Archive for the ‘Reunions’ Category

XXIV SQN ASSOCIATION ANNUAL REUNION & LADIES GUEST NIGHT 2018 – NOTICE TO ALL MEMBERS.

10 July, 2018

Ladies and Gents,

Here are more details in respect of the AGM, Reunion and Ladies guest night along with the relevant forms which you will need to complete and return to our Chairman, Sam Wright by 7th September 2018.

The programme is as follows:-

Friday 5th Oct. Informal get together at the Hilton (M4 Junction 16). There is no charge but don’t forget your wallets if you wish to partake in some refreshments as you catch up on old times (well at least since last year.)

Sat 6th Oct. Reunion meet and greet at RAF Brize Norton at 10.00 hrs followed by AGM (members only), Squadron visit and fork lunch. There is a £12 per head charge to cover tea/coffee and biscuits as well as the lunch.

Sat 6th Oct. Reunion Dinner at REME, Lyneham. 19.00 for 1930.  This is a Ladies Guest Night and the dress for gentlemen is Mess kit or Black Tie with appropriate equivalent for Ladies. Members are responsible for their personal guests adherence to the dress code. The cost is £50 per head which does include wine at the table.

Pre Dinner Drinks, followed by:-

Smoked Salmon Roulade

Stilton Crusted Pork Tenderloin

Glazed Lemon Brûlée Tart

Wine, Coffee and Mints, Port for the Toasts.

(Special dietary requirements, eg Gluten Free or Vegetarian, by request on booking.)

A coach has been arranged to pick up members at the Hilton (inc Premier inn) and Wooten Bassett Hotels en route. For this, an extra charge of £5 per head will be charged. If you require this service, please ensure you annotate the form stating how many passengers and which pick up point.

For those planning on using local Hotel accommodation, Sam has arranged a discount for Association members at the Hilton, quote ref G24SQ. Please note that all accommodation should be booked directly by yourselves.

Now to the part we all hate, form filling and paying !!!!

Please complete the notification of attendance form (see Links below) and return to Sam by 7th Sept. His address is on the top of the proforma. He also needs to know if you have any special dietary requirements.  Please make out any cheques to 24 Squadron Association and don’t forget to include them with your returned forms. For those technically minded individuals, you can try filling in the forms on line and e-mailing back to Sam and you can BAC’s transfer funds directly to the Association Bank account. Please phone Sam for sort code and account number. When prompted for a reference, use your Surname and initials. If you do use this method of payment, ensure you notify Sam so that he is not chasing you for a cheque.

Sadly, security checks are now a necessary fact of life and to complicate matters further, we need you to fill in two forms, one for BZN and one for Lyneham. Please fill in all required fields which now include d.o.b and nationality.  Don’t shoot the messenger !!  Your completed passes will be available on arrival at both BZN and Lyneham.

Finally, if for what ever reason you cannot make it this year, please advise me so that I can append your name to the ‘apologies’ at the AGM and also if you are aware of any of our friends that have ‘completed shut down checks’ for the last time please let me know (bryancowin@aol.com).

Kind Regards

Bryan (Association Secretary)

2018 Notification of Attendance

2018 AGM Agenda

2018 Security Pass REME Lyneham

2018 Security Pass RAF Brize Norton

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Report from the XXIV Sqn Ladies Guest Night, Pembroke College, Oxford

11 June, 2018

Our thanks to Chas Whitaker for taking the time write up his recollections of the Squadron Ladies Guest Night he attended in May as an Association guest. A superb function by the sound of it.

__________________________________________________________________

No 24 Sqn had arranged a Ladies Guest Night for the evening of Friday 11 May 2018 and had kindly extended an invitation to No XXIV Sqn Association to enjoy this Event. The Invitation was for as many as 10 people but, in the event, I was the only member of the Association able to attend – and, being unattached, that meant only one Association member was taking up the Sqn’s offer.

