Archive for the ‘Reunions’ Category

2017 Association Reunion and Dinner – Early Feedback

10 October, 2017

The good news is that the Association Members and Guests enjoyed another successful Reunion, AGM, meet up with the Squadron and Ladies Guest Night at RAF Brize Norton and Princess Marina Mess, Lyneham on Saturday 7th October.

Despite the Squadron and Brize being heavily committed to the hurricane relief out in the Caribbean, the job of hosting us and briefing us for the day was carried out impeccably. Everybody’s thanks go out to Sqn Ldr Mark Radbourne, Flt Lt Chris Jones and Hoggy who gave up their own time to make us so welcome.

The Dinner at Lyneham was voted by all attending a most enjoyable experience providing just the right sort of military ambiance lacking at commercial venues. Possible a firm favorite for future years.

Here are a few phone snaps of Association Members and Guests at XXIV HQ, the Squadron briefing and A400M Simulator visit. Further updates as once the dust settles and the Committee have had a spot of R & R.




04 October, 2017

Here is the latest update and news from Chas Whitaker regarding this years visit to Ligny Thilloy


Hawker v Richthofen.  All recipients will no doubt be aware that there is a memorial to No 24 Sqn’s first Commanding Officer – Major Lanoe G Hawker VC DSO – erected in front of the Mairie in the village of Ligny Thilloy (LT).  LT lies 26 kms due South of the town of Arras in the Pas de Calais region of France. The Memorial is geographically close to the site of Luisenhof Farm (destroyed in WW1).  Major Hawker was shot down by the Baron Manfred von Richthofen after an aerial combat lasting some 30 minutes and his DH2 aircraft crashed adjacent to the Farm on 23 Nov 16.

2011. With the approval and enormous support of the Mayor of LT, Monsieur Dominique Deleplace, and of his Assistant, Madame Brigitte Le Grand, the Memorial to Maj Hawker was erected and then inaugurated on 11-11-11 (11 Nov 2011).  The Ceremony was attended by a strong XXIV Sqn team led by OC XXIV (Wg Cdr Tim Jones) as well as by a large turnout of Assocn members and partners.  The occasion was also noteworthy for the participation of an Honour Guard provided by the Luftwaffe’s Richthofen Geschwader, with the Geschwader Standard paraded in honour of Maj Hawker. The French Air Force was represented by the Base Commander and the OC of a Mirage Fighter Sqn from the nearby Cambrai Air Base.

2016.  Last year marked the 100th Anniversary of Maj Hawker’s death in action on 23 Nov 16.  That event was marked by a Centennial Remembrance Ceremony at the Hawker Memorial in LT on Remembrance Day – Friday 11 Nov 16. This was led and co-ordinated by XXIV Assocn in close cooperation with XXIV Sqn, its Sqn Cdr – Wg Cdr Daz Rawlings – and his team of assistants.   And once again, Maj Hawker was remembered with honour by representatives from the Richthofen Geschwader and the Richthofen Association. The highlight of the Ceremony might well have been the Overflight of the Memorial by an A400 Atlas provided by RAF Brize Norton.  After this, The Mayor of LT marked the occasion by hosting a Vin d’Honneur and Buffet Lunch for all the attendees in the village’s modern Community Hall – the Salle Polyvalante Jaques Lolele (named after Dominique’s precursor as Mayor of LT).  I would say that Major Hawker would have considered we had done him proud 100 years after his own splendid contribution to the UK’s Campaign for Peace in Europe.

2017.  And here we are approaching the Anniversary and France’s Remembrance Day again, which this year falls on Saturday 11 Nov.  I doubt that we will draw together such a gathering as we had last year but I trust that we will gather a contingent of 20 to 30 to enjoy some time in France and to pay our respects to Major Hawker’s memory.  It is also of course very important that we keep the relationship with the Mayor and the villagers of Ligny Thilloy alive as it is they who have contributed so much over the last 6 years and will hopefully continue to do so over the years to come!!  (Maybe Brize Norton village should be twinned with Ligny Thilloy so long as No XXIV Sqn is based at RAF Brize Norton !!). However, maybe this year our focus should be on enjoying the traditions and the relationships that Flt Lt Phil Mobbs’ initiative – the creation of the Hawker Memorial – engendered back in 2010!

My thinking is that we should major on the social aspects that have grown up over the last few years, and encourage members of XXIV Sqn to participate as fully as possible and to feel welcome to join the XXIV Assocn, as I fear that the age gap between the “Oldies” and the current “youthful” Sqn members is growing ever wider!?  And surely the last thing that the first Sqn Cdr would want to see is the XXIV Assocn withering away!!  So, this communication is an Open Invitation to all XXIV Sqn and XXIV Association Members to get together this year – and even more so in 2018 – the 100th Anniversary of the Royal Air Force’s Foundation on 1 April 1918!!

