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Planning for the 2018 Reunion - Latest Update

On 22nd January, Ivor sent out an email to advise members about the final selection for the 2018 Entry Reunion.  The voting was 9 for Portsmouth with 5 happy to go anywhere. So, it is Portsmouth this year!

Ivor went on to say that he had contacted the Royal Beach Hotel, Southsea, PO4 0RN where we stayed on our previous visit in 2015. 8th September 2018 is the only Saturday available of the two dates we asked for. The Management Team will visit on 7 February 2018 and will report back soonest with details.

Subsequently, Ivor reported that Pam and Tony Miles, Margaret and himself visited the hotel on Wednesday, 7 February 2018 and the following are the arrangements agreed by Ivor for our stay.

Room Bookings

The hotel has maintained their prices and these are not a lot different to our visit in 2015. Room Prices this year are: 

Sea view – Double or Twin family standard room, 2 people sharing, £87.50 per night Bed & Breakfast. Note – There are a limited number of sea view rooms.        

Standard – Double or Twin family standard room, 2 people sharing, £79.50 per night Bed & Breakfast.  

Members are requested to individually call the hotel on 02392 731281 to make their bookings and pay a non-refundable deposit of £10.00 per person. 20 bedrooms for 3 nights, have been held specifically for the 83rd Entry Reunion.  Please help by booking early to let us get this show on the road and when booking, make sure you state that you are “83rd Entry". Then email Ivor to tell him you have booked your rooms and for which nights.

Food & Beverages

All guests are booked for Bed & Breakfast each night. Breakfast is served in the restaurant weekdays 6.45am - 9.30am, Saturday & Sunday 6.45am – 10.00am. Also, guests may order food each evening apart from Saturday which is the Reunion Dinner. Restaurant opening times for dinner every evening are 7.00pm - 9.30pm. However, there is a restaurant in the pier complex opposite the Hotel where lunch and evening meals can be obtained. They serve very good fish & chips!

Quiz Night

On Friday, 7th September there will be the usual Parish Notices and Quiz Night held in the Fearless Suite, starting at 8pm.

Reunion Dinner

The Reunion Dinner is on Saturday, 8th September 2018 in the Fearless Suite. Members should assemble in the Hotel Bar at 6.30pm for a 7.00pm sit down.  For those that remember our last Reunion Dinner at the Royal Beach, we had Bruno orchestrating our meal. Davina, Ivor's contact at the hotel, says Bruno is still there and will be with us again. Ivor says he is already looking forward to meeting up with Bruno and his team again.

Cost of the Reunion Dinner is £34.00 per person and this includes 3 courses, Port for the toasts, tea, coffee and cheese board.  Wine and other drinks should be ordered separately.

Menu Choices


A.       Cream of vegetable soup served with croutons

B.       Prawn apple and pineapple salad topped with Marie Rose sauce

C.       Duck and Port pate with red onion marmalade and ciabatta

D.      Rose of melon with raspberry sorbet  

Main Courses  

E.       Roast loin of pork served with apple sauce & gravy

F.       Slow-cooked blade of beef finished with a red-wine and thyme sauce

G.      Baked cod loin finished with a cream chive sauce

H.      Mushroom, brie & cranberry wellington served with pesto cream sauce  


I.         Warm apple and blackberry pie served with custard

J.        White & dark chocolate mousse with vanilla sauce

K.       Strawberry meringue nest served with a fruit coulis

 Alternate vegan choices for any of the above.                      

Starter – L.    Melon            

Main – M.  Three bean casserole        

Dessert – N.   Poached pear  

Please make your menu selections. List your choices against your name (i.e. Brenda - C, F, K) and send to Ivor by email as soon as practicable.

Ivor will CLOSE both room and meal bookings at the end of July 2018. This is to allow the hotel time to re-allocate any rooms not booked by 83rd Entry members to other people who want to come and stay. There is already another function booked during our reunion weekend but as we know from our last visit, it is a large hotel with plenty of room for all their guests.

Car Parking

Please note that the hotel car park is approached from the rear of the hotel, along Mansion Road, and it has limited parking spaces. Alternate street parking is available in adjacent roads. 

Maurice John Raven RIP

On  22nd December 2017, Ivor emailed members  to advise that he had received the email below from Shorty Gray (NZ) regarding the recent passing of Maurice Raven.

