IX(B) Centenary: St Omer Flying Club

photo 1photo 2     12 Feb 2015:  Presentation of a commemorative print from the Association Vice-President, Alfie Ferguson to Monsieur Francois Mobailly, President of the St Omer Flying Club in recognition of the Flying Club's long-standing support to IX(B) Squadron and particularly, their leadership in making the Centenary celebrations such a roaring success.

Annual General Meeting 2014

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING 2014 The Association AGM was held in the Officers’ Mess, RAF Marham at 1130 hrs, on 20 Sep 2014. The Chairman, Air Commodore Spike Milligan opened the Meeting and welcomed 106 members. The Chairman briefed the meeting on the current Committee. President……………….…….…………………...Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach Vice-President………………………………………….Group Captain Alfie Ferguson Vice-Chairman……………………………….………..…Air Vice-Marshal Stu Evans Secretary, Treasurer & TABS Editor ……………….Squadron Leader Dicky James OC IX(B) Sqn (ex officio)……….….…….…….…....Wing Commander Chris Snaith Co-opted from IX(B) Sqn………………………………..Warrant Officer Dean Wood Deputy Secretary………………………….…………..…Sergeant Swanny Swanson Item 1. The Chairman asked the meeting to confirm that they had seen the 2013-2014 Annual Financial Statement and the 2013 AGM Minutes, which were published in 2014 TABS and had also been displayed in the Mess since 19 Sep 2014. All confirmed that they had seen the documents and there were no questions. The 2013 AGM Minutes and Financial Statement were recorded as a true record. Item 2. The Chairman reported that the finances of the Association were in excellent shape. He reported that after the invoices from RAF Marham, for the Reunion, and RAF Cranwell, for Remembrance Day Luncheon had been paid, the expected balance would be over £9000. The Chairman also stated that the Association would continue its charitable work, however the Centenary year was likely to be an expensive year for the Association. Item 3. The Chairman highlighted the charitable aims of the Association, which were clearly stated in the Association Constitution, which was the Governing Document. This had been on display in the Mess since 19 Sep 2014. All present confirmed that they had seen the Constitution and there were no questions. The Chairman detailed a number of research projects which the Sec had undertaken in the past 12 months on behalf of members and the general public. He also detailed a number of charitable gifts which the Association had made to the Bardney Heritage Centre and the Marham Aviation Heritage Centre. The Chairman stated that HMRC had written to the Sec and confirmed that the Association was a Charity for tax purposes, with effect from 1 Jan 2013, therefore, the Association could claim Gift Aid. Item 4. The Chairman reminded the meeting that the Sqn would be 100 years old on 8 Dec 2014. The Association Vice-President, Alfie Ferguson, who had volunteered to co-ordinate the Centenary events at St Omer and Ypres, gave a detailed briefing on all the planned events. SEngO, IX(B) Sqn stated that due to world events, two-thirds of the Sqn would be deployed from 1 Dec 14 to 31 Jan 15, so currently the Sqn’s plans for St Omer and Ypres had not been finalised. Item 5. The Chairman detailed the day’s events and timings. He asked all present to read all the notices on the notice board and to view the magnificent array of Raffle prizes. Item 6.   The Chairman announced that the President, Chairman, Treasurer and Secretary would be standing down from Jan 2015. There had been a number of volunteers for these posts and the Chairman proposed the following new incumbents: President……………….…………..…….. Air Vice-Marshal Stuart Evans CBE RAF Vice-President…………………………………………….Group Captain A Ferguson Chairman….……………………………………… Group Captain Nick Hay OBE RAF Vice-Chairman……………………….…..……… Group Captain Andy Turk DFC RAF Secretary ……………………………….…………….Squadron Leader Andy Holland Treasurer……………………………….……… Wing Commander Paul Lenihan MBE The new incumbents were seconded by Mr Colin Dodds and there was a unanimous vote for them. The Chairman asked for volunteers to take on the remainder of the current Secretary’s duties of TABS Editor, Webmaster, Shopkeeper and Membership Secretary. None were forthcoming. The Era Secretaries would remain: Lancaster - Harry Irons Lincoln - Harry Brittlebank Canberra - Spike Milligan Vulcan - Al Ferguson Tornado - Dicky James Item 7.   Lancaster Veteran Harry Irons had recently visited the crash site of FS George Thompson VC in Holland. He noted that the Association budget was very healthy, and asked whether the Association could erect a small memorial at the crash site. The meeting agreed unanimously that our only VC winner should be remembered in this way. The Chairman suggested that this would be a task for the new Committee. Item 8.   The Secretary, on behalf of John Fox detailed the design for the 100th Memorial which was to be discussed by the National Memorial Arboretum Committee on 24 Oct 14. The Memorial would probably be manufactured by Stonemasons in Lincs, as Mr Fox had a good relationship with them already. The memorial would cost around £10000 and the Secretary stated that he had been in contact with Wg Cdr Ian Sharrocks, from MOD and there was a possibility of a benefactor from the City who would pay for the Memorial. The Sec would keep Association members informed about the progress of the Memorial. Item 9.               Roy Ashton asked about the progress of the Centenary watches. Sgt Daz Owen, a member of the Sqn’s Centenary Planning Committee, replied that prototype copies of the watches could be viewed at the Sqn that afternoon and watches could also be ordered. Item 10.   Roger Blackburn asked for clarification of the date of the 100th Anniversary Reunion. The Chairman stated that the Sqn had organised the Reunions for the 70th, 80th and 90th anniversaries. He asked for confirmation from OC IX(B) Sqn that the Sqn would organise the 100th. OC IX(B) Sqn was unsighted on this matter and as he was in the last 6 months of his post, would probably hand the request to his successor, Wg Cdr Ian Sharrocks. Item 11.   The Chairman thanked the Secretary, Treasurer, Membership Secretary, Trustee, Shopkeeper, Webmaster and TABS Editor, Sqn Ldr Dicky James, for all his truly outstanding work for the Association over the last 13 years. There was no other business, and the Chairman closed the Meeting at 1215 hrs. R S James R S JAMES Secretary IX(B) Squadron Association 20 September 2014 Sec’s Note: Since the AGM, Group Captain Andy Turk has volunteered to Edit TABS.

