No. 34) July 2005
It will not be long before we meet up again
at Warwick for what promises to be a great Reunion and Dinner. Unfortunately it
was necessary to cancel our trip to Fontainebleau in September because of
insufficient support. However a firm booking has been made for September 2006.
If you wish to join us put your name down early. Details of both these events
appear later in this issue.
Peter D Williams
(RASC) was introduced by Tim and Linda Hunt. Peter arrived in June 1961 to
work in the Orderly Room at BACSU (HQ LANDCENT, Quartier Chateau) before
transferring the following August to the Intelligence Division at HQ AFCENT
In Cour Henri IV. He then moved to Camp Guynemer (Staff Duty NCO in Building
2, AG Div, HQ AFCENT). In December 1964 Peter left for Sandhurst at which
time he had married and had 2 sons. In January 1968 he returned to HQ AFCENT
which had relocated to Brunssum, The Netherlands. Promoted to Sergeant he
worked in the Petroleum Branch and on further promotion in the Cosmic
Registry. In July 1971 Peter purchased his discharge from the Army and took
up a position in the Language Services, HQ AFCENT as NATO civilian translator
reporting to Bill Payne a wartime RAF Flight Sergeant. Bill's brother who
served in the Army at Fontainebleau in the mid 1950s later ran a bar in
Pigalle. In December 1986 Peter became TA Press Officer and saw active
service in the 1990/91 Gulf War and twice in Bosnia 1994 and 1996. Retiring
from NATO at the end of 1997 and from the TA in July 2001, with the rank of
Major, Peter and his wife Gill settled in Sticklepath, Devon where he is busy
with voluntary work for the Parish Council, Village Hall and Dartmoor
Conservation. He is the secretary of the local Royal British Legion. Both
sons are married one lives in Paris and the other in Bilbao.
Sgt Jess Weir (Royal Signals) was posted to the SHAPE Commcentre in March 1951 and remained there until July 1953 to take up duties in the War Office in Whitehall but remained there for only one year when he was off to Boddington near Cheltenham for the opening the Army’s biggest Commcentre ~ later to become RAF Boddington on the rationalisation of our Defence Communications. Whilst Jess was at Boddington his 8 year commitment came to an end. He accepted the £150 Bounty offered to extend his Army career. Jess went on to complete 40 years seeing service in Singapore, Malaysia, Germany, MOD London Communications have been Jess’s working life and he is still an active ham ~ Call Sign G4GJX. Jess is an active member of the Royal British Legion in Poole where he resides.
March 1951 ~ Montgomery is appointed Eisenhower’s deputy at SHAPE
Cpl Ron Brotherton (RAF Police) enjoyed a short term at SHAPE from June until September 1954 on escort duties for General Lauris Norstad. Ron now lives with his wife Eileen on the Isle of Wight.
June 1954 ~ Doctors in London urge stricter drink tests on drivers other than tongue twisters and walking in a straight line
Airman First Class Terry Karselis arrived at Fontainebleau in September 1957 attached to Det 2, 1141st Special Activities Squadron based at Camp Guyenemer. Terry, as a GI, had the distinction of playing in goal for the RAF soccer XI. Terry left AAFCE in September 1959. He is a member of the US Fontainebleau Veterans Association. Here he is pictured at a Vets Reunion in New Orleans in May 2004. Terry is flanked by Airman First Class Gerry Zitzmann and Tom Farman Terry lives with his wife Judy in Chesterfields, Virginia.
September 1957 ~ The Federal Court in USA insists that desegregation in schools will not be delayed
ANNUAL REUNION and DINNER ~ SATURDAY 15 OCTOBER 2005
75 people will meet again this year for our Annual Reunion and Dinner at the Corus Hotel, Warwick on Saturday 15 October. There are still a few rooms available so if you wish to attend please let me know soon.
The hotel is set in the quiet fields near Warwick and has more than adequate car parking space.
The price for Dinner Bed and Breakfast is £57 per person per night. There is no single supplement for those attending on their own. Whilst the price has increased this year the hotel offers excellent value for money. Cheese and biscuits will be available as an extra course on Saturday night. A deposit of £10 per person is required with your booking. To avoid confusion ALL bookings must be made through D M Rogerson to whom your deposit should be payable. Deposits will be deducted from your account when you check out of the hotel.
