Editorial (Newsletter No. 31) October 2004
Two milestones were passed since I last wrote. Firstly our dear friend Charley Collyer sadly passed away on 7 September ~ see the Obituary on our New site, (as this is being re uploaded it may take some time)
Members are invited to send in their personal tributes and stories about this remarkable policeman for publication in the next Newsletter. Secondly the Association now has its own web site.
You can read more about this below.
The turn out of 75 for our Seventh Annual Reunion Dinner is not quite as high as we expected. Unfortunately three couples have pulled out due to illness. Nevertheless we are looking forward to great weekend of fellowship. Among items on the Agenda for discussion is to explore the possibility of a coach trip to Fontainebleau in September 2005.
FONTAINEBLEAU VETS WEBSITE
Thanks to the efforts of Dave Bloomfield our Website is posted on the Internet. You can visit it on http://www.fontainebleauveteransassociation.co.uk where you will be able to read the Newsletters 30 and 31. When time permits it is hoped to post all the back numbers on to the site. You could of course invest £3.00 to obtain a full set of Newsletters from the editor. There is a Members Gallery where you are invited to post your details. This can be done through the Editor – David Rogerson who will clear the entry and forward it to our Webmaster, Dave Bloomfield. For security reasons no home addresses or telephone numbers are included. So come on guys let me have your details for posting on the site.
The Pilot, Flt. Lt Noel Stokes aged 25 a New Zealander, and Sgt Norman Wilding, Air Gunner from Gloucester aged just 19 both died in the crash and were buried in Communal Cemetery in Yvres. A stained glass widow was erected in the church to commemorate the bravery of these airmen. The RAF Element at Fontainebleau attended a Church Parade there every year and Yvres was a regular away game on the RAF’s Football XI’s Fixture List. After the match there was a reception with plenty of drink and eats laid on. The local lasses turned out in their best frocks and we usually wended our way back to camp on the RAF bus long after dark. A visit to this village will be included in our itinerary for our trip to France in 2005 and the mayor will be notified in advance.
Cpl Bill Frindall was a Clerk Progress in the AAFCE International Motor Pool from March 1962 until November 1963 when he left Fontainebleau to be commissioned.
Dubbed `The Bearded Wonder' by the
late Brian Johnston, Bill is the BBC's scorer and statistician, and the
longest-serving member of Radio's Test Match Special (TMS) commentary team
having made his debut in 1966.
He is the author/compiler/editor of a number of publications including the Playfair Cricket Annual (19 editions), The Wisden Book of Test Cricket (five editions), The Wisden Book of Cricket Records (four editions), Guinness Cricket Facts and Feats (four editions), England Test Cricketers, The Playfair Cricket World Cup Guide (two editions), Ten Tests for England, Gooch's Golden Summer, A Tale of Two Captains and Limited-Overs International Cricket (two editions). Contributor to many other titles, he was responsible for the Cricket Records section of 22 editions of the Wisden Cricketers' Almanack and 17 of The Guinness Book of Records. He is cricket statistician to The Times and cricket archivist to the late Sir Paul Getty's Estate. His memoirs will be published in 2006 to celebrate his 40 years with TMS.
The first President of British Blind Sport (BBS) from 1984 until 2004, he attended the Tri-nation Blind Cricket Tournament at Brisbane in April 2000.
Bill was "The Association of Cricket Statisticians and Historians" "Statistician of the Year" 1996. and was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Technology for his contribution to the field of statistics by Staffordshire University 1998. He was appointed MBE for services to Cricket and Broadcasting in the 2004 Birthday Honours.
A professional speaker since 1968, he specialises in anecdotes from the TMS commentary box and impressions of its occupants, past and present.
Bill lives in a Wiltshire village near Devizes with his wife Debbie, eight-year-old daughter, Alice Katharine, and a hat trick of cats.
March 1962 - The British Antarctic Territory is created
AC1 John Doody arrived at AAFCE, Fontainebleau in August 1952 and left in August 1954. John is still working running his own jewellery sales business. He lives in Birmingham with his wife Olive and they have 2 adult children. John names playing poker among his leisure pursuits.
