Call to Arms Seating Plans

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Major (later Air Marshal Sir Philip) Babington, the Squadron’s CO (aged 23!) , returned to the UK  for a few days leave during the so called Bloody April (1917) when the life expectancy of RFC pilots was measured in days if not hours. It is believed that while on leave he got engaged to Joan Daniels and when he got back to the Front he told the chaps if any of them were left alive, they could celebrate at his bachelor party back in London the following year; this they did on the 11th of February 1918, the day before his wedding. It was at this “binge” that it was agreed that the Squadron would  meet each year. The next meeting was held just 5 month later on the 15th of July  at the Grosvenor Hotel which was, technically, the first Reunion although initially the “binge” as counted the first; this explains why the 1921 menu says it is the 5th Reunion but the 1926 menu says (correctly) that it is the 9th. It matters not as you can only have one annual reunion a year! At the second Reunion in the Café Royal London on the 29th of March 1919, it appears that the tradition of signing menu cards was begun. The date when an other tradition of sending out a “Call to Arms” was first instigated is uncertain but the first copy we have is dated 1926. Chaps Marchant and his successor as Secretary, Peter Gifkins, were extremely creative in producing Calls to Arms many of which reflected social or political issues of the time. Successors to these two stalwarts are very much duller and Calls to Arms after 1979 are straightforward information documents. The majority of pre-war menus and Calls to Arms were donated to the Association by the family of the late George Bulman  in 2009.In the PDF are copies of all the table plans and newsletters (Cheeeriooo) in the Association archives. The are quite a few missing menus and Calls to Arms, if you have any of the missing items, please either sent them to the Secretary for inclusion in the Reunion Scrapbook or send a jpeg copy by email. Indeed, if you have any memorabilia, then please contact the Secretary. Any contribution will be gratefully received and treasured.

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