ISSUE No. 39
As I write this we look forward to our Tenth Annual Reunion in 4 weeks time with 75 attendees. The first twins have been added to our membership and their details appear later in this issue. The website has proved fertile ground for recruiting new members. The joining subscriptions have covered the fee for the site for another year.
Napoleon's sword makes £3m
A GOLD-ENCRUSTED sword worn by Napoleon
when he ousted the Austrian army from
"It's a world record for a souvenir
of the emperor, for a sword and for a weapon in general," said a spokesman
for the auctioneers. The sword classed by
The slightly curved sabre, forged for
Napoleon by Nicolas Noel Boutet at the
Davis served as a driver in the International Motor Pool from October 1957
until November 1958. When their call up came Ian and his twin brother Brian who
were aviation enthusiasts both wanted to enlist in the RAF but resolved that it
would be better to split up and Ian won the toss leaving Brian to join the
RASC. After a few weeks they regretted this decision and encouraged by an
article in the Daily Mail about splitting up twins the “bullshine”
was applied and they were reunited in
After his National
Service Ian joined the London Office of Union Castle Line which operated a
weekly service of passenger liners – a ship sailed from
In the early 1960s
the number of passengers travelling by air overtook that travelling by sea so a
switch from shipping to aviation was made. After a couple of false starts with
Air Safaris and BEA Ian was ready to team up with his bother Brian at Autair
International Airways at
Back at the bottom of the tree Ian joined Aerocontracts Ltd which provided spares support for airlines and air forces in 82 countries. He retired in 1999 as Managing Director.
Married to Gillian
in 1972 they have lived in Horsham,
Sgt David Block (RASC) arrived at the Quartier Chateaux in November 1955 working as a clerk until September 1957
After NS, David worked as a salesman for a while, ending up with Olivetti
where he broke the all-comers record for not selling a single machine in an
entire year. Then he moved into the entertainments industry as an ad salesman
for The Record Mirror, not much success there either and onto Publicity, where
things became more successful and stimulating.
David’s boss, Leslie Perrin, was a PR genius they worked for everyone
from Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole to Judy Garland and Tony Bennett, Radio
Caroline and eventually The Beatles (after they'd split into 3/4). He started his own company and represented
people like Georgie Fame, Simon Dee, Dave Clark 5,
The Zombies, Jonathan King and Ed “Stewpot” Stewart writing his first TV show
and enjoyed it so much he quit PR and name-dropping to become a full-time
writer. Among the TV shows David
scripted was Wish You Were Here. . . ? and that started him out as a travel writer which he still
does ~ recently for The European magazine and currently for The Washington
Times and International Living. David
also writes speeches for the public and corporate sector. Retire?
He is not even thinking about it.
First because travel writing’s so exciting and second, he needs to
eat. David who works in Central London
mostly spends an increasing time at his partner Alice’s house in
1955 ~ First floodlit International football match played at Wembley ~
Cpl Brian W Davis enlisted for National Service in the Royal Army
Service Corps in November 1956. Following basic training in Aldershot,
he was lucky enough to be posted in June 1957 to the Secretariat Division of
the ALFCE HQ in
Intent on a flying career after leaving
the forces, he discovered that his eyesight was not up to the required standard
for a Commercial Pilot's Licence so he opted for the next best thing - a career in
the management side of civil aviation.
Brian secured his first traffic and operations job with Hunting Clan Air
Transport at Heathrow which was later merged to form British United Airways. He
later joined Autair International Airlines, a
fledgling scheduled service and charter operator, which was subsequently
acquired by the Court Line shipping company in 1965. This association enabled
the company to purchase a fleet of BAC 111s and Lockheed Tristars
to expand its inclusive tour operations within Europe and then to the
Despite this setback, Brian retained his enthusiasm for aviation and secured a post as Commercial Director with Invicta International Airlines, a specialist cargo operator. After five years, he elected to take a sabbatical from the industry, and then held senior management appointments with National Freight Company and a large firm of international architects. When the call of the air became irresistible again, he formed his own aviation consultancy, Astra Associates, in 1992 which continues to operate today.