August 1952 - A British Canberra Bomber broke all records when it made the first transatlantic trip in a single day at an average speed of 531mph
Cpl Roy Francis introduced by Stan Roberts was at Fontainebleau in July 1951 until June 1953 where he was Air Marshall Sir Thomas Pike’s personal driver; a position which he had held since 1949. He followed the Air Marshall on various postings until he retired 1963 when Roy transferred to DCAS followed by a 2 year spell in Cyprus driving the C-in-C NEAF where he was promoted to Flight Sergeant. After Cyprus Roy rejoined normal MT duties at St. Athan where he qualified as a driving examiner. On promotion to Warrant Officer he had spells at Manby, Changi, Wittering and Henlow before selection for C I O duties at Swansea. Roy’s final 2 years in the RAF were spent at Carlilse. He retired aged 55 years after 37 years in the service. After the RAF Roy worked for the Ribble Bus Company where he worked until reaching the age of 77 in 2000. Among his past-times Roy names DIY, gardening, and fell walking. Roy’s first wife passed away and he has since remarried and lives with Laura on the outskirts of the “Auld Grey Town” of Kendal in a beautiful part of the Lake District.
July 1951 - The Hawker Hunter Jet makes its maiden flight
Sgt Stan Roberts served at Fontainebleau from March 1959 until March 1961 as Personal Chef to A.C.M. Sir Harry Broadhurst at his residence at Hotel Bellune. After Fontainebleau Stan was posted to the residence of the CAS, in Hyde Park Gate in March 1961, as Personal Chef and House Sergeant responsible, for the day to day running of the residence and supervision of the staff travelling considerably with the CAS as his retinue to be on hand for duty. He enjoyed trips to USA, Canada, Norway and a Round the World tour, Many dignitaries came to the residence over the eighteen months he was there.
In 1962 Stan requested to be released and joined ACM Sir Dennis and Lady Barnett in Cyprus, that was a most enjoyable tour with , many trips including Pakistan on official visits. Many Royal visitors including Lord Mountbatten kept Stan fully occupied until he returned to the UK in 1965 with a posting to RAF Mountbatten i/c the Officers’ Mess until promoted to Flight Sergeant and hence to RAF Northwood for his final three years in the Service i/c the Royal team of Chefs for Royal visits to Coastal Command Stations including the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, Princess Margaret etc. Stan retired from the RAF in 1968 at the optional age of 40. Since then Stan has had many managerial appointments in the catering business in the UK and Australia before finally retiring in 1987 from his exciting working life of long hours, hard work and lots of foreign travel.
Stan lives in Shawbury, Shropshire and works at weekends in Air Traffic Control at small airfields nearby.
March 1961 - British Comedian and Film Star George Formby dies
LAC Brian MacNamara arrived at AAFCE in September 1955 as Teleprinter Operator in the Communications Centre and left in March 1958. Brian remembers Bill Evans who was later a conductor on a London Transport No. 35 bus. Brian also recalls Phillip Morton a room-mate at Fontainebleau.
After Brian left the RAF in 1958 he had various jobs but was unsettled to the extent that he nearly re-enlisted. In 1964 he joined the then Southend-on-Sea, Borough Police Force spending all his time all his time in Uniform with no inclination to go into CID. Due to Government reorganization the Force was amalgamated with the Essex Constabulary, now Essex Police. As it was a small but very effective force it had to be merged as did so many other forces.
Early retirement at the age of 49, due to injuries received a few years earlier, came in 1985 after 21 years in the Force, For the next 5 years Brian worked part time with a firm that sold wheelchairs.
Brain’s son is a senior NCO (WO.2) in the Royal Tank Regiment and was one of the first of the British Troops over the border when Iraq war started. Fortunately he is now back in the UK with his family on a permanent posting. Brian also has a daughter. His time is taken up with family matters and getting out and about as much as possible travelling to see the family in Canada and around this country. Brian now lives with his wife Sonia in Rayleigh, Essex.
