Newsletter 2014 – 2


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: Position 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
First of all I have to apologise for the lack of minutes from the 2013 AGM. It was late June early July that I was diagnosed with prostrate cancer, which knocked me back a bit. As a result quite a lot of things were put on the back burner, including writing up the minutes of the 2013 AGM and the lack of detail in the Newsletters. However, I started my treatment in September with hormone injections, (I now know what the ladies go through with their hot flushes), radiotherapy treatment in December and January and finally Brackytherapy treatment involving an overnight stay in hospital and having a number needles inserted in places that bring tears to the eyes just talking about it. I will find out in June what my PSA levels are and if the treatment has been successful. It certainly feels like it, as I am able to work in the garden for longer periods without getting too tired. If I do too much then Jeannette makes sure that I know it and makes me take a rest!

(Just had my blood test results, and the PSA reading is under one, so it is good news. Can I urge all men who have not had a test for prostrate cancer, to do so? Some friends of mine have left it too late and either having treatment for the rest of their lives, or the cancer is in the bones and it is too late for any treatment to be effective).


The reunion was held at the Royal Beach Hotel, situated on the front at Southsea, opposite the Pier, which unfortunately was closed and boarded out, but didn’t detract from the views of the Solent and over to the Isle of Wight. The pier had quite a history, as it was from here that many troops embarked for the D Day landings.

Friday night was the usual catch up time with lots of chatter among the members attending. After the meal, Tony Bott read a little poem written in 1942 by E. Sykes. Could it be the famous Eric, yes it was, written when he was an RAF wireless mechanic attached to 3 Squadron RAAF. (It is listed within their website at:



Three Cheers For The Man On The Ground

Wherever You Walk, You Will Hear People Talk, Of The Men Who Go Up In The Air.
Of The Daredevil Way They Go Into The Fray; Facing Death Without Turning A Hair.

They’ll Raise A Big Cheer (And Buy Lots Of Beer) For The Pilot Who’s Come Home On Leave.
But They Don’t Give A Jigger, For The Flight Mech., Or Rigger, With Nothing But ‘Props’ On His Sleeve.

They Just Say, “Nice Day” – And Then Turn Away, With Never A Mention Of Praise…
For The Poor Bloody Erk*, Who Does All The Work, And Then Orders His Own Beer – And Pays!

They’ve Never Been Told Of The Hours In The Cold That He Spends, Sealing Germany’s Fate.
How He Works On A Kite, ‘Till All Hours Of The Night, And Then Turns Up Next Morning At Eight.

He Gets No Rake-Off, For Working ‘Til Take-Off, Or Helping The Aircrew Prepare.
But Whenever There’s Trouble, It’s “Quick At The Double!”  The Man On The Ground Must Be There.

Each Flying Crew Can Confirm It As True – That They Know What This Man’s Really Worth.
They Know That He’s Part Of The Air Force’s Heart, Even Though He Stays Close To The Earth.

He Doesn’t Want Glory, But Please Tell His Story; Spread A Little Of His Fame Around.
Only One Of A Few – So Give Him His Due:
[*The slang expression ‘Erk’ came from WW1 banter about the working-class pronunciation of ‘Aircraftsman’.]

It was very good to see Bill Baker attend this year’s reunion after suffering the two strokes before and after Christmas last year. Bill has sent an email this morning Wed 21st May, stating: Thank you for your support and the good wishes I received at the reunion by one and all. At times it was overwhelming, but I am glad that I was able to make it, as it was a tonic that I needed.


Saturday had us heading into Portsmouth for various reasons. Some members went to the D-Day museum, some for shopping in the designer outlets around the Gunwharf Quay, and some just to chill out. Some went up the Spinnaker Tower for a view of the dockyard, the ferry port to the Isle of Wight and beyond, or just to sit and enjoy the view with a cuppa and a wad.

Tony Bott was attached to the Navy at Gosport, so a few of us went over on the ferry to have a look, and possibly visit the submarine museum, but it turned out to be too far for the time available. The ferry was really expensive at £1.90 return for OAP’s!

Saturday’s Gala dinner, attended by 61 members, started with a wine reception at 18:30 for 19:00 start, with the president John Rush saying Grace as Caz lit the candle on the Absent Friends table.

After the meal the President gave the loyal toast, followed by the Toast to Absent Friends, at which point the candle was extinguished.

The raffle was conducted with the usual aplomb, and taking just 15 minutes to complete. There were 49 prizes donated by the members, plus two prints and one commemorative plate, all linked to the Battle of Britain aircraft, donated by Len Braithwaite for an auction, with the proceeds being given to KEBAA.

The raffle was conducted by Norman Williams, with the tickets being drawn by Marjo Rush, the President’s wife. Tricia Bott and Sue Edmonds passed the numbered prizes in order to Jeannette and Gillian who took the prizes to the winners at their table. This style has been running successfully for three years now, with minimum disruption to the evening events. However, it must be said that some of the winners either didn’t have their glasses on to read their tickets or were too busy talking as a small number of tickets had to be called at least three times before the winners held their hands up.

The auction was also conducted by Norman, and raised £105, with the raffle making £191.

Thanks to one and all for the donations and for taking part, especially the table in the top right corner, who seemed to have lady luck on their side, as they appeared to win more prizes than the rest of us, as they were always cheering loudly when someone on the table won.

