XXIV SQN ASSOCIATION VISIT TO ARRAS & LIGNY-THILLOY ON 10 &11 NOV 2012

As those Members of No XXIV Sqn Association, who were at RAF Brize Norton on 6 October will know, plans are afoot to visit the village of Ligny-Thilloy, France on Remembrance Sunday. Our aim will be to pay our respects to the Fallen of The Great War and, in particular, to our first Squadron Commander, Major Lanoe G Hawker VC , DSO.

Last year, the events were fairly tightly co-ordinated, as so many of you were able to attend. This year I feel that participation will be, perhaps more appropriately, on a self-help basis….. !

Part One of this year’s “pilgrimage” will involve Association Members converging on the City of Arras, under their own steam, on Saturday 10 November. Many of you have already booked to stay at the Hotel Diamant or other suitable venues. Our President, Le Colonel Keith Chapman, has been instrumental in encouraging most of the attendees to bed down in the Hotel Diamant. But Keith is on holiday in the Continent of Africa, so you won’t be able to direct specific enquiries to him at this juncture !

Arrangements are in hand for us to enjoy a convivial Dinner at a Restaurant (to be advised) in Arras on Saturday evening. This will be booked by Le Colonel Dickie Bates, who is on holiday in Sicily at this time ! He would like me to obtain a “metaphoric show of hands” in his absence so that, on his return, he can ensure there are sufficient seats around sufficient tables.

It has proved a little difficult to formulate clear plans for the Association’s Participation at the Annual Remembrance Ceremony in Ligny-Thilloy at 1100 on11 November 2012. The Village itself has suffered a number of setbacks over the past months.

The first was when Monsieur Dominique Deleplace, the Maire of Ligny-Thilloy, who provided such huge support last year for the Memorial to Major Hawker, suffered a major heart attack in May.  Wisely or unwisely (!), he has decided to retain his appointment as Maire of Ligny Thilloy and he will again be overseeing the arrangements for this Year’s Memorial Ceremony.

Dominique is currently also on holiday at his home in the South of France ! He could reasonably have expected his responsibilities to have been overseen in his absence by his able assistant Madame Brigitte Le Grand.

Dominique said he would be very happy to meet the 20 to 30 Members of the XXIV Sqn Association (whom I forecast are likely to attend the Memorial Ceremony) in front of the Mairie at 1030 for 1100 on 11 Nov. Dominique has also confirmed that he is more than happy for Sam Wright, Deputy Chairman of the XXIV Sqn Association, to play his part, and the Last Post – in Full Scottish Piper Regalia (Dominique’s words) – during the Memorial Ceremony.

The Maire has also invited our party to join him for refreshments in the Village’s Hall after the Remembrance Ceremony. Last Year, more than 50% of attendees enjoyed an excellent lunch at The Hotel de la Paix in Bapaume, at which the Maire was our Guest of Honour.

Regrettably, bad news tends to come in threes and Dominique confirmed my worst suspicions yesterday. Apparently the Hotel de la Paix closed its doors in September – permanently – yet another victim of these difficult financial times. Last year, some of our party chose to have lunch at the Hotel Restaurant Le Gourmet, and I believe we could have lunch there this year but I would like to see a second show of hands – so to speak – to learn if members would like lunch to be made available at this Restaurant this year.

Further updates over the days between now and Friday 9 November will be on the XXIV Sqn Association Blog …….!

Best Regards Chas Chas Whitaker Mobile: 0044 (0) 7810 505059

If you plan on attending the Memorial Ceremony on 11 November, could you please complete the following and e-mail it to ChasLWhitaker@hotmail.co.uk:

NAME…………………………………………………………………………………

e-mail…………………………………………………………….

Mobile Phone No…………………………………………………

Accompanied by………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Staying at Hotel …………………………………………………………………………..on Saturday 10 Nov

We would like to join XXIV Association Members for Dinner in Arras on Sat 10 Nov………..…YES/NO. (Time and Place to be advised)

We would like to join XXIV Association Members for Lunch on Sun 11 Nov…………………….…YES/NO. (Time and Place to be advised.

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2 Responses to “XXIV SQN ASSOCIATION VISIT TO ARRAS & LIGNY-THILLOY ON 10 &11 NOV 2012”

  1. Denis Marney Says:

    I regret i will be unable to attend the Hawker reunion in France.
    Denis Marney

  2. XXIV SQN ASSOCIATION VISIT TO ARRAS & LIGNY-THILLOY ON 10 &11 NOV 2013 | The 24 Sqn RAF Association BLog Book Says:

    […] Here is the link to our BLog Post for last years event. […]

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