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REME Junior Leaders Reunion 2014

 REME Junior Leaders Reunion  

31st October & 1st November 2014

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Programme of the Event

  • The reunion venue The Westminster Hotel (Best Western) Chester. The booking reference detail = Best Western Hotel Chester. Booking reference LEW31104 Contact is Edel Heaney. Tel 01244 317341 Quote the reference for the very special rooms and dinner rates. More info contact Barry Johnson on 07739905261

Dinner Reception 6.30 to 7.30pm.

Formal Dinner in the Private Dining Room 7.30

After Dinner Speech’s by three attendee’s on the subject “Why I was drawn in to be a Soldier of the Sixties and my most amusing military experience”

  • Saturday morning event “The Attractions of the City of Chester” and Pub Lunch to be arranged for those staying over.

Return to Hotel in the Evening for those who wish to stay over again just as before. An informal Party Dinner with headaches to follow!.

Depart Sunday morning

Obviously some will only wish to take part in part of the Friday night dinner re-union which we all understand. But as the last time’s Saturday evening was laced with some  very funny stories, it promoted the idea of selecting volunteers for the after dinner speech sector on Friday at our next one.

Please let me have your feedback on the programme and if you would like toi take a Speech Spot after Dinner?

REME JLU Reunion, Birmingham, 2013

 

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REME J L U Reunion

20th September 2013

Birmingham Radisson Hotel

Programme of Events

Arrive pm 20th September 2013-06-26

Dinner Reception 1900 hrs Banquet Hall Reception

1945 hrs – Dinner

Menu :See Appendix “A”

2130 After Dinner Presentation and Speakers Corner.

“The most embarrassing moment in life”

3 Guest Speakers

Retire to the Bar.

Saturday 21st,

Breakfast

10.30 A trip to the Military Arboretum Stafford.

1300 Pub Lunch

Afternoon free tour around Birmingham Canal Wharf Area

Very worthwhile and interesting event.

1900 Dinner Canal Bistro Restaurant for those who stay over.

Information about the Hotel,  Area and BOOKING INFORMATION:

12 Holloway Circus Queensway –  B1 1BT –  Birmingham 

 

Rebecca SmithMeetings and Events SupervisorT: +44 (0) 121 654 6000,D: +44 (0) 121 654 6000F: +44 (0) 121 654 6004

meetings.events.birmingham@radissonblu.com

www.radissonblu.com

Radisson Blu HotelBirmingham

 

Accommodation rates:

Friday night accommodation in a standard double room for sole occupancy at £112 BB

Friday night accommodation in a standard double room for double occupancy at £121 BB

 

Friday & Saturday accommodation in a standard double room for sole occupancy at £102 BB per room per night

Friday & Saturday accommodation in a standard double room for double occupancy at £111 BB per room per night

 

Birmingham Canals

Birmingham Canals provide a great place for holidaymakers to explore the city in an unorthodox way. While in the past they have been primarily used for industry, the canals now welcome visitors with guided tours and boat hire.

To explore the city centre of Birmingham, visitors to the city will need a quality hotel in Birmingham city centre. The Radisson Blu Hotel, Birmingham offers guests their choice of 211 comfortable hotel rooms and suites, each decorated in one of the hotel’s three themes.

Reserve a modern hotel to visit Birmingham’s Canals.

History of Birmingham’s canals
The navigable portions of the Birmingham Canals stretch over 100 miles throughout the city and the Black Country. Originally built in the 18th century, these canals formed an essential conduit for raw materials to reach the industrial stronghold of Birmingham. In its heyday, the Birmingham canal network contained 160 miles of usable waterways.

These days, the city has transformed what once was almost exclusively for the use of industry into a viable tourist attraction. The network’s hub has traditionally been near Gas Street Basin and guests can still visit the area for boating tours or just to see the immaculately restored examples of craft that used to be common on the canals.

