Newsletter 2014 – 1


President: Wg. Cdr. John Rush MBE, BA FCIM Ieng Fraes RAF [Ret’d]
Life Vice President: Bryn Richards
Chairman & Welfare Officer: Fred Knox BEM
Vice Chairman: Bill Baker
Treasurer: Peggy Reading
Secretary& Membership Secretary: Des Stewart
Entertainment Member: Norman Williams
Service Liaison Member: Vacant
Ladies Liaison Members: Jeannette Stewart & Gillian Williams

General Secretary & Membership Secretary’s Contact Details: Des Stewart, 31 Crossmead, Watford, Herts, WD19 4JQ – Tel No. 01923 461 056; Email:

Dear Member

Well 2014 is now well and truly under way, and I am looking forward to the reunion in May at Southsea.


We have had some new members join via the website, so that is some success. Have you looked at the website lately? The site had a bit of a makeover via West Herts College in Watford.

2014 Reunion

The reunion will be held at the Beach Hotel in Southsea. This is the first time that we have booked the reunion in the south. Unfortunately I am not sure if the members are keen on the area as the bookings are disappointing in that there are only confirmed 56 bookings so far, but there is still time to make your bookings if you do intend to attend the reunion. However, if the numbers do not increase sufficiently, the committee must consider going back to the central area of the UK for 2015. That appears to be area that most members prefer.


The AGM will be held on Sunday 18th May at 10:00. Details of the venue will be displayed at the hotel, and also relayed verbally.

Spare A Thought

Bill Baker suffered two strokes, one before and one after Christmas. I received a phone call from Bill, Friday 28th February, to say that he has been given the all clear and will be attending the reunion.


Just a reminder that the subs year runs from January 1st to December 31st and should be paid for annual membership to Peggy Reading, 7 Fen Road, Metheringham, Lincoln, Lincs, LN4 3AA. There is no longer the Life Membership category for new members, but is still current for those already who are Life Members. Life Members, although not required to pay annual subs, may make a donation to KEBAA, if they so wish.

This will help to keep the accounts in a healthy state as we have more Life Memberships than Annual Memberships.

New Members

I don’t think I have mentioned our new members before, but since the start of the website we have had 5 new members join us:

535 Brian Gardner & Christine; 536 Bernard Fleming; 537Alan Elderfield &Sandra; 538Peter Mitton & Marcia; 539*Kathleen Willcocks (Bill).

I met Peter Mitton (Mitts) whilst on holiday at Mill Rythe and Kathleen Willcocks has joined us as an honorary member as her late husband, Bill, was an armourer. So welcome one and all.


KEBAA Stock List At 28 January 2014

6 x Baseball Caps @£ 4.50 each

23 x Headscarves @ £ 5.00 each

80 x Coasters @ £ 0.75p each

650 x Car Stickers @ £ 1.00 each

153 x Key chains @ £ 2.00 each

297 x lapel badge @ £ 1.50 each

6 x Armourers ties @ £ 10.00 each

209 x KEBA Ties @ £ 10.00 each

9 x Credit Card holder @ £ 4.50 each

KEBAA Jumpers

Jumpers are available with a new KEBAA crest. They are in the following colours:

Navy Blue; Light Blue; Royal Blue; Black; Dark Midnight; Red; Wine; Bottle Green; Mid Grey; Charcoal.

They are of 50% Acrylic/50%Merino Wool composition

Sizes-Chest 26″; 28″; 30″; 32″; 34″; 36″; 38″; 40″; 42″; 44″; 46″; 48″; 50/52″ & lastly 54/56″

Note that the 54/56″ size only available in Navy; Dark Midnight; Black; Bottle Green & Charcoal.

Orders for the sweaters should be made via Keith Reading on 01526 323885 or on Email at

Please note that the sweaters will be ordered directly by Keith, from the suppliers and will not be able to be exchanged if they are wrong in colour or size. Keith will have a few samples for your perusal.

Gary Smith: Gary has recently informed me that he will be standing down as Service Liaison member as he is due to leave the RAF after 38 years of service.

Mill Rythe Holiday Camp

I don’t normally mention any holiday camps I have been on, but Mill Rythe, Hayling Island, is worthy of mention. I first came across it advertised in the British Legion magazine as the Military Heroes Reunion, and the price seemed too good to be true. So phoned Shirley, and got booked.

The week was made up from mainly ex military and family and friends, with the Oranginas Minesweeper Association having their reunion as well. What a week; the banter was as expected between the various arms of the forces, everyone spoke to each other; the food was very good and the entertainment was first class. All the musical directors from London’s west end and choreography is given by leading principle theatre stars, and it shows.

There was something going on for everyone to join in and have a laugh. That’s where I met Mitts & Marcia, as we were all on the archery range doing our best to be the next Robin Hood. There was also an axe throwing competition, but decided to give that a miss! I came second in the bowls competition only because I was told I wasn’t Navy. On receiving the prize I was told that I could have won! I said, “If I had known that I would have played properly”, which promptly received raspberries from the Navy, but 1 up to the RAF.

On arriving at the camp, tea or coffee and biscuits were served to all new arrivals; the bar was open as was the cafe.

The food choices were really excellent for breakfast and evening meals.

Once they had got themselves organised, the Minesweeper Association were selling tots of Pussers Rum, with water, for £1 a tot. All proceeds from the organised events, £2700, were donated to the Not Forgotten Association.

Also displayed outside were ex military vehicles, with inside was a Bren Gun, chained down of course, but I was itching to see if I could still strip it down!!! The entrance to the dining room had sandbags placed around the doorway, to give a feeling to wartime conditions.

Friday night is the S.O.D.S. opera, where anyone feeling plucky can get up and sing a song, recite an ode (not too blue), or whatever takes their fancy. One of the Navy members gave a funny monologue was just coming up to his 90th birthday

The next Military Heroes Reunion starts on Monday 15th September, 4 nights is £149pp half board, and 7 nights is £227pp half board.

If anyone is interested in staying there in September, give Shirley a ring on 01983 405 116. I must emphasise that this is not for a KEBAA reunion, but for individual members to make their own arrangements if they wish to book. However, if there is sufficient numbers interested, we could take on the Navy at all the games and show them how it’s done!


St Barbara’s

KEBA 519 Wg/Cdr Ken Wallis DSO MBE DEng CEng Fraes PhD – Ken didn’t join KEBAA until he was 93, but he left a legacy behind of armament tools and equipment that most of us have used at one time or another. As well as a being a bomber pilot during the war and after being grounded for having defective vision, he became a Station Armament Officer (SAO), and one of his designs was of the bombing up trolleys and equipment used for loading up the Canberra bomber. His original small working models of these were still in his workshop on the day some of our members visited his house a few years ago.

At one stage of being an SAO he shared an office with Shepherd and Turner, the two designers of the Stengun. But he is mostly remembered for his design of the Wallis Autogyros, and Little Nellie as used in the James Bond film “You Only Live Twice”.

KEBA 118 Bob Pickering: Although Bob could not attended many reunions, quite a few of the current membership will have known him and will be saddened to hear of his posting.

So until next time,

Yours Aye


Des Stewart
Membership & Gen. Secretary


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