As previously dress is lounge suit or smart casual to reflect the informal atmosphere. After dinner Colin Hogg will provide musical entertainment either side of the raffle for which we need prizes to be donated ~ now is the time to look out those unwanted items. After much persuasion the hotel have offered a prize of £50 to be deducted from the winner’s hotel account.
In the past many of you have decided to make a week-end of it by arriving on the Friday thus giving an opportunity to mull over old times with old friends and to make new ones.
Both red and white wines have been imported from France by members who have made trips across the Channel in the summer. A corkage charge of £2.50 per bottle has been agreed with the Corus and we should be able to put the wine on the table at a cost of about £5.00 per bottle.
Menus will be circulated shortly so that the
guests can pre-select their meal thus enabling the waiters to start serving the
food promptly at 7 p.m.
FROM THE POSTBAG
David, thanks for your email, and yes all goes well here in the Auntie-podes. Been out of touch with everyone for a while because She Who Must be Obeyed has been hogging my "Net Connected" computer for her Conservation and Remnant Vegetation work, being Secretary for two of these organisations and deeply involved in others, meetings, seminars, record keeping, etc. etc. - all acting, unpaid, and no "expenses", either! Doing something like 200 emails a week, printing off reams of stuff, and the only "perk" is the odd ream of paper "liberated" from the Shire Council.!
Add to that Autumn eventually arrived after a long hot and dry summer, and all these jobs I'd been putting off "until it cooled down a bit" couldn't be put off any more. When I say cooled off, it's been about 14c at night and 26c by day, but we did have a couple of nights in single figures where there was a sudden flurry of activity finding the switch for the electric blanket, the flannel jammies and the Damart knickers.. Now heading in to winter which is the perfect time of year here - deep blue cloudless skies, cold enough at night for log fires, and "switch the blankets on at 9.30 pm", and spend the day tearing off woolies and the late afternoon putting them on again.
I may have mentioned that John Reynolds was planning to come out here to visit various ex-apprentice, etc., pals but have recently heard that he's had another dicky ticker episode, so that trip has been put on the back burner pro tem. A friend of our died in Brisbane a few weeks ago, I flew down for the funeral and took the opporchancity to meet up with one of Johns ex brat friends there, stayed overnight and we drank rather too much of the malt and planned an itinerary for Johns visit. That is now on hold of course, so we've put the old straw back in the spare bedroom and let the goats back in.
You may have read that Australia is going through one of its worst droughts ever, and while it's been the farmers who've borne the brunt of it, even the cities are being hit with water restrictions and there's no prospect of "replenishing" rain till the end of the year (if it happens at all.) We're not too bad with our water tanks filled by the rainfall on a large roof area, and are starting off the dry season pretty well stocked up but no spare for irrigation, so our fruits trees are a bit sad and sorry, but as my son and family are coming out in August and WILL stand under the shower for ages and leave taps dripping, we can't have too much! Bloody Poms..
Stuff for the Newsletter - I think you've had
all I can dredge out of the depths of what's left of my memory, but from issues
32 and 33 you still seem to have a good fund of material. So many of us got
introduced to garlic in France and either hated or loved it. I've attached a
thing I wrote for the U3A Newsletter I edit here, which will need some
amendment to be appropriate to Britain but may be of use if you're really
desperate (and you'd have to be!) Keep up the good work, mate, you're playing a
blinder with the Newsletter.
Ron and Christine Fraser ~ Queensland, Australia
Enjoying our trip in N.Z., in South Island now before it gets too cold. The tram ride took me back many years travelling on the Southampton trams with my aunt and uncle. Christchurch is a very interesting place – the cathedral is plainer than those in England, but has lovely windows.
Peter and Ruth Fryer ~ on tour
I am still reading through the CD you sent and was sorry to learn that you lost you wife Jean in 2002. After reading as far as I have I realise how hard you must have worked and I admire you.
