Wednesday, August 23, 2017

AOBA Reunion 2010 by Ted Stanford 60C

As it falls on a member from the anniversary year to provide the write up for the OBAN I was “volunteered” by the guy who used to be my best mate, Jim McIntyre, although to be fair I was asked, I was just a bit slow in taking one pace to the rear. The following is my memories of the weekend.

Planning for the 60ers 50th anniversary reunion started approx 2 years ago when the three coordinators for 60A, 60B and 60C namely Mike Dorward, Terry Harris and Jim McIntyre respectively started their search for members of their own Divs. Due to their hard work leading up to the reunion seventy 60ers attended the reunion, twenty four from 60A, six from 60B and forty from 60C. So knowing that so many 60ers were attending this year I was really looking forward to the weekend.

On arrival at Arborfield at about 1845 hrs on the Friday I found quite a lengthy queue booking in, but noticed there was no “jipping” so it wasn’t too bad and I immediately bumped into a couple of guys from 60A that I hadn’t met since Boys School, Alan (Shag) Twyning and David (Dai) Lloyd accompanied by John (Jock) Reilly and Paddy Foster, and would you believe it both Alan and Dai still had a photo of all three of us together plus Nobby Clarkson taken in C Coy lines. As I didn’t need accommodation I got checked in pretty quickly once I’d reached the front of the queue, got my name badge and then was immediately relieved of a fiver by Dave (Tich) Schofield selling 2011 AOBA calenders, which I believe raised £173 for the AANM fund.

On to Bailleul Sergeants Mess which I remember as SEE Sgt’s Mess and it brought back memories of myself and wife staggering back up Biggs Lane in the early hours of a Sunday morning to our quarter in Venning Road. Sorry I digress. On entering the Mess it was apparent that a lot of members had already arrived and were taking advantage of the cheap bar prices. Much handshaking ensued as old friends met up again, some after forty seven years since they last met. It’s funny how some of the guys you wouldn’t recognise if you bumped into them in the street but others don’t seem to have changed at all. Some are fatter/thinner, hair is longer/shorter but always greyer and some of us have to walk with a stick. The thing about AOBA reunions is that it’s not only meeting people from your own div but bumping into other guys that you served with at some point since you left Arborfield, you might not have known them at Boy’s School but became good friends later, so a lot of conversations started with “I remember you from…….”. Soon the party was in full swing and as the weather was kind we were able to use the area outside the rear of the building.

Soon it was announced that supper was served and laid out before us was a choice of superb curries with all the trimmings and also lasagne for those who didn’t fancy curry, although I’ve yet to meet a squaddie who doesn’t eat curry, the hotter the better. The bar closed dead on midnight when the shutters came down, reminded me of some Naafi bars I’ve frequented over the years, and people started to drift away to their beds or whatever with promises to see each other in the morning. Oh before I forget during the evening a raffle was held in support of the AANM and a grand sum of £615 was raised.

2010 01

When I got up on Saturday morning it was pouring down with rain but by the time everyone had assembled at the Sgt’s mess it had dried up and although it threatened to rain on occasion it stayed dry for the rest of the day. As I didn’t stay on camp I can’t comment on the breakfast but I’m assured it was up to the usual standard and quantity. On entering the mess tea and coffee was available and Tony Church, TeeCee to his friends, had set up a stall selling AAS mugs and dvds of last years reunion parade in aid of the AANM. If anyone wants one of these superb mugs they can contact Tony via the AOBA Forum and I’m sure he’ll be happy to oblige.

Soon it was time to go across to our old camp square for the parade, some people walked, others by car, and some used the minibuses that were laid on all weekend to ferry us about if we needed it, all the drivers having given up their weekend for us. Many thanks to them.


Everyone assembled at the rear of “Jeepland” or should it be the front because that’s where the door is, there we were met by WO1 (RSM) Hall and WO2 (CSM) Davidson both as smart as I always remember RSMs and CSMs to be. After a glass of port each all those taking part in the parade were asked “politely” to form two squads, with the 60ers in one squad and everyone else in the other.

2010 02


Fifty two 60ers with an estimated sixty eight others meant a total of 120 on parade. Both squads were inspected before they marched on the square and although I could hear some guys being checked for their turnout nobody was marched off in double time to the guardroom.