For leisure interests Brian has enjoyed a reasonable amount of private flying ~ his first solo flight being in a De Haviland Chipmunk operated by the BOAC Flying Club. Sadly this activity is now too expensive to pursue. Locally, he was Secretary of the Radlett Lawn Tennis and Squash Club, a founder member of the local Rotary Club and continues to be active in church and local school governance. Brian lives in Radlett, Herts with his second wife Chris where his 3 sons and daughter were born. With the aid of Chris' 3 boys, they now have 14 grandchildren between them - and still counting!
1957 ~ Headless body of frogman Buster Crabb found in
Joseph Harry Horn a 3 year regular airman arrived in
April 1958 ~ The newly formed CND march to attend a rally at AWRE, Aldermaston
Cpl. Mike Evans was posted to Quartier Chateaux in September 1964 as
an Armourer in the REME. He remained there until April 1967 spending a further
3 years in the Army at the RMP Depot at
September 1964 ~
Seeing the horrific pictures on Australian TV of the flooding in England, hope you are all OK, even if treading water and swearing a lot....The climate's obviously gone raving mad and knowing you all live in proximity to rivers, trust that you have been spared a lot of the dramas we've seen on the "box" Let us know how you are coping if you have been affected and we hope that the insurance companies are not digging out small print... Please can we have some of your rain - send it this way!
and Ronald Fraser (
Whilst recently reading through the
Newsletter No.38, I came across Stan Bone's reference to living in the
On my second posting to
I remember when she was going to make the
pilgrimage to Lourdes I drove her into
Fontainebleau to the 'Prisnic' to buy a new coat -
she was so small we ended up purchasing
one from the children's department. The
Summer was good
in the village with the River Seine flowing through, separating the
In 1984, whilst providing security at the BBC Elstree studios for the construction of the Eastenders set I met the studio manager named Phil Pitcher who told me he had been a "service brat" who spent time growing up in Thomery in the late 50's / 60's. Perhaps some of our members may recall his father?
Brian Samways (Poole,
I had two contacts from people who were in
Brian Bursell (
On 25 April I will be taking part in the ANZAC DAY PARADE, here in Geraldton.
As Air Chief Marshal Sir Basil Embry spent
his retirement here in
Bernadette and I are returning to the
It has been really good having Brian look
I apologize that I have not sent an e-mail to Jock Fraser yet but I will try to do so before I leave.
Please pass on my regards to all my friends in the Association.
Les Hills (
During my time at
The weapons were rarely out of store, once
for the summer 'Camp' enjoyed by all on the banks of the Loire at Gien, and once for annual range classification, but every
now and then there was a “2 Alert" that demanded all personnel to carry
their personal weapon with them at all times when on duty. It didn't happen too
often, and in fact the first time I experienced it was soon after my new wife
joined me in
The "Alert Exercise" was called and I asked the QM (Lt. Col. of the Black Watch) how he wanted the guns issued. He handed me a stack of business cards for want of a better description. On each one was printed " For exercise purposes the bearer of this card is deemed to be in possession of his personal weapon"
My new missus cracked up and couldn't stop laughing. She wrote "BANG" on the back of mine......
On a recent visit to my late wife’s family
Sipping my aperitif & glancing across the road I thought about how all the surroundings had changed. Of course, many of the shop fronts were different, but not the buildings themselves. Tucked away in a corner stands a relatively small bar and I was immediately reminded of an amusing incident that happened there just a couple of days after my arrival……………
Many of us, I am sure can recall the
oddball plumbing & quaint toilets in
Another dark and grotty toilet actually
came to my rescue a few months later but this time in
Just found this article in today's Dorset
Echo. Les Hills and I have been friends for some time now and Claudine was pally with Pauline, so we saw quite a lot of each other.
Les's health has really improved miracuously......a
few years ago he was in a very poor state. I stayed at his flat in
It's never too late to fall in love ~ by Sarah Goldthorpe
The OZ couple
"She's gorgeous - a typical straight-talking Oz," he said. Mr Hills said his ill health improved dramatically after falling in love. He lost four stones in weight and is more active advertisement.
It was 1948 when I first flew a Spitfire and such joy it gave me. It took 3months to build, the feel of the balsa-wood and smell of that glue, the tightness of the paper over the wings. I knew then I wanted to join the R A F. that kit cost me 2/11d and it was wrecked on its first flight. I went on to build many more before leaving school at 14 to join my father in the family fish business.
