The day before Remembrance Sunday in Central London was rain, rain and more rain.  But on the day it was bright sunshine all the way.  This year  our RAF Police Association Contingent was sadly depleted.  Instead of the usual grand total of 70 (ish), it was only 35 (ish).  But it was still a very cheerful bunch of mainly the old and bold.  However I am delighted to say several of our contingent were first timers and well under 60!!!  We were joined with the Provost Marshal’s kind permission (Group Captain Steve Horne MBE RAF), by Corporals Richie Butler and Ross Hedges of RAF Northolt.  The meeter and greeter was principally a smiling Mick Griffin.

Our joint leaders were former Provost Marshal and Association Vice President, retired Group Captain Ted Scaplehorn OBE and (in the absence of Chairman David Budd) Association Secretary and acting Treasurer Mr Jeremy Fenton.  They were “escorted” by retired Group Captains John Rose OBE and David Stanley.

Our Right Marker as usual was BBB, Big Brian Burgess.  For the 14th successive year our Left Marker and TV target, was George Badger Brookes (George has pinned to his left breast a small notice indicating the column and contingent.  This year we were column C, contingent 36 ie C36).

The Royal British Legion (RBL), several years ago, issued each contingent with identifying armbands for its Left and Right markers.  This year the RBL issued each contingent with a further 2 armbands.  So our rear Left (Keith Cottenden) and Right (Alan Cook) markers, also wore identifying armbands.

The 2 serving RAF Police NCOs marched at the rear of our contingent.  It was under the overall  command of the Association National Parade Marshal, Mr Bill Veazey MBE.  This year Bill had a new assistant marshal in the form of Brian Flinn!

This year Column C (that’s us) was 3rd to march off Horse Guards Parade, through Horse Guards Arch and right wheel onto Whitehall.  Our wreath carriers were Brian (Taff) Lawrence with the Provost Marshal and RAF Police wreath.  John Crosby carried the Association wreath.

The Royal Person taking the salute was HRH Prince Charles.  Alongside him on the dais was the Royal British Legion President, Air Marshal David Walker.   

At 12.30 and after the National Anthem, Bill dismissed us and we crossed Whitehall and joined our relatives and friends in the basement of the Silver Cross for a drink and excellent buffet.

Also on parade, were several members as patients and carers from Blind Veterans UK (formerly St Dunstans).

On the Thursday before Remembrance Sunday, Bill Veazey once again attended the Garden of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey.  Bill looks after the small plot dedicated to the RAF Police and the RAF Police Association.  Among several VIPs Bill spoke to HRH Prince Phillip and HRH Prince  Harry.

Of course we were disappointed with the size of our contingent, but we still marched with the same discipline and huge pride while wearing the white beret, as we have done in previous years.

John Walton