In London, Remembrance Sunday started coldish and damp, but in the end we did not get really wet. Some 60 plus members gathered on Horse Guards Parade, shuffling about to keep warm, meeting and greeting old (and new) friends. We all reported to Stewart McArdle who recorded our presence. We also said "hello" to Archie Heath, Tony Harbour and Colin Denley who once again were personally taking care of St Dunstans patients, at least two of who are former RAF Police. George Brookes introduced us to John Nicoll, the RAF navigator shot down in the first Gulf War. Photos were taken by Bobbi Stenning, Beryl Coten and a RAF PR lady.
At 10.20 we marched off Horse Guards, through the Arch and on to Whitehall. Our leader again this year was former PM and President, retired Group Captain Ted Scaplehorn OBE, accompanied by retired Group Captains Peter Clark and John Rose OBE.
Dennis Cothay in his wheelchair, was pushed by Corporal Gareth Hughes (who was wounded in Afghanistan earlier this year). Our right marker was Nigel Lacey, left marker and TV target George Brookes and the 2 rear "bookends" were Brian Burgess and Gordon Sidey.
The wreath for the Provost Marshal and RAF Police was carried by our VC Alan Millership. The RAF Police Association wreath was carried by our Chairman, Brian Flinn.
With the kind permission of the Provost Marshal (Group Captain John Whitmell), we were again "guided" by Warrant Officer Bill Veazey MBE. This year he was assisted by Flight Sergent Kenny Braddick. We sincerely thank Bill and Kenny for all their efforts to keep us in step against the background of, bands, applause and shouting RSMs etc. By all accounts these efforts were very successful and certainly one view from the BBC TV report confirms this.
Congratulations to all our marchers (everywhere) and heres hoping we have 70 on parade at the Cenotaph in 2010.
On Saturday evening, the annual Royal British Legion (RBL) Festival of Remembrance took place in the Royal Albert Hall (RAH). Because the Association is celebrating our 25th Anniversary this year, the RBL allowed our Standard to be paraded. There are only a few ex-services Associations permitted to parade in the RAH each year. Our standard bearer was Richard Smith (LHCB) and we congratulate him on a job well done.
There were several members in the audience at the evening performance and we were very proud indeed. I will send a copy of the programme in which the Association is mentioned to the Association Archivist, Jon Curtis.
What another great weekend for the RAF Police Asosciation.