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RAFA Costa del Sol Branch 1342

Serving South West Spain

Meet Your Committee

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Derek Brown, President & Welfare Officer

Derek Brown

Derek joined the Royal Air Force for his National Service after graduating from Imperial College with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. After induction at RAF Cardington he was posted to RAF Jurby for his 3 months OCTU, emerging with a Commission as a Pilot Officer, then on to RAF St. Athan for technical training. He completed his Service as a Flying Officer at RAF Abingdon with 53 Sqdn as I/C the engine bay for the Beverly transport aircraft. During this posting there were many detachments overseas including Istres in France, el Adem in Libya, Habbanya in Iraq, Bahrain, Sharjah and Aden and also in Cyprus for the Suez fiasco, where EOKA missed him.

Following demob he joined and American oil company CAL TEX in London where he met and married Diana to whom he is still devoted. They were transferred to the CAL TEX refinery in Bahrain where they spent the next 40 years. During this time he kept up his RAF contacts through RAF Muharraq, joined the Malcolm Club and the local branch of the RAFA. There was little welfare work there but plenty of fund raising with sufficient funds raised to furnish one of the rooms at Sussexdown now suitably named "The Bahrain Room". The Bahrain branch closed in the 1970´s when the RAF left Bahrain and the RAFA Standard is laid up at the Anglican Cathedral in Manaman, the Capital of Bahrain. Derek and Diana have 2 children, both born in Bahrain and their son works in Dubai keeping up the family tradition.

On retirement he and Diana decided to settle in Spain, where their daughter-in-law comes from, and very soon joined the local RAFA branch as an active member, quickly becoming the branch Welfare Officer, a decision neither he nor the branch regrets. He has attended welfare training courses both here and in UK and he maintains healthy links with our surrounding organisations on welfare matters.

Jack Griggs, Life Vice-President, Vice Chairman & Public Relations

Jack Griggs
Life Vice-President & Chairman

Jack retired to Spain with his partner Pamela just over 4 years ago after a long career mostly associated with the Services and the RAF in particular. He served in the RAF for 15 years including 3 years as an Apprentice (80th Entry Locking), serving in UK, Iraq (RAF Habbaniya), Germany and Aden (covering all the Gulf bases), plus several other places on detachments. On leaving the RAF he changed into "civvies" and worked for the Service for a further 25+ years serving at Henlow, MOD London (9 years) involved with aircraft avionics, and finally back to Henlow in RAFSEE looking after many Ground electronic and computer projects. He took early retirement in 1995 but soon found himself working firstly on specialised Flying helmet projects and then on RAF Radio Paging projects. He still consults on the latter and occasionally runs familiarisation courses for the MOD. His main hobbies over the years have been music and theatre, he ran and played drums in a big band for 20 years and played for numerous shows in pit orchestras.

Archie Ferrier, Vice Chairman, Acting Branch Secretary and Acting Membership Secretary

Archie Ferrier
Vice Chairman, Acting Branch Secretary & Acting Membership Secretary

Archie joined the RAF in 1976 as an Electronics Mechanic Ground Communications (LMechGC) and served at RAF Machrihanish in Argyll, Scotland for two years. Re-mustered to Telecommunications (LMechTC) in 1978 and was posted to 33 Signals Unit (SU) in Cyprus as a Senior Aircraftsman (SAC). After a year there he was offered further training to Electronics Technician Telecomms (LTechTC) and returned to the UK to spend 14 months at No1 Radio School, RAF Locking eventually passing out as a Junior Tech (J/T) in October 1980. It was then on to 1001SU at RAF Oakhanger in Hampshire for two years followed by a move to work with the Americans at RAF Croughton for three years, all on satellite communications.

During his time at Croughton he was promoted to Corporal (Cpl) and on leaving in 1985 was posted to 12SU in Cyprus for two and a half years working at an HF receiver site. He returned to the the UK in 1988 to run the Ground Radio Servicing Section at RAF Cosford near Wolverhampton. After six months there he was promoted to Sergeant (Sgt) and posted back to 1001SU at RAF Oakhanger where he spent a further four years controlling satellites as a Spacecraft Operations Assistant.