Well then, what is on the cards for Op Lima Tango 2017?  First off, a comfy crossing of the English Channel on Friday 10 November- by Channel Tunnel or a Cross Channel Ferry – in good time to reach your pre-booked Hotel in Arras!  There are a number of good ones, but the XXIV Association’s favoured hostelry is the Mercure, next to the town’s station and only a few minutes’ stroll from the historic town centre. I won’t presume to tell you how to search hotels on Google or how to book them on the Internet!! But, once you have checked in to your preferred overnight accommodation – around midday to 14:00 – you will probably want to take a promenade to one of the historic Squares in the Town Centre. Once there, you will perhaps locate the typically French hostelry called Les Trois Futs (The Three Barrels) located at 72 Place des Héros (in a corner of the attractive central square). Here you are likely to find Keith Chapman – our President – surrounded by other stalwarts, all enjoying the skills of French or Belgian brewers.

In parallel, they will doubtless be sorting out the World’s issues – from Brexit, to the unpublicised role of RAF Brize Norton providing Hurricane Relief in the Caribbean, via French History and any other theme you want to throw into the melting pot! We will spend a convivial time in this lively brasserie – or perhaps shopping in the town’s excellent magasins (shops!) – before retiring to our hotels for a charp (sleep) and a wash and brush up in time to reach our designated restaurant.  This is “Le Bistrot du Boucher” located at 6 Boulevard de Strasbourg, a mere five minutes stroll from the afore-mentioned Place des Héros. Keith will have reserved sufficient places for our group to dine together from 19:30 hrs. As some of you will recall, food and service are very good in this restaurant and everyone should get a delicious meal and ample wine for about 25 euros per head. Lively conversation will continue long into the evening as you enjoy excellent French cuisine and sip your preferred libations! The time you elect to leave and retire to bed is optional but you should remember your ETD next morning to attend the ceremony on Remembrance Saturday!!

So, on the Saturday, the opportunity to enjoy a leisurely or a rushed petit déjeuner will depend on your Get Up Time! But the initial target is 10:00 for a departure due South to Ligny Thilloy, to ensure we are all gathered in good time before the start of the French Memorial Service, which will begin on the dot of 11:00.  Dominique Deleplace, the Mayor, will lead the proceedings as usual and Keith Chapman will lay a wreath on Major Hawker’s Memorial , as also will Wg Cdr Gareth Burdett, OC XXIV Sqn, I feel sure.  This year, after the ceremonies at the village War Memorial and Hawker Memorial, I expect we will make the traditional one km walk to the Ligny Thilloy Village Cemetery where Dominique will ensure that the village’s children are aware of France’s history and the nation’s involvement in the Franco Austrian War of the 19th Century.  Seemingly, humanity never learns that Wars don’t tend to sort matters out in any permanent manner!

After that, we will walk back to the Salle Polyvalante Jaques Lolele where Dominique and Keith Chapman will each say a few words and we will enjoy a Vin d’Honneur (drinks reception) laid on by the Mayor.  And then we will depart by car to the nearby village of Bapaume to arrive between 12:30 and 13:00 at the Le Gourmet Restaurant. Dominique and his wife Michelle will be our guests, but my “Maitresse de Liaison”, Madame Brigitte Le Grand, will not attend this luncheon as she will be looking after the Village Committee in the Salle Polyvalante.  Lunch is usually a 3 course affair with wine and coffee included. I will make the reservation for our party and shall be endeavoring to keep the cost to not more than Euros 25 per head. I will let you know what the menu choices are when the owner of the restaurant confirms them to me!

So there is our basic plan for Op Lima Tango 2017! 

If you are planning to attend, could you please include me – my e-mail is – as a copy addressee in your reply.  I will then ensure that you are kept informed as details are refined

Reunion Raffle – Reminder

04 October, 2017

Raffle Tickets


Each year at our Reunion, due to the extra effort put in by Sam Wright and helpers on the day, the infamous multi prize raffle always generates an addition valuable contribution to Association Funds.

and so to make this event another great success, any suitable raffle prizes you could bring along for the draw on Saturday the 7th would be most welcome.



2017 REUNION and AGM – Last Reminder

06 September, 2017

It is getting very close to the cut off date for this years Reunion, AGM and Ladies Guest Night on the 7th October, but you will be pleased to know that late applications will be accepted providing they reach Sam Wright by the 26th September.

All details on this BLog link:-

and a brief summary below. Looking forward to seeing friends old and new on the day.


