Reunion 2011

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50th Anniversary of our Graduation.

20th December 1961 will be a day that all members of the 91st will never forget. It was the day that they finally shook the dust of Halton from their boots and ventured into the wide world. Fast forward 50 years and a celebration was in order for all those who survived and chose to celebrate the event.

 

Naturally, the date had to be celebrated, even though it was so close to Christmas and the venue was obvious. 50 years ago, our graduation dinner was held at the Bellhouse Inn at Beaconsfield and so this became our venue. The fact that we were returning after 50 years was a surprise to the hotel, but when they understood the significance, they pulled out all the stops to ensure we had a most enjoyable time.

 

49 from the entry attended the two day reunion and with partners the total came to 83. Some, from further afield, arrived on the 18th and started the festivities with a good session in the bar. The 19th was a meet and greet affair with a splendid and ample buffet laid on in a private dining room adjacent to the hotel (and just a few steps away from the room we used 50 years ago). The evening was livened with Dave Johnson’s karaoke machine coming into play with some of our members tackling songs from our era. The hotel had put on some local real ale at my request that went down very well. As there was a reasonably early start in the morning, most opted for their beds around midnight, though some managed to prop the bar up until eve the hotel staff called time!

 

The 20th started with a pleasant coach trip to Bletchley and a private tour of the site including a demonstration of Colossus – even though we had been told it was not available. Again, many thanks to the staff for looking after us so well. Those who didn’t want to go to Bletchley had their own coach to take them to the RAF museum at Hendon.

 

The evening was given over to formal dinner in the same room as the previous evening. The menu incorporated all the elements from the graduation dinner. This was originally a 6 course dinner, but none of us felt able to tackle that many courses and so they were incorporated into the appropriate parts of the three course menu devised by the hotel.

Grace was eloquently given by Dave Andrews, the youngest member of our entry at the reunion,

The Queen was proposed by Nick Bale,

Absent friends by Mike Bryant and finally the toast to Halton and Lord Trenchard was given by Dick Bogg.

The evening as always continued into the wee small hours with many stories being bandied about.

Sadly again, none of our overseas friends were able to attend; the entry played host 50 years ago to apprentices from Ceylon, Malaysia and Venezuela.

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The final apprentice reunion will take place at RAF Halton on Saturday 15th August. To take part in the parade, you must be a member of RAFHAA - however adding £10 to the application form feeallows you to be a member for 1 year. Wives or partners are allowed on this occasion to witness the march past.

I have booked a hotel for the Saturday night and have also booked a smaller number of rooms for the Friday night for those travelling great distances. Further information will be issued later in the year.

A successful reunion was held at the Cambridge Belfrey in Cambourne on the 12th and 13th May to mark the 60th Anniversary of the entry's formation. 62 came and took part in both the meet and greet evening and the formal dinnewr on the 13th.

A visit to IWM Duxford was also arrange for the 13th. The weather was glorious and the highlights of the day were the test flights of the Duxford B17 and the test flight of a DH9 after an 18 year restoration. Film of both aircraft as well as of the evening functions are available under Reunion Photographs.

The new General Data Protection Act becomes active on the 28th May. One of its proviso's is that personal contact details (telephone, email, addresses) cannot be displayed. As such all email addresses have been removed, but what remains is a list of the email addresses held by the site administrator. If an email address is required, please send a request to the email address provided. Do not be offended if further details are required before an address is divukged.

News has reached me that the film 'Allied' starring Brad Pitt is using Halton as a location. Will be interesting to see if any of it is recognisable in the film.

Nick Bale has had a look at the RAFHAA website and found that we feature THREE times on the site. I have put a link out to it on the links page so have a look and see if you can spot yourself.

I have now created a separate page for each member that sends me his life story - so come on - you all have a story to tell.

I have added a page listing those that are still missing. Have a look at the list and if you know of the whereabouts - or indeed any information - on any of them, please let me know.