Association Minutes

14 Feb 15 MINUTES OF IX(B) SQN ASSOCIATION MEETING HELD ON 6 Feb 15 AT RCDS 
Present Gp Capt HayWg Cdr (Ret’d) Lenihan Wg Cdr Sharrocks Sqn Ldr (Ret’d) James Sqn Ldr Garland Sqn Ldr (Ret’d) Holland ChairmanTreasurer OC IX(B) Des Ex-Committee OC D Flt, IX(B) Sqn Sec
Apologies AVM EvansGp Capt (Ret’d) Ferguson Gp Capt Turk PresidentVice President Deputy Chair
Item 1 – Committee Composition1.   The Chair welcomed everybody to the meeting and gave a brief overview of who had taken on various roles within the Assn. He thanked those present who voluntarily agreed to attend the meeting and who would undoubtedly have close contact with the Assn in the forthcoming months. It was fortuitous that OCIX(Des) was in London on Force Development with RAF Lossiemouth and was able to attend the meeting to meet a portion of the new Association Committee. Item 2 – Financial Situation 2.   The Treasurer informed the meeting of the current financial situation. The Assn fund balance is currently £9385.85. Annual subs bring in approximately £4000.   Major costs for the year were traditionally as follows: a.              Remembrance Sunday            £300 b.              TABS production                     £450 c.              Stamps                                    £500 3.   The major outgoing for the year is the Annual Reunion costing in the region of £7500. After payment from attendees, the fund usually makes £1000, assuming a raffle and auction. Item 3 – Centenary Reunion Event 4.   The meeting was informed that the plans for the Centenary Reunion were well underway, the lead coming from the Sqn. A Service Fund Account has been set up to process payments but it was suggested that 1Gp be approached to seek money that can be allocated up front for centenary celebrations. However, a business case (BC) would be required to seek further funding support from HQ AIR as this was a Centenary Celebration; OC D Flt, IX(B) Sqn agreed to submit the BC. 5.   The meeting was informed that that an important aspect of organising an event of this scale was to have one person who collates all the relevant data. In addition, a cut off date for replies, and particularly the prioritisation of hotel accommodation should be set at 6 weeks prior to the date of the reunion ([The] Hotel required any unallocated rooms to be returned for public sale by 23 June 15). It was acknowledged that a number of Assn members were airline pilots and would not be aware of their rotas until post this cut-off date. It was agreed that spaces at the Dinner would not be reserved but that any spare seats could be allocated up to a few weeks prior to the Dinner - a reserve list would be held by the Squadron. 6.   After discussion, it was decided that the Sqn should take responsibility for both the organisation and communication plan whilst the Assn would take on a supporting role. The Sqn agreed to send a letter or e-mail to all Sqn and Assn members detailing current plans for the 23 July by the end of Feb 15. The details (excluding the name of the hotel venue) would also be posted on the Association website as soon as the letters were distributed. All agreed that up front payment was essential such that the Sqn would seek replies on: a. Numbers of Daytime attendees, incl full names, DoB and vehicle details. b. Lunch attendees - charge of £10 per head. c.   Dinner attendees - charge of £30 per head for Assn and Sqn personnel and their guests (see below). Non-members would be charged £45 per head. d.   Those requiring accommodation at [the Hotel venue] on 23 Jul, at £45 per head for B&B (max of 130 beds). e.   Those requiring B&B at [the Hotel venue] on 22 Jul, at £55 per head for B&B or £70 per head for dinner, bed and breakfast. 7.   The meeting was informed that there were a number of good sponsorship opportunities to be had for the Centenary Reunion and that these should be approached.   It is likely that there would need to be invitations sent to those who agree to help with the costs. The Chair offered to contact OC 10/101 Sqns to ascertain if any support was available from the 'Beers for the Boys Charity'. 8.   The Sqn agreed to send a formal request to HQ Music Services for a Band/String Quartet to provide music for the evening’s celebrations. 9.   It was agreed that some risk would be accepted in publicising the cost of the Dinner as £30, based on the following assumptions: a.   Of the 240 places for dinner, it was assumed that the Sqn would plan on filling 120 and the Assn the remaining 120. b. Subsidy of at least £10 per person would be made by the Assn (£1200 estimate) and the relevant Sqn Non-Public Funds (Belfry, T-Bar and Officers' Fund). c. The Sqn would seek additional support from HQ AIR as there are Central Funds available to meet Centenary Events. d.   The Treasurer agreed to contact Andy Jeffrey to see if his company would be willing to sponsor the Dinner; should they not wish to accept the opportunity, the Chair mentioned that MBDA might be able to provide limited financial support. e.   Attendees who were neither current Sqn personnel, Assn Members (as of 8 Dec 2014) nor their guests would be charged the full cost of the event per person - this equated to £45 per head based on: (1) Arrival drink between 1900-1930 - £5 per person. (2) 3-course dinner - £25. (3) 0.6 of a bottle of wine per person - £10.20. (Hotel would provide wine at £17 per bottle) (4) One bottle of port per table of 10/12 - £2.10 per head based on £12 per bottle and £9 corkage. (5) Tea or coffee available from a servery placed in the dining room - £1. Sqn Ldr James highlighted that only 1/3 of diners traditionally had tea/coffee. The £1 charge therefore spreads the cost across all attendees and would not require individuals to pay at the point of collection. Item 4 – Designation of Responsibilities 10.   The meeting was informed that, given the recent restructuring of the Assn, all members should be aware of who was responsible for organising various projects.   