And this Event was certainly one to attend! As most readers will know, the opportunity for RAF Squadrons to hold Social Gatherings, such as a Ladies Guest Night, in an RAF Mess has declined significantly over the last 25 years. This is in part a consequence of the civilianisation of Mess staffing and administration, which has been accompanied by an escalation of the cost of organising social events in the Messes.

The Association has encountered this first hand when organising our own social events, such as our annual summer gathering. It is partially why, for example, our Summer get together on 30 May is being held in the RAF Club in Piccadilly.

No 24 Sqn was confronted by the “Cost Factor” when planning their Ladies Guest Night of 11 May. And they came up with a very praiseworthy solution! They have a special contact – Group Captain Eamonn Molloy BSc MA PhD of No 601 (County of London) Sqn RAuxAF – who obtained his degree from Pembroke College, Oxford. He arranged for the Sqn to hold this Ladies Guest Night at Pembroke College – and what a splendid venue it proved to be. All the facilities needed were on hand. There was an excellent Reception Hall where everyone met before the dinner and pre-dinner drinks were enjoyed. I duly reported to the President – OC 24 Sqn – Wg Cdr Gareth Burdett, and we discussed his experiences in the Caribbean where he had been the Detachment Commander on Op Ruman – planning, co-ordinating and supervising the UK’sTri-Service response to Hurricane Irma, which struck the Region last winter. (I won’t steal his thunder as I am sure he will brief us at our AGM at Brize Norton on Sat 6 Oct 18).

After preliminary drinks, we moved to the Pembroke College Dining Hall, which I would judge to be on a par – or even more splendid – than most Messes I have visited in the RAF! There was more than enough space for a Top Table with three lines of tables in classic Trident formation. And at the opposite end to the Top Table was a Minstrel’s Gallery, which was where RAF Brize Norton’s Band was accommodated and played from during the Dinner – at an appropriate volume too! The Dining Hall would have been lit through stained glass windows in daytime but was illuminated by chandeliers on this evening. On the walls were hung portraits of past and present Masters of the University College. All in all a VERY splendid Venue.

And the dinner and the accompanying ceremony was also well up to the mark! There was an interesting introductory speech by Group Captain Molloy, who explained how it was that we were all able to be at Pembroke College that evening, and then touched on the effect of new Technology on the modern RAF. And then OC 24 Sqn gave an introductory speech before an excellent 3 course dinner was served with appropriate wines and of course, later, port being circulated during numerous toasts. There were numbers of personnel – of both genders – enjoying their last Dinner with 24 Sqn before leaving for pastures new (although whether Helmand Province qualifies as a pasture is debatable!) – and all of them were spoken of warmly by the most senior officer leaving the OCU. And then there was an amusing finale! Strings were dropped from the Gallery and their free ends were walked up to the Top Table. Why? So that scale model paper models made by Sgt Jane Davies could be released to race competitively down the 3 lines of tables. Some made it, while others crashed en route!! But all in all, the whole dinner was well attuned to the Sqn’s traditional unofficial catchphrase: “Hit the Floor, its Twenty Four!!”.

And after the dinner everyone adjourned to the College Bar and partook of affordable Drinks and Good Conversation for an hour or so! And when the bar closed, most of the Squadron Members and their Ladies re-assembled to catch the coach back to RAF Brize Norton – except for a couple of couples, and yours truly, who wandered out to visit the Kebab van while we waited for taxis to our respective hotels. I only mention this last point in case No XXIV Association might wish to consider a similar arrangement for some future function. The Centre of Oxford is a car free zone and you access it via Park and Ride facilities. In my own case I overnighted at the Abingdon Road Travelodge, which is right beside a Park and Ride Car Park, which cost just £2 and was £5 each way by taxi to and from Pembroke College. And I should add that my dinner was a very reasonable £45, which was excellent value given the special company, the splendid venue and the excellent meal, all of which I enjoyed.

And finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Wg Cdr Burdett for the Invitation to the XXIV Association to attend this exceptional event and also Flt Lt Chris Jones and Sgt Jane Davies in particular, for briefing me on arrangements and for making me feel so welcome. In summary, I reckon No 24 Sqn is still just as much fun and every bit as professional as it always was, “Back in the Day”!!

I look forward to seeing OC 24 Sqn and a good contingent from the Squadron, if we are all lucky, in Arras and at Ligny-Thilloy on 10 and 11 Nov – in honour of Maj Lanoe G Hawker VC, DSO and to recall the Armistice 100 years after the end of the Great War. And, fingers crossed, I look forward to the realisation of a special plan Flt Lt Scott Galbraith and I discussed during dinner at Pembroke College.

Summer Social 2018 – RAF Club Photos

05 June, 2018

After last years very successful Summer Social lunch at the RAF Club in Piccadilly the obvious temptation was to return this year and experience some of the RAF 100 atmosphere that was bound to be reverberating throughout the Club.

Judging by the two photos sent in by Chris Carrington, they certainly confirm that all was well on the day and the Association Members and Guests who attended look like it was a big thumbs up for the Committee and Club who made the day a great success.

Summer Lunch 1 - 30 May 2018

Summer Lunch 1 – 30 May 2018

Summer Lunch 2 - 30 May 2018

Summer Lunch 2 – 30 May 2018

Op Lima Tango 2018 – Early details

30 April, 2018

Here is all the latest information you need to know about the 11th November 2018 visit put together by Chas Whitaker,  XXIV Sqn Association Ligny-Thilloy Liaison Officer.

Introduction.Well actually I hope that Op Lima Tango 2018 does not need much of an introduction ! Just to say that a tradition began in 2011, when XXIV Sqn and the XXIV Sqn Association combined efforts – with the extraordinary assistance of the Maire (Mayor) of Ligny Thilloy and his assistant, Brigitte Le Grand – and a Memorial to Major Lanoe Hawker VC, DSO was built and inaugurated. Major Hawker was the first CO of No XXIV Sqn, Royal Flying Corps , based at Bertangles, north of the City of Arras. He was already an Ace and holder of the VC when he engaged Manfred von Richthofen, the Red Baron in aerial combat on 16 November 1916. There followed one of the longest dogfights in aviation history which only ended after some 30 long minutes when the Baron eventually shot Major Hawker, whose DH2 aircraft then crashed at Luisenhof Farm near the village of Ligny-Thilloy.

And so it was that Flt Lt Phil Mobbs of No 24 Sqn Royal Air Force initiated a campaign to erect a Memorial to Major Hawker, which was finally unveiled on Remembrance Day 11 Nov 2011. The Ceremony was presided over by the Village’s Maire, Monsieur Dominique Deleplace and Honour Guards from the RAF’s No 24 Sqn as well as from the Luftwaffe’s Richthofen Geschwader were on parade.It had been planned that a replica of Maj Hawker’s DH2 would fly over his Memorial but unfortunately this tribute had to be delayed until the following day due to the weather.

2016 marked the 100th Anniversary of Major Hawker’s death and again Officers and Men from No 24 Sqn and the Richthofen Geschwader honoured Maj Hawker’s Memory on Remembrance Day that year. A particularly striking tribute was paid when an A400 Atlas from RAF Brize Norton made a slow flypast over Ligny Thilloy’s War Memorial and Major Hawker’s adjacent Memorial as silence fell after the Last Post had been played.

It must be said that the members of the XXIV Sqn Association have been heavily involved throughout all these years ensuring, in particular, that the Hawker Memorial was erected in the village of Ligny-Thilloy alongside the Village’s own War Memorial, so that it will remain accessible, preserved and protected for decades to come.

The Association has also been diligent in ensuring that The Maire and his family, his staff and the villagers recognise how much their sterling work and their hospitality over the last 8 years is appreciated.

