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The 2019 Reunion and AGM will be held in the President's Room and Victoria Bar of the Royal Air Force Club, 128 Piccadilly, London W1J 7PY. The Victoria Bar will open at 12.30 when a complimentary glass of sparkling wine will be served. Lunch will commence at 13.00 and the Victoria Bar will be open for cash purchases after lunch until 17.00. The AGM will be held after lunch in the President's Room with members seated at table.


Ladies and Gentlemen

I am looking forward very much to meeting up with many of you for the second of our lunches at the RAF Club on 29th October. If you have not already booked your place(s), there's still time to do so if you contact the Hon Sec, Mike Brooke, before 13th October.

CFS Dinner 11 April 2019

Those of you who read the minutes of last year's AGM, which were circulated on 12th December along with my previous newsletter, may remember the changes notified to future CFS Dinners, viz:

-HQ CFS had decided that there would be only one CFS Dining-In Night, to be held annually in spring (April/May) from 2019 onwards. This 'Celebration of CFS' would include all QFIs who had graduated during the preceding 12 months, and the CFSA would continue to be invited to hold their Reunion alongside this event.

In fact, HQ CFS subsequently decided to hold separate, more informal, events for graduating CFS students, so neither they nor their associated waterfront QFIs attended. From a CFSA point of view, that was unfortunate, because one of the raisons d'etre of our Association is to promote friendship and social intercourse between former and present generations, something which I felt worked particularly well in the bar after the 2018 dinner. On the other hand, it was good to have representation from the Red Arrows, and Exam Wg (We're here to help) lent their normal threatening encouraging presence. But that was not the only departure from tradition. For a variety of reasons, it was not possible for CFS to gain use of an officers' mess at Cranwell, so some 56 of us (including 19 CFSA members and their guests) sat down to dinner at the recently opened International Bomber Command Centre (IBCC) overlooking Lincoln, with music (including Those Magnificent Men..) provided by a brass quintet from the Band of the RAF College. The photographs at Annex A show the happy throng! If anyone would like higher resolution copies of the photos, please get in touch via the Hon Sec, and I will email them to you.

We are indebted to Beverley Smyth (Judith's replacement as PA to Comdt CFS) for organising this successful event in such impressive and evocative surroundings. If you have not yet visited the IBCC, then you should do so: it's well worth it.

CFS Dinner Spring 2020

The date for next year's CFS Dinner has not yet been finalised, but Beverley is already negotiating to get us back to York House Officers' Mess. I'm told that Comdt CFS and several other members of HQ CFS will be dined out on this occasion, so look out for more details as they become available.

AGM 2019

Because of the timing and the off-base location, we did not hold what would have been an EGM on 11 April, so we will run our 2019 AGM in concert with the RAF Club Lunch on 29 October. We will conduct it (informally and quickly, inshallah) at our tables over coffee at the end of lunch. A draft agenda is at Annex B and any member wishing to add to it should contact the Hon Sec by email as soon as possible.

In my last newsletter, I asked for your views on 3 topics arising from the Minutes of the 2018 AGM. Some 20 members responded as follows:


What do you feel about number and types of events to be held annually and where/when the AGM should be held?

Feedback: There was pretty unanimous agreement that, where possible, we should continue with the precedent set in 2018 of having up to 3 get-togethers annually, ie a dinner at Cranwell; a lunch at the RAF Club; and a presence (when invited) with mess lunch at the RAF Cranwell Families Day and its associated Red Arrows Display. Note: With the Reds' absence in the US this summer, there was no Families Day invitation.


a. Statue of Lord Trenchard at RAFC Cranwell. Do you agree that the CFSA should make a donation in support of this project? If so, do you agree that should it be of £1000?

Feedback: Unanimous agreement to both. Note: The sum of £1000 has been donated, and the statue is on track to be installed in 2020, the RAF College's Centenary year. See Annex C for a photo of the clay model of the statue, prior to some final modifications requested by the sponsors. The lady next to the statue is Vivien Mallock, the sculptress (sculptor?), together with Lady (Liz) Graydon.

b. CFSA Rules. Please read the current rules, which may be found on the CFSA website, and let me know which elements you feel may be culled and which should be updated or, indeed, whether you feel we should leave well alone.

Feedback: Most members were content to leave things as they were. One or two wished to remove passages which were obviously out of date (such as references to Upavon and Gosport School of Flying), but more wished to retain these historical elements. Some queried the need for a Patron, and others pointed out the need to amend references to 'he' to 'he/she'.

Note: As long-standing adherent to the policy of If it ain't broke...., I was tempted to leave any amendments to my successors, but could see that one or two amendments were needed to reflect current practice. The Draft Rules at Annex D have therefore been lightly tweaked to incorporate:

(1) More flexibility in the criteria governing membership in future.

(2) Replacing 'he' with 'they' throughout.

(3) Other housekeeping points, such as promoting the use of electronic bank transfer for payments.

President CFSA

You may also recall the following passage from last year's Minutes:

The Chairman reminded the meeting that he had now served beyond the normal tour length as President and would like to stand down when a replacement had been found. None of his successors as Comdt had (as yet) volunteered, but he would continue to search.

I am delighted to inform you that Air Cdre David Bentley (Comdt CFS 2012 -14) has stepped forward. He and his wife Wendy will be attending the RAF Club Lunch, and (with the agreement of the Membership) will take over the role at the end of the AGM; his Bio is attached at Annex E.


This will, therefore, be my last newsletter to you as President. Since I took over from Simon Bostock in the summer of 2012, responsibility for administering and organising the Association, its membership, finances and reunions has largely shifted from HQ CFS to its members. I am hugely grateful to those who responded to my increasingly plaintive calls for volunteers to act as Hon Sec (Adrian 'Fingers' Hands and then Mike Brooke) and Treasurer (Tim Dean); and to the inimitable John Davy, whose brainchild, the RAF Club Lunch, has taken off so well. Thanks, too, to those at HQCFS who have continued to support us: Sqn Ldr Nick Short; Judith; Lynn; Paula and now Beverley, and a succession of Commandants.

Finally, thanks to our members; in particular the stalwart group who continue to attend our various get-togethers through thick and thin. Where would we be without you?


The membership with whom we have positive contact has increased over the past year and now stands at 165; that is 10 more than this time last year. We have learnt of the deaths of one member: Gp Capt Don McClen. If members know of any others since last October, perhaps they would kindly let the Hon Sec know at mclabrooke@aol.com

Yours Aye,

Gavin Mackay


CFS Association