Dancing followed with music provided by John Morris and his music, starting around 21:30 and finishing around midnight. John was prepared to play longer but I think that everyone was danced out by this time. (John had a holiday booked for the Sunday, but didn’t want to let us down, so agreed to provide the music for the Saturday night, leaving the following morning to take his kit home, before going to France for a holiday and the D Day commemorations).

Sunday morning at 10:00 the AGM was held and completed within the hour. See AGM heading.

After the AGM the coach took us into Chichester for the afternoon of relaxation after Saturday night’s dancing. We returned to the hotel at 15:15 with nobody being late. Caz was impressed!

Sunday night’s entertainment was given by a singing duo Ross & Gemma who were both classically trained. Once again the members were up to the mark with dancing to the various numbers, like the twist, a little bit of line dancing, memories of the Rolling Stones and misspent youth, and some of the ladies dancing round their handbags to ABBA songs. Nostalgia was really to the fore that night!


Membership stands around 272 current members. However, there is still a little problem with members not informing either the treasurer or myself that they have moved, changed their telephone numbers, or either their email address/providers. So please can I remind you to let either Peggy or myself have the details.

I have had a few newsletters returned from members and I cannot find any further information as to their whereabouts. I have tried searching for them using the online BT Phonebook without success. I have included their address just in case any member lives in the vicinity and could possibly visit the address to find out if the member has moved or gone to St Barbara’s. KN stands for KEBAA Number.
KN23 Ted Bullock, Wild Briers, 9 Spinney Field, Ellington, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, PE18 0AT
KN31 Eddie Clarke, 19a Silverdale Road, Eastbourne, East Sussex, BN20 7AN
KN66 Ian Gallacher, 60 Lyneham Road, Launton Meadows, Bicester, Oxfordshire, OX26 4FD
KN137 Steve Stevenson, Pentregwine Fawr, Llandygwydd, Cardigan, Dyfed, SA43 2QY
KN208 Peter Jones, 65 Fountain House, Sadler Close, Mitcham, Surrey, CR4 3EH
KN233 Des Barker, 6 Lowick Close, Toftwood, Dereham, Norfolk, NR19 1EJ
KN403 Victor Strange, 101 Roebuck Street, Ashton-on-Ribble, Preston, Lancashire, PR2 2BQ
KN476 Donald Clark, 73 Clarence Drive, Filey, North Yorkshire, YO14 0BE
KN499 Rod McGuffie, 6A Pinfold Mews, Pinfold Lane, Balderton, Newark, Nottinghamshire, NG2 3LP

There are two others whose addresses are abroad; KN49 Alec Cuthbertson, Alicante Spain; and KN424 John Lusher, Ontario, Canada.

Grapevine News

During the reunion, it was rumoured that Bill Barker had recently had a stroke. Fortunately it was not true, as I phoned Bill on Sunday morning just before the AGM and left a message on his answer phone, and he returned my call on Tuesday evening, still fit and well. He didn’t attend this year’s reunion as he had attended a Halton reunion the previous weekend to ours, and he felt reunioned out!

I had a chat with Fred Knox on June 29th, after hearing that had been involved in a motor accident and as a result spent a fortnight in Newcastle General hospital. He is back home now recuperating, and is hoping to learn at the end of the week if he is ok to start driving again. At least the Welfare Officer has been in touch and sent him a Get Well card!


The AGM was held on the Sunday morning as per the Constitution, with approx 60 members attending; one had to leave at 03:00 for a previously arranged engagement.

Bill Baker, as Deputy Chairman, oversaw the meeting.

Presidents Opening Address
The meeting started with an opening address from the President John Rush with a welcome to all and what a good night we all had at the previous night’s Gala Dinner and dance.

It was also good to see the turn out at the reunion, considering that we had come south for the first time.

Next year will be the 25th Anniversary of the formation of KEBAA, so we will try and do something special at the reunion.

Chairman’s Report & Welfare Officer

Bill Baker reported that he had not been able to contact Fred Knox to have his report, but went to say that he hoped Fred was in good health.

Treasurer’s Report

Peggy Reading opened her account with an overview of the accounts, and stating that after all income and expenditure, the account was standing at £4,000+. Please see the attached report for details.

An item was raised about members paying subs by direct debit/standing order. Those wishing to do so should get an application form from their own bank and fill in the details. KEBAA’s bank is HSBC Spalding branch; sort code: 40-43-01; account number: 61507257

Reunion 2015

Note for your diaries for 2015. The reunion will be held at the Sketchley Grange Hotel, Leicester, from Friday 8th May to Monday 11th May.

Next year is will be the 25th anniversary of the formation of KEBAA so we want to make it special.

One of the items planned is for the Sunday after the AGM, is a visit to the National Memorial Arboretum where we dedicate a plaque in the name of KEBAA, for all Armourers who have lost their lives whilst in the service. I know some of you have been there before, but I would like everyone attending the reunion to be involved and not just a few.

I have included the initial arrangements for the 2015 reunion, along with details of the hotel, and a booking form. Those of you on email will have these sent to you separately. If you do put them in the proverbial safe place and can’t find them before the next reunion, don’t panic. Contact either Shirley, Vanessa or Caroline of IOW Tours on 01983 405 116.

St. Barbara’s

It is with sadness that the following members received their PWR’s to St. Barbara’s:

118 Bob Pickering on14th February 2014

371 Mike Beckham in January 2014

513 John Lancaster on 29th March 2014









Des Stewart
Membership & Gen. Secretary