE veteran has to be reported. Chief Technician Bert Ellis died in Capetown on 18th January at the age of 83. Bert was in charge of the MT workshops in the International Motor Pool. One of his passions while he was at Fontainebleau was sailing with the AIRCENT sailing club on the Seine. After leaving the RAF he settled in Capetown with his wife, Rosalyn who survives him."




This amusing piece for the over 60s reached me via Morris Watt


You were born before television, before penicillin, 'flu shots, frozen foods, Xerox, contact lenses, videos, frisbees and the Pill. You lived before. radar, credit cards, split atoms, laser beams and ball-point pens, before. automatic dishwashers, tumble. dryers, electric blankets, air-conditioners drip-dry clothes and before man walked on the moon.


You got married first and then lived together; how quaint can you be.? You thought that fast food was what you ate during Lent. A Big Mac was an over-sized raincoat, and crumpet you had for tea. You existed before. house-husbands, computer dating, dual careers, when meaningful relationships meant getting along with your cousins, and sheltered accommodation was where. you waited for a bus.


You were before day-care centres, group homes and disposable. nappies. You had never heard of FM radio, tape decks, electronic typewriters, artificial hearts, liver transplants, word processors, microwave ovens or young men wearing earrings. For you time. sharing meant togetherness, a chip was a piece of wood or a fried potato, hardware meant nuts and bolts and software. wasn't a word,


Before 1948, made in Japan meant junk; the term making out referred to how you fared in your exams; a stud was something that fastened Q loose collar to a shirt, and going all the way meant staying on a double-decker bus to the. terminus. Pizzas, MacDonald's and instant coffee and tea were unheard of. In your day cigarette. smoking was fashionable, grass was mown, coke was kept in the coal-bunker , a joint was a piece of meat that you had for dinner' on Sundays, and pot was something that you cooked meals in.


Rock music was a Grandmother's lullaby, El Dorado was an ice.-cream, a gay person was the. life and soul of the party and nothing more. Drag meant pulling or heaving something heavy across the. ground, and aids just meant beauty treatment or help for someone in trouble.


You, who were born before 1940 must be a hardy bunch, when you think of the ways in which the world has changed and the adjustments you have. had to make.. Small wonder that you are confused and that there is a generation gap !!!




Has anyone kept a blue ration card we needed to purchase cigarettes and tobacco? If so could I borrow it to take a copy?