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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Many of you will now know that Halton is to close forever in 2022 with the training flight and all supporting staff leaving by 2020, relocating to RAF Cranwell. The fate of the Association as well as the windows in St Georges and the tribute etc is still to be decided

TThere will be no more triennials and in fact the last reunion of the association will be held in 2020 at the Arboretum to coincide with tyhe centenary of Lord Trenchards vision as well as being the 40th anniversary of the Association.

WE will be holding a reunion in 2019 to mark the 60th anniversary of our arrival at Halton. Venue has yet to be decided but possibilities will be looked at early in the New Year.

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.