SUSSEX AIRCREW ASSOCIATION AUTUMN 2014 NEWSLETTER
Monthly Meetings
As we now have briefings on line after our Monthly Meetings I shall only cover the main items discussed over the last few months.
Attendances have been healthy with numbers nearing 30 on most occasions; this is probably due to some interesting topics from our speakers.
The July Meeting saw one of our members, Alasdair Liddle, on stage recounting his epic voyage in an old schooner from Brighton to Corunna in Spain.
In August Ian Gledhill from the Brighton Volks Railway Association provided a wonderful illustrated talk which was appreciated by all.
At the September Meeting John Cotter gave us a superb talk on his time flying the Hastings culminating in a detailed description of an accident that befell another crew in Libya.
In October Patrick Coulcher covered the Antarctic explorations of Ernest Henry Shackleton and Robert Falcon Scott with some excellent photographs.


Our speaker in November (next Tuesday, 4th November) will be Rob Upward who is a 'USA-phile' and will speak about the Mid-West. We hope to see a good number of you; donít forget the ladies - they may be interested! A big thank you to Alasdair for getting us such interesting speakers each month.

RIP
Sadly we have lost 3 members in the last few months.

Ron Frost
Ron started flying during his National Service in the RAF. After leaving the RAF he joined Marshall's of Cambridge as a production test pilot followed by 10 years instructing at the College of Air Training, Hamble. In 1971 he joined Dan Air and became Deputy Chief Training Captain on the BAC 1-11. He will be remembered as a generous, kind hearted man and a quiet, patient and helpful pilot trainer.

Air Commodore John Langston CBE
John had a distinguished career in the RAF as a navigator. During the war he served on Bomber Command with 630,189, and 617 Squadrons and after the war was Officer Commanding 49 Squadron equipped with the Valiant. This was followed by an exchange tour with USAF and then as Senior Officer Northern Ireland and Officer Commanding RAF Aldergrove. John was a gentle, modest, wise man and a friend to all who met him. John wore many hats in retirement including Chairman, followed by President, of the 617 Squadron Aircrew Association, and President of the RAF Club. He was much involved with the building and future maintenance of the Bomber Command Memorial and attended many of the events with other members of the Sussex Aircrew Association Veterans Group to raise funds.


Mike Nash AFC, QC
Mike attended Eastbourne Grammar School. Seeing RAF & Luftwaffe aircraft during the war spurred him to join the ATC. His first job was with Fairey Aviation as an apprentice. He joined 604 Squadron Royal Auxiliary Air Force then became an aircraft mechanic before volunteering for aircrew. Initial training was in Rhodesia followed by advanced flying at Oakington. From Venoms he moved to Transport Command on Comet 2's then Hastings in the Far East. In 1964 he completed an exchange tour with USAF on Hercules (C130) then a tour at Lyneham during which he and his crew supported the British Trans Arctic Expedition dropping supplies and operating on ice landing strips for which he was awarded the AFC. Before retiring from the RAF he was on the Handling Squadron at Boscombe Down. Joining Dan-Air he flew Comet 4's then Boeing 727's. Converting to the Avro 748 in 1984 his appointment as Fleet Manager was followed by Deputy Chief Pilot. Retiring from Dan-Air he joined Channel Express as Operations Director to complete his flying career. He will be remembered as a much loved, affable man with a wonderful sense of humour and never had a bad word for anyone.

Dedication

On the 22nd of October several members attended a Memorial Service with local dignitaries for a young Belgium Spitfire pilot, Arthur Patiny on 349 Squadron Belgium Squadron RAF, who had crashed in the Burgess Hill area on 12 July 1944. The service was in St Johnís Church, Burgess Hill, in both French and English. The group then moved to the War Memorial where a plaque in his memory was unveiled.
Pub Lunches
Following the dedication to Arthur Patiny, October's Pub Lunch was at the Woolpack in Burgess Hill. The next Pub Lunch will be at the Half Moon in Warninglid on Tuesday 18th November. John and Bryan will email details shortly.



Christmas Lunch
At the last Committee Meeting John Bell proposed, and it was agreed, that in view of the many commitments our members have during December, we have our Lunch in January 2015. This proposal to change to the New year, and the venue to be the Dyke Golf Club, was agreed by a majority at the General Meeting. Helen Keeling has made a booking at the Dyke Golf Club for Tuesday, 20 January; please put this date in your dairies! Details and menu choices will be emailed once available.
Remembrance Sunday
A few members and Bob Osborne will lay the SAA wreath at the Burgess Hill War memorial on Sunday the 9th of November. All are welcome.

Visit to East Anglia
In the week commencing the 27th of October Malcolm and Rosemary Burwood led a group of fifteen members on a most enjoyable and interesting tour of Essex and Suffolk. We visited an underground nuclear bunker and then moved on to spend two nights in West Mersea at the Victory Inn.
The next day we drove to an old RFC Aerodrome near Maldon that is gradually being restored to its former glory. The Chairman offered up a couple of members for static display but this was declined! In the afternoon we boarded a Topsail Schooner for lunch and a cruise on the Blackwater channel using both power and sail. The weather could only be described at ideal.
We dropped by the town of Aldeburgh for coffee and then to the Regency hotel in Bury St Edmunds for two nights from which we visited a National Trust House at Ickworth before spending the evening touring the Greene King Brewery in the town who supplied a pub supper and free samples.
The final drive of the 482 mile round trip was back to the Woolpack stopping for a break at an inhospitable pub in Sundridge, run it later transpired, by a retired British Airways Captain! On the way back we visited Chartwell.
We then enjoyed a meal at a very hospitable pub in Burgess Hill called the Woolpack, the landlord of whom who had kindly allowed us to leave our cars there.
Our thanks to Malcolm & Rose for organising and leading a most enjoyable trip.

RAF Wombleton
Who has heard of this wartime airfield? I recently visited the North York Moors and passed by this airfield about 4miles from Helmesley, in North Yorkshire having seen it on a large scale map. It was opened in 1943 and used mainly by the Canadian No 6 Group as a Heavy Conversion Unit for Halifaxes and Lancasters. The concrete runways are still clearly visible from the road, likewise the inappropriate green painted control tower. It was not ideal as the Moors are close by and at least 25 accidents were reported. Part of the old airfield is now used for recreational flying and Europa Aircraft use it as a base for their Swift light aircraft. Good photos and more details on Google.


Joe Overy
2 November 2014