2010 03

By this time the Rochester Pipe Band had formed up and were ready to march onto the square. The City of Rochester Pipe Band is led by Alex (Jock) Burt ex C Coy 62A and I’m sure apprentices from the early 60’s will remember him.

Following the pipe band the march on was led by Trevor Guest 60A who every year handles the AOBA Standard with true professionalism and waiting on the square was Col (Retd) Brian Hutchins immaculate as ever as one would expect of the ex A/T/RSM of 61B that he was. Brian brought the parade to the halt and after the advance were stood at ease to await the arrival of the inspecting officer.

2010 04

Because it was the 60ers year the inspecting officer was one of our own, Lt Col (Retd) Richard Shorthose 60C B Coy. Dick as we knew him then passed out in 1963 as a fellow ECE but soon his real potential was recognised with a commission. The parade was brought to attention and Richard was invited to inspect the troops, and afterwards told them how emotional he’d found that.

2010 05

2010 06

The parade then marched past in quick time, left the square and we then moved on to the more sombre part of the weekend, The Drum Head Service.

Before the service commenced a drink of orange squash was available which was a most welcome addition to the agenda especially for those that had been on parade as it had got quite warm by then.


The service this year was conducted by Revd Stephen Thatcher and during which the names of ex apprentices that had sadly died since the last reunion were read out, this included one 60er, Stan Blachford 60C C Coy another fellow ECE. Stan had been fighting cancer for sometime but had managed to attend a reunion back in 2004.

2010 07

 

Then it was back to the Sgt’s Mess for a welcome drink, some queued at the bar while others made a dash for a seat outside on the lawn. This year saw many more ladies attending with their husbands (I’m assuming they were husbands) some with their grand children and it made for a more family atmosphere which of course what it’s all about.

Nine ladies from 60C were there, some had met before but the ones that hadn’t soon made friends as army wives do. We could see that the BBQ lunch was being prepared on tables outside and it looked very nice.

We weren’t disappointed as when told “Lunch is served” we were met with “mountains” of delicious food, and while we were eating we were entertained by the pipe band. During the afternoon 60C raised £826 towards the AANM fund, mainly to buy tablets for the members of our div that have sadly passed away, included in this amount was £150 raised by Bill Coxon by selling handmade pens that he makes for a hobby.

2010 08

We managed to get a group photo with most of 60C present. Paul Bosanko had painstakingly identified everybody on 60Cs’ Junior Coy and 9 Div photos then had the names super imposed on them before having the photos enlarged to a huge 12ft by 3 ft approx, these were then held up by our good ladies on the group photo. Thanks Paul.

2010 09

After lunch people started to drift away, the REME Museum, shop and cafe were open for those who wanted to get souvenirs or just have a cup of coffee, some took advantage of the various exhibitions available. I sat having a cup of coffee while my good lady went into the shop dying to spend some money. It was remarked that some guys had travelled from all over the world to attend this year, John Reilly and Bas Hill from Australia, Dell LeGall from Spain, Richard Shorthose and Steve Leadley from France, Dave McLean from Holland, Owen Kavanagh from the USA and Chalky White from Dubai. Tich Schofield has to drive for seven hours just to reach the cross channel ferry. There must be others and of course there are those that travel from all over the UK.

I didn’t attend the AGM so can’t comment, did wonder if anyone brought up the subject of accommodation shortage. I know of some that had intended to come this year but changed their minds when told that there was no bed for them. Others stayed in local hotels etc. Twenty members of 60C stayed in the Madjeski hotel in Reading and hired a minibus for the journeys to and fro. Others remarked that they would be prepared to share rooms using camp beds or to sleep under canvas even.

At 7pm members who were attending the 48th Reunion Dinner started to gather at the regimental restaurant where the bar was open for a pre dinner drink, I bumped into two guys from 61C that I hadn’t met for some years, Alan Woolley and Colin King and was chatting to them when we received the call to dinner just before 8pm.

Because of the large number of 60ers attending for their 50th anniversary the top table seating plan was different to previous years. Both sides of the table were occupied plus the top few places on the end legs so unfortunately some of the 60ers didn’t get to sit on the top table proper. 222 members sat down to a superb meal, the wine supply was endless, the port was passed and we raised our glasses to toast The Queen, and Absent Friends. Music during the meal was played by the Stephen Nye Quintet. The guest speaker was Keith (Percy) Thrower, 60C D Coy. Percy delivered his speech really well despite a failing PA system resulting in uncalled for barracking from the rear because they couldn’t hear. Why in the twenty tens at an establishment that excels in electronics, can’t we provide a system that works? Percy also made a presentation to Jim McIntyre in thanks from the 60C members for all Jim’s hard work in tracking down so many people, 71 in all.

