ISSUE NO 60 ` MARCH 2016
Since the last Webmaster resigned Mike Capon worked tirelessly to find a young man to step into the breech as our Webmaster. For those of you who have not paid a visit you will find the structure easier to follow. It must be recognised that the new Webmaster is in full time employment and has no connection to the Armed Forces. To visit click fontainebleauveteransassociation.org We have lost our external facilities to print the hard copies for those members without the resources to access the internet. However it is covered because I now have a colour printer so they will be printed “in house”.
SAC James (Jimmy) Howes arrived at Camp Guynemer in September 1960 to serve in the International Motor Pool. He left in February 1963 with a posting to RAF Northolt where he served for 2 years then at RAF Selectar before returning to RAF Northolt until 1969 from where he was demobbed.
After demob Jimmy worked as a dockside crane driver for two years at H.M. Dockyard at Chatham. He then went lorry driving for one year before driving buses and coaches until 2002, when he retired on medical grounds. Jimmy then moved from Kent to Lincolnshire to be near our his’s family. Jimmy met his wife, Pat when she was a WRAF in air traffic at Northolt. She spent 18 years in the Royal Navy Reserves and was awarded the B.E.M presented on H.M.S. Victory by Admiral Sir Sandy Woodward on - "a great day for her" and her mother, myself and his son who also served in the R.A.F. for 12 years in MT. They have three grandchildren and two great grandchildren. Jimmy’s hobbies are gardening and snooker.
2 other vets who served at Fontainebleau contacted the Association via our website. They were invited to join and were asked to submit their details. Despite reminders they have dropped off the radar.
It recently came to my notice that SAC Bill Garland passed away some while ago. The circumstances and date are not known. Bill served in the International Commcentre from September 1959 to March 1962. Until recently Bill regularly attended our Annual Reunions.
Cpl. David Crook who served at Fontainebleau as a cook in the RAF Airmen’s Mess from July 1956 until July 1958 passed away after a long battle against an illness. Until the onset of a heart condition and the insertion of a pacemaker he regularly attended our Annual Reunions. He will be remembered for his kind and gentle manner and the wonderfully decorated cakes for the raffle at our Annual Reunions. After he left the RAF he applied his baking skills with a leading bakery. He leaves a wife Molly.
FROM THE POSTBOX
My father was an airman during WW11 (Sparks) and followed his beloved Spitfires from RAF Manston, to North Africa, Egypt, Malta, and Sicily, It was just after the Battle of Britain, that he managed a week-end pass to South Wales. It was there this four year old witnessed him making a Spitfire from a copper penny - complete with small safety pin. The workshop was our Anderson Air Raid Shelter, at the bottom of a relative’s garden.
The tools were crude and brutal in their size, compared to what was being worked upon. However, the end result was a lovely 'Sweetheart Brooch' which he'd promised to make for one of his fighter pilots back at base. It was not until 65 years later, that I resolved to try my hand at what he made. After many attempts, bouncing along that learning curve, I eventually managed to make something approaching his creation. Since then, I manage the odd one or two usually for good friends. There is a tremendous satisfaction in seeing a copper penny evolve into that lovely aircraft - the Spitfire.
Why this email? I know you wish to raise some funds, to help administer the excellent web site you have. Strange to say, members are reluctant to part with their money by way of donations - mainly because they are bombarded daily by hordes of 'so called' good causes - paying their CEO's more than the Prime Minister! On the other hand, a significant number will happily place their money on a 'no-hoper' horse with 'Bet Fred!'
Should you be interested in raffling a Spitfire Sweetheart Brooch, with the proceeds entirely for the Association simply give me a nod, and, the Spitfire Brooch pictured below will be yours to Raffle?
For the record, I'm an ex-Halton Apprentice (Engine Fitter 11E) 588375 - 73rd Entry.
I was in the Paris Echelon Provost Section at Fontainebleau from May-September 1951 and would love to get in contact with anyone who was there at the same time. Some names I remember are “Chopper” Mills, “Wagon wheels” Carter, Sid Tromans, Bill Prouse (deceased) & Ken Pryde (we are still in touch. Perhaps there is someone out there who remembers.
Geoff Berry, Campbelltown NSW Australia
Just a quick note to say thank you for Newsletter 59 There are not many faces that I recognise these days. A recent Newsletter included an article about the time we were at Fontainebleau. It brought back happy memories. I always look to see if there is any news about the WRAF girls I worked with. Joy McDonald who married an RAF Policeman, Diane Davidson, Joyce Crouchley whose husband David who I think worked in the American PX
Since returning to the UK we have moved house 17 times, had five children, nine grandchildren and 3 greatgrandchildren – that we know of. In July last year we had a telegram from the Queen to mark our Golden Wedding Anniversary
Monica Fraser, Sidcup
Glad to see that that Roger is progressing well with our website. Mike and I have been discussing this year's visit to Yevres. I have been in contact with Andre Hublier. The annual Commemoration is very
important to this small town and our presence each year is very much appreciated. The British Military
Attaches who attended the previous two years both remarked how pleased and surprised they were by the friendship accorded our Association. The Parade and Church Service are well attended
The Civic Lunch is mainly for the older generation, and like us, there are fewer at table each year.
