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No 44 (Rhodesia) Squadron
Association Newsletter

September 2020

02/20

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'Ghost with the Most'

Chairman’s Foreword

Welcome to our Autumn Newsletter,

I’m taking the unusual step of writing a foreword to the Newsletter for two reasons. First, to recognise the result of the most unusual circumstances which caused us to cancel this year’s reunion and, secondly, in the absence of our ability to meet, to tell you about our exceptional Secretary, Henry Horscroft.

It was with great regret that we realised, in March, that the advancing pandemic would result in the cancellation of the Reunion in May. One of the reasons we have the meeting at that time of the year is that it coincides with the anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe, that is, the anniversary of VE Day. This year the Reunion would have fallen on the highly significant 75
th anniversary and it was my intention that we would pay tribute, on this great occasion, to all of those who served on the Squadron in WWII. We would have had the opportunity to honour those wonderful men and women on the Saturday evening, in the Mess at RAF Waddington, and again on Sunday morning at our memorial at Dunholme Lodge. In the event we were denied that opportunity, for the most extraordinary of reasons, and were unable to express our gratitude for their service and sacrifice.

Further back in the New Year, Henry, your secretary for the past 37 years, informed the Committee that, due to advancing years, he no longer felt able to continue to do all the duties he had acquired as Association Secretary. To relieve him of several tasks, it was decided that Andy Marson would take over as Treasurer, Phil Leckenby as Membership Secretary and Kevin Lawry as Squadron Historian (
kjlbus1@gmail.com). We all realised that Henry cannot be replaced by any one individual and other tasks will have to be shared by all the committee members.

I cannot praise Henry enough for what he has done for the Association in the past 37 years. It never occurred to me, all those years ago, when I invited him to be our secretary, that he and the Association would still be going strong after all this time. Henry has been the continuous presence, the glue that has held the Association together, while many others have come and gone. This note is to let you know that the Committee has chosen, on your behalf, to invite Henry to be a life Vice-President of the Association and he has graciously accepted. Thank you, Henry, for all that you have done for the Association and many others besides.

We all hope that the coronavirus pandemic will be sufficiently well controlled that we can meet again at a Reunion in 2021. In the meantime, I wish you all safe passage from now until next May.

John Laycock

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Out of the DV Window

This issue would normally have contained an account of the annual reunion, plus a selection of photographs to record the event. In these most unusual of times, we had to forego our reunion, along with a host of other events which might have entertained us during the spring and summer months. Instead we’ve been forced to be a little more introspective and inventive for the duration of the restrictions. Boredom can be a catalyst for creativity. The hitherto unfamiliar term, Zoom, made a grand entrance into the vernacular. Across the land people harnessed the technology to organise virtual get-togethers in lieu of more normal social interaction. However, a virtual annual reunion was a step too far. Perhaps nothing will be quite the same again.

Newark Air Museum’s ‘Cold War Call-Up’ event was yet another victim of the pervasive virus. A pity because had May been its usual self, our reunion would have coincided with the Newark event, giving us access to what could have been an interesting and enjoyable Saturday programme.

May the 8th was, of course, the 75th anniversary of VE Day and, despite isolation, everyone did their best to mark the occasion with bunting, flags and music reminiscent of the era. A pity we couldn’t have got together as an Association to pay a proper tribute to those who contributed so valiantly to the victory.

Reunion 2021

07 - 09 may

The planning of next year’s reunion is mired in uncertainty. If the dangers of Covid-19 have diminished to the extent that large gatherings can be safely held, the reunion will take place between Friday 7th May and Sunday 9th May. There is little more to be said at this stage and any news concerning the 2021 reunion can be found by clicking the link button below:



Membership Matters

New Members

The Association welcomes the following new members:

R Bailey
David Graaff
K Woole


Updating Changes of Address

A small but increasing number of newsletters are making their way back to the sender after the Post Office has been unable to deliver them. Please remember to update the Editor/Membership Secretary on any change of address, or change of circumstances.

Email Addresses

The Membership Secretary would be grateful if members would update their email addresses so the membership database and handbook can be updated. This information will be used only for membership purposes and will not be disclosed to third parties.

Membership Fees

Unfortunately, it seems a small number of members are still failing to pay their dues. Despite rising costs, the membership fee has been held to a modest £10 annually. A few members are still contributing much less than that and the Treasurer would be most grateful if cheques, standing orders or direct debits could be updated to reflect the current subscription. Also, please remember that membership fees are due by the 1st of November.

In this issue:

President: Air Commodore S A Baldwin MBE

Chairman: Group Captain J Laycock (Ret’d) BA

Treasurer: Squadron Leader A C Marson (Ret’d)
E-mail:
vulcansponge@icloud.com

Editor / Membership: Squadron Leader P J Leckenby (Ret’d) MBE
E-mail:
news44sqn@mac.com