RAF Shinfield Park

Headquarters Flying Training Command 

(27th May 1940 - 1st June 1968)

Linda Hunt

Some information

Linda sent this email on 9th Jan 2013

Hi Andre,

Attached is my account of Remembrance Sunday which I wrote for our White Waltham members.  The photo on the right (click to enlarge) is of myself on the left and Helen Barbour neeThomas on the right.  We were both stationed at WW in 1966/67 and lived at Shinfield. Both Helen and I met our husbands at White Waltham.  I married Tim Hunt who was an MT Fitter and Helen married Alex Barbour who was a chef.

Hope you find it interesting.

Regards

Linda’s account of Remembrance Sunday

Hi Everyone,

Thought you might be interested in the attached photos. (Webmaster: I cannot find these photos)

We met up with Helen and Alex Barbour on the Saturday afternoon. You are probably aware that Alex was at the Red Sea Hotel in Aden which was a holiday camp. Tim and I were roughing it at Steamer Point!!!! The four of us, after a light lunch, did a recee of where we needed to go on Sunday. In the evening we went to The Albert Pub in Victoria Street (a five minute walk from our hotel) where quite a few regiments were meeting up. Helen and I were chatted up by two Chelsea Pensioners. Glad we still got it eh Helen? Roy & Bill, the Chelsea Pens, had interesting stories to tell and it was amazing how many people, including young people, came up to buy them a drink but they refused all offers including ours - we did say we would help them out with their drinks but to no avail! They apparently had been drinking all afternoon so when they decided to leave we helped them to their taxi which was just as well cos everytime we pushed Roy onto his seat he kept sliding off!!! Fortunately they were not on duty the next day but I think they would have had a very sore head! By the way, Roy was 92 and Bill 86.

Sunday was glorious and the sun was quite warm, which is just as well as we were hanging around for over 3 hours. The four of us had breakfast across the road from our hotel (much cheaper!) and then walked to Horse Guards where, after an hour or so we lined up with the Aden Vets and eventually marched out to Whitehall where we stood waiting for the Queen and the service to commence. Fortunately there were a couple of large screen where we were able to view the ceremony and also we could hear what was going on. As I said, the day was glorious but our feet did start to get a little cold. Quite a few of the guys with us had small flasks containing alcoholic beverages which they kindly passed round so don't think anyone got too cold. You will be pleased to hear that the four of us declined the offer of a wee nip of Whiskey! Once we actually started to march the atmosphere was amazing. Everyone was clapping and cheering and singing along with the band as we marched off down Whitehall. All we could hear was 'Pack up your troubles, a long way to Tipperary' etc and we were joining in but obviously stopped just before we reached the Cenotaph where we did an Eyes Left and any wreaths we had were handed over to be laid on the Cenotaph. We were all marching in step and quite chuffed with ourselves until just before we turned into the road leading to Horse Guards. There was a guardsman yelling ' Right Left Right Left' which was quite disconcerting as our guy in charge of us had been yelling ' left right left right' so for a while we didn't know what we were doing! However, as we are ex Service and very disciplined we eventually got in step again and then did Eyes Right to Prince Edward who was taking the salute and then we marched into Horse Guards. Here  we lined up and clapped all the other regiments into the parade ground.

We then went to the WOs & Sgts Mess at the Household Cavalry Barracks in Knightsbridge and there sandwiches were served and, because the drinks were so reasonable (nothing like Holiday Inn in Maidenhead!!!) we decided to stay for the rest of the afternoon! We did go outside for a while to watch while the cavalry men and horses were inspected before they went on duty. This took quite some time as the officer inspecting was very diligent and checked over the horses thoroughly.

We were told that, although they are only in the booths for a couple of hours at a time, they were all on duty for 24 hours so it was imperative that, apart from the men, the horses were fit and well.

When we left Knightsbridge Bks we then met in the same pub that evening and had something to eat. The place was full of old soldiers and airmen who had been on the march. Sadly that day a Captain of the Royal Scots had been killed in Afghanistan and a piper of his regiment played a lament in the pub. All very moving.

All in all it was a wonderful weekend and the morning was very moving and, at times, quite emotional but it is an experience I will not forget in a hurry and we hope to do the same next year. Maybe we can put a wreath on the Cenotaph on behalf of White Waltham.

Hope you are all well. Linxx


PS Have since been told that the Guardsman was probably a Sergeant Major London District - as opposed to 'a guardsman'! These things are quite important when referring to Her Majesty's Foot Guards - particularly when he appears to be a Grenadier.

© Andre Francis 2020