Marsh was one of the very first 'old boys'. He and Cyril Thompson,
Pip Wheeler, Jack Richards, Fred Coles, Les Brindley, and John Sharp,
had been meeting in ones and twos around London. They all decided
to meet in a pub called The Cranbourne in St Martins Lane, London,
in 1947. The name of the meeting? 1939 - 44 All Ranks Reunion.
seven had served on XI Squadron through those years and were in
the process of getting back to the UK and, in some cases, Demobilisation.
Cyril (Tommy) Thompson was the first Secretary/Treasurer and it
was mainly his efforts that got it off the ground. Details of the
next few reunions are a bit vague and any written evidence of them
long gone. The first written evidence is a printed Menu which proclaims
"XI Squadron 1939 - 44 First Annual All Ranks Reunion"
at St Stephens Restaurant, Westminster SW1, Saturday 20th October
Thompson left for Australia in 1957 and the post of Secretary/Treasurer
was taken over by 'Pip' Wheeler.
The Squadron returned from Germany to Leuchars and in 1972 moved
to Binbrook. Pip Was in contact with Wg Cdr David Cowley and it
came about that the reunion provisionally booked for October in
London became November 11th at RAF Binbrook! This started the association's
close contact with the active Squadron, which continues to this
In the late 70's Gordon Palmer took up the banner as Secretary in
his own inimitable style. It is worth mentioning that up to now
there were no formal subscriptions and expenses were met by the
Secretary's organising raffles, with prizes being donated.
It was sometime around 1979 that with Wg Cdr Doug Aylward as CO,
the association in its resent form was proposed. The constitution
was written up and serving members assumed the main responsibilities
of the Association as it is today.
Three years ago, Gordon palmer handed the banner of Secretary to
John Hurley who manages to keep everyone in touch with what is going
For some years many of the 'war time bods' have held their own 'mini'
reunion in the Victory club in London in April, but sadly the numbers
able to attend this event are falling. However, in a letter, Bill
Marsh says, "I have not been able to travel to reunions now
for some years, but I am still pleased to see the newsletter and
know the Squadron and the association still exists."
Our thanks to Bill Marsh for all his help in compiling this article.