Travel the Birmingham Canals from a city-centre hotel
Located just minutes away fromGasStreetBasin, the main junction of theBirminghamCanals, the Radisson Blu Hotel,Birmingham will be perfect for excursions to the waterways. This hotel inBirmingham connects visitors to all great local attractions and events venues, including the nearby Make Reservation

 

PLEASE ADVISE EITHER ALLAN OR BARRY WHEN YOU BOOK THE HOTEL.

REME Junior Leaders Unit Reunion 2011 – Stow-on-the-Wold

I flew in to Birmingham and from thence by train to Kingham, via Oxford. All transport on time and clean and tidy. Well done the two rail operators.

Kingham - The trains do run on time

I was informed by the taxi company recommended by the hotel that there was a race meeting in Cheltenham and there was no way he had any cabs available! I finally took the one suggested by the station master and we wended away along the misty Cotswold country lanes for about 4 miles and I was charged £20 for the privilege of the commentary on the Cotswolds.

Wyck Hill House Hotel...and Spa

The Wyck Hill House appeared out of the mist and proved to be a very fine venue. I have reviewed it here rather than detract from the reunion.

Arriving in the bar I found Geoff Powell and his good lady (I have difficulty enough remembering the lads so excuse me for not naming the ladies) and we chatted over a drink until the arrival of Mike Payne, sporting a neat Oz accent. A couple more drinks passed as more participants, I hesitate to use the word delegates, arrived. Barry had provided name tags this year so it was easier to identify people we should have known.

Shortly after this I retired to bed for a couple of hours in order to be in good form for the evening festivities.

It had been decreed in the ORBAT that we would assemble in the bar at 19,00 for preprandial drinks, but most made it early in order to find a comfortable spot.

I left you in this position

Maurice Quinnell and co

I was pleasantly surprised to meet Maurice Quinnell, whom I managed to half recognise, and we exchanged some old stories. It was a good time for getting to chat to people who I didn’t really remember but whose stories were so similar to our experiences.

And so to dinner and more good conversation.  Our table was occupied by the “bachelor group”, Barry obviously having decided that we would not be safe let loose amongst the ladies until after the formalities.

Following dinner we were entertained by an updated slide show from the 60’s. All human life was there but, unlike the NOTW , all with their clothes on.

 

Now where was I ?????

 

Then followed the tales of woe and embarrassment from a number of those present.  Forgive me but I have forgotten the stories and all the names but James Rafferty who “performed” last and won the whisky! I’m sure he deserved it.

And so back to the bar to discuss topics of great worldly import and generally enjoy ourselves.

Those were the days

I maintained my reputation of being the last to leave once again, but only just!

I breakfasted with Roger Smith and his wife, another couple who had flown in from Australia for the gathering, who assured me that it had all been worth it.

After this I made my farewells as I was being collected to join another reunion, this time Intelligence Corps, in Cheltenham.

I will attempt to get the details, and any photos, of the Cotswold bus trip and any further adventures from Barry and add it to this post later.

I’m sure everybody will join me in thanking Barry and Alan for getting this put together again and we look forward to the next gathering in 2012.

 

Wyck Hill House Hotel & Spa, Stow-on-the-Wold, Gloucestershire

The Wyck Hill House Hotel was the chosen venue for the second reunion of  past inmates of the REME Junior Leaders Unit, Arborfield.

The address is Burford Road, Stow-on the-Wold, and if you arriving in the area by any other form of transport than car or coach tour the taxi fare from Kingham Station, four miles away, is £20.

According to the taxi driver it has been reopened, following a complete makeover, for about 18 months.

Reception is a desk in the hallway and I was greeted by a pleasant young lady who, having taken my particulars led me to my 1st floor room. I understood why as trying to direct one to the lift would have been quite a feat.

The rooms are spacious and comfortable, however they are certainly not  soundproof.  Mine was opposite the lift door and the “Ding” of it arriving was clearly audible; luckily there are not a lot of rooms per floor!

Perhaps I am just unlucky but my safe refused to lock and, after losing my cameras from a room in Rome, I am a bit paranoid about  leaving valuables lying about.

Houskeeping got somebody to me in about 15 minutes and he duly reset the mechanism.