September 1955 - A Force of British Commandos is sent to Cyprus amid mounting tension
Cpl John Yeo was a Medic in the British Wing of Fontainebleau Hospital from November 1960 until November 1962. After postings to RAF Valley, Bahrain, Ely, Valley again, Andover, Decimananer, and Wroughton Hospital he left the RAF in 1977 after 25 years service and settled in the lovely village of Wroughton in Wiltshire and found work as Lab. Technician with Roussel, a Pharmaceutical Company, where he spent 16 years before retiring on medical grounds in 1993 since when he has been a gentleman of leisure.
November 1960 - Nigeria, Britain's largest colony becomes an independent state
From the Postbag
During a conversation between two
"inmates" in Fontainebleau during the early 50's one asked "do
you know of a good restaurant in Paris where I can take my wife for a meal as
we are going to Paris for the day tomorrow?”. The answer came back "Well
if you go up the Champs to the TWA (Trans World Airways) office and turn left
down the side street you will find a door about 50 yards down on the left
hand side above which is a sign "Restraunt" “Good we will give it a
try - thanks.”
CHILDHOOD MEMORIES OF WWII
During the war of 39 to 45 we kids
were taught to hate the Germans. We were told that they ate babies and killed
little children for sport. It's strange isn't it that the German kids were
told the same thing about the British. However, this incident that happened
to me towards the latter part of the war, left me with a very vivid thought
on the meaning of 'Man’s Inhumanity to Man' especially in times of war
I did know that Hamburg was a place in Germany that was bombed by the RAF on frequent occasions and Mrs Thompson who lived in the next street had lost her son Ralph on a bombing raid earlier in the war near there, but its strategic importance was a source of mystery to me and I would venture to say, to many other children also, anyhow! They were Jerries weren't they? …..and we had been given the idea that they were all bad people.
During weekends early evening and school holidays we kids used to go to the end of our street and sit on a low wall and watch as our army convoys trundled past, or RAF 'Queen Mary' lorries with damaged aircraft would go past from the airfields some miles along the road. Also quite often we would see German prisoners of war being marched to the POW Camp, two and a half Miles from where we lived.
One day, it was late September 1944, a
group of nine German prisoners were being marched
As the POWs were all seated on the same low wall that we were sitting on, but a little further away, we decided it was time for us to get a better look at these “Baby Eaters” and see if they did have “Square Heads” (another piece of ridiculous rubbish that we had been brainwashed with). I must state here, that as a boy I was blue-eyed and very blonde, it was in my teens that my hair turned dark, now it's just grey. One of the German prisoners spoke to me in very good English, “How old are you boy?" He asked, "Nearly eleven sir" I replied, we were always told to be polite no matter to whom, when, or where. "I had a son just like you, at my home in Hamburg." He turned away, and as he did so, one of the other prisoners put an arm around his shoulders and I could see that the man was very upset.
The British Army sergeant came up to us and quietly told us to go away which we did. When I walked in to my home, I told my Mother and Dad what had happened and I got a clout around the ears for talking to a “Jerry.” And my “thruppence” a week pocket money was stopped. I had committed the unforgivable sin of speaking to a German prisoner of war. After the war had ended I saw photographs of the results of the conflagration of Hamburg and realised what that poor wretched man had said and why he was so upset, and strange as it may seem I still, to this day, in my seventies, get choked with emotion when I recall. “I had a son just like you at my home in Hamburg”, words uttered by one of my country's then, enemies.
I also often wonder if that poor German prisoner of war, way back in late 1944, made it back to Germany after the conflict was over and rebuilt his shattered life.
Ken Harriman ~ (Wigston Magna, Leics.)
Here in Canada and have so far visited
Toronto and Ottawa and now here at Niagara Falls. Everything has changed so
much since my last visit 44 years ago and not for the better. Will go north
in a few days time to visit Ellie, Peter Taylor’s wife. We met up with them
in Portugal last March.
MEMORIES OF FONTAINEBLEAU.
