© 96th Entry
This report of the event is provided by Gerry Law.
An album of photos will appear upon receipt of pictures from members.
At the last Entry Reunion, in 2013, the long serving organising committee of Merv and Pat Kelly, and Gordon Sherratt stood down. They had been responsible for many Reunions over the years and would be a hard act to follow, which is probably why there was a dearth of volunteers to pick up the baton. As the 2016 Triennial approached, it looked as there would not be a 96th Reunion this time. But all was not lost! Frank Baldry announced that he was in discussions with the management of the Holiday Inn at Hemel Hempstead.
On Friday 23 September members of the 96th, many accompanied by their partners, met in the lounge of the hotel. We were "sharing" the hotel with the illustrious members of the 90th Entry and I am pleased to report no cases of bed-tipping or other Rook baiting activities. In fact, when the subject of bed-tipping was raised with some of the 90th, they remarked that at our age beds were for falling into after too much alcohol, or falling out of after too much alcohol, but that it was doubtful that anyone would even have the strength to lift the bed with or without too much alcohol! Beer was consumed and past times recalled as old acquaintances were renewed. In the evening we enjoyed an excellent dinner and more beer was consumed
Saturday dawned warm, bright and sunny with just a gentle breeze to relieve the heat. A convoy of cars headed for RAF Halton, which provided us with an interesting experience - negotiating the "Magic Roundabout" at Hemel Hempstead. For those who are not familiar with this phenomenon, it is a conventionally sized roundabout but with 5 mini roundabouts positioned around it. It is best negotiated by closing your eyes and hoping for the best!
During the day more of the 96th arrived, those who had been unable to attend the night before. The Triennial itself followed the familiar pattern with visits to the Trenchard Museum, refreshments in 1 Wing Tank and lunch in Henderson Mess. This year wives were admitted on to the Camp and this definitely heightened the enjoyment of the day.
It was while examining the exhibits in the Trenchard Museum that Jim Duff made the observation that he knew he was getting old but he hadn't realised that he was a museum piece. Jim was the Standard Bearer in 1963 when the newly built St George's was consecrated and his image is preserved in photographs of the event now on show for all to see.
The Golden Oldies DVD was released (or escaped) earlier this year and I can recommend it to anyone who enjoys the nostalgia of the pipes as they accompany a 60 minute long sequence of photographs of Halton through the ages.
After the Sunset Ceremony we took our place behind the Golden Oldies for the march to St George's. The use of the word march might be considered a breach of the Trade Descriptions Act as it was more akin to a stroll in the country in warm sunshine. Anyway, we were so far back from the Band that it was difficult to hear the beat of the drums. That's our excuse and we are sticking to it.
Arriving back at the hotel we were joined by the last of the attendees. The turnout this year was very good - some 44 including spouses, but down on previous years due to members having other commitments, but it was good to see some new faces.
In previous Reunions we were piped into dinner by our very own Piper, Stan John, but he was one of those unable to attend this year. It was then that the Halton spirit showed itself - the 90th's Piper volunteered to pipe us even though this meant interrupting his own dinner.
During the course of Sunday morning, farewells were made and the 96th made their way home having enjoyed another Entry Reunion and Triennial. None of us can predict what might happen in the future - whether there will be another Triennial; whether the 96th will meet up again - but hopefully at some time in the future we will gather again for another Reunion. In the meantime our thanks are due to Frank Baldry for ensuring that 2016 was a success.
Gerry (Johnny) Law