The bar is neatly set out and a Bombay Sapphire and Tonic restored my spirits. The £8.00 for a smoked salmon sandwich, the size of bridge roll, on ciabatta I felt was a bit excessive though it did come with a neat little pot of crisps and a bit of salad.

We were about 50 for dinner and the standard of the food and the service were impeccable..

I had a trio of fish for starter with a light hollandaise sauce and it could not have been faulted.  The fish was firm and tasted superb and the sauce complimented it perfectly. The other members of my table reported theirs to first class as well.

I had ordered Pan fried breast of corn fed chicken with thyme rosti cake, savoy cabbage, smoked bacon and shallot sauce.

It came perfectly cooked, nicely moist, and the thyme rosti was a perfect accompaniment. We had the house Merlot to wash it all down!

I picked the Eton Mess for dessert which was adapted to include red berries rather than strawberries but lost nothing for all that.

We finished up with standard coffees.

Breakfast the next morning was delightful.  A good selection of fruit, museli, cereals and yoghurts; a mixture of cheeses and cold meats or a substantial cooked menu.

I took the sausage, bacon and black pudding and asked for a soft poached egg.  Three out of four right was not too bad.  Why is it that nowhere seems to be able to soft cook any type of egg these days.

A large pot of strong English Breakfast tea was just the ticket to see off the excesses of the night (or morning even) before.

The tab for bed and breakfast plus the dinner was £120.  Not really over expensive.

 

 

REME JUNIOR LEADERS – REUNION 2011 Update

 Programme of Event

 

 

REME Junior Leaders Reunion– 11th & 12th November 2011

 

Confirmation the event is booked to take place Central England in the Cotswolds at the Wyck Hill House Hotel located in Stow on the Wold by the Fosse-way.

 

We have gained extremely good special rates for the event for Friday 11th November which are double rooms and single rooms inclusive of the Friday night dinner and banquet room and service.

 

As I have also set out in the programme events like last year for Friday and Saturday as most stayed for the Saturday night as well I have gained the special rate again for those who opt for the two day package.

 

I must stress due to the time of the year and the size of our party I was able to get the rates well below what they would normally charge and this I assure you is an extremely good location and Hotel for a weekend break before Christmas.

 

Programme:-

 

Arrive pm 11th November .

Meet at the Bar 6:30 7:00 pm Drinks Reception As before Red Blue and Yellow (or White) Handkerchiefs top pocket depending upon Rowcroft, Tope or Joslin.

 

Dinner 7:30 in the Lord Rissington Suite (Overlooks theWindrushValley).

 

After Dinner Speakers.

 

Move to Bar 11:30 for those who can’t sleep!

 

12th November

 

Breakfast 7:30 to 10:30

 

Convoy Tour of Cotswolds for those who wish to visit exceptionally attractive Cotswold Villages.

 

Departs 10:30 First Stop –  Stowon theWold Town Square.

Very attractive especially interesting shops.

 

2ND Stop Lower Slaughter.

Mill stream and picture book scenes

 

3rd  Stop Bourton on the Water.

Pub lunch.

 

Bourton is worth half a day just to walk around

 

Return to Hotel

Evening Dinner at special rate again for those who stay over.

 

Single Night Package 11th November

Double/ Twin occupancy room for 1 night ( Friday night ) Dinner Bed and Breakfast is £165.00 per couple inclusive

Single occupancy room for 1 night ( Friday night ) Dinner Bed and breakfast is £120.00 per person inclusive.

 

 

Double Night Package 11th and 12th November 

Double/ Twin Room for 2 nights Dinner bed and breakfast is total £320.00 per couple

Single occupancy for 2 nights Dinner Bed and Breakfast is total £240.00 per person

Please remember this also includes the dinner both nights and the restaurant is exceptionally good by reputation and listing.

 

Booking details are as follows:-

(Visit the website below)

 

 

The booking reference required for guests to book these will be # 60603 REME Reunion. They will need to take a 25% deposit from guests at the time of bookings, and then full pre-payment of the weekend 1 or 2 night package 2 weeks before.