I arrived in late August or early September 1962 having just returned from a Bomber Command Climbing expedition to East Africa I travelled from London with a WRAF called Francis, I remember she came from Southend-on-Sea. During the first few months we became good friends., but it didn't last. I was an LAC and for the first few months I worked on the busses, collecting English children to and from school. My driver was Dave Adams. I then took a trade test and eventually became a SAC Clerk GD. I spent the rest of my time working in the Central Registry with a Cpl Cole and SAC Brasley. I used to spend most of my spare time climbing. I joined the Paris Chamonix section of the French Alpine Club. One of my regular Wednesday afternoon and week-end climbing partners was a French Army Colonel with the name of Maravell. I have since met him at his home in Barbizon, he is now retired but reached the rank of General. I also spent a lot of time climbing with a French lady called Denise Escand. She was perhaps one of the world’s best female Climbers/Mountaineers and went on to lead many International Expeditions.
My wife and family have since spent many happy hours with her, both in Paris and at her summer home in Chamonix. Unfortunately she passed on last year. I also did a lot of skiing, entering the RAF Germany ski championships representing HQ AAFCE in 1964 and 1965; 2nd overall was my best. I played a bit of Rugby and enjoyed Motor Racing. I remember going to the LeMans 24 hr race at Spa for the Belgian Grand Prix and Monthery in Paris and with a Jun. Tech Bob Ludgate in an old Lancia Arullia B20. What a car. Some other names which come to mind are Graham and Ann Cox. He was a Cpl in the RAF Police and she was a teacher at the English school. They took me out for a meal on my 21st birthday, I recall. I think they came from the York area. Sgt. Doug Armour who worked in the Dental Surgery; the last time I heard of him was in Bristol. Cpl Foley who ran the bedding store, LAC Taff Jones who must have been 60 if he was a day and the only work I ever saw him do was wash and iron the rugby kit. WO Watkins, a Welsh Man who loved his rugby and of course ACM Sir Paddy Bandon.
Two other items which come to mind, under the "I want 6 volunteers! You, You and You four. On the few occasions I was caught, I remember one was to carry the coffin of Yeo Thomas ( The White Rabbit) a very famous War time Agent in Paris And the second was to form a Guard of Honour at the Palais de Chaillot for the world premier of the film Le Jour a Plus Longue. (The Longest Day). I left Fontainebleau in March 1965 and was posted to RAP Valley on full time Mountain Rescue Duties. I was demobbed in 1966 having completed my 5 years service.
Since finding out about the
Association many memories have come back. Other members who may remember me
are Lawrie Page, Ron Sperring, Colin Maclean, Tony Almond and the late Dave
Adams. I hope to meet some of them at the reunion. Remember the jambons from
the Hotel round the corner? They were to die for. I will say that the three
and a half years I spent at Fontainebleau gave me a deep love for France and
the French People. I still have my Certificate and the booklet which was
given to al1 new arrivals, unfortunately I don't have any photographs.
In May Brian
retired after 40 years of loyal service at Roy O'Brien Ford. Below is
When he visited the new car showroom
at Roy O'Brien, Inc., back in November 1965, the management there immediately
recognized Brian Taylor-Williams as a potential salesperson. After nearly
forty years of continuous employment at Nine Mile and Mack, that prophecy has
proven most astute.
Dickie and Shirley Rogers are off in November for a holiday in New Zealand.
John and Barbara Higgs celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary in September
John Day and Gwenda moved to Angmering, West Sussex. Unfortunately during the move Johnnie injured his back which required treatment in hospital as an out patient.
Bob Drewett is recovering from a period in hospital after he went down with a chest infection and serious heart condition.
Brian Moulding recently had surgery to repair a double hernia.
Jean Goddard was admitted to hospital for treatment to her neck.
Barbara Chennell is recovering from a hip replacement operation and will not be fit in time to attend the Warwick Reunion.
Alma Kemp is having treatment for an eye problem and had to pull out of Warwick.