In 1992 he applied for and got a posting to NATO and was sent to work at a bunker near Birkenfeld in the south west of Germany maintaining a telephone exchange. When the bunker was closed in 1994 he managed to get himself transferred to HQNATO in Brussels, Belgium again to maintain the same type of telephone exchange. After two years he returned to the UK to take up instructor duties at No1 Radio School, RAF Locking the place he had passed out of originally some 20 years earlier.

Shortly after arriving at Locking he was re-mustered once again to the new trade of Engineering Technician Electronics (EngTechEL), this is when he joined the RAF Association. After about three years he were informed that Locking would close at the end of 1999. He had the sad duty of helping to bring an era of training at Locking to a close and assisting with the transfer of No1 Radio School to RAF Cosford where it is now co-located with No2 School of Technical Training. As soon as he arrived at Cosford he decided that it was time to part company with RAF and submitted my papers for Premature Voluntary Release (PVR). Leaving in June 2001 after 25 years and 36 days in the Air Force and, after a short period of unemployment, Archie started work as a Principle Technical Lecturer with Siemens Traffic Controls in Poole, Dorset. HE worked for Siemens until 2010 when he was persuaded by his wife to take early retirement in order to see a bit more of Europe. They arrived in Spain in 2012 and Archie transferred from the Wimborne Branch in Dorset to the Costa del Sol Branch in 2013. So far they have only seen a bit of Spain but they are slowly rectifying that.

Reg Haywood, Honorary Treasurer & Welfare Officer

Reg Haywood
Honorary Treasurer & Welfare Officer

Reg joined the RAF in 1960, straight from school, as a Boy Entrant in the trade of Air Radar. After graduating from training at RAF Cosford, he was posted to various locations around the UK including Watton, Yatesbury, Coningsby, Cottesmore, Cosford and Topcliffe, with a two and a half year "holiday" at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus in-between, finally retiring from the RAF as a Sergeant in 1973.

Reg joined ICL as a Computer Engineer and graduated to Service Management and Project Management, before being made redundant in 1999 at the ripe old age of 56. Unable to find gainful employment, Reg realized all his assets and moved to Spain in 2000 with his wife Mary, now sadly deceased.

He has always had a great love of music and played the Tuba, also dabbling with the saxophone and clarinet, in various Voluntary Bands throughout his RAF career and also in civvy life. He was also given the dubious task by the Station Commander at RAF Topcliffe of forming and conducting a Voluntary Band. It has to be said that Reg played with probably more enthusiasm than talent but at least it was enjoyable.

He was a founder member of the Benalmádena Branch of the RAFA and has served on the committee continuously in the role of Treasurer and sometime Secretary, as well as carrying out extremely rewarding duties as one of the Branch’s Welfare Officers.

Following a query from the RAF Music Services about bringing one of the RAF Bands to Spain, Reg jumped at the opportunity and organised two very successful concerts by the RAF College Band and RAF Regiment Band in 2005 and 2006 respectively. Unfortunately bureaucracy got in the way of further concerts but it is hoped they can be revived one day.

As if the RAFA didn’t keep him busy enough, he also works one day a week at the municipal library in Benalmádena.

Having just reached retirement age and in receipt of a UK pension, Reg is looking forward to many more fruitful years serving the Royal Air Forces Association in Benalmádena.

Enid Bamber, Public Relations Officer, Newsletter Editor

Enid Bamber
Public Relations Officer, Newsletter Editor



Andy Blyth, Web Master

Andy Blyth
Web Master

Andy joined the Royal Air Force in 1989 as an L Tech TC, and spent time at 2SU RAF Bampton Castle working on HF Radio, RAF Buchan on the Type 92 Radar, RAF Stanmore and RAF Bentley Priory on Radar Display Systems and finally 1001SU RAF Oakhanger on Satellite Communications. He left the Royal Air Force in 2003 as a Cpl to work for Serco on the Paradigm Skynet 5 Contract, where he worked in Secure Satellite Communications for the MoD. In June 2013 he joined Copperchase Air Traffic Systems as a Project Engineer where he designs, builds and installs Air Traffic systems in various locations around the world. He says he has travelled more working for Copperchase than he ever did in the RAF, as his only overseas tour was the Falkand Islands.

He's not a committee member but took over as Web Master in 2004, and we thought you would like to know a little about him.

Andy lives in Poole, Dorset back in the UK.