15 October 2003
WOKING MEMBERS ON OUTSIDE DUTY
reports by Eric Smith, ACA Woking Chairman
Visit to Littlehampton Aircrew Association
The marina at Littlehampton
A dozen members of the Woking Branch ACA visited Littlehampton on
3rd September at the invitation of the West Sussex Branch Secretary, Reg
Sturt (ex Woking Branch). They meet in the picturesque surroundings of the
local Yacht Club.
provided a welcome breath of sea air
John Farley's presentation
After suitable refreshment and a light luncheon, everyone
settled down to a very interesting and professional presentation given by John
Farley AFC OBE, who was one of the pioneering Test Pilots on the Harrier.
Middle Wallop Graduation
ACA visitors and their hosts
Dinty More (right)
discussing the finer points of Lynx gunnery
Branch Member Alister 'Dinty' More AFC helped Staff Sergeant Jan Cunningham of
the Army Air Corps at Middle Wallop to put together one of the most
memorable visits for the Woking Branch on 25th/26th September. A party of
eight was hosted and accommodated overnight. The first day they were 'bussed'
out to the ranges at Lulworth Cove to observe the final qualifying tests for
AAC Air/Door Gunners using the Lynx helicopter. Lunch was provided together
with unexpected entertainment when gorse on the ranges was set on fire
by tracer rounds and six Fire Engines were called in. The happy visitors were
then flown back to Middle Wallop by Lynx and were entertained to a Curry
Supper by their hosts.
Woking members wore their medals for the ceremony
The second day started with a very privileged, conducted tour of the Apache
Helicopter hangar and then everything became much more formal. Led by the
Chairman, Eric Smith GM, everyone put on their best attire and medals and
attended the presentation of Air Gunner brevets, to the new Gunners. A very
special honour was accorded Alister More, who was appointed to present the
brevets. This was particularly appropriate because Alister started out as an
Air Gunner, before remustering as an AEO. The Chairman presented a plaque,
printed with the "Airmans' Prayer", to the Colonel of the Training Unit.
Les Bigwood behind a gun again after 60 years
One of the party was Les Bigwood, a Lancaster Gunner who was very badly
injured when he baled out of a crippled aircraft too low for his chute to
open. The Army hosts treated him with the greatest reverence and respect and
earned everyone's praise for their generosity and kindness.
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