Then it was back to the Sgts mess for a few more drinks where the bar was open to 0200. People started to drift away and old friends said farewell with promises to meet again soon, more goodbyes would be said the next morning between the guys who used the accommodation on Saturday night. Another super reunion weekend.

 

2010 10


Thanks to the AOBA Committee, they come up with the goods year after year.

Thanks to the catering staff for all the delicious food.

Thanks to the bar staff.

Thanks to the minibus drivers.

Thanks to my driver, Barry Williams 59B.

Thanks to everyone that attended this years reunion for making it special for us the 60ers.


Some stats, courtesy of Bill Cleasby:-

265 members attended.

24 from 60A

6 from 60B

40 from 60C

222 sat down for dinner

There were five 50ers celebrating their 60th.

Attendees

John

Moir

39A

Les

Dangerfield

39C

John

Wintle

39C

Lawrence

Nixon

42A

Mike

Funnell

42B

Mike

Allcock

42C

Stan

Bates

43A

Tony

Guy

43A

Jim

Macdonald

43A

Mitch

Mitchell

43A

Les

Scapens

43A

George

Wooley

43A

George

Dixon

43B

John

Horwood

43C

Alex

Bax

44A

Pat

Patterson

44A

Len

Poulton

44A

Colin

Williams

44A

John

Brown

44B

David

Ferns

44B

Dave

Higgs

44B

Derek

Kirkpatrick

44B

Ken

Bennett

45A

John

Bradshaw

45A

Don

Hipkin

45A

Lew

Dickinson

45B

Dick

Manning

45B

George

Harold

46A

Norman

Wright

46A

Roy

Jones

46B

Neville

Kay

46B

John

Smithson

46B

Dudley

Wood

47B

George

Byrne

48A

Ray

Derrick

48B

Stan

Guscin

48B

Joe

Young

48B

Gordon

Bonner

49B

Pete

Henry

49B

John

MacBeath

49B

Max

Warwick

49B

Dick

Wright

49B

Tony

Hughes

50A

Ian

Pickworth

50A

West

Robertson

50B

John

Walker

50B

Mike

Webb-Morris

50B

Bill

Butler

51B

John

Dennett

51B

George

Fleck

51B

Graham

Goodwin

51B

Fred

Mills

51B

Alan

Morton MBE

51B

Keith

Tilly

51B

Eddie

Hind

52A

David

Pickworth

52A

Terry

Reddin

52A

Trevor

Stubberfield

52A

Trevor

Trill

52A

John

Williams

52A

Eggy

Egleton

52B

Kaye

Gilpin

52B

Carl

Hayhurst

53A

David

Higman

53A

Mick

Harold

53B

Arthur

Hodgkins

53B

John

Mundell

53B

Bob

Bailey

54A

John

Rainey

54A

Howard

Trill

54A

John

Whitehead

54A

Bill

Cleaton

54B

Brian

Edminson

54B

Dick

Glister

54B

Derek

Palmer

54B

Clive

Soord

54B

Clive

Swatton

54B

Tony

Church

55A

John

Lee

55A

David

Naylor

55A

Sam

Beatson

55B

John

FitzPatrick

55B

John

Harte

55B

John

Howes

55B

Ray

Howorth TD

55B

Geoff

Knox

55B

John

Reynolds

55B

Ken

Smith

55B

Doug

Taylor

55B

Andy

O'Neil

56A

Alan

Sharman

56A

Ken

Dawe

56B

John

Houghton

56B

Larry

Jarvis

56B

Syd

Urwin

56B

Jim

Birrell

-57

Dave

Cahill

57A

Brad

Cockwell

57A

Les

Fountain

57A

Jim

Gardner

57A

Brian

Glossop

57A

Mike

O'Driscoll

57A

Roger

Traves

57A

Joe

Upritchard

57A

George

Vince

57A

Tom

Webber

57A

Jim

Woollam

57A

Keith

Allcock

57B

Peter

Church

57B

John

Glasspool

57B

Mike

Heslop

57B

Mike