Remembrance Day 2018. The 11th of November this year falls on a Sunday and once again this day will see Tributes being paid to our own Major Hawker as well as to the men of Ligny-Thilloy who gave their lives in the Great War. But this Year the Ceremony on Remembrance Day will be more poignant than ever before as it falls on the 100th Anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended the terrible First World War.

I am therefore writing to you all to confirm that any member of No 24 Sqn and of the XXIV Sqn Association who wishes to attend this Ceremony – either alone or accompanied by their partner – is very welcome to do so. And you will wish to know that the Maire of Ligny-Thilloy has extended an invitation to you to enjoy a Vin d’Honneur and a Buffet Lunch provided by the Maire and the Villagers in the Village Salle Polyvalant following the Remembrance Day Ceremony, which will commence at 11o’clock and last about an hour.

Additional Preparatory Planning. Should you wish to attend this year’s events, you should also know that the usual XXIV Sqn Association “Ancillary Events” are in planning as well. These will centre on “Informal Meetings” in the hostelries of Arras on the afternoon of Saturday 10 November. We will of course also enjoy our traditional relaxed Dinner in a suitable Restaurant adjacent to the Place des Heros Square in the Centre of Arras on the Saturday evening.

However, research has shown that, if you would like to attend the Lighter Events and the More Serious Ceremonies this year, the 100th Anniversary of the Armistice means you should book your Channel Crossings and your Hotel Accommodation much sooner than you may have planned, because unusually large numbers of overseas visitors are expected in Arras for this historic commemoration of the Armistice.

Travel and Accommodation. I wouldn’t dream of teaching you how to book a Ferry or a Tunnel Crossing. However, I would suggest that the easiest way to secure appropriate accommodation would be to “Google” the search title “Arras, Hotels” on your computer. You will then find that a number of highly refined search engines such as “Booking.com”, “Expedia”, “Trivago”, etc will list available hotels in the city of Arras which have accommodation available for the weekend 10/11/12 November. They will also show where these hotels are situated and what price the rooms on offer will cost. My own research has shown that there are hotels with rooms available at prices for 2 nights ranging from £60 for 2 persons, up to £200 and more for 2 people. I wish you Happy Hunting and have attached a list of several hotels which still have accommodation – and the room prices on offer.

When you have conducted your research, and made your decisions re participation in Op Lima Tango 2018, I would be grateful if you could drop me an e-mail to chaslwhitaker@hotmail.co.uk to let me know if you plan on attending, what your contact mobile phone will be, and which hotel you will be using. I will then be able to co-ordinate extra-curricular planning with the President of No XXIV Association, Gp Capt Keith Chapman, and brief Monsieur Dominique Deleplace on the numbers attending the Events in Ligny Thilloy on 11 Nov 2018.

With Best Regards

Chas Whitaker, XXIV Sqn Association Ligny-Thilloy Liaison Officer

Mobile: 07810 505059

E-Mail: ChasLWhitaker@hotmail.co.uk

 

ARRAS – A SELECTION OF HOTELS AND PRICES

(Derived from http://www.Booking.com)

BOOK EARLY TO AVOID DISAPPOINTMENT

HOTELS RATES

2 Persons for 2 Nights

Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 Nov

Holiday Inn Express £195

Najeti Hotel de l’univers £191

Hotel Les Trois Luppars £135

Inter-Hotel Arras £150

Places Appart £152

ACE Hotel Arras – Beaurains (3 miles to Arras Centre) £103

Chambres d’hotes Le Cour des Grands £176

Premiere Classe Arras – Saint-Laurent-Blangy £ 74

Hotel F1 Arras £60

Mercure Arras Centre Booked

Try Googling also:

ARRAS, Hotels;Expedia;Trivago;Trip Advisor

 

XXIV Squadron Dinner in Oxford – Fri 11 May

20 April, 2018

 

Pembroke College

Pembroke College

We have just been informed that the serving members of XXIV Squadron are holding a dinner in Oxford on Friday 11 May (details below). They would like to invite members of the Association to attend & have around 10 spaces available.