"Hello Ivor, I have just been advised by Maurice Raven’s son David that Maurice passed away this morning NZ time. Maurice and Pauline visited their sons Steven and David who have lived in the Waikato area for some years, and Catherine and I have had the pleasure of seeing them on their summer visits. However in recent years the long distance travel had become too difficult. Maurice was always proud of his RAF service, and particularly of Halton 83rd associations. David has asked me to let 83rd members know of his father’s passing. Email messages can be be sent to David Raven or to Steven and Tracy Raven (Ivor has their addresses)."    

Subsequently, Maurice's son David sent Ivor details of the funeral and these were circulated. 

The cremation took place on Friday, 12th January at 11.30 at Peterborough Crematorium and this was followed by a celebration of life at 13.00 in Bourne Abbey Church.

The funeral was attended by Ivor John and Stefan and Jane Chmielowski on behalf of the 83rd Entry. John and Janet Burt had intended to attend the funeral, having fond memories of Maurice and Pauline at our past Reunions. Sadly, we were in Exeter attending a close family friend's funeral and were unable to make the trip across country to Peterborough and Bourne and arrive in time!

Ivor provided the following narrative:

Family and friends gathered at the Peterborough Crematorium on Friday, 12th January 2018 around 11.00 am to greet the coffin. The coffin was draped in a Union Jack and had Maurice’s RAF 3 Wing SD cap on top. The service was conducted by Father Peter Lister.

The 83rd Entry family was represented by Stefan and Jane Chmielowski, who had travelled from Southport and stayed overnight in Grantham to be able to attend. I was also present. The service followed the normal format on these occasions except the fact was that Maurice was a church member at the Abbey Church in Bourne, and was therefore well known to Father Lister. He made comment on Maurice’s life and times. The curtains closed on the coffin to the strains of the “Halton Bear” which Maurice had requested and John Burt managed to provide a version for the occasion. Most fitting.

The congregation then moved to Bourne and gathered at the Abbey Church of St Peter and St Paul, or a Church Service in memory of Maurice. More friends joined the congregation.

Maurice had met Pauline at a village dance in Bourne when he was stationed at Honington. They married and Bourne was to be their main place of residence and family home. There were memories of Maurice given by two of his sons. Apparently, Maurice was a keen fishing enthusiast and had passed his passion on to his three sons.

Two of the boys now live in New Zealand and Maurice and Pauline would make annual winter visits to NZ to see their sons and their wives and eventually, their grandchildren. A moving moment for me during the Church Service was when a teenage granddaughter stood up and spoke about her grandfather. She went on to say that as a child, she never thought she would ever be without him, but now she had lost a very good friend.

Father Lister remarked that Maurice and he had many a friendly confrontation on  religious and general matters and Maurice would always argue his point strongly.

After the service the congregation were all invited to the Church Hall where the ladies of the church had prepared a home-made buffet for everyone to enjoy.   David Raven sat with Stefan, Jane and myself and spoke of the times when his dad was out in NZ and arranged  to visit Shorty Gray and / or Spike Armiger. The drinking was normal but he learnt a lot about Halton just by listening.

David said his dad was proud of being a Halton Brat and a member of the 83rd Entry. David went on to introduce one of the ladies that had prepared the buffet, her name was Mavis. Mavis is married to a member of the 53rd Entry. She says she misses meeting up with the boys and girls of the Entry and wished the 83rd well for the future.  A Lovely lady.

Maurice and Pauline came to many 83rd Entry Reunions until recent years when they were unable to make the journey. They were always strong members of the Entry Family.

Pauline is now in a wheel chair and lives in a nursing home. There is one son and his family still living in Bourne, near to Pauline.  

Ivor John,  January 2018

John Dainty RIP

On 29th December 2017 Ivor emailed that he had just received the following sad message from Laura Dainty, the youngest daughter of John Dainty (681957 J D G Dainty, Engines, 2 Sqn, 1 Wing).   "Please accept my apologies for the delay with the sad news that we lost dad at the end of August. He hadn't been particularly well for the last few years, however it was cancer that sadly took him from us - Just a week before his 78th Birthday".

John retired a Wing Commander.

John Moon (based in OZ) emailed to say, "Sorry to hear the news of John Dainty, I remember him as an affable and pleasant chap. We were in the same Wing, Sqdn and Flt - one, three and two, so I got to know him quite well. I offer my sincere sympathy to all his family and friends".

