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Autumn 2023

Dear Cranwellians

I write in the aftermath of a most successful Reunion at the beginning of September. Despite the late change of date, caused by the unexpected demands on the College during the Coronation, we had a great turn out and good weather, combined with outstanding support from the College team.

 I would especially mention our Reunion Secretary, Phil Bright, supported by Mike Horton, Chris Meynell, Mike Smith and Gavin Turnbull, and also to Flt Lt Sarah Colbourne who headed up the Cranwell team. Do take a look at the Reunion 2023 Review – it is a memorable record of a splendid weekend.

Phil Bright has mentioned elsewhere the outstanding dinner, made special by our guest speaker, Lord Mark Sedwill. He will be a difficult act to follow, but we shall pull out all the stops next year to ensure an enjoyable and worthwhile Reunion. This will be more than the usual challenge, as College Hall (CHOM) will be undergoing extensive refurbishment – and not before time. The trustees examined all off-site options, but concluded that the special nature of the Cranwell Campus, together with the cost implications of going elsewhere, precluded all but adapting to the CHOM situation, perhaps using the traditional York House Officers’ Mess as the venue for the dinner. We shall keep you updated as plans evolve, but I hope all agree that the next year or so could present a challenge to our membership, and we as trustees will do all possible to develop an attractive package. In return, we ask for your continued support for the Association; let’s see another great attendance next year.

I should like to mention a few highlights from the AGM:

  • Firstly, a warm welcome to Keith Mans and Dick Taplin, who are assuming the roles of Secretary and Treasurer respectively.

  • An important change to our constitution involved the switch in roles of the AMP and Commandant to Vice-Presidents of the Association, leaving free the CA to select their own Chairman; this was welcomed by the members present, and the necessary amendments to the constitution will be applied soon.

  • Following on from our most successful Trenchard Statue campaign, it was decided by the trustees to spend a proportion of the excess funds collected (some £20K) on a painting of HM King Charles III; this has been welcomed by the Commandant, who will ensure that it receives pride of place and appropriate attribution to the CA.

  • Last, but by no means least, we bid a fond farewell as a trustee to Chris Saunby, whose sharp mind and dogged attention to detail have been so important to the Association during the challenging transition from the Old Cranwellian Association. Our thanks, Chris, for all your work for the CA over many years.

Cranwellians may recall that we decided some time ago that as part of our development towards a wider membership, we needed to increase our presence at the College. I am pleased to report progress in two important areas: 

Firstly, we have forged a close relationship with the Tedder RAF Leadership Academy, based at Cranwell, and will be involved with them in several events over the next year;

Secondly, we decided to award an annual prize (£500) to:

The best all-round Junior Officer, selected from Hennessy Trophy and Phillip Sassoon Memorial Prize winners from Modularized Initial Officer Training Courses that graduated during the training year.

The prize to be awarded at the Prize Winners’ dinner each year. 

This year the prize was awarded to Flt Lt Kalum Dayson by Sir Mike Graydon on 14th September; an outstanding event, which gave some of our members who attended a great opportunity to engage with the cadets. Kalum was delighted with his award, which also included a year’s membership of CA.  I commend to you in the NEWS section , a record of the event, together with an excellent piece by the guest speaker, AVM David Arthurton OBE ( Director Strategy and Military Digitisation ).

So it has been an interesting and productive year for your Association. We face challenges ahead, but the President and I are confident that with your ongoing support we will continue to flourish.

Warm Regards,


Professor Sir Christopher Coville


Chairman's Newsletter AUTUMN 2023: Text
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