It was decided that the breakdown would be as follows: a.         Annual Reunion                       Sec b.         Remembrance Sunday            Chair c.         TABS                                       Vice-Chair d.         Website                                   Simon Bowron e.         Funerals                                  Sec f.          History                                     Sec 11.   Funerals.   During the discussions it was suggested that the Assn might like to consider getting an unofficial Standard that could be used at funerals. It would be held on the Sqn and could be taken to selected events by representatives from the Sqn. OCIX des would endeavour to send 2 officers (a crew) to each Assn member funeral, operational circumstances permitting. The Chair agreed to speak to Wg Cdr Crook, SO1 Ceremonial to discuss the possibility of acquiring an Assn Standard. 12.   The relevance of an Assn and Sqn MoU was discussed. It was agreed that there ought to be something in place that gave both the Assn and Sqn something to refer to in order to assist with relevant planning and logistics for certain events. The Chair would draft a proposal for discussion with OCIX (des). 13.   Whilst it was not an appropriate time to grind out the details, it was agreed that the Sqn would provide, as a matter of course and at a minimum: a.              The Standard to be paraded at Bardney on Remembrance Sunday. A flypast would be requested by the Assn but not guaranteed. b.              One article from OC IX(B) Sqn for TABS. c.              One article from a IX(B) Sqn Junior Officer. d.              Annual Reunion: i.                Sqn POC to assist Assn in planning and execution. ii.               Friday night hosting iii.              Set-up on Sqn site iv.             Formal request for BBMF Lancaster v.              Sqn Flypast (assets and personnel dependent) Item 5 – Proposal for other Centenary Events 14.   A suggestion was made to have a dedicated Centenary Dinner in the RAF Club for past and current Commanding Officers and Warrant Officers. This proposal was agreed. The Chair agreed to lead on planning and to publish the date in TABS and on the Association Website. OC IX(B) Des agreed that he would endeavour to return with WO IX(B) Sqn. Item 6 – Charity Commission Responsibilities 15.   There was concern that, as a registered charity, the set up of how the Assn was governed could be improved. The meeting were informed that it was not good practice to have Trustees on the Board and that the role of a Trustee was to govern. It was decided that the following posts/individuals should be approached to act as Association Trustees, following a meeting between the Chair and Treasurer to discuss the Business Plan (see below): a.              OC IX(B) Sqn – until disbandment b.              WO IX(B) Sqn - until disbandment. c.              AVM Evans d.              Air Cdre Waddington Item 7 – Business Plan 16. The Assn needed an up to date and relevant business plan. This included modern accounting software. The Chair and Treasurer agreed that it would be wise to discuss at a later date and report to the committee. The meeting agreed that £400 would be identified, if necessary, to acquire the relevant software. The update should be complete by 31 March 15. Item 8 – Memorial for Arboretum 17.   The Chair agreed to be the lead on this project. The final design work needed to be formally presented to the Arboretum in April. Despite the design being well advanced, it was suggested that the Chair speak to the designer to ascertain an appropriate timeframe. 18.   Although the Arboretum has many memorials, they are keen to have the IX(B) Sqn memorial.   If it is accepted the cost will likely be in the region of £9000. In addition, it will incur a one off cost of £1000 and subsequently a yearly ‘rent’; this is as yet uncosted. 19.   The meeting was told that there a some very high profile sponsors who are aware of the memorial and that they would be very keen to assist with the funding.   The Chair will liaise with OC IX(B) Sqn (desig) to pursue. 20.   In order to ensure the memorial is erected in the Sqn’s centenary year, the aim is to have it complete and in situ by 8 Dec 15 - this was recognised as a very 'stretch' target. Item 9 – Date for AGM 21.   It was agreed that the AGM would take place during the centenary celebrations on 23 July 15. Unfortunately, the Treasurer would be unable to attend but the Chair would present relevant financial details. Item 10 - AOB 22.   Nil Item 11 – Date for next meeting 23.   It was decided that the next meeting would be held at RCDS on 26 Jun 15 at 1200hrs.   OC IX(Des) and the Centenary Event Flt Cdr agreed to attend. As a minimum, this meeting would review these minutes and the plans for 23 July, including ratification of the proposed allocation of hotel rooms and seating plan for the Centenary Dinner Post-Meeting Comment  24.   The Sec would liaise with the Website Manager (Simon Bowron)[1] to set up a IX(B) Sqn Association Facebook page. Membership would be closely monitored and restricted to those who were members of the IX(B) Sqn Assn. 25.   The Web Manager has publicised broad details of the plans for the 23 Jul on the Association website (http://www.9sqn.co.uk/), explaining that the Sqn would distribute communications by end-Feb.                                       OC D Flt, IX(B) Sqn             OC D Flt, IX(B) Sqn   OC D Flt, IX(B) Sqn                         Chair       OC D Flt, IX(B) Sqn           OC D Flt, IX(B) Sqn Treasurer OC D Flt, IX(B) Sqn   Treasurer Chair   OC D Flt, IX(B) Sqn                                   Committee Members   Chair         Chair     OC IX (Des)                           Chair         Chair                   Chair Treasurer       Chair           Chair/OC IX (Des)           Committee           All Committee Member OC D Flt and OC IX(B) Sqn     Sec/Web Mgr
   A K Holland Sqn Ldr (Ret’d) Sec   [1] simonbowron@aol.com

