The weekend of 19th to 21st September 2008 saw the latest Reunion of the 96th Entry. In a change from previous years, this year we met up at the Holiday Inn at Cambridge. A total of 32 member and partners were booked in for the event, most of them arriving on the Friday evening. Following a meet and greet in the hotel lobby, we adjourned to the restaurant and enjoyed dinner before boosting the hotel’s bar takings. It was good to see some faces that had been missing at past Reunions.
On Saturday, after a healthy (!) breakfast, we met up in the lobby before setting off for Duxford. We had a block booking and looked forward to being reunited with the machines that we had maintained during our service. The weather could not have been better – warm sunshine and virtually no wind made it the ideal day to wander around the airfield.
There were no specific flying events scheduled for the day, but the good weather bought out many pilots and we enjoyed a somewhat impromptu flying display. This included a Spitfire making a low level run across the airfield and a Catalina making a couple of flights. Just about all of us were able to see at least one example of an aircraft that we worked on, and in several cases we saw the actual aircraft themselves. There was a Victor being renovated prior to taking up a display position (XH649) which was one that I had worked on. It was in a sorry state with its paintwork looking decidedly tatty. And to think how much effort and Wadpol I had expended in keeping it in good nick.
The evening saw us enjoy a splendid dinner and after that, our very own Frank Baldry entertained us with pictures of his time in Aden, and elsewhere. Some of the views elicited suitable comments from the assembled Brats.
All too soon the weekend came to an end and farewells were made. This Reunion saw a few faces that had been absent in recent years. This countered the absence on parade of a few of those who normally attend.
Our next Reunion is scheduled for 2010 and will coincide with the next Triennial (hopefully there will be one?). It will also mark the 50th Anniversary of the 96th Entry’s signing on and so will be very significant. Plans are already in hand to highlight this event and suggestions are welcome. We would also like to hear from the many 96ers who are still in the wilderness.
Once again we all owe a great debt of gratitude to Merv and Pat Kelly, Robbie and Judith Honnor, and Gordon and Ann Sherratt for all the hard work that they put in to ensure that we all had another Reunion to remember.