Jim Waddington emailed to say, "Sad news to hear of the loss of another member of our family, but unfortunately we have left the marriages and births behind and now only have last postings remaining and sadly it comes too early for some".

Brian Fairclough emailed to say, "Yet another, truly sad news!"

Tony Gassner (based in Lusaka, Zambia) emailed to say "I too, remember John's almost permanent smile. I hope to renew the experience t'other side".

Colin Lines Memorial Service

The memorial service  for Colin Lines (681557 C A  Lines, Engines, 1 Sqn, 2 Wing)  was held on Friday, 5th January 2018 at 12 noon in the Epsom Cemetery Chapel, in Epsom, Surrey. 

It is a very large cemetery just outside of Epsom on the way to the Downs and the racecourse (home of the Derby!).  In the centre of the Cemetery there is a small Chapel (see below) and that's where the service was held (click-on the above image to open the full Order of Service). 

Christine, Colin's widow, had advised that if any 83rd Entry chums wished to attend the Memorial Service they would be very welcome. Representing the 83rd Entry at the service were Ivor John, Stefan Chmielowski, Janet and John Burt. From the time we all arrived at the Chapel we were made most welcome by Christine and Anne-Marie, Colin's sister and other family members.

The Chapel was full with Colin's extended family and his many friends and they had come from South Africa, Canada, Germany and various UK places to be part of what was truly a celebration of the full life of a well-loved family man, and much respected working colleagues and a loyal friend.

Despite the close family suffering with heavy colds, Colin's youngest son Harry shared memories of his dad. Clearly, the values instilled into him by Colin spoke volumes about the respect and love between them. Readings by his sister Anne-Marie and Claudine Dauphin gave insights into different facets of Colin's life but it was the outstanding Eulogy delivered by Christine that really captured a long and happy life filled with many memories from Colin's many exploits. Click here to enjoy the Eulogy and learn a lot about the MAN.

The Chapel from which Colin's ashes took their final journey

The family grave where Colin's ashes were interred along with his mother, father and his brother Ralph.

The grave marks the end of an RAF Halton Apprentices dynasty. Colin's father was in the 3rd Entry and his brother Ralph was an RAF & civil flight engineer who we think was in the 68th Entry

After the memorial service Christine had arranged an informal lunch in a private room at a nearby restaurant called The Rubbing House to relax with family and friends and share memories of Colin.  

The Rubbing House at Epson Race Course


L to R: John Burt, Christine Lines, Stefan Chmielowski and Ivor John.


Christine (6th from the right) surrounded by her extended family and friends. The very tall chap behind Christine is Colin's youngest son Harry. Immediately in front of Harry is Colin's daughter Deborah and to her right  is Colin's other son, Brent (in tan jacket)

Following the Memorial Service, I have corresponded and exchanged photographs with Christine who returned home to South Africa on 18th January. Christine says she spent the next few days catching up with things and getting Harry organised for his return to University. Now that Harry has left she also faces the challenge of life on her own and hopes she can face 2018 with a cheerful heart as she adjusts to her new life.  

Christine went on to say "It was a great privilege to meet Ivor, Stefan, Janet and me at the service in Epsom. I was so thrilled and humbled to see some of his Halton chums joining us. At these type of events it is always difficult to chat to people for as long as you would have wished and I am sorry that I wasn’t able to speak to you for longer.  When I saw you all at the service I kept thinking to myself “Colin would have loved this”.  He had shown interest in the Haltonian magazine and I was hoping that we could have attended a reunion in the UK one day – sadly it didn’t happen.  Tony Gassner attended the 50th reunion some time ago and reported back to Colin on the events of his trip to England. It was incredible that Colin should meet someone from his time at Halton, living here in Somerset West in South Africa.   Of course I would be happy for you to include some photographs (see more below) and writing on the 83rd website concerning Colin.  As requested, I am attaching a copy of the Eulogy I read at the memorial service".


 Colin with his sister Anne-Marie and his brother Ralph (also ex Halton, sadly now deceased), in 2008

 Colin enjoying a pint in Portsmouth during a visit to the UK in 2015

EditorsNote: Background appears to be Gunwharf Quays. Ironically, 2015 was the year we held our Reunion in Portsmouth & Southsea but, this was before Colin had 're-discovered' the 83rd Family through meeting up with Tony Gassner in SA.

Taken in April 2017 just 4 months before he died – as always he is laughing and enjoying a glass of wine!