When my National Service papers came I had
no hesitation and signed up for 3 years, I was told signing for 3 years would
give me a better chance of a posting abroad. At that time I never thought
travel would become as it is today and I would ever get to see the
I failed all the top gun tests and had to
settle to become a driver, which was my next passion (driving). That came to me
early on when my father came home after serving in the RAF in WW2. I was about
8 years old and he would take me with him on school holidays to his work. After
WW2 the family firm bought a
After RAF Padgate
and Weeton I was posted to RAF Hope Cove in
I had enjoyed my time at RAF Hope Cove and made many friends possibly because I did every weekend duty driver. Most of the lads lived fairly local and could get home on a 48-hour pass. I only did it once and it took me 16 hours to get home and 15 to get back. Then one summer my wife came to work in a hotel in Salcombe. Happy days with lots of good friends and memories. I regret not having kept in touch with the lads and only 2 years ago I managed to find one and we now write to each other.
I was looking on the net for the AAFCE badge when I came across your site and how happy I was to see the photos and read the letters. Many memories came back, I did have a few souvenirs of my time there but over the years and moving house many have been lost. My first son managed to destroy my NATO service document when he was a baby. I did have a piece of a sycamore helicopter that I flew in just before it crashed, but that's another story.
I was assigned as 2nd driver to an officer
and gentleman whom I will never forget. Air Chief Marshal Sir George Mills
K.B.E. D.F.C. Sgt. Peter Fryer was his
number one driver and a finer NCO and mentor I have yet to meet. Sgt. Vic
Barnes was the Commander’s chef and Sgt. Barnes’ wife his housekeeper. My main
and very hard and difficult job was to deliver a newspaper and take Sgt. Barnes
shopping. Once done it was back to the Motor Pool for a rest and stand by if I
was needed. I had some interesting driving to do when Sir George was away but
that's another story. I took over from
Sgt. Fryer when he left to go to the Pentagon,
In all my service days I was never called
by my name it was always Geordie and I met many fellow Geordies in the RAF. SAC
Malcolm Wellings was in the MT section when I left,
he was from
Well as I said I am new to computers and I am trying to learn to type to help me with my story of my life, mainly the 50 years I have spent in the Fish trade. My ancestors may find it interesting. Thank you so much for giving me the reason and the opportunity to type this story. Not bad for a learner it has just taken under five hours to do this, over three days. What a lot of Dribble. Sorry.
Harry Horn (Cullercoats, Tyne & Wear)
SAGA magazine printed a letter saying that the search for the diamond ring of the young NS man from Fontainebleau, who had only the box, is being questioned by an ex customs officer (also an ex-serviceman) in Dover. No-one would invent this, and I do not like being told it did not happen. Could you put a note in your next Newsletter saying this and asking members to recall any difficulties they had as servicemen, or any problems experienced by their comrades in arms with the British customs officers, to email you for forwarding to me?
I know from many years experience in
I'm Joe Connelly and my wife, Cathy (
Editor’s note : Joe has declined our invitation to join the Association but Cathy has promised to send some items for the Newsletters.
Joe Connelley (Columbia, South Carolina, USA)
Accessed News letter 38. Thanks. I hope you are well and in training for the London marathon (Ha Ha). I’m getting ready for it - just ordered a new three piece suite so I can sit and watch it on 'The Box'.
Ken Harriman (Wigston Magna, Leicestershire)
Air Chief Marshal Sir Basil Embry ~ 1902 – 1977
Brian Gibbons and Mike Capon have been
researching Sir Basil Embry for Les Hills who was his Personal Steward at
Sir Basil, Air Chief Marshal, and farmer,
was born on 28 February 1902 at Longford,
Back home, in 1939-40 Embry commanded
No.107 Bomber Squadron and became famous for his leadership, courage and
exploits, including two daring escapes from the Germans after being shot down
Following World War II, Sir Basil was
assistant chief of Air Staff (training) at the Air Ministry, then (from 1949)
commander-in-chief of Fighter Command, in which post he was promoted air
marshal. In 1953 he was appointed K.C.B., promoted Air Chief Marshal and sent
In March 1956, accompanied by his wife
Hope, Embry left
Embry became active in the politics of
agriculture through the Farmers' Union of Western Australia. After only a few
months involvement in that organization, he was elected general president in
1971 and held office for two years. He assisted in restructuring the union and
making it more professional. Embry focussed on perennial concerns of the
farming sector: the burden of protective tariffs, the need for long-term rural
finance, the level of farmers' returns, and, especially, the state of overseas
trade. In the context of rural recession with depressed prices for wheat, wool
and livestock, the need for new outlets was pressing. Convinced that farmers
needed to market their own products in order to receive a greater share of
their value, in 1972 he led a delegation through
Small and spare, wiry and strong, 'with
extremely piercing blue eyes under fierce eyebrows', Embry had 'a puckish face'
which could express 'a wide variety of emotions from demoniac rage to delight,
laughter, and goodwill, often within a few seconds'. He was a forceful man of
great energy and powers of persuasion, who believed in 'leading from the
front'. The span of his activities in
Colin Hogg has suffered a mild stroke which is
now under control with medication. Although Colin and Daisy will be at
Having sold their property in Hampshire before their
“world tour” Peter and Ruth Fryer have settled in
Brian Bursell is planning to meet up with Monique Matthews who he has not seen since he left AAFCE in 1964. Brian will report on his meeting in the next Newsletter.
