I hope that you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year. Now that all the excitement has subsided it is time to issue another AAFCE News.
We must redouble our efforts to trace other AAFCE "inmates" Most of you will have a particular pal who you would like to meet again. Appeals on Channel 4's Teletext have been fruitful. This service is free and all you have to do is to send a request of not more that 30 words. If you can expand your message to include any one who served at AAFCE you may pick up a few extras on the way. Full details and the address are to be found on Channel 4's Teletext Page 682 so - get cracking.
I am compiling a directory of our "Members" and to complete this please insert your details on the attached sheet. A comprehensive list is useful when we have a new discovery.
Now that I have installed my first computer the Newsletter has a new look and this issue contains a selection of photos from our first reunion. To those who sent me their pictures a big thanks. Thanks also to all you who sent a contribution towards running expenses.
Support for a second reunion in October is overwhelming. The hotel has been put on notice and shortly I will make a provisional booking at the Courtyard in Leamington Spa and obtain a quotation for accommodation and our meal. If anyone has any suggestions to improve the programme please let me know.
Sqn Ldr Ted Strange passed away peacefully in November. Ted who was Adjutant during the early years at Fontainebleau was in his 88th year.
Mike Capon sent me an obituary of Ken Miles who was the RAF Dental Technician at Fontainebleau and who passed away last autumn. Ken went on to be a leading light in his field
David Crook, a Cpl Cook in the Airmen's Mess (1956 - 59) was located in the Southampton area by John Ross Aylward. David has been supplied with a "Starter Kit" and hopes to join us in Leamington in October.
Just after New Year John Hookway was out shopping and ran into Roger Jago (56 - 58) John took his details and I have contacted him invited him to join our happy band.
Through the good offices of George Thorne, Roy Packman (Nov 52 - Nov 54) was tracked down in Ohio USA. We have exchanged correspondence and Roy has lent me his super collection of photos which have been integrated into "AAFCE Illustrated." I was intrigued as to how Roy came to live in the States and he has explained as follows :
Cpl Roy Packman, HQ Building (Ops and Planning) - Nov 1952 - Nov 1954 now living in Roaming Shores, Ohio, US. Roy retired from the RAF in 1978 and worked in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. He intended to retire in 1988 and when he told his wife she filed for divorce. It seems that after 33 years with 5 children and 3 grandchildren the marriage was a happy one provided they lived 3000 miles apart. With the impending divorce Roy stayed on in Saudi before finally swallowing the anchor in July 1990.
After house minding in Yorkshire for some friends Roy accepted an invitation to stay in Ashby de la Zouche with a widow and her daughter. Whilst there, as an act of kindness Roy agreed to go to London to try to improve on air fares quoted to the lady. He managed to shave £200 off the best price the lady had obtained and when the young girl asked if there was anything else she could do he asked what was on offer for the States. Asked when, he replied "tomorrow" and the next day he was on his way to Boston. Roy had made many American friends from his days in the Gulf and swanned around visiting some of these in various cities. During this trip whilst meeting up with some colleagues from his Gulf days he was offered a 2 year contact in Saudi with his old firm.
After this Roy came home to the UK in July 93 and in the following May took a trip to Ashtabula (on Lake Erie) to visit his friends. Things were in turmoil at his friends' home so Roy decided to extend his visit to give some help and comfort. Mary the girl next door was washing her car one afternoon and they got talking. Yes you have guessed it. Mary invited him to dinner and a few months later they were married and are living happily ever after in the Land of the big PX
Bill Rudman swallowed the anchor just before Christmas and he can concentrate his energies on supporting Manchester City and hopefully improve their fortunes.
In the last newsletter I wrote about an AAFCE tie. Alan Smith, our "Marketing Director" has made some enquiries with manufacturers. We need a minimum order of 36 and the cost is estimated at £10 per tie. Could you please indicate on the attached questionnaire whether or not you would purchase one. The suggested design is a plain tie with the AAFCE Flags as shown at the head of this Newsletter.