2010 – First Meeting
Over the weekend of the 17th -18th July 2010 members of the 39th entry ‘B’ Flight 4 Sqn met to celebrate their 50th year Anniversary. Lichfield in Staffordshire was the ideal venue being in the heart of England, and just a 20 minute drive from the National Memorial Arboretum.
During our stay Lichfield was celebrating its annual festival, with music, comedy, family events, exhibitions, dramas and guided tours. Throughout the Saturday the party visited the Cathedral, local market, and some joined a group on a tour to hear about the city’s historic and interesting characters.
The culmination of the Saturday’s proceedings was a celebration dinner in the George Hotel at Lichfield at which everyone enjoyed the camaraderie and banter as we remembered our experiences .while in training. “Tallest on the right shortest on the left in three ranks size” resonated in my ears as we lined up for our 50th Anniversary reunion photograph in the hotel.
On the Sunday morning most of those who were able to gathered at the National Memorial Arboretum where we place a tribute to all past members at the BE Memorial. Later on in the afternoon we visited the other commemorative monuments set out with sensitivity among the parkland and trees.
2011 - THE 39TH CELEBRATE THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY YEAR OF THEIR GRADUATION PARADE.
To mark this special occasion members of B' Flight 4 Squadron, wives and the entry drill instructor met in Norwich on the weekend of 27th-31st July 2011. Being such a memorable day in the lives of those attending it was especially poignant for the “lads” to have Derek Stingemore and his wife Ann attending. The venue for this year’s gathering was the Holiday Inn Norwich. This was the ideal location as some of the party had flown down especially from Scotland. The hotel being best placed for the airport and a short bus ride into the City.
The usual “meet and greet” was held on the Friday evening which included the usual pleasantries and banter. This social gathering was followed by a splendid Carvery dinner in the conservatory.
Saturday - After a hearty breakfast all decided to hop on to the airport park and ride bus to visit Norwich. While some took the tour bus, others visited the 12th century Norman castle, and the Cathedral. It soon became clear that there was much to see and do in a city that has many original medieval churches still standing. The surrounding walls and the contemporary architecture and statues all tell the story of the history of Norwich. The covered in market was a joy to explore, with its many independent retailers.
In the evening a special graduation dinner was put on to mark the occasion (see menu attached). Someone remarked it was a noticeable improvement from our passing out dinner of Pea Soup, Roast Chicken and Jelly and ice cream. It was agreed by all that a culinary accomplishment was achieved by the chef and all the staff at the hotel that evening.
Sunday – The morning brought about the departure of some, however a number of the group went on to visit Wroxham village situated in the Norfolk broads. All enjoyed a relaxing morning followed by a light lunch and a walk in the afternoon sunshine.
This being our second reunion it was rewarding to see that the number of lads attending had increased since last year; hopefully this will continue as we look forward to another meeting in 2012. We won’t be on a par with the Olympic Games however, but we do at least meet on a more frequent occasion and I feel hold a more prestigious event.
2012 - Norwich Revisited
On the weekend 28th - 30th September the 39th again met up for their annual reunion. The same venue as in previous years, the Holiday Inn hotel in Norwich was chosen for its location and the quality of service given to its customers. We as party have always been made welcome by John Banks and his team who once again pulled out all the stops to make our stay enjoyable.
Friday - A warm welcome was awaiting everyone has they arrived at the venue during the afternoon .Tea and chat was plentiful as people met and caught up on past recollections of life in the service. Amongst the guests this year was Les Pollard, Andy Pollard’s son down from Aberdeen in Scotland.
After the gathering of everyone and a wash and brush up everyone gathered together in the bar prior to the evening meal. The hotel had provided us with a reserved area where we were able to enjoy a carver meal served from the main restaurant.