Peter Taylor has relocated from Canada to the UK and is living in Weston-super-Mare
Brian Gibbons, Les Hills and Ron Pole met up at the Weymouth Veterans Service & Parade. They met a French Eurocrat & his wife (on a walking holiday from Brussels). He serves on one of these “think-tanks” & was certainly interested in our views on Europe……..especially Ron’s, as he had been both at Dunkirk and the Normandy landings !!! They told him of the good times they had at AAFCE when they were younger…………they all loved the food, the wine, the relaxed way of life, the sunshine and the women………it’s just the men that they are not so keen on !!!
We wish all those on the sick report and injury list a speedy and full recovery.
IN MEMORY OF CHARLES COLLYER MBE ~ Flight Sergeant RAF (Retired) ~ A TRIBUTE
Who do we
think of when talk is of gentlemen?
Who stood on
ceremony straight and so upright?
Who lent an
ear when things weren't right
Who guided us
through our early service days?
Who helped the
married find a home to rent?
Who spent his
RAF career a trusted faithful cop
would you recall with this bold description?
Terry Bryant (Cpl RAF Police Retired)
RAF WEST KIRBY ASSOCIATION
Having done his basic training at West Kirby, Bob James attended last April’s reunion of RAF West Kirby Association (est.2001) when a Memorial Plaque at the entrance of the old camp was unveiled by the Deputy Mayor. The RAF was represented by Squadron Leader Andy Bolt and the memorial was blessed by the Rev. John Bates. The final icing on the cake was a fly past by the University Air Squadron who gave two sweeps over the assembled crowd, dipping their wings as they did so. Money for the Memorial Plaque was raised by generous donations, including one from the local mayor.
If anyone would like any further information about the West Kirby Association please contact Mr Cliff East on 01509 414303
THE SIMPSON DIARIES
A further extract from Brian’s Diary makes a welcome return to our pages. Here Brian records his Christmas Day on the camp in 1953.
25 December 1953
0001------ Having recovered from both the Logistics party (exercise self-support) and a last minute half day shopping trip to Paris dozed on the AAFCE bus between the station and the camp.
0015------ Half an hour reading late arriving Christmas cards before falling into bed.
0730------ Woken by three sergeants bearing rum and tea rather than three kings bearing gifts.
0745------ Despite the rum managed to fall out of bed and get dressed.
0830------ Outstanding breakfast on grapefruit, TWO eggs and bacon, toast and marmalade and tea.
0900-1245------ 'Christmas Resting' in room with wireless tuned to BBC. Delighted to receive Christmas parcel containing Colonel Hunt's book 'Ascent of Everest'
1300------The 'Big Event' - Christmas Dinner, a very fine one, served by the officers and senior NCOs of the RAF and Royal Signals. Sir Basil had a word with me and I was pleased to allow Flt. Lt. Strange to clear my dirty plates. Each diner was provided with two bottles of beer and a packet of cigarettes. I managed to scrounge two helpings of both the soup and main course.
1430-1700------ After all that excitement and heavy eating lazed around in room 111 with the BBC in the background.
1715------ Recovered sufficiently to do justice to a splendid tea with many unusual delicacies in unprecedented quantities
1800-1915------ Back to room and BBC.
1930-2200------ With LAC Kingdom went to club and on to cinema to see Hans Christian Andersen.
2230------ Finished the day in room 111 with Kingdom and Christmas cake.
(The weather that day was 'cold and wet', which might explain why so much time was spent in room 111 (not 101!) rather than walking off all that food!).
You will note from the Financial Statement that there are still a few blazer badges and ties in stock. There are plenty of tablemats, coasters and computer mouse-mats available. All items will be on sale at the Reunion. A CD ROM of all the Newsletters 1 – 31 can be made to order for the bargain price of £3.00.
We are keeping our head above water. The cash balance is marginally higher than 12 months ago and will be enhanced by the proceeds from the raffle at the Reunion. There is no need to make a further call on the members for subscriptions in the foreseeable future.
Ken Harriman has submitted a collection of his poems one of which is printed below.
We are always looking for ways to increase the membership and Mike Capon has suggested that some members who served in the Police in civvy street may have contacts in the service that may have access to registers etc which may lead us to erstwhile colleagues and friends from our service careers.