 

Katie Sanders

Senior Event Co-ordinator
WyckHill House Hotel & Spa

Burford Road

Stow on the Wold

Gloucestershire

GL54 1HY

 

 

T: 01451 831936  |  E: mev.wyckhillhouse@bespokehotels.com

 |  W: www.wyckhillhousehotel.co.uk

 

Please let me know that you have booked the hotel

 

Please also let everyone else you know about the re-union as we need to exceed the numbers from the first reunion.

 

If it goes as well as last year it will be great, but it’s going to go even better of that I’m sure.

 

I look forward to us meeting up again for a very enjoyable occasion.

 

Very best regards,

 

Barry Johnson

 

The Venue for REME Junior Leaders 2011-08-12

Click here for previous posts

REME JLU REUNION 2011

 

Draft Programme of Event

REME Junior Leaders Reunion – 11th & 12th November 2011

Gentlemen,

 

Minutes from the re-union 12th November 2010

 

1)    The vast majority of those who attended said they wanted another before we all get too old.

2)    For record purposes the following picture covers the visit to the REME Museum on the Saturday:

 


3)  At Mike Jackson “Josmic” website pictures are available of the Bramshill Hunt Lunch

No pictures available covering the Sunday morning departure from the Hotel in Wokingham due to the brightness on the November Sunlight!!!!

4)    As so many have called for a repeat re-union we have done a bit of research as to what we could do and where we could hold it. I would appreciate your comments and hear from those who will be attending?

5)    Firstly the Northern Guys would like the venue this time to be a little more central. I have had proposal for Birmingham, Manchester Liverpool and Stratford Upon Avon. PLEASE ADVISE YOUR PERSONAL PREFERENCE. The most popular will win the day.

6)    Friday 11th November Hotel Dinner as before, We will arrange special rates as before.

Dinner Reception 7 to 7.30pm.

After Dinner Speech’s by three attendee’s on the subject “My most Embarrassing Experience whilst I served in the Army. Votes from the audience afterwards will reward the winner with a Bottle of Scotch Whiskey.

7)    Saturday morning event and Pub Lunch to be arranged for those staying over..

8)    Return to Hotel in the Evening for those who wish to stay over again as before. An informal Party Dinner.

9)    Depart Sunday morning

Obviously some will only wish to take part in part of the Friday night dinner re-union which we all understand. But as the last time’s Saturday evening was laced with some  very funny stories, it promoted the idea of selecting volunteers for the after dinner speech sector on Friday at our next one.

Please let me have your feedback

Incidentally I’m assured by two members that if they have to, they will swim all the way back from Australia this time as they do not intend to miss it again.

Barry Johnson

b.k.johnson@btconnect.com

Click here to go to update

 

 

REME JUNIOR LEADERS 50TH ANNIVERSARY REUNION

REME JLU Reunion - Corps Museum Arborfield, November 2010

A couple of  years ago Barry Johnson first contacted me with a madcap scheme to have a reunion of the 1960 intakes of the REME Junior Leaders Unit at Arborfield.  Of course there was never  a chance of this ever happening but, as I’ll sign up for anything, I said; ” sure I’ll come along”.  It is a tribute to his tenacity and organisational ability that slowly but surely he persuaded more and more people to sign up and make this look like a viable proposition.

The final result was a gathering of some 50 veterans and their ladies, covering the era of ’58 to ’67, congregating at the Moat House Hotel on 12 November 2010.

REME JLU, Poperinge barracks, CIRCA 1961

Josephine and I arrived,  dumped our bags in the room and headed for the bar for a much needed sandwich and a beer.

It's true - honest?

I was quite taken aback ny the cry of:  “There’s Jacko, I’d have recognised him anywhere”. I would like to think that this was a tribute to my good looks rather than having seen my up to date photo somewhere.

We did get a cup of tea and a sandwich and were preparing to head back to the room to change for dinner when somebody (Alan?) suggested a quick one at the bar.  In the army a quick one could last for three or four days! As it was it only lasted for an hour.