Saturday - After a hearty breakfast everyone travelled to Wroxham to catch up on some shopping and participate on an outing on the Norfolk broad’s .Our chosen vessel was not available but we were more than adequately served by the replacement the “Belle. Of the Broads.” All in all a pleasant relaxing two hour trip on the broads on a lovely sunny day. After lunch in Wroxham and more shopping we made our way back to the hotel. In the evening after a pre-dinner drink in the bar we all made our way to the function room in the hotel to enjoy an evening’s entertainment. Our package this year included entertainment with a “Freddie Mercury tribute band” .This was excellent and had the party getting into the mood of the occasion. Once again the usual high standard cuisine presented and served. (See menu attached).
2013 - An Unforgettable Occasion
The weekend of 26th -28th April turned out to be another opportunity to gather together the “boys” from the 39th Entry to celebrate another unforgettable occasion. Our venue for the 3 year being the Holiday Inn Norwich its location providing easy access to the airport, the city and other attractions. This meeting will be remembered as we were joined by our entry colleague Mick Dunn who made contact this year. David Millican was also able to join us once again. Guests for the formal evening included Howard (ex 36th Entry) & Ann Dunne and George (a catering associate) & Pam Fox.
Friday afternoon we were met by our organisers Robert Rose and Richard Parkinson. After some hours travelling from afar the copious cups of tea and drinks on offer were most welcome by all.
In the evening after meeting in the bar lounge we moved onto an area reserved for us and had dinner from the restaurant carvery.
Saturday morning everyone met again to enjoy a hearty breakfast after which in a car sharing plan everyone headed for the coast.
Our first call was Cromer on the Norfolk coast with its bracing sea air. Here many went shopping to find a souvenir to take back home to loved ones, others took a heartily stroll along the sea front. After being persuaded by a man carrying a sandwich board advertising an amateur production of “The Sound of Music”, we all on his recommendation headed for the town community hall. Here tea, coffee and cake were being served to raise funds for the production. We met our up with our benefactor again in the hall and had a chat. Unfortunately we were unable to stay to enjoy the ladies outside the venue singing songs from the show and selling tickets. Did I hear “I am sixteen going on seventeen” or was it “I am sixty five going on seventy.”
Early afternoon found us further east in Sheringham where wind had eased and walking round the shops and visiting the market was most pleasant in the sun. Back at the hotel Saturday evening we had our usual evening celebration dinner .As usual excellent food was prepared by head chef Sunil Prasad and efficiently served by Emma (see menu attached). We were joined on the evening by Mick (ex 39th) and Margaret Rees from Ipswich and guest Howard (ex 36th) and Ann Dunne and George Fox an ex RAF catering associate and his wife Pam . No entertainment this year, not that any was needed by the banter around the table. However, Howard did give us his rendition of “Ernie the fast milk man in the west”. Good company good wine, food and above all friendship made the evening complete.
Saturday morning after breakfast farewells said we all agreed to meet again next year. The 39th search team resolved to track down other members of our entry. Last year we providentially discovered two more.
39th Entry Reunion 9th – 11th May 2014
Once again another successful reunion as the “boys” of “B” Flight -No 4 Squadron RAF Hereford gathered for their annual get-together. This year’s chosen venue was the Hall Garth Hotel & Country Club, Coatham Munderville , Nr Darlington, a stunning property set in 70 acres of its own parkland. The location enables the visitor to travel with ease, to Durham Cathedral, Beamish Museum and the Darlington Railway Museum.
As arranged the party arrived at the hotel during Friday afternoon, all being welcomed by a *young “Robert Rose, this year’s coordinator. Greetings over, everyone settled in the hotel lounge for afternoon tea. This was served accompanied by delicious scones and the essential, butter, Jam and cream. Arrangements then made for the evening pre-dinner drinks most decamped to their rooms for a well needed siesta. Refreshed the party assembled in the lounge for drinks after which an excellent dinner was served .The hotel had reserved an area for our party in the conservatory just off the main dining room for all off our stay.
