I attended this event and paraded our National Standard at Capel-le-Ferne, having been invited by Mr Robin Green, the Memorial Trustee. It is definitely an event for the diary and I am planning on attending next year. I was very fortunate to be joined by Gerry Gibbs, who very kindly took a number of good photographs of the event.
I have also attached the very nice letter that I received from Robin Green, thanking me for my participation. However, rather than describe the event my self, I shall use Robin's words:
"Unfortunately, the weather was far from seasonal, with the rather heavy rain trying it's best to spoil the proceedings. I am most grateful for the way you handled the many changes of plan that took place during the day; your patience was finally rewarded when the skies cleared and we marched out. In total, there were almost 50 Standards from 11 Organisations on parade. During the ceremony, the President of the Trust, Air Chf Mshl Sir Michael Graydon, made a special point of asking if we were coping with the conditions and the Chaplain in Chief to the RAF apologised that he had been unable to provide some better weather. CAS, Air Mshl Sir Andrew Pulford was most impressed with the contribution that the Standard Bearers made to the parade and requested that we be congratulated on the way that we handled the conditions."
For my own part, it was a great day, as I recall being asked to provide 2 RAFP JNCOs, whilst I was the 'sheriff' at RAF Manston (1995 - 98), but had never visited the site myself. I was also very fortunate in meeting up with AVM David Whittaker, to whom I had been Personal Bodyguard, whilst he was the Senior RAF Officer Northern Ireland (SRAFONI) during the early eighties. He told me that he regards his tour of duty in NI with a special fondness and still visits his many friends, made during his time in NI, as often as he is able. AVM Whittaker asked after the other members of the CP Team, Paul Mooney, Roger Smith, Terry Smith and Barry Hull, and sent them all his very best wishes.
I should just add that standard bearers were afforded a marquee to use for changing in (as well as shelter from the rain!) and a very good packed lunch ('gobberly bag') ~ big thanks to Robin.
Nigel Lacey
National Standard Bearer