I was the organiser in chief, so obviously my wife
(Clare) was very busy. These events can only be successful if several people in
addition to ourselves, play their part.
I was always backed by the National Chairman and
other officers. I had an able assistant in Roy Laver of the London Home
The Stn Cdr gave her permission almost 2 years ago,
as did several successive chairmen of the Sgts Mess Committee and the Sgts Mess
We were given great help by the chaplains department at RAF Halton and
by our Association Chaplains Rev Jez Safford (Mid Anglia Branch) and Rev Ken
Appleford (Hants, Dorset and IOW Branch). They also seemed to have a word with
their first employer for the wonderful weather we had on just that day. Friday,
heavy rain, Sunday, heavy rain!
Our thanks go especially to Mr John Twigger (91) who travelled all the way
from Newcastle to spend the day with all of us at RAF Halton. John landed in
France on D Day plus one and on 9 August amazed us with his clear memories of
Our Association National Standard Bearer, Nigel Lacey led all 12 branch
standards in his usual professional manner. We thank Nigel and the other
standard bearers for all their efforts which started at 10.00 in the church,
through the marchpast at 11.00 and ended outside the Sgts Mess at 14.00.
As always, we were fortunate indeed to have our Association National Parade
Marshal, Bill Veazey MBE on duty in the church and later on the march past. Our
thanks to Bill, particularly in this 30th Anniversary year for his duties at the
National Memorial Arboretum, RAF Halton and later on the Cenotaph Parade.
A particular thanks go to the 9 founder members (including Charlie Crossan
the first National Secretary) who have supported the Association at various
levels since those early beginnings in 1984.
On the day of course we thanked the band for its very special Last Post in
the church, the lively march past and the excellent display of playing and
Although I said it on the day, I will again express our collective thanks
to the Provost Marshal for all the assistance the RAF Police gave to us before
and during the event. At all levels, the RAF Police gave us support and their
presence greatly added to the event.
I will also write to the Stn Cdr at RAF Coningsby to thank him and his OC
Operations Wing for their flypast in the Spitfire and Hurricane.
Sadly there were several absentees and in the church I requested prayers
for absentee members who in the main did not attend because of distance and/or
ill health. All members are equally important, but some better known absentees
were Steve Cattell, Neil Rusling and very sadly Keith Adams. The Association
Secretary Alan Weeks, had just set off from his home way down in Cornwall, when
his car was written off by a very elderly lady in her vehicle. Thankfully, Alan
was only slightly injured and he is already back on duty. Several members had
hospital appointments, or their wives needed to attend doctor or hospital.
A great thanks go to the several branches and individuals who have made
contributions to cover some of the cost involved at the event.
If I have missed anyone out who should have been included, I apologise and
put it down to age. I naturally could not blame my so called PA, Clare to who I
offer all our thanks.
If you enjoyed the event at RAF Halton, please consider attending the
Cenotaph Parade on Remembrance Sunday, 9 November 2014. If you contact me by
email, or on 01395 446234, I will send you details. I can at least promise you
a far better buffet for half the price!! It will be our 12th appearance.
Finally, please watch the Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance, at
21.00 on BBC, on Saturday 8 November. Nigel Lacey our National Standard Bearer
will be parading the National Standard along with other National Standards like
the RAFA, RNA, RMA etc. This rare honour will be our 3rd time in 10
John Walton (and PA Clare Walton)