Saturday morning after a hearty breakfast! “Who ate all the black pudding” several of the party went to the Beamish Museum while others visited Durham Cathedral .Here the pre-planning work well, particularly in the visit to the Cathedral. Parking in the Freemans Place car park in Durham followed by a Stanley Travel bus A40 to the Cathedral avoided the steep incline. Beamish was “oldies” friendly with trams and buses frequently circumnavigating the vast site. All enjoyed their respective excursions and the weather was fair and sunny all day
At our formal reunion dinner on the Saturday evening the same reserved area was set aside for us. During the meal there was plenty of “banter” and renditions of favourite songs from the sixties. At the dinner the hotel staff at all times were welcoming, smiling and attentive. At the end of the meal a toast was proposed to all departed members. Afterwards during the obligatory group photograph we discovered one of our number was celebrating his 70th Birthday that day. The appropriate rendition of Happy Birthday was made, however the suggested “bumps” by someone was met with some discord.
Sunday bright and early breakfast was enjoyed by all and more black pudding before departure. All agreed it had been a splendid weekend and made an accord to meet up again in 2015.
Reunion Report 2015
After some initial showers the Autumnal sun shone on us throughout the weekend of the reunion held in the Holiday Inn North – Norwich this year. On our arrival we were met by Roberts& Jennifer Rose and a welcoming brew. After a short break, (unpacking and forty winks for most) we met in the bar for pre-dinner drinks. Robert had arranged for us to have a separate room for dinner albeit, we all partook in the Hotels Friday night carvery.
After breakfast it was a trip to Norwich for some sightseeing and shopping. It was good to see a great deal of “blue “around the City collecting for the annual RAFA Wings Appeal Charity.
Around mid-day some of us made our way to the riverside and caught the ferry to Griffins Lane Bay there we were to link up with City boats for an excursion down the River Yare. It just so happened that when we arrived at the Quay we disembarked for twenty minutes and then boarded the same boat to proceed down the broads. So for the rest of the afternoon it was a 2 hour relaxing cruise on the tranquil River Yare with views of Postwick, Brundall and Surlingham Broad . Relaxed and after tea on board we disembarked and got a taxi back to the hotel.
That evening we had our formal reunion diner table decorated suitably in RAF colours and with specially printed reunion menus. Guest/s of the evening was George and Pam Fox. After a delightful dinner served by attentive staff we invited them into the room to show our appreciation.
Retiring to the bar we continued our recollections of our boy entrants’ service life till late in the evening.
Sunday morning it was time to say farewell with a resolution to meet up again next year.
Reunion Report 2016
Reunion Report 2016
I have after six years yet to find the ideal formula for our annual reunion, however this year the component parts, the location, food and drink, visit venue and to some extent the weather came pretty close.
The location the Fairfax Arms, Gilling East in Ryedale North Yorkshire in a scenic village was perfect .The food and service was excellent .The staff so accommodating and helpful at all times .The rooms were well decorated up to date and more than adequate and comfortable .
Arriving on Friday Afternoon we all met in the bar for an exchange of news and a welcome drink .Later on that evening we had an informal gathering for dinner with everyone selecting their meals from a very comprehensive menu choice. After dinner more banter and chitchat.
After a hearty breakfast our scheduled visit on the Saturday was to the nearby Eden camp about 20mins away .This former Prisoner of war camp constructed by 250 Italian POWs is now a modern history theme Museum with Military vehicles on site .There are 29 huts to visit each having a reconstruction of the realities of every day to day life on the home front and front line. Click here to get a full summary of what is in each hut and the other facilities available. http://www.edencamp.co.uk/about/history/
We were advised to allow 4 to 5 hours for the outing, however I feel to appreciate fully the subject matter on displayed in each building it needs a longer stay or a return visit.
In the evening our formal Reunion dinner was a resounding success held in a separate room off the main dining area. The table was pre laid with bread rolls and hors d’oeuvres A three course meal followed by cheese and biscuits, coffee or tea. See Menu attached. After the meal notices were read out from absent friends followed by more celebrations.
Sunday morning after another wholesome breakfast the party went their separate ways. With the resolution to meet again in 2017.