After recent wet weather, the 23 June 2015 turned out to be a beautiful sunny day, just right for a march past and memorial service in the National memorial Arboretum (NMA) at Alrewas in Staffordshire.
We gathered in the restaurant for coffee (a few had a full English) and to meet and greet relatives and friends. At 11.30 Bill Veazey MBE (Association Parade Marshal) shepherded us onto the main site road, where we were joined by the serving RAF Police contingent with its shepherd Warrant Officer Dale Woolman-Lane MBE>
There were some 40 members marching led by Chairman Roy Laver OBE, with 6 standards led by the National Standard carried (as usual) by Nigel Lacey.
After the summons by bugler Adrian Harper and with the swerving contingent leading, we marched along the main road towards the RAF Police Memorial. The salute was taken by Group Captain Kevin Bailey BA (Hons) RAF, the RAF Provost Marshal and Commander RAF Police.
The memorial service was conducted by the Reverend Jeremy Safford. This year for the first time, there was an addition which may become a permanent part of the service. Several paver stones have been laid carrying inscriptions of deceased RAF Police. The names (28 to date) on these were read out and the stones blessed.
The hymn Jerusalem was sung and the formal remembrance service concluded with everyone singing of the National Anthem.
Finally a separate service was held nearby commemorating RAF Police dog handlers.
Some 130 assorted bodies of members, relatives and friends gathered in one of the several marquees erected for Armed Forces Week. Chairman Roy Laver and the PM made very short speeches and we then enjoyed a meal of sandwiches and assorted cakes, with plenty of tea and coffee.
This was once again a highly successful joint occasion for the RAF Police and the RAF Police Association. Its success was down to the weather, the members who attended and the hard work of the Association side of the memorial committee, namely Bernard Lamb, Brian Whitaker and John Curtis and we thank them.
Author: John Walton