Apologies for the late notice, but they need to know numbers by the end of Monday 23rd Apr.  Its bound to be a fantastic evening.

Mention Flt Lt Chris Jones at RAF Brize Norton 01993

842551 (Ext 6965) or give our Chairman (Sam Wright) a call on 01249 890516.

Details:-

Dress code – Formal – Mess dress with miniatures  / No. 1’s or Black tie,

Female attire – Long formal dresses, shoulders do not need to be covered.

Cost – £50-£60 each. The price will vary on numbers attending. This includes transport to and from the event with reception drinks and a bespoke three course meal.

Transport – Coaches from 24 Sqn building at 1700.

The menu

Starter Pan Fried Fillet of Sea Bream with a Vine Ripened Tomato and Fennel Salad, served with Olive Tapenade Croute, Sun Blushed Tomato Dressing and Deep Fried White Bait

Vegetarian Starter Pea and Mint Risotto served with Toasted Pine Nuts, Parmesan and Pea Shoots

Main Sticky Glazed Breast of Duck with a Rhubarb Chutney, Fondant Potato, Orange Braised Chicory, accompanied by Walnut Granola and a Sherry Jus

Vegetarian Main Asparagus and Goats Cheese Tartlet served with Fondant Potato, Ratatouille and Chargrilled Baby Leeks, Portobello Mushrooms, Pea Shoots and Truffle Oil

Dessert Passion Fruit Crème Brûlée with Homemade Raspberry Shortbread

Coffee

Port Grahams Late Bottled Vintage, Portugal

Wine Gravité Rouge, France Gravité Blanc, France

The reception drinks and the wine throughout the meal are unlimited. The bar prices start at £2.00 a pint and £1.50 for spirits to give you an idea.

Event Details

1700 Transport leaves 24 Sqn RAF Brize Norton

1825 Guests arrive at Pembroke College. Coach Transport supplied by RAF Brize Norton

1830 Drinks Reception begins in The Harold Lee Room

1910 Call for Dinner

1915 Guests to make their way to Dinner in the Hall

1930 3 Course Bespoke Menu served Coffee and Port served with Speeches

2200 After-Dinner Drinks Service in the Hall Bar

2330 Last orders taken in the Hall Bar

2345 Carriages

Please note

Payment can be made via mess bill or cash to Sgt Vickers if you do not have a mess bill.

2018 Reunion and AGM – Some Early Details

23 February, 2018

2018 Reunion and AGM  6 October – Early details:-

Transport details

Barnes Coach departs Hilton Hotel 18:00 and Departs Lyneham Mess 23:59 for Return.

Hilton Hotel information

The Hilton are delighted to offer the following bedrooms for the night of our reunion:

  • Bed and breakfast rate
  • 5th and 6th October 2018
  • £60.00 Single occupancy rooms
  • £65.00 double occupancy rooms

 Please note:

  • All bedrooms are to be pre-paid at the time of booking and are non-refundable and non-transferrable.
  • Any bedrooms that haven’t been booked but have been kept in your allocation will automatically be released back for general sale 6 weeks before your event date. We will not be able to re-add rooms to your block after this time has passed. Any other bedrooms will be subject to availability and rates at the time of booking.
  • Any additional guests per room carry a supplement of £10 per room per night, under 14s are complimentary

  • Families with children over 2yrs old must book a family room in order to accommodate everyone. Our family rooms consist of a queen sized bed and a sofa bed, suitable for 2 under 14yr olds or 1 adult

  • We have 25 rooms on our group. There is a mixture of queen rooms that can either be double or single occupancy, twin room and family rooms on your allocation. They have also included a few upgraded rooms, just to ensure members have good selection of rooms available to book.

You can call the Hilton central team, quoting the date and G24SQ to book. You may also input this code into the group code box on the general Hilton.com website to qualify for the reduced rates.

