Newsletter 2011

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Should you go back – a further reflection

Pursuing the theme of last year’s editorial, I had to drive from Newbury to Bristol Airport last July to pick up family members returning from SW France. A beautiful sunny afternoon with plenty of time on my hands, so I opted to travel via the A4 – Hungerford, Marlborough, Calne etc – a more pleasant journey than the M4. And so of course I passed by the site of the former No 2 Radio School, RAF Yatesbury. Many fellow veterans will have passed through its portals during the years from the second world war until the end of National Service in 1961: a reduced demand led to its closure in 1965. My time was from April to November 1956 as an air wireless fitter trainee on AWF113, one of the last intakes to be trained on T1154/R1155. I had an early lesson in the perils of even small quantities of West Country scrumpy in the Black Horse in Cherhill!

No sign of the base now save for the road in from the A4 which passes the site of the guardroom – (Chiefy Dunlop?). It has been returned to farmland, but a small portion is occupied by the Wiltshire Microlight Centre. The runway appears to be a section of the main road through the camp running parallel with the A4, and their operations didn’t seem to detract much from the serenity of the surroundings. Had I more time I would have had a short flight: it would have been very pleasant, a few hundred feet up over that part of Wiltshire, close to Avebury. An altogether happier experience than my visit to Watton a year earlier.

The RAF Yatesbury Association aims to preserve the memories and history of RAF Station Yatesbury and sister stations in the vicinity.  Membership is open to all who have an interest in this area.  A book – ‘History of RAF Yatesbury’ by Phil Tomaselli – ISBN 0-9548236-0-5 is available from the Association’s secretary in addition to some of the usual on-line sources.

Reunion 2011 – an invitation from our Secretary


Secretary : Veteran Barry Powell

Dear Fellow Veteran

First, let me wish all Veterans a healthy and prosperous 2011.

I would like to take this opportunity to welcome all new members to the Association and hope to see them at the Annual Reunion, which will be held on Saturday 16th April 2011.  This will be the 75th Reunion and the venue will again be the Marconi Athletic and Social Club, Beehive Lane, Chelmsford, where there is parking for those who travel by road.

We are, again, producing a commemorative Coaster and one per person is included in the ticket price.  I will also have additional coasters, for sale, plus some coasters from previous years as well as a number of Ties, Scarves and Badges.  I will also have a limited number of the New Street Photo CDs but I can make more if we run out.

Our President for 2011 is Lord Prior, one time Chairman of GEC. He will be introduced by our Patron, Veteran Robbie Robertson.

The Guest of Honour will be Lord Petre, Lord Lieutenant of Essex, who will speak about his activities as the Queens representative in Essex.  He was also present at the recent opening of Anglian Ruskin University, Marconi Science block.

The proceedings will be timed as follows: –
a) Reunion at 12.00 noon
b) Luncheon at 1.00 p.m.
c) Annual General Meeting as soon as possible after b)

The menu for this year’s luncheon will be as follows: –
Chicken and Leek Pie with Potatoes and Seasonal Vegetables
Apple and Blackcurrant Crumble
Cheese and Biscuits

We appreciate that some Veterans may have special dietary requirements and would request that you indicate this on your application. We are able to cater for most requirements.

Regrettably, our caterers have been forced to increase the price for the luncheon and, so, this year, the ticket price will rise by £1 to £22.00.  We are, however, holding the Subscription for 2011 at £5.00.  Those Veterans who wish to attend are requested to apply to the above address at the earliest possible date in order that I may properly assess the numbers. As usual, we invite donations but I must stress that if only a modest donation can be managed, or even none at all, please do not let this prevent you from attending the Reunion, as all donations will be treated in the strictest confidence.  To reduce administration, please combine your ticket price, subscription, etc. onto a single cheque which should be made payable to ‘Marconi Veterans’ Association’.

Please note that it is not acceptable for guests to bring their own drink or food into the Club. Please refrain from this practice as anyone doing so may be asked to leave the Reunion and could be refused a ticket in the future.  As last year, cheese & biscuits are included in our menu and additional bottles of wine can be purchased from the bar.

Your assistance is requested with seating arrangements and we ask you to indicate, on your ticket application, with which Company you would prefer to sit (i.e. Comms, Radar, Baddow, Basildon, Marine, MI).

We are, again, inviting entries for the ‘Absent Friends’ book, containing messages from Veterans who were unable to attend.  Two copies will be produced and prominently displayed at the Reunion.  If you wish to place a message in the book, please use the space provided on the attached form. Entries will be identified by name but no contact details will be provided unless you include them in your message.

As the Association has a very limited income, and in order to keep our expenses to a minimum, receipts for Subscriptions and/or Donations will not be issued unless requested so we thank you in anticipation.

Your Committee is prepared to receive any nominations, propositions or suggestions for submission to the AGM, providing they reach me in writing by 31st March 2011.

As last year, we have to vacate the main hall as soon as the AGM is completed to enable the Club to prepare for an evening function.  We have, again, arranged for the board room to be made available for you to continue the reunion.

We are pleased to announce that a number of people have registered as ‘Friends of the Marconi Veterans’ Association’.  All ‘Friends’ receive the newsletter and we will do all we can to keep them in touch with ex-colleagues but they are not eligible to attend the Reunion.  The 2011 subscription for Friends is £3.00.  If you know of anyone who would like to be included, please urge them to contact me, at the above address, as soon as possible.

I am often not informed when a Veteran dies, and in these circumstances, I would like to extend my condolences to members of the families who receive this letter and apologise for any distress or inconvenience caused.  Should you be aware of any Veterans who have passed away recently, I would appreciate it if you would let me know so that I can amend our records and avoid any embarrassment.

We trust that you will accept this letter as a very cordial invitation to attend the Seventy-Fifth Reunion, but if, for any reason, you cannot be with us, your Committee would like to take this opportunity to wish you the very best of luck and good health for the future.

I look forward to seeing you at the Reunion.

With kindest regards

Veteran Barry Powell

For those Veterans who wish, the Reunion ticket & subs application form may be downloaded in PDF format ready for printing by clicking here  .

Marconi Oldfellows

A new website has been launched to attempt to list those students who primarily
attended the Marconi / Mid-Essex Technical College Sandwich Course in the 1956 /
1957 timeframe.  Although most came from the then MWT Company some also came
from Marconi Instruments, Ferranti and probably others.  The website address is:

Many of these students then went to the various divisions of Marconi and their
sister organisations.  There has been, unknowingly to most including myself, a
lot of “keeping in touch” and hopefully this new website will encourage this

In Memoriam

We regret to report the deaths of the following Veterans and extend our sympathy to the families of those mentioned.

W P Fitzgerald
H F Suckling

This list was correct on 7 February 2011  and supersedes the list published on 6 December 2010.