Chairman Michael Cochrane opened the meeting with two apologies and introduced prospective new member Dennis Jennings. Secretary Neil Ramshaw confirmed the A.G.M. for April 28th,  advised members of proposals received and confirmed nominations for office were still welcome and in particular Welfare Officer which is vacant. John Taylor advised he is still trying to arrange an “End of Season” visit and hopes to have more news next week.

Today’s Speaker was Forum Member Richard Barker who had spoken on previous occasions and is a well-known and high-profile member of the Harlow Community. His topic was “On Guard” which took the form of recollections and reminisces of his time in National Service in the R.A.F. He was called up as the Second World War was ending and took us through his enrolment period to a posting to Northern Italy and a concluding transfer to the Far East. As a Pontefract lad his first Force experiences were gained in the foreign climes of Lancashire and upon completion of his induction he engineered a posting to Northern Italy where he determined to enjoy as many of the sounds and sights as possible and over his time there these included Rome, Venice, the scenery of Naples, Swiss Mountains and Lake Como. He also shared some linguistic challenges he faced which included broad Lancastrian ,two Scottish dialects and various ” Brummie” incarnations!! His transfer to the Far East starting by sea and via the Suez Canal was less successful with trouble in various localities precluding some sight-seeing opportunities and various bouts of ill-health hindering his exploring initiatives. Nevertheless his posting to Rangoon meant he was able to visit some local temples and pagodas and meant his life in National Service provided life broadening lessons. A number of questions from the audience enquired as to what his gainful employment in the R.A.F. was? and a concerned query over the nature of his illnesses!!

The Vote of Thanks was given by Peter Staples on behalf of the 34 attendees.


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