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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December 2021 marked the 60th anniversary of our graduation, but as COVID still bit and lots of places were still under restrictions, I felt that a reunion later in 2022 would be worthwhile. Initially, I looked at the Bellhouse hotel again as that is where we had our graduation dinner, but they were overcharging for a private room, so that was a non starter.

Bristol seemed a popular choice so I plumped for that and a visit to the aerospace museum there. Decent hotels were a problem and I had to search further and further afield before plumping for the Bailbrook House Hotel just outside Bath on the advice of one of our members. This reunion is from the 19th to the 21st April.

Another reunion is the very last apprentice reunion at RAF Halton. Originally on the 20th August, this was changed to 6th August by RAF Halton, citing service requirements! For the few that are attending, I have organised a hotel – the Bell Hotel in Winslow.

We still have no news on 63 of our members that seem to have vanished without trace. It would be good to try and track them down but I suspect it will not now happen.

18th Feb 2022