With Harry and his beloved Alvis car a few years ago here in SA

Some of the people who were at the service wrote and asked Christine for details of the collection fund she was organising in aid of the RAF Benevolent Fund. To make life easier for people Christine set up a Tribute Fund in aid of the RAF Benevolent Fund in Colin's memory and this will remain open in 2018 until Colin’s birthday which was 31st May.  The funds raised will be a fitting tribute in this Centenary year of the RAF.  If people would like details please give them this link which will take you to the appropriate website. Secure payments can be made online and this website is regulated by the Charities Aid Foundation.   https://colin-lines.muchloved.com/   If you click on this link you will see that there is a “Gallery” and I have uploaded some photos of Colin.  The gallery is available for anyone who would like to share a photo and there is also a section where people can share stories if they wish.   Colin will be deeply missed by so many people but I take strength from the fact that his life was well lived and enriched with good friends and a loving family.   Once again thank you so much for joining us in Epsom and for keeping in touch.  I will be visiting England again this year and will be organising a suitable headstone for Colins final resting place. Your kind words and support are much appreciated.

Staying in Touch

Tony Gassner

Tony emailed to say; Hello John,  many thanks for the update, I haven't perused it yet but will do so soonest.  I see from the box that you are having an interesting winter. In Lusaka we have had a very poor start to the rains so my horticultural efforts have been just that. Today in a sudden rush the heavens opened. The red red mud is a small price to pay.  Grateful, is the word for being in sufficient health to get busy with my two young gardeners landscaping an estimated 4 acres, grateful also to have lived in the era that we have before the world abandoned common sense.  All the very best for Christmas - looking forward to the Queens speech. I was delighted with the last.  Cheers, Tony. 

John Moon

John emailed to say; Dear John, thank you for your latest email. I thought I'd send you a short version of my biography which perhaps you can enter on the website if you think fit. Editors Note: see John's entry under Service Records.

John went on to say he applied for and was granted discharge by purchase (350 pounds) and left in 1965 in the rank of Corporal. He then migrated to Australia as a ten pound pommie joining CRA (now Rio Tinto, mining company) as a self taught assayist / mineralogist.  Now retired, he looks back with nostalgia for his time in the RAF and remembers with affection the many young men he knew at Halton and at 62 Sqdn. The wide range of training in so many technical fields has been of great service to me in my civilian life. All the best, 682040 A.A. John Moon.

Stuart Simon Lloyd-Drury

Called AJB on 22nd December from South of France. Had a long chat about all sorts of things going back to RAF Halton and picked up on Stuart's life and travels after the RAF. He spent time in the music / entertainment industry, went to Uni to study architecture and is now much into phsycology.

Chris Strike

Merry Christmas to you all and your families. Had the following message from Jim Waddington regarding Chris Strike.   "Hi Ivor you may like to inform our family that Chris Strike suffered an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm back in October. Chris had an emergency operation then spent two weeks in intensive care but is home now and recuperating . I had a long chat over the phone and he sounded his usual self.   He was very lucky as the problem was found during a scan, so emergency treatment took place immediately. If it had ruptured whilst at home he would not have stood a chance.   Chris was initially posted to Tangmere whilst I was at Thorney Island. Tangmere closed so Chris joined me at Thorney. He met Sue, who worked in a flower shop in Chichester and I met Sylvia and we spent a lot of time together as a foursome. Chris had a car but had to be started on the handle each time".

Southern Branch Xmas Lunch

Narrative by Brian Fairclough

Thursday 14th December 2017.  This day was declared the final ‘Seniors Day Out’ of the year and was on this occasion hosted at ‘Castle Miles’ in Waterlooville, Portsmouth.  Attending were the usual suspects from the Hampshire and Sussex branch of the 83rd, namely Dave and Angela Taylor, Brian and Maureen Fairclough, and of course the ‘Baron of the patch’ Tony and his good lady Pamela Miles.  Also attending from a slightly more northerly kingdom in Surrey, were John and Janet Burt.  A noticeable absence from the gathering were Ivor and Margaret John, their engagements calendar precluding. Assembly was scheduled for 11.00hrs and once greetings and local gossip had been completed, over a welcome ‘cuppa’ the assembled were ‘bussed’ to Southsea Waterfront, here the vehicles were parked, within sight of the final destination on Southsea pier, ‘Deep Blue’ fish restaurant.  The ensuing trek had obviously been arranged as some form of torture, being into the teeth of a stiff, very cool, breeze.  Those amongst us were wondering who of our number had upset the Baron and his wife for this agony to be inflicted upon their so called friends!  However, stout hearted as all exbrats and their kin have become over the years all attendees managed to come through this test with flying colours, and upon reaching the haven of the restaurant were delighted with the venue.