I have another snippet for you, I worked for the Americans at Vernoux switching centre from July 1962 to December 1963. We arrived in France in August 1961 (after an horrendous journey - I left RAF Bicester a friend took me and the boys to the railway station, I arrived at Marylebone to be met with a staff car and was taken to RAF Hendon - here no-one had heard of me and the boys. We were found beds for the night, the following morning a bus took us to Waterloo and I had to take a taxi to Victoria (I asked the driver for a receipt as the fare was 7/6d and I only had about £3 on me). I had been told that I would be met at Victoria - no luck, I found the boat train and arrived at Dover where again I had been told I would be met. We boarded the ferry and finally arrived in Dunkirk, I showed my ticket and was taken to the Paris train, all this by sign language. I spent my last francs on this train buying one coke and some biscuits. On arrival in Paris I said to the boys, we are not moving until someone finds us (bear in mind I had never been abroad before). Anyway this gentleman came up to me and said "Mrs. Allen" I replied yes and you are the first person who has heard about me for two days, he was quite upset and said heads would roll. Anyway Bob was there to meet me with a staff car and we went to Veneux les Sablons.
After I'd been there for about 6 months I decided to seek work, my French was limited having been taught by the neighbours and shopkeepers in the town. I was informed at the exchange that I would have to wait 12 months for a work permit. I then went to the American camp in Fontainebleau to put my name down for work as a typist. I haunted the exchange each month until finally in July 1962 they said they would find work for me and give me a permit. Unfortunately no jobs as a typist but they did have one as a telephonist, I said OK. I was taken for an interview on a Thursday at Vernoux, a very nice American captain said do you speak French - I of course (desperate to work) said yes, so he said OK can you start on Monday, delighted I said yes please.
I was picked up from the house Monday morning and taken to Vernoux a switching centre we were connected to the USA, Italy, Belgium, Holland, England and lots of places in France. I was introduced to the Supervisor and Deputy Supervisor and the rest of the operators. I was also asked how much French I spoke I replied softly, shopping and passing the time of day with the neighbours. Deputy Supervisor - Gigi said well we had better give you a crash course because in 4 weeks time you'll be working nights and will be 6 hours on your own. I learnt fast with everybody's help and really enjoyed my time working there. Transport was provided and we worked shifts, 8am to 5pm, 10am to 8pm and 8pm to 8am, the night shift was worked by 2 operators, one worked from 8pm to 9pm, she then went to bed and the other worked from 9pm to 3am then woke the other up and went to bed herself. Breakfast was in the US mess and yes the yanks did live well.
My most vivid memory was of November 1963, our transport stopped to pick up the Supervisor and she was in tears, she had just heard the news that President Kennedy had been shot dead, the switching centre was very sombre that day and for a while after.
We did enjoy our time at Fontainebleau or
should I say Veneux les Sablons. We went back on holiday with our caravan 3
years ago and received a wonderful welcome from French friends we had lost
Jean Allen, Lincoln
VISIT TO FONTAINEBLEAU and PARIS ~ SEPTEMBER 2006
Through or tour operator accommodation has been reserved at the IBIS hotel in Fontainebleau for our trip in September 2006. Brief details of the trip :-
Five days (4 nights) Fontainebleau and Paris -Departing Tuesday 12 September 2006 Staying at the Ibis hotel, Fontainebleau, all rooms are air-conditioned and have en-suite facilities, colour television and telephone.
COST:- £270 per person sharing twin/double room. (Single room supplement £110) for 4 nights bed and unlimited buffet breakfast accommodation
All executive coaching, 49 seats with on
board toilet & beverage bar.
Short sea crossing Dover - Calais
Tour of Paris
Use of the coach for excursions while in Fontainebleau.
Free car parking is available at the rear of the tour operator’s office in Sevenoaks.
Deposit £30 per person payable by 31 October 2005.
Travel insurance is required for this trip and is available through the Tour Operator at a cost of £19 per person, payable with the deposit. (I shall argue that the premium should be payable with final balance as the risk is insignificant until the full amount is paid.) We can deal with deposits internally.
For those not wishing to join the coach in England, 2 days coach travel and of course the ferry charge has been deducted to produce a cost £230 for those travelling by car.
