Cosford 2003 "The Reunion"

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Well the time had finally arrived for this great occasion to take place. Nervous participants were beginning to arrive at The Lord Nelson Hotel Wellington not sure what to expect (38 years is a long time) for what was hopefully going to be a weekend to remember. After a few getting to know you beers at the hotel those 38 years had all but disappeared and a good relaxed feeling was beginning to build. This was followed by the inevitable trip to the local Balti house where with a few glasses of genuine Indian Lager the relaxed feeling become a very relaxed feeling!  Those in attendance at this point were Clive Anstis, Terry Blackburn, Mike Hammerton, Chas Jacobs, Paul Lancaster, Gerry Linstead, Archie Luck, Paul Lydon, Bob Mace, Al Patterson, Dave Rose, Martin Thomas and Iain Trimble.
Friday night was a belter from meeting the early arrivals in the bar at 6:30 and shooting the breeze until about 10 when we went for the ring stinger! (BM)


Upon returning to the hotel to find the bar closed! a quick decision was made to invade the local just up the road. Unfortunately the time was now about 1130pm so once again we were to find that there was no room at the inn and as there was no "Majestic" to go to the only option was an earlyish night. Strangely, nobody seemed to be in clubbing mode, guess that's an age thing! Saturday morning at breakfast confirmed the fact that the early night probably wasn't such a bad idea after all.


Saturdays events started with the move to Cosford camp where we met up with Dave Males, Alan Jopling, Dave Pallister and Andrew Renshaw. Dave Males is still serving as a WO at Cosford and had organised a tour of the camp for us which started with a photo call at the Boy Entrant and Apprentice Memorial outside Fulton Block. A visit to our old accommodation rooms was a highlight of the day and many memories were jogged. The old wooded floors, which had seen so much sweat and grief, were inspected with a mixture of interest and awe. Recollections flooded back and individuals remembered trivial facts that others had forgotten. I heard someone say 'yes I was responsible for cleaning that window' and someone else pointing at the floor saying 'my bed was here'. Fulton Block is no longer barrack accommodation but has been converted into classrooms for avionic technicians and workshops in support of training aids. Inevitably missing members were discussed and let's hope that at our next reunion we have more members present.

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Our next port of call was at the Joint Services School of Photography (JSOP) where we were greeted by Dave Humphries,  an ex JSOP instructor and John Freestone current instructor with a copy of the group photo taken that morning by John waiting for us in the entrance hall. Dave then gave us an interesting tour of the school which actually opened during the time the 303rd were at Cosford. John then gave us a most topical talk and demonstration of the wonders of digital photography. This was quite pertinent, as most people seemed to be armed with a digital camera! After leaving JSOP we received a mobile phone call from one of our members Gerry Dowden to wish us all the best. Gerry lives in Panama so was unable to join us on this occasion but it was good to hear from him.


We then moved onto the Radio School where we were once again met by an instructor who gave us a tour around the school and an insight into some of  the changes since our time. 

The big sadness was to see how the old Telegraphist trade is now virtually defunct. Eh the hours we spent learning Morse and thrashing away on the keyboards and now - but I suppose that is progress.(PLy)

This finished the main part of our tour and we made our way off the camp where we said farewell to Dave Males whom we thanked for doing such a great job of organising what was a first class, enjoyable and interesting tour of the camp for us.


Cosford Museum was the next stop where we had lunch followed by a walk around the exhibits, more time spent on chatting about days gone by than on the exhibits I think.A section of the museum is now devoted to photography and once again Dave Humphries turned up and showed us around with obvious and justified pride. (It's not just aerial photography also ground). The photo museum used to be housed in JSOP but can now be seen by visitors to the museum site. Since our days as apprentices the Cosford Museum has grown into an excellent museum which is always well worth a visit. The Museum also has boy entrant/apprentice corner. It certainly brings it all home when you recognise people on photographs, possibly yourself and pieces of equipment that you worked on that are all now considered as "museum relics".


After all this nostalgia, walking around and a cuppa at the museum and a farewell to Andy Renshaw the feelings of "must be time for a pint" started to creep in and a unanimous decision was made to head back to Wellington where we met up with Dick Barton who'd made his way over from Ireland to join us for the rest of the weekend. The local pub was the next stop which needless to say saw the rest of the afternoon out.

The rest of the evenings festivities were to take place in the hotel where we were joined by Leigh Robinson. We then enjoyed a sit down meal mixed with plenty of lamp swinging and pulling up of the sandbag! This time the bar did stay open until the early hours

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And before we knew where we were it was Sunday morning breakfast. A fairly quiet event that one! Soon it was time to depart and leave the whole weekend as yet another memory......






What a fantastic weekend. Well done and once again, thanks very much. I sobered up about 1400 hours or for the Irish when the big hand was on the twelve and the little hand on the two. Can't wait for the next one, who fancies Southern Spain/Gibraltar? Taff Blackburn and I are prepared to do the spadework. Let me know. Cheers and NO BEERS (for a couple of days anyway!) (BM)

What you mean no Beers just off out for the Pub Quiz...... I totally agree a great weekend........sure the next one will be even better And a weekend or week in Gib/Spain sounds good to me or even Cyprus!!!! (AP)

I suppose I was surprised at how little people had changed and it was noticeable that we were relaxed in each others company as though the intervening period had been no time at all! (AR)

I cannot believe that a Welshman failed to sober up until 10 minutes after opening time! I on the other hand, at 10 minutes after 12, was reclining on a sofa having my temples massaged by an attractive young (compared to us)physiotherapist! :-) Good bash chaps, look forward to the next time. (IT)

The emotions that it stirred and the memories that came back walking around Fulton block and the camp itself were amazing. I thoroughly enjoyed myself, even though I did not get paralytic along with the Welsh contingent who obviously enjoyed themselves immensely !!!!!!!!! I did overhear Taff Thomas saying, in a very serious voice, 'They've got some good looking sheep around here mind'......(DR)

Absolutely marvellous weekend. Thanks to all for turning up and making it such a good piss up. (CA)

Have to agree that it was a brilliant w/end and I was really surprised to see that everyone had changed so little over all those years. We all seemed to gel together so well, as though time had stood still. (P La)

Terrific week-end lads.The sheep up there weren't as good looking but not everything in life can be perfect! (MT)

I can but echo what other emails are saying about last weekend - what a belter. To meet so many old(er) faces, who have retained their personalities and humour was very refreshing in this increasingly cynical age. (PLy)

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This page was last updated on 15-Mar-2016 14:02

2015 the 303rd (Craft Apprentice Entry RAF Cosford)
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