CENTENARY REUNION EVENT – 23 JULY 2015

CENTENARY REUNION EVENT - 23 JULY 2015 The Centenary Reunion Event will be held on Thursday 23 July, in lieu of the traditional September gathering. - The format will entail an AGM, lunch and an afternoon event on the Squadron that will also coincide with the timing of the Air Display during the Marham Friends and Families Day. -  The evening Dinner will be held at a local Norfolk venue, as the Station Messes are unavailable. - As agreed at previous AGMs, the Squadron are leading the planning for the Centenary Reunion Event.  The Squadron Project Officer aims to inform all Association Members of the detailed plan and timings by the end of February. - Members are advised NOT to book hotel accommodation yet as the Squadron is hoping to receive reduced rates in local hotel(s). - Should Association members not receive any official correspondence by 7th March or see an update on this website, they should initially contact the Association Secretary, Andy Holland for an update (association.sec@9sqn.co.uk). Any further notifications should be promulgated on this website.  However, for security reasons, detailed timings and venues for the Centenary Reunion Event will not be publicised via this medium.  

Dave Shrimpton

It is with much regret that we announce the passing of one of our oldest members, David Shrimpton from Wisbech. David was a Wellington tail gunner and incredibly proud of his service. David's Funeral was held in January 2015 and the Association was represented by Squadron Leader Bob Sinclair.