Oulds

57B

Derek

Wheatland

57B

Marshall

Day

58A

Dennis

Flaherty

58A

Patrick

Gutteridge

58A

Barry

Lucas-Carter

58A

Paul

Wiggins

58A

Bob

Hocking

58B

Tony

Howes

58B

Mal

Tanner

58B

Kitch

Kitchin

59A

Paul

Margle

59A

Mike

Muir

59A

Don

Allen

59B

Maurice

Hope

59B

Barry

Williams MBE

59B

Alan

Harris

59C

David

Jackson

59C

Jim

Slaven

59C

Adrian

Richardson

60-

Gerry

Beale

60A

Barie

Birch

60A

Graham

Clarkson

60A

Pete

Donnison

60A

John

Feast

60A

Terence

Fleming

60A

Albert

Foster

60A

Dick

Green

60A

Trevor

Guest

60A

Doug

Horton

60A

Ron

Hussey

60A

Trev

Lines

60A

Dai

Lloyd

60A

Christopher

Mackey

60A

Garry

Middleton

60A

John

Muers

60A

Joe

Raine

60A

John

Reilly

60A

Brian

Ruddiforth

60A

Phil

Scott

60A

John

Smith

60A

Alan

Twyning

60A

Sid

Webb

60A

Derek

Wilkinson

60A

Ray

Wombwell

60A

Dick

Bray

60B

Mike

Davis MBE

60B

Terry

Harris

60B

Lathe

Latham

60B

Brian

Ventress

60B

David

Walker

60B

Alan

Bentley

60C

David

Berryman

60C

Paul

Bosanko

60C

Ken

Brown

60C

Donald

Brown

60C

Tom

Buck

60C

Chas

Buckett

60C

Dennis

Collett

60C

Hugh

Collins

60C

Bill

Coxon

60C

John

Crowther

60C

Andy

Cuckow

60C

Dick

Dollimore

60C

John

Flynn

60C

John

Fraser

60C

Jim

Gant

60C

Jeff

Hammmond

60C

Barry

Hill

60C

John

Langdon

60C

Dell

Le Gall

60C

Steve

Leadley

60C

Shaun

Leighton

60C

Jim

McIntyre

60C

Dave

McLean

60C

Graham

Moores

60C

ANDY

Myles

60C

Jack

Nicholson

60C

Les

Pitt

60C

Richard

Shorthose

60C

Bob

Skinner

60C

Norman

Smith

60C

Ted

Stanford

60C

John

Strong

60C

Trevor

Taylor

60C

Keith

Thrower

60C

Grant

Upton

60C

Clive

Watson

60C

Mike

Wright

60C

Chris

Rhodes

61A

Alistair

White

61A

Laurie

Blakley

61B

Brian

Hutchins

61B

Dick

Shephard

61B

Ken

Blowman

61C

Bill

Cleasby MBE

61C

Colin

King

61C

Alan

Woolley

61C

Alex

Burt

62A

John

Swarbrick

62A

Ian

Tilson

62A

Mike

Cheeseman

62C

Terry

Houghton

62C

Terry

O'Sullivan

62C

Carl

Powell

62C

John

Beebe

64A

Bob

Castell

64A

Bert

Dodd

64A

Geoff

Hatt

64A

Tony

House

64A

Jim

Jackson

64A

Andy

Knowles

64A

Alec

Powell

64C

Ray

Stevens

64C

David

Schofield

65A

Dave

Cosway

65C

Bernie

Humphreys

65C

Pete

Marsh

65C

Phil

Russell

65C

Owen

Kavanagh

66A

Frank

Westwood

66A

Herbie

Coles

66B

Tony

Higgins

66B

Dave

Paddon

66B

Rob

Southcott

66B

John

Wright

66B

Ray

Younger

66B

Keith

Bartlett

66C

Bill

Everett

66C

Brian

Greenhorn

66C

Byron

Hooper

66C

Frank

McKenna

66C

Lyle

Shore

66C

Michael

White

66C

Nigel

Wickenden

67A

Wilf

Day

68C

Dave

Mills

69C

Mike

Wherton

69C

John

Andrusiak

70B

Phil

Graham

71C

Nigel

Canning

77C

John

Darwent

77C

Rob

Jones

77C

Bryan

Mansfield

77C

Dave

Merrick

77C

Steven

Thornes

77C

Geordie

Wright-Rivers

77C

Mark

Yeoman

77C

Don

McMahon RSM

PS

Peter

Gibson

PS

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