A full itinerary, will which hopefully will include a day trip to Yevres, will be planned. Your thoughts on our itnerary will be welcomed. It is hoped that we shall have access to Camp Guynemer and the Chataux Quatier as in previous years.
We need to fill 42 seats to qualify for a
discount that can be used towards our general expenses in France. Could anyone
who is seriously interested please let me know as soon as possible to avoid
embarrassment of cancelling the arrangements late in the day. Some of you have
already indicated that you wish to join the party but it will be helpful to
start with a clean sheet so please reconfirm your interest by completing and
returning a booking form. (See the end of this newsletter) Thank you.
Brian Gibbons has almost completed the sale of his home in Poole and expects to relocate to Fontainebleau in July.
Ron Pole, Brian Gibbons and Les Hills attended the Annual Veterans’ Parade in Weymouth in June.
Terry Karselis has suggested that we commission a Vets Medallion. He is willing do the design work. Some of you creative guys out there should be able to come up with design thoughts. Do you think adding a medallion to our stock of merchandise is worthwhile? What metal should we go for ~ although we are worth, it gold will be too expensive !!!! Once sufficient interest is shown I will explore the market for a manufacturer. Please let the editor have your ideas.
ON THE MOVE
It was reported recently in the national press that two RAF Command Headquarters are to be merged and located in a single site resulting in the loss of thousands of jobs. The move of the facility at Innsworth, Gloucestershire to High Wycombe, Bucks will save £420 million over 25 years said the Air Ministry.
A recent check revealed that our website had nearly 700 “hits” (visitors). More additions to the Members Gallery would enhance the site. We look to individuals to send their draft entries for inclusion. Alternatively you may ask the editor to draft a few words for you that will be sent to the individual for clearance. Our membership list will be updated and put on the site. This will show :-
Name Rank at F’bleau Month/year arrived Month/yr left Trade & place of work
Our web host, (Lycos.com) have supplied Dave Bloomfield with a free fax facility. Any faxes sent to 0870 1329412 will be routed to him via e-mail - A nice freebie package and ideal for sending the Newsletter, updates etc (If you have access to a fax machine that is!)
A recent visitor to our site was a GI who is a member of another Fontainebleau Association for USAF personnel who were attached to Det 2, 1141st Special Activities Squadron based at Camp Guyenemer. The membership appears to be restricted to personnel attached to the Special Activities Squadron from 1957 until 1965. For those wishing to visit this site the address is :-
You may find the names of some of your
erstwhile colleagues in the list of members.
Air-Vice Marshal John Miller died on 5 January 2005 aged 76
Called up in 1947 Miller elected to join the RAF. Within months he was accepted for a commission and decided to remain in the service at the end of his two-year conscription. In 1965 Miller was sent to command the RAF Support Unit at SHAPE, Fontainebleau. This Posting was interrupted when General de Gaulle invited NATO to transfer its HQ at short notice, and Miller faced the daunting task of moving the RAF Unit, including a hospital and a school, from the charms of Fontainebleau to a disused coal mine in Belgium.
After a period on the Directing Staff of the RAF Staff College Miller became responsible for all administration affairs at RAF Halton, the home of the RAF's aircraft apprentice technical training school. After attending the Royal Defence College, he was appointed in 1976 as the Director of Personnel Management (Policy and Plans). On promotion to Air Vice-Marshal in January 1979, he was appointed Assistant Chief of the Defence Staff (Personnel and Logistics). His final appointment was also at the MoD, as Director of Personal Services (RAF). As the highest ranking officer of the RAF Administration Branch, he was head of the branch from 1979 to 1983.
He retired from the RAF in 1983, having been appointed CB two years earlier. John Joseph Miller was born on 27 April 1928 in Portsmouth, and attended the local grammar school in time for its wartime evacuation to Bournemouth. He left school aged 15 and became a bank clerk.
Not long after joining the RAF, Miller enrolled as an external student at Gray's Inn and was called to the Bar in 1958. When he first checked the results, borrowing someone's copy, he failed to find his name. Hiding his disappointment, he waited until the next day when he discovered that his name was at the top of the page as one of two to have gained a distinction.