XXIV Squadron Association – Summer Social & Lunch – Wednesday 30 May 2018

23 February, 2018

XXIV Squadron Association Summer Social & Lunch– Wednesday 30 May 2018

Latest Information as at 22 Feb 2018.

Venue

Presidents Room, RAF Club, 128 Piccadilly, London, W1J 7PY 

Timings 

12.00 onwards:  Gather for drinks in private bar adjacent to Presidents Room

12.45:  Lunch served

Format

An informal occasion with no seating plan

Dress Code

Jacket and tie for gentlemen. Equivalent for ladies.

Menu

Baked goat’s cheese encased in pistachio nuts, with poached pear & quince jelly

Chicken supreme, with mushroom & asparagus & tarragon velouté sauce
French beans & new potatoes

Crème brûlée

Coffee & petits fours

Note: Gluten-free & vegetarian options also available on prior request

Wines

Wines and other drinks are not included in the menu price but are available for individual purchase. Club house wines are particularly good value.

Cost

now £35 per head; (was £39). Association Treasurer Roger Hale will require full payment by cheque by 9 April at latest (see below) and will settle the total bill directly with the Club.

Confirmation of Attendance

Maximum capacity of the Presidents Room is 42. If last year’s support for this event is any yardstick, demand is again likely to exceed supply so we will have to adopt the same policy of “first come first served.” Please confirm your wish to attend by email to randa.hale@mac.com as soon as possible and no later than 9 April when the list will be closed. Please ensure that emails state member’s name and full names of all guests. Please follow up your email by posting a cheque for the full amount to Roger to arrive no later than 9 April. Cheques should be made payable to 24 Squadron Association. Roger’s home address is:

Roger Hale
14 Weiss Road
Putney
London
SW15 1DH

Summer Social – Menu

03 January, 2018
RAF Club Lunch

RAF Club Lunch

Your Committee has been in liasion with the RAF Club Banqueting Manager on the menu for our summer social & lunch at the RAF Club on Wednesday 30 May 2018 and chosen the following dishes. One menu to be served to everyone but there will of course be provision for special dietary needs.

Starter: Baked goat’s cheese encased in pistachio nuts with poached pear & quince jelly.

Main: Chicken Supreme, with mushroom & asparagus, new potatoes, french beans.

Dessert: Creme Brûlée; Coffee & Petits Fours.

Like last time, lunch will be served in the President’s Room and the adjacent Victoria Bar will be reserved for our exclusive use.

The Club have quoted £39/head but negotiations are on going for a 5 to 10% reduction OR a £5/head subsidy from Association funds if necessary.

Final details and invitations to attend will be sent out nearer the date.

 

Summer Social 2018 – Confirmed as 30th May

30 November, 2017
RAF Club Presidents Room

RAF Club Presidents Room

A firm booking has been made on behalf of the Association for the 2018 Summer Social to be held at the RAF Club, Piccadilly on Wednesday the 30th May.

The action was left outstanding at the AGM for the Committee to explore  this as an option. With such heavy demand on the Club during 2018 for all things 100, this slightly earlier date was secured.

It is expected to be a similar format as the 2017 meet up. More details a bit nearer the time, so put a marker in your diary as these events are very popular.

 

 

Centenary Dinner Photos – 11th September 2015

24 November, 2017

Although a little bit late in being published, the Committee have at last tracked down some of the official photographs taken on the evening of the 11th September 2015 on the occasion of the Squadron’s 100th Anniversary and Centenary Dinner in the Officers Mess, RAF Brize Norton.

The VIP guest that evening was the Squadron’s Honorary Air Commodore, HRH Princess Royal. You will also see in the picture gallery, Wg Cdr Daz Rawlins, Grp Cpt Tim Jones, representing the Squadron and the Station, Air Cdr Dick Gould, Grp Cpt Keith Chapman and Sam Wright among others representing the Association.