Income and Expenditure Account ~ 11 months to 31 Aug 2007
£ £ £
Cash Balance at 30 Sep 06 334.45 334.45
Merchandise Sales 90.75 791.25
Total Income 1125.70 1440.00
Postage & Telephone 152.00
Printing Stationery & Copying 10.00
Web Fee 98.42
Total Expenditure (766.02) (1456.31)
Cash Balance at 31 August 2007 359.68 318.14
Stock at cost
16 Ties 110.40
10 Blazer Badges 102.50
29 Table Mats 88.16
45 Coasters 65.70
16 Mouse mats 74.24
117 Enamel Badges 146.25
5 Books 40.00
Wine for 2007 reunion 158.40
Total value of stock at cost 785.65 836.12
Balance ~ cash & stock 1145.33 1154.26
To enable the Accounts to be available for discussion
at the AGM at the
The above shows that our financial position is healthy – our total assets are almost a mirror image of September 2006. It is proposed to continue without calling an annual subscription.
addition to the usual blazer badges, ties table mats, coasters etc. there are
some of Peter Kinsley’s books in stock. Recently purchased were the last 3
copies of “Gunner Strikes Back” available at £8.00 each. Peter’s most recent
novels “To Catch a Paedophile and “The Gambio Killing” are also available from David Rogerson.
Gunner Strikes Back is the story of the author’s experiences in the RASC at the
The following unsolicited message came across my desk recently from an RAF Apprentice who takes issue with the non-availability of a service pension for those who completed less than 22 years. This may strike a chord with some members.
From: "David Davies" firstname.lastname@example.org Fri, 14 Sep, 07
Subject: A simple RAF bod, Apprentice at Halton 73rd entry. Jan 1953, leaving Dec 1955. Aircrew, leaving 1968
Please excuse my 'latching on' to folk who are motivated and highly organised. I have tried the 'writing to my MP route' and received the usual 'Bull-Shitting ' responses. The 'bottom-line' to most of the responses was, ' and the Civil Service would have to be considered'. I could not get across the fact, that, a Civil Servant can walk away from their job. At 16 years of age, in an establishment containing 3000 Apprentices, I was given the week-end to decide whether I would sign for the training + 12 years service afterwards. Having come from a kindly household that were not related to me, I had no options - other than respect their generous help in getting me there.
It was this point I wished to 'ram down' the Minsters throat about the Civil Servants. I was, and the bulk of my comrades ( of multiple nationalities) effectively 'Press Ganged'. We could not walk away.
Before the 'whinging' trails away in to nothing my apprentice days are so precious, and, gave me such valuable contacts with people from all over the World. Three years together, really does make the Human Race begin to work as one.
In conclusion, I wish to re-iterate the plight of those Military Apprentices - Army, Navy, and RAF. They were little boys, when they signed the Legal Documents that took 12 years of their lives.
Oh yes. You really do have a brilliantly organised system - It sort of smells of 'Sergeant Bilko!'
I wish you continued success in your most professional enterprise.
Kind Regards, David Davies
To enable us to reach a wider audience, if you have any material you wish to put on the website could you please send it to me to edit and where appropriate include it in the Newsletter. Over half our members do not have internet access and receive their Newsletter in hard copy.
Editor : David Rogerson, Tel : 023 8040 2846