2019 – Remembrance Dinner – Victory Services Club, London
The FEAEA annual event for 2019 took place at the Victory Services Club near Marble Arch in London over the weekend of 25-27 October. An evening buffet reception was held in the Trafalgar room as guests arrived on the Friday evening, followed the next morning by a slightly delayed AGM having taken care of the small matter of a semi-final against the Kiwi’s. Once the AGM was out of the way, it was time for a short walk to pay our respects at the Bomber Command Memorial before visiting the RAF Club for some history and light refreshment.
As most of you are aware, past dinners have been held to mark the out of service dates of aircraft upon which Engineers have served. Now we are still waiting for Sentry to hang up its boots and no doubt it will be a long time before the Lancaster ever does, so on the subject of themes it was decided to mark this occasion by remembering those who have gone before us having served the Royal Air Force wearing the “E” brevet – A Remembrance Dinner. This year was our very first formal dinner where partners were invited and so it was extremely fitting that our two guests of honour were Mrs Shirleyanne Donald, daughter of Sgt Norman Jackson VC and Mrs Dorothy Bailey, daughter of Sgt Bill Radcliffe DFC. Speeches were made by Wg Cdr Nick Courtaux and Sqn Ldr Jim Stokes to commemorate and remember the contribution and service that their fathers had made.
In reply Shirleyanne Donald delivered a powerful speech, full of sincerity and emotion, an extract of which I have provided below;
What a fantastic evening and everything organised to perfection. It was a very humbling evening, an evening that I was very proud to attend and was made to feel very welcome by all.
My gratitude to you all is very difficult to express in words but please be assured I am eternally grateful for what you are doing, remembering the people who served and honouring them in the way you do and long may it continue.
WO Stanley Wilson, a Lancaster veteran who completed 30 operational missions with 626 sqn was to have been our third guest of honour, but sadly he was advised that some medical treatment should not be postponed and so MAcr Mark Fellows made a personal speech about Stanley and accepted a gift on his behalf – we wish Stanley a speedy recovery.
The dinner itself went without a hitch and the staff of the VSC were exemplary and nothing was too much trouble for them in providing us with a first class dinner and venue, the backdrop to which was a slideshow remembering colleagues and friends who are no longer with us – I hope to have this available soon on the website as a download from the members area.
And so I must close by extending heartfelt thanks to everyone involved with the FEAEA who through your membership and support on the night made this event possible, the only difficulty now of course, how do we top this next year or indeed the 80th Anniversary Dinner for 2021?
FEAEA Events Team
2018 – Stone 2 Dedication – National Memorial Arboretum, Alrewas
After several years hard work from Ian Harvey who masterminded the design and construction our “Stone 2” memorial was unveiled at the NMA.
2017 – Annual Dinner – Four Pillars Hotel, Witney
Organised by Martin Robb.
2016 – Stone 1 Dedication – National Memorial Arboretum, Alrewas
On the 18 March, the association visited the National Memorial Arboretum. The visit, which was arranged by our Ex-Chairman Dave Kildea, was well attended by over 30 association members and wives. The day started with a small service in the Arboretum chapel and then a directed walk around the site, which is a continually growing site, currently 150 acres containing more than 300 memorials. Lunch was served in a private restaurant in the main building before an afternoon train ride (Just to keep Dave happy!) around the site. An hour of free time to peruse Heroes Square and the FEAEA stone was followed by an excruciating (for some!) late afternoon few pints in front of the rugby at the hotel.
It was a poignant visit for many, and the overall feeling was that many will return for another visit soon. Thanks once more to Dave for arranging a superb visit and great weekend for the association.
2016 – 75th Anniversary – Petwood Hotel, Woodhall Spa
Organised by Jim Stokes.