THE ROYAL AIR FORCE BOMB DISPOSAL ASSOCIATION VISIT TO
RAF WITTERING AND 5131(BD) SQUADRON OCTOBER 2016
Once we had seen the exhibits within the hangar we were taken to see the Harrier exhibit in another part of the camp. This area was dedicated to the deployment of the Harrier in the field and showed the conditions that personnel and equipment operated under during deployments in Germany, Belize and the Falkland Islands. After a look round the Harriers we than proceeded to a smaller room in the headquarters building where there was an other exhibit about 5131(BD) Sqn and a slection of items to peruse and make soft purring noises over!!
We all then went back to the 5131 HQ and had lunch which was provided by the Catering Officer and was home made Vegetable Soup and rolls, follwed by cakes and coffee or tea. After a vote of thanks to OC 5131 we all returned to the bus for the short journey back to the hotel but not before the “Official” Reunion Photo was taken.
The 2016 Reunion Weekend
The reunion this year was held at the Haycock Hotel near Peterborough The Hotel was a million miles away from the one we used for the 2015 reunion with regard to accommodation and service and I understand from comments passed to me from people that everyone was suitably impressed. So much so that we gave the hotel the most coveted award of one of our BD Plaques to be placed in the bar, but as Fred Knox put it; “If it isn’t on the wall within 5 minutes of being awarded, the hotel buys a round of drinks for everyone!”
The hotel had the plaque up within seconds but I think they cheated a bit by having a convenient nail already in the wall thus avoiding having to provide a free round of drinks.
On Sunday after breakfast we boarded the bus for a trip on the Nene Valley Railway. The day was a little wet but it didn’t dampen things and a good time was had by everyone who travelled the line. A slideshow of the weekend can be seen opposite.
At the end of the line we halted for a few minutes and had a walk around taking in some of the weird and wonderful items that were situated along side the track. One strange item is shown opposite but please don't ask me what it is because I do not know but it looked interesting enough for a picture.
Once again , our day out was over and we had to return to the bus. As we had loads of time, the driver took us for a trip through Stamford and the surrounding area before dropping us back at the hotel after what was an interesting day. As an aside to the day on the rails, there was a classic car rally at the Wansford station yard. There was a vast array of vintage and classic cars from years gone by and I have included one here in the slideshow
RAF BD ASSOCIATION REUNION 2017
The 2017 Annual Reunion venue will be held at the 3* Best Western Royal Beach Hotel, Southsea Seafront, Portsmouth PO4 0RN.
The Dates are FRIDAY 6 OCTOBER 2017 - MONDAY 9TH OCTOBER 2017.
More information has been placed below.
It is right that children of today's generation are taught that we should never forget what went on during the conflicts that have shaped the world as we know it. People undertaking the onerous task of dealing with unexploded ordnance and the evils of the improvised explosive device (IED) are still being killed and injured, sometimes losing limbs as can be seen in the news media nearly every day on TV.
These photo's are only a small insight into the activities of our Association some more are shown below. We try to deliver newsletters to members at least 3 times a year and would welcome more members to join us. Our contact numbers and feedback forms are available on the "CONTACT US" page. Enjoy the photo's and leave us your comments. Thank you.
This is a photo of Fred explaining the reasons for having the Memorial and why we should always remember those who paid the ultimate price to ensure that we may live in relative peace.
Eden Camp November 11th, 1100hrs, 2016
As we said many times we Will be at the memorial on the 11th of the 11th Month @1100 hours, this year was no exception.
This is my 15th year that I have had the privilege to take the small but sincere ceremony along with approx 250 school children from , Dishforth Airfield Primary, Buckingham (Hull) Primary, Upperby Primary Carlisle, Grove Lea Primary Wakefield, & Boothroyd Academy Dewsbury, and visitors to the Museum who witnessed and took part in the laying of the RBL crosses in memory of the BD brothers that had passed on.
The crosses were laid by the school children who read out the names on the cross as they laid them, as the teachers said , it means more to them taking part than watching from the side.
Two members of the RAFBA were present, Keith Parker from Hull who arrived by Taxi and Cyril Shreeve, the RAFA member from Rydale Branch who is also a member of our Association. Wreaths were laid on behalf of the Association and Ryedale RAFA Branch
On behalf of the membership of the RAFBDA I would like to document our sincere thanks to Nick and all the staff at the Museum for their continued assistance over the many years that we had seen us assemble in front of the Memorial.
Nostalgia was the word and seeing cars we probably once owned in pristine condition was a joy to behold and a credit to the owners.
Monday came and it was time to say farewell for another year. I should like to say that this was one really good reunion and thank Isle of Wight Tours for finding a great venue.
The weekend’s activities followed the usual format of a meet and greet in the bar followed by the Annual General Meeting then Dinner after the AGM. The minutes of the AGM are on the next pages as is the Balance Sheet for the RAFBDA Accounts. You will notice that a few changes have taken place and an explanation of the why’s and wherefores will be seen further on.
On Saturday morning after a lovely fresh cooked breakfast we climbed aboard the coach to take us to RAF Wittering to meet some of the “modern” EOD personnel of 5131BD Squadron and their Commanding Officer Squadron Leader Mike Stocks. The OC gave us an informal talk about current activities and deployments (within reason) and then invited us to view the Exhibition Hangar where we were split into groups of about 10 and shown around accompanied by the 5131 personnel who explained and described what was in front of us. A lot of the items were from recent activities and some not so recent activities but nevertheless as one of the lads put it; "The old stuff we find is just as dangerous as the new stuff if you don't respect it!”
If you are not a member of the RAF Bomb Disposal Association but have in the past been associated with RAF Bomb Disposal in any capacity you are welcome to Join the Association and attend this and future Reunions. Please use the "Contact Us" page and fill out one of the Email forms that you will find there.
Click the images to visit either
Eden Camp or Isle of Wight Tours websites
It has become the the custom over the years that the RAF BD Association has been active that we lay a wreath and poppy crosses at the RAFBD Memorial at Eden Camp near Malton in Yorkshire. We do this on the 11th of November at 11am. So it was this year with Fred Knox, our Association President travelling down to Eden Camp to do the honours.
The return to The Haycock Hotel was only a short journey and gave us plenty of time before the Gala Dinner to fit in a cheeky pint and prepare for the evening ahead.
After the Loyal Toast, Absent Friends and the Toast to the Association , it was time for our Guest of Honour to earn his supper
The Guest of Honour at dinner was OC 5131(BD) Sqn, Squadron Leader Mike Stocks who gave an interesting and humourous after dinner speech with a few digs at himself much to the amusement of the diners. He was given a resounding applause for his efforts in producing a speech in the short time from saying goodbye at Wittering and turning up for dinner in the evening.