I hooked for this team

We congregated again in the bar some little time later to indulge in a few reminiscences, which seemed to be directly proportional to the  number of G & Ts consumed, until we were summonsed to the dining room.

One could not fault the meal or the service and by the time we reached the sweet course we were in good form for Barry to present his presentation of life in the JLU.
A number of inmates had supplied photos for this and whilst there were many good memories there were a few sad ones.  The loss of Dicky Bird in a canoeing accident was particularly poignant for me as I was one of those who went to his funeral as a pall bearer. Another story was told of when Barry, Allan, Jock Steen and I went AWOL in protest at the inhuman treatment.   I lasted around 18 hours  and then returned.  The other three were picked up in London by the police and held for three days.

Quaint and curious costumes

It says something for the system that none of us was ever formally punished for this and we did actually achieve some changes. The architect of the abuse signed up to be a priest – nuf sed!! Whatever they threw at us, however, made us what we are today and without the discipline and organisation I for one would never have achieved anything. There were two stories that also give an indication of life in those days.  One had got a job but hated it and told his father. The said father said not to worry son and took him down to the recruiting ofice and signed him up.  Another went home on his first leave and found that his parents had moved and never gave him a forwarding address!

The other saving grace was sport and other extra mural activities. These got you out of mundane duties such as moving the coal from one bunker to another or peeling potatoes for the cookhouse.

We were eventually ushered out of the dining area and back into the bar, not quite kicking and screaming I must admit. There followed much more reminiscing interspersed by the necessary lubrication of the vocal chords. With the exception of Barry’s good lady  the girls bade their farewells at various points and eventually there was a small core group who intercepted the Reading Pipe and Drum band who had returned from their dinner night.  As there were a few ex military and RAF persons among their members this was an excuse to delay leaving for another while.  I have the dubious privelege of being the last to leave the bar!

The Guardroom, Poperinghe Bks, now Corps Museum

The next morning, following a hearty breakfast, we assembled in the foyer at 9.30 and made our way to Arborfield and the REME Corps Museum. I do not think that there was anybody who really remembered the area as it was 50 years ago. I certainly didn’t.  What I did remember was the Guardroom a replica of which has been built onto the front of the museum and forms the entrance foyer, coffee bar and shop.  Here we were welcomed by the curator who proceeded to give us a guided tour.  They had retrieved the photo albums and cuttings from the period we were in residence and it was a really nostalgic event.

The Likely Lads 50 years on

After posing for a group photo we took off for the Bramshill Hunt for lunch. This is the subject of another post – click the link. From here we returned to the hotel and from thence our various ways.

A truly memorable reunion, I only wish I could put names to all the faces.

If anybody feels the inclination would they please tag the photos or send me the position and corresponding name

THEN



AND NOW


Bramshill Hunt, Arborfield, Berks

The Bramshill Hunt

The last time I was in the Bramshill Hunt was illegally, as a REME Junior Leader, around 1962.  The staff certainly have not been there since then, much to young and pretty.  Apart from this I do not really remember it at all, just the sneaking through the woods to get there.

One thing that did confuse me a little were two banners outside emblazoned with “come on you Irish”. Never did get to find out what they were in aid of!

It is now part of the Green King Group and, I believe, under new management. Barry Johnson had dropped them in the orders a couple of hours before we were due to arrive so at least they were forewarned that about 30 people were going to descend on them.

In general they coped pretty well although a couple of people had to wait an inordinatley long time, probably due to the fact that they only had staff available for a normal Saturday lunch time.

Some Ploughmans!

I had picked the cheese and ham ploughmans lunch and I can say that it would have been hard to beat.

The cheese was a chunk or real cheddar and the ham actually tasted of ham. Add pickled onion, Branston pickle and a section of french stick and you have the perfect accompaniment to red wine or a gin and tonic (Josephine got the last of the red wine in the house!)

I think everybody else was suitably impressed with their choice and, at just over £10.0 for two of us it was indeed value for money.

Unfortunately it is unlikely that I will be in Arborfield any time again soon.

Old pals!