Clockwise around the table: Pam, Tony, Brian, Maureen, Amgela, Dave, Janet and John.

A delightful meal was taken by all, I believe ‘Medium Cod and Chips’ was the order from everyone with one vote abstention for the mushy peas.   Puddings were also very much on the agenda with sticky toffee pudding and vanilla ice cream a popular choice. A lighter option preferred by the ladies was just a couple of scoops of the ice cream. 

The occasion was filled with mirth and hilarity, as expected, and one of the main talking points was the cleanliness of the toilets, as a consequence all attending had to pay a visit! 

L to R: Tony, Janet, Brian, Dave, Angela, Pam and Maureen

The walk back to the embarkation point for trip back was somewhat less of a trial as the breeze now was from behind, and the sun was shining.  An uneventful return to Waterlooville was made and once again tea/coffee was taken prior to our departures our separate ways.

The final discussion concerned planning the proposed exchange visit of the gathered, to our Scottish branch in the spring early summer of 2018.  It is understood this will be during end of April, beginning of May.  The preceding time will be taken up with methods of travel and options of accommodation, no doubt the cerebral power available is more than sufficient to overcome any unforeseen problems and we can look forward to a satisfactory precursor to the annual reunion later in the year, wherever that may take us.

Schools Books c 1958

Hi john, Got these books out of the loft after 38 years they were very interesting to look at. I can't find my test job I have been all over the house but it has gone missing. Tony


Planning for the 2018 Reunion

Ivor reminds us that it is always up to members to cast their vote as to where we go and when. September after the schools go back is the normal meeting time. So it is over to members to just let Ivor know preferences for our next venue. It is not to soon to start planning.  

When to Cease – Ivor points out that we have been holding Reunions each year since 1992, each duly recorded on our website by John Burt for all to see. However, is the time coming when we should consider ending our annual reunions?

Ivor advises that the RAFHAA is planning to cease Triennials in 2020 and it is understood  the last one will be held at the National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas near Stafford. Perhaps in 2020, the 83rd Entry should consider gathering again at Telford to take part in the occasion and also make it our final Reunion. Just food for thought and our members consideration.

In a note to Ivor in October 2017, Dave and Heather Stone's suggestion for the next reunion in 2018 is Stratford-on Avon, Warwickshire. Here is the official web site address:  www.visitstratforduponavon.co.uk  one of many web sites promoting the town and the surrounding attractions. The town has plenty of hotels, well used to catering for groups and there are many attractions, something to do for everyone. It is on tourist trail with good bus, train and flight services, the latter operated by ‘Stoneair’.

Turning to the future of the reunions, Dave and Heather would like the reunions to continue as long as there are enough of us to make the gatherings viable. We are such a young at heart, enthusiastic, attractive and happy group, it would be a loss, if we had to stop meeting. All Good Wishes to everyone David and Heather.

Mike and Mary Powell were overheard  to say, as we departed from Woodhall Spa, that another trip to Portsmouth would be a good thing to do.

John Burt RIP


Arthur “John” Burt, 2nd July 1940 – 29th April 2018


Over 100 family, friends, associates and 83rd Family members gathered at Guilford Crematorium on Friday 1st June 2018 to pay our final respects to someone who had been part of our life.

Janet requested that the 83rd members should walk the coffin in to the chapel. The coffin being draped by the Royal Air Force flag. We entered the chapel to the sound of “The Black Bear”. A piece of music John would have been associated with many times with his “Halton Band” times.

The service was conducted by a Funeral Celebrant, John Ford.

The Celebrant read the Eulogy on behalf of Janet.

I was invited to give a tribute regarding John’s Royal Air Force and 83rd Entry story. Simon Jones a college of John’s from Oil and Gas UK gave an insight and tribute to John’s contribution to the industry.

Emma, John’s step-daughter then read the poem “He is Gone” by David Harkins.

The congregation were all invited to the wake at Guildford Masonic Centre.

Ivor John

Click here for more information about the service, John's civilian career and memories from Ivor John


Watch this space for further updates:


John Burt