Centenary celebrations in France on 8 December 2014

IX(B) Sqn was formed at St Omer, France on 8 Dec 1914 and to mark the 100th birthday the Sqn and it's Association went to France from 7-9 December 2014 to celebrate. 
Over 50 members of the Sqn, led by Wing Commander Chris Snaith and 110 members of the Association arrived in France on Sunday 7 December 2014. On the morning of Monday 8 Dec 2014, the Mayor, various members of the St Omer Flying Club and a number of locals welcomed members of the Squadron and Association to St Omer Airfield. The flying club had cleared the hangar, as the weather forecast was for constant rain. A number of history talks were given by members of the Squadron. Speeches were given by the Mayor of St Omer, the President of the IX(B) Squadron Association, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach and Wing Commander Chris Snaith, the Officer Commanding IX(B) Squadron. The crowd was now over 300 and although it was raining, most ventured outside as a Tornado from RAF Marham carried out a flypast exactly on time. A short Centenary Ceremony and Service was held, and wreaths were laid on the RAF Memorial on St Omer Airfield. Following the Service a lunch was held inside the hangar. The RAF contingent then moved to Mendingham Cemetery, Proven, Belguim, where more history talks were given by members of the Squadron. At 2000 hrs, The Squadron paraded at the Menin Gate parade. The whole event was superbly organised by the Association Vice-President, Group Captain Alfie Ferguson, and the Squadron Warrant Officer, Dean Wood.
For Swanny's write up and some photos of the event, click here.
For the Eastern Daily Press write up click here.
To read a tribute from our friends at the Newark Air Museum, who were kind enough to open up early on the Sunday to facilitate the association coach, please click here.
   

LEGION D’HONNEUR

The Government of France has told the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) that it wishes to recognise the selfless acts of heroism and determination displayed by all surviving veterans of campaigns to liberate France in 1944, by awarding them with the Legion D’Honneur. The MoD said: "The Government of France has advised the UK MoD that it wishes to award the Legion D'Honneur to all surviving veterans of the Battle for Normandy, the invasion of Provence (Operation Dragoon), campaigns to liberate Paris and campaigns to liberate France in 1944” Any surviving veterans, Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force who operated in support of any of the campaigns to liberate France in 1944, are invited to apply for this prestigious award. Please see https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/d-day-70-application-form-for-award-of-the-legion-dhonneur Requests for the award should be made using this application form and will be processed by the MoD, who will forward the details to the French authorities. The French authorities will then make all the final decisions on the awards. Veterans wishing to apply for the award, or anyone enquiring on their behalf, should either send the form to: Personnel and Training – Defence Services Secretary – Commemorations Floor 6 Zone C Ministry of Defence Main Building LONDON SW1A 2HB Or email it to PersTrg-DSSec-CommemAug1@mod.uk The French government will be reviewing the applications, so the UK MoD is unable to give any guidance on timings or the arrangements for the presentation of the awards. Awards will not be given posthumously, and any further questions should be directed to the French authorities. The Association Secretary has already applied on behalf of a number of members. If you would like assistance in applying, please contact the Association Secretary.

Mrs Ethel Harrison

It is with much sadness that it is announced that Mrs Ethel Harrison passed away on 3 October 2014. Ethel was the widow of IX Squadron Lancaster Flight Engineer, Ted Harrison, and she was a great supporter of the Association at Reunions and Remembrance Sundays. Our thoughts are with Ethel's daughters, Kate Cowton and Janette Hibbert, and their families.

Bob Jennings

It is with mush regret that we announce the passing away of former IX Squadron Vulcan Pilot and Captain,  'Bob' Jennings. Bob was cremated at Lincoln Crematorium on 11 Sep 2014. Bob's coffin was carried by the remaining members of his crew: Brian Sanford-Casey (co-pilot) 'Sam' Weller (Nav-Radar) Terry Wilson (Nav-Plotter) Martin 'Chunky' Chandler (AEO) Our thought go to Bob's family.

Geoff Mudle

It is with much regret that we announce  that 94 year old Mr Geoff Mudle passed away on 22 August 2014. Geoff was a IX Squadron ground engineer on Lancasters. Geoff's funeral was held on 9 September 2014 in Guilford. The Squadron and the Squadron Association were represented by Warrant Officer Mike Inder, from RAF Marham. Thanks to some great networking by Group Captain Nick Hay, an RAF Central Band Trumpeter,  SAC Alex Pippen played the last post. After the war Geoff  joined Hawker Siddley at Dunsfold  and was an engineer on the team that developed the Hunter and Harrier. The Association extends condolences to Geoff's daughter, Jennie Bartlett and her family.