6 October 2017 (Fri) Informal off base Evening Session – 7pm onwards for those arriving Friday evening. The Hilton Hotel, J16, M4, Swindon SN5 8UZ
7 October 2017 (Sat) AGM and 102nd Anniversary Reunion– 11:00 hrs on inc lunch and Squadron Programme Sqn HQ, RAF Brize Norton
7 October 2017 (Sat) Ladies Guest Night style Dinner 7:00 pm for 7:30 pm. (Coach 6:30pm Royal Wootton Bassett) Princess Marina Mess, Prince Philip Barracks, Lyneham.

Update – Rules for Entry – MoD Lyneham to the Ladies Guest Night.

30 July, 2017

Latest Update – Rules for Entry – MoD Lyneham for those attending the Ladies Guest Night.

The essential requirements on the coach or in your own car are:

1. All must have Govt. Approved photographic I/D, such as passport, driving licence, bus pass.
2. All will be required to produce the I/D at the gate to be checked off a master list produced for them.
3. Gate guard will be a soldier not civilian.
4. Senior pax on bus might be permitted to vouch for all pax; awaiting confirmation on this.

Regards, Sam.


26 June, 2017

RAF Brize Norton

The annual Reunion/AGM & visit to the Squadron will take place on Saturday  7th October 2017.

Arrival 10:00hrs, AGM 11:00 (for members only). It is intended to hold a raffle to raise funds for the Association, so donations for prizes most welcome.

Address by W/C Gareth Burdett – 12:00 – 12:30

Lunch 12:45. Lunch will be curry or lasagne in the Sqn. Lunch cost £12/hd. (Veggie, Gluten free by request)

After lunch (13:30 onwards) a visit to sims etc and possible flight.

If you plan to visit 24 Sqn for control of entry, please provide, date of birth, full name and nationality, Vehicle details-make model, reg, colour plus drivers name and pax names by 17:00, 26th September. (See Proforma link below)

Reunion Dinner Sat.7th October in the REME Mess, MoD Lyneham, 19:00 for 19:30hrs.

If you are attending, the dinner is £50/hd. Coach is £5/hd extra.

The menu is:

STARTER        Smoked salmon roulade with smoked trout & chive mousseline & ecrasse potato.

MAIN           Pork tenderloin topped with a stilton mousseline wrapped in parma ham. Vegetables, parsley new potatoes roasted root vegetables or panache of pod vegetables.

DESERT          Poached pears and almond tart with an almond sauce. Coffee and Mints.  Gluten Free and Vegie options by request.

Please also indicate what name you wish to have on your place card.

If planning a room in the Hilton a special rate for the 24 Sqn Reunion’ is being sought. Call  Hilton central team, quoting the date and G24SQ to book. You can also input this code onto the general website to qualify for the reduced rates. (Note Terms and conditions re cancellation fees)

Please note that there will be the usual informal get together at the Hilton on Friday 6th commencing about 7pm. On arrival notify front desk that you are 24 Sqn. Assoc. Parking is free.

For your Info/Notes:- Programme of Events 2017 

Paperwork to Download and Return (ALL 3) to 33 Calne Rd, Lyneham, Chippenham, Wilts, SN15 4PT

Attendance Proforma 2017

Lyneham Security Form

BZN Security Form

2017 Summer Social – Photos & Summary

13 June, 2017

The choice for this years Summer Social of the RAF Club, Piccadilly proved a sell out success. All who attended will we are sure admit to having an excellent lunch and social occasion. Thanks to the Committee for all the behind the scenes work in making it such a success.

Fortunately we have a photo record of the day sent in by Association Member, Tim Pembrey,  also a birthday event for him as well. Thanks Tim.


View of RAF Club

View of RAF Club

Bomber Command Statue

Bomber Command Statue

Lunch Table Group

Sam Wright, Mike Stokes, Lionel Warrington and Malcolm Fentum

Al Lockwood, Tim Pembrey, Lionel Warrington

Sam, Tim, Al, Lionel, Lynn Rogers, Dave Burgin, Roger Payne.

Churchill Bar




Summer Social, RAF Club – 7th June – Final Reminder

06 June, 2017

 Dear All

With only a day left before we gather at the Club for Lunch on 7 June, I thought it might be helpful to remind you of a few important details.

As previously notified, the meal will be served in the President’s Room, located off the Corridor of Squadron Badges on the first floor. This room is reserved exclusively for us. We will be 43 in total. There will be two long tables and no seating plan. Sit wherever you wish.

