49th Entry RAF Hereford
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1st Reunion Report – Hatherley Manor 2009

49th ENTRY RAF HEREFORD

          ‘B’ & ‘G’ FLIGHT’S 1ST REUNION

On Saturday the 27th June 2009 at the Hatherley Manor Hotel Gloucester 13 ex Boy Entrants of the 49th Entry were reunited once again,  some 46 years after passing out from RAF Hereford.  They were Dave Beaumont; Mike Stephens; Alan Gray; Alistair McCrindle; Rob Izatt; John Evans; Geoff Plaxton; Bill Masterton; Ian Wilson; Richard Wardrobe; Bob Cuss; Des Wilson; and Barry Branigan.

On arriving at Hatherley Manor, Des Wilson and myself, Mike Stephens were met outside by Dave Beaumont and Tom Paterson, then on entering the hotel Bill Masterton, who had been  the first to arrive came over and introduced himself. We  then took up the best vantage point to await the arrival of everyone else.  It felt a little surreal sitting there watching everyone arrive and  frantically jogging the memory trying to put a name to the face coming towards you.  Then during the warm hand shake came the inevitable “It’s uh” then a pause, as each waited for the other to offer up a name!  The most memorable greeting came from Des Wilson as his close friend from those Hereford days Richard Wardrobe entered the hotel, “Good grief Dick I thought you were dead” !!! 

Most of the initial conversations were about where we had all been posted, how long we served and what ranks had been achieved.  It was very pleasing to hear how many of our entry had been commissioned or became SNCO’s.    Then when it got around to every ones memories of Hereford the stories came thick and fast and it is hoped that they can be  persuaded to retell their tales on the web site we are now hoping to set up.

After settling in we all made our way to the Hare and Hounds, which had been recommended by Tom Paterson as an ideal venue to watch the British Lions v South Africa.  It was also where we were to meet up with Barry Branigan who like Tom also lived locally.  The game itself was disappointing but the atmosphere, banter, drinks and food was superb.

Back at Hatherley we adjourned to the  hotel grounds for a group photo and to scrutinize all the photographs and memorabilia everyone had brought with them.  All of which we are hoping to upload onto the 49th Entry web site. Dave Beaumont also began taking the names and last known addresses that anyone had of other 49er’s and up to now he has managed to get  in touch with over 50 of our entry. Before leaving everyone agreed that the occasion  had been a great success but one day was not long enough and next year it should be a Friday and Saturday.

Mike Stephens