After retiring from the RAF, Miller took up the post of Director General of the Institute of Personnel Management. It was something of a culture shock after so many years of military discipline, but he and the Institute adapted to each other's ways, By the time he left six years later, he had tripled the membership and rejuvenated the finances. He made great progress in establishing international links, and for a year he was President of the European Association of Personnel Management.
Miller began a third career as Director of Studies at St George's House, Windsor Castle. He enjoyed the history, culture, and philosophical and theological debate. He was at Windsor Castle at the time of the great fire, and helped carry many of the treasures to safety. He organised a team of 20 people to roll up an enormous carpet and remove it, and he unhooked and carried outside one of the great paintings, which he subsequently always referred to as "my Holbein".
John Miller married Adele Colleypriest in
1950. She survives him with a son and two daughters.
A DIATRIBE AGAINST THE MONSTROUS REGIMENT OF GARLIC EATERS
Chas Fraser who contributes monthly recipes to our U3A Newsletters is a really nice chap, pity about his taste buds, and I await with interest his upcoming recipes for Garlic Pudding, Garlic Toffee and Garlic Ice Cream. I blame it all on the Romans, y'know - they conquered the known world on a diet of bread, garlic, onions and fermented fish sauce. "Legionaries will form three ranks with front rank gladius, second rank pilums facing the advancing Gauls. H'at my command - stand still, Allium Stenchus, you 'orrible little legionary, you - all ranks will exhale at the h'enemy, third rank waft their shields at the foe. At the command 'Armpits Present' all ranks will bare sinister and dexter armpits prior to advancing into the demoralized h'adversary" (Decurion Nasalus Offensus 14 BC) (Before Chlorophyll)
Thus the pernicious weed spread throughout civilization - first to collaborate with and learn from the enemy, second to hide the taste of the foul muck the barbarians were eating and thirdly to be fashionable. Roman Law, decent boots and garlic have been with us ever since, "and yea, the greatest of these was garlic". In mediaeval times, the abbeys and monasteries of Christianity were redolent with the odour of sanctity - and garlic. Why did acolytes prostrate themselves? - so they could stay out of halitosis range. Nelson at Trafalgar sliced into the French/Spanish fleets line of battle rather then sail down them exposing his crews to the stink of garlic broadsides and won thereby. Catholic and Protestant missionaries converted the heathen who thought "If that is the Breath of God, I'd better be baptized or he'll harangue me some more." Regency ladies went for low necklines so that the young foppish bucks would breathe down their decolletage rather than in their faces. I could go on but the nice young men in the long white coats from the KGB (Keep Garlic Burgeoning) would come and take me away..
So now we have garlic with everything - the fads come and go, a few years ago it was the lemon grass, ginger and Thai fish sauce with everything, now we're into the coriander kick, but through it all garlic remains supreme to hide the taste of whatever you're eating. I watched in horror the other night as chef Jamie Oliver slavered over what he was cooking and put a whole head of garlic on a pork roast - why didn't he use tofu instead - it would've tasted the same? I had my first taste of culture shock coming to Australia (after the initial RAAF Pearce breakfast menu in the Mess of savoury mince on toast!) by being faced with garlic prawns at a house in Yeppoon. OK, I can handle the gnats water beer, but to desecrate delicate flavoured seafood with garlic deserves an hour on the bastinadoes with feet being beaten with kebab skewers. Eat bloody seafood extender with garlic on and leave the prawns on the reef for those who didn't have their parotids excised at birth, for crying out loud!
I have no reservations about salami, garlic sausage, or garlic bread (other than eating it) but why good wholesome food should be tainted with the overpowering flavour of garlic in every Yeppoon/Rockhampton restaurant makes eating out a pain. We have the finest fresh meat, fish, veggies and (usually unripe) fruit available, why smother it in garlic flavoured gunk? I know the garlic eating nations are alleged to live longer - it's only because St. Peter tries to fight off the evil day when they come up to the Pearly Gates and breathe at him. Garlic Haters of the World Unite - you have nothing to lose but your underarm deodorants! ~
Christine and Ronald Fraser,
Coach trip to Fontainebleau ~ September 2006
Please include my name in the party for the above trip
Number in party …………………………………
I will send my deposit (cheque payable to D M Rogerson) not later that 31 October.