Most people are likely to assemble in the Club about noon but you are of course welcome to arrive earlier. The Club Management has requested that we have our pre-lunch drinks in the Victoria Bar, immediately adjacent to the President’s Room, because the Cowdray Room Bar would be overwhelmed if all 43 of us gathered there simultaneously.

The Victoria Bar has been reserved for our exclusive use from 10.00 until 16.00!

However, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t begin our day in the Cowdray Room for coffee or something stronger if that’s what people prefer. We simply ask you to start drifting into the Victoria Bar at noon or thereabouts. We aim to sit down to eat at 12.45.

Given the venue and distance to be travelled by many attendees, there will be no raffle on this occasion.

A reminder of the fixed menu is given below. A few people with special dietary needs have contacted me and the Club Chef will provide the special meals requested.

Baked Goat’s Cheese encased in pistachio nuts with a poached pear & quince jelly

Chicken Supreme with mushroom, asparagus, french beans & new potatoes

Crème Brûlée

Coffee & Petits Fours 

Pour mémoire, drinks with lunch are not included in the cost but can be ordered individually at the Victoria Bar.

Looking forward to seeing everyone on 7 June.

Keith Chapman

President XXIV Squadron Association

Summer Social 7th June – List Closed

18 April, 2017


Fully Booked


Message from our Treasurer, as at 17th April.

Such is the demand and popularity of this event that all the available places are now taken and the list is closed.

Please try again next year.

Summer Social – 7th June 2017 –

20 March, 2017

Stop Press – as at 17th April, all the available places are now taken and the list is closed.

Memo from President to All Members of XXIV Squadron Association


As agreed at our last AGM, the Association’s next informal summer lunch will be held at the RAF Club in London on Wednesday 7 June 2017.

RAF Club Presidents Room

RAF Club Presidents Room

We plan to meet at the Club from 12 noon onwards, prior to sitting down to eat at 12.45. However, you are very welcome to arrive earlier to relax and freshen up before our annual summer social gets under way.

Many of you will already be familiar with the RAF Club, which is located at 128 Piccadilly near Hyde Park Corner and almost opposite the Bomber Command Memorial. Those of you who haven’t set foot in the Club before will discover a most comfortable and welcoming establishment, with excellent facilities including spacious public room and a number of bars and dining areas. The Club is easy to reach. A number of London Transport buses stop almost outside the front entrance and both Hyde Park Corner & Green Park Tube Stations are within a ten minute stroll.

Alcoholic drinks, soft drinks and coffee are available in the Cowdray Lounge on the first floor from 10.00 to 23.00 hrs. A similar range of drinks is available in the Running Horse Bar in the basement from 12 noon to midnight. Prices are very reasonable for such a prestigious location!

Lunch will be served in the President’s Room, a private dining area on the first floor. This room will be reserved exclusively for our use. Our menu of three courses will cost £30 per head not including drinks, which are left to individual choice and payment. The actual price is rather higher than £30 but your Committee has agreed that the Association Fund can afford to provide a modest subsidy to take account of the extra travel expenses that some members will incur by travelling to London.

Full details of the menu will be circulated nearer the day but there will of course be vegetarian and gluten-free options.

On weekdays, the Club operates a dress code which requires gentlemen to wear a suit or jacket with smart trousers (not jeans), a collared shirt with tie and appropriate footwear. Ladies are required to wear an equivalent mode of dress. In the summer months, a more relaxed form of dress is permitted if warm weather makes this a more comfortable option, in which case gentlemen may remove their jackets but not neckties.

With only five months to run, we now invite members to indicate whether they plan to attend. Such indication does not imply an absolute commitment and members will be able to change their minds up to our deadline of 18 April, i.e. about seven weeks before the event takes place. But at this stage we do need to get some idea of the likely attendance.

On this occasion, those attending will not be able to pay on the day but are instead asked to forward their payments in advance to Association Treasurer Roger Hale, who will pay the consolidated bill. Roger has also kindly agreed to compile a list of those planning to attend.

Whether or not you plan to attend, please respond to this notice by emailing Roger at:

Please include the following information:

Your name:

Your email address:

Statement of intention:

I plan/do not plan to attend the summer lunch on 7 June 2017.

If attending, I wish to bring the following guests (please state names)


Please Note: the attendance list will close on 18 April and no refunds will be possible after that date. Those attending are kindly requested to send payment of £30 per head to our Treasurer before 18 April. Payment can be made either by direct bank transfer to the Association Account at

Barclays PLC Sort Code 20-90-74 Acct No. 03317102 stating your name as reference

Or by posting a cheque to Roger Hale at his this address:

14 Weiss Road, Putney, London, SW15 1DH

Best wishes to all for 2017.

Keith Chapman