This may very well be the last year that Mike, Ann, Mary, Andrea and I are able to attend so we would be grateful if you make sure that an article re Yevres is included in the next Newsletters with the hope of drumming up more support. The welcome we receive is outstanding. The nearby pretty town of Chateaudun is charming and full of history. We always stay at a superb Hotel that our late dear friend Keith Adams located.
This morning I had a call from Brian Moulding in Fontainebleau who is still recovering from pancreas surgery. Sadly Camp Guynemer is no more. The land is in the hands of private owners who lease an area to a small military detachment. Most of the buildings have been demolished and the area where we had planted memorial trees flattened. I read recently in La Republique that the National Archives stored in what we knew as Building No.1 have been relocated. What saddened me was that on the town website I could find no reference to Guynemer, NATO, or any French ex-service Associations. The old market is no longer there. It is replaced by extended parking. The beautiful old St. Louis Church where I married Claudine recently closed for the removal of Islamic graffiti....
I spent six happy years of my younger life in Fontainebleau. I still have lots of relations there, but am nevertheless disappointed with how all has changed.
Brian Gibbons, Weymouth
VISIT TO YEVRES
A contingent of Veterans will attend the Memorial Service at Yevres in early October. For those who are not aware of the background here is a brief history. In 1944 a Lancaster Bomber badly damaged by enemy fire was returning to base when the damage was too severe and the Pilot and one remaining crew member on board were forced to crash land the plane. Its direction was the village of Yevres. The crew steered the plane in a nearby field to avoid any loss of life to the villagers. The two airmen who lost their lives are buried in the local cemetery.
If you would like to be included in the group please contact Mike Capon. Tel No. 01732 505864
or e-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
I DIN’NT KNOW THAT
A SHOT OF WHISKEY - In the old west a .45 cartridge for a six-gun cost 12 cents, so did a glass of whiskey. If a cowhand was low on cash he would often give the bartender a cartridge in exchange for a drink. This became known as a "shot" of whiskey.
THE WHOLE NINE YARDS - American fighter planes in WW2 had machine guns that were fed by a belt of cartridges. The average plane held belts that were 27 feet (9 yards) long. If the pilot used up all his ammo he was said to have given it the whole nine yards.
BUYING THE FARM - This is synonymous with dying. During WW1 soldiers were given life insurance policies worth $5,000. This was about the price of an average farm so if you died you "bought the farm" for your survivors.
IRON CLAD CONTRACT - This came about from the ironclad ships of the Civil War. It meant something so strong it could not be broken.
PASSING THE BUCK / THE BUCK STOPS HERE - Most men in the early west carried a jack knife made by the Buck knife company. When playing poker it as common to place one of these Buck knives in front of the dealer so that everyone knew who he was. When it was time for a new dealer the deck of cards and the knife were given to the new dealer. If this person didn't want to deal he would "pass the buck" to the next player. If that player accepted then "the buck stopped there."
SHIP’s STATE ROOMS - Traveling by steamboat was considered the height of comfort. Passenger cabins on the boats were not numbered. Instead they were named after states To this day cabins on ships are called staterooms.
SLEEP TIGHT - Early beds were made with a wooden frame. Ropes were tied across the frame in a criss-cross pattern. A straw mattress was then put on top of the ropes. Over time the ropes stretched, causing the bed to sag. The owner would then tighten the ropes to get a better night's sleep.
SHOWBOAT - These were floating theatres built on a barge that was pushed by a steamboat. These played small towns along the Mississippi River. Unlike the boat shown in the movie "Showboat" these did not have an engine. They were gaudy and attention grabbing which is why we say someone who is being the life of the party is "showboating".
CURFEW - The word "curfew" comes from the French "couvre-feu", which means "cover the fire." It was later adopted into Middle English as "curfeu," which later became "curfew”. In early American colonies homes had no real fireplaces so a fire was built in the centre of the room. In order to make sure a fire did not get out of control during the night it was required that, by an agreed time, all fires would be covered with a clay pot called-a "curfew."
NINETEENTH ANNUAL REUNION at the Angel Hotel on 7 & 8 OCTOBER 2016
1. The rates are unchanged from this year £65.00 per person per night for Dinner, Bed & Breakfast sharing a twin or double room and £75.00 for single occupancy.
4 deserts Coffee and mints £1.50 extra. Details will be circulated later.
6. Dress is informal ~ smart casual is fine.
To avoid any confusion all bookings must be made through the Editor. may send by e-mail with your requirements.
Many of you have promised to send material for inclusion in your Newsletter but little has come to fruition. Please do not leave it to the handful of members who help to make the Newsletter more interesting.
Editor : DAVID ROGERSON, BROOKWOOD, HUNGERFORD, BURSLEDON, SOUTHAMPTON SO31 8DF TEL 023 8040 2846