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July 6, 2007 News item from the Fleet Air Arm Officer’s Association website (UK) www.fleetairarmoa.org A mee ting of a few friends in a London pub in 1947 gave birth to the idea of forming an Association of TAGs. The idea was quickly acted upon and at its peak the Association had around 600 members, most of whom had served for the period of WW II only. On the weekend of 19th and 20th May this year its members celebrated its 60th Anniversary, first with a Social and Concert on Saturday evening and on Sunday with a Memori al Service on Lee on Solent sea front by the Fleet Air Arm War Memorial. Saturday’s concert was performed by 440 Productions of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. They are a group of young men and women who have recently left the local High School in the town where some 50% of TAGs trained during WWII. The concert, very professionally presented, consisted of songs of those wartime days and re- enactment of events important to TAGs and to Canada. Authentic clothes of the period were worn by the girls and a variety of Service uniforms, including Naval Airmen, by the men. It was enthusiastically received by an audience of 160 and followed a spit-roast buffet which was also well received. Some 300 people attended the Service on Sunday which was conducted jointly by Revd. Peter Sutton Vicar of St. Faiths, Lee on Solent and Revd. Bernard Clarke, Chaplain of HMS Sultan. A Guard of Honour provided by HMS Sultan marched along the sea front followed by the Royal Marines Portsmouth Band, helmets gleaming in the sunshine. The names of those who had died during the past twelve months were read out; we also remembered the TAGs who did not survive the war or who had since passed away and tribute was paid to the Pilots and Observers with whom we flew as well as the ground crews who kept the aircraft flying. Wreaths were laid by Rear Admiral George Zambellas DSC, on behalf for the Naval Air Command, and Captain Jonathan Woodcock RN, HMS Sultan, The People of Canada, the TAGs Association and its Northern, Southern, Midlands and Anglia Branches, The FAA Officers' Association, by Rear Admiral Scott Lidbetter, The Fleet Air Arm Association and The Aircrewmans Association. The Sea Fury of the RN Historic Flight flew overhead as the Guard and the Royal Marines Band marched off at the end of the Service following which a lunch, attended by 182 people, was held in the Warrant Officers and Senior Rates Mess at HMS Collingwood. Roy Gibbs MID, Chairman of the Association, welcomed the guests who included Rear Admiral Zambellas, Rear Admiral Scott Lidbetter, Commodore Steve Kirby RN, Commanding Officer HMS Collingwood, Captain Jonathan Woodcock RN, Commander Michael Petheram MBE, MA, RN, Commander Kevin Fox RN (Officer Commanding RNAES), Lt. Commander Karl Mardon MBE, RN (1st Lieutenant) and Revd. Bernard Clarke, RN, all of HMS Sultan. Admiral Zambellas responded giving an insight into the present and future Royal Navy and more particularly the Fleet Air Arm. Ken Davies, Hon. Secretary, presented Swordfish brooches to the cast and crew of 440 Productions, while TAGA President, Leslie Sayer MBE DSM presented a signed and autographed print of the Channel Dash to Lee on Solent Golf Club which has hosted TAGA events for many years. The Telegraphist Air Gunners Association expresses it’s sincere thanks to the Royal Navy for all the help and support it has given to make this celebration possible, to HMS Sultan for organising the Sunday Parade and associated road closures and for so much else; to WO1 Gerald M Jones, Mess President and his team at the Warrant Officers and Senior Rates Mess at HMS Collingwood for hosting the Saturday Social and the superb Sunday lunch. All of this ensured that the Association’s 60th Anniversary was celebrated in style.
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Telegraphist Air Gunners Association Celebrates 60th Anniversary July 7, 2007
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