HMS Illustrious Reunion 2011

Reunion 2011


Ahoy !!

It was absolutely fantastic to see everyone who could make it, and am really gutted for those who couldn't this time.

I think Bill Bailey will be only too pleased to confirm that I genuinely knew NOTHING about it. He did try to make it easy for me by scowling shiftily for two hours. I didn't even twig after he had said he would 'rather have pins stuck in his eyes' when asked to join a nice gentile game of bowls me and my mate Craig had started whilst awaiting the first arrivals. I now remember this as a phrase Bill used often, but to be honest I had stopped trying to make eye contact after a few minutes; who wouldn't!!?? I have remembered a lot of things I could have said, or sung, since, but I didn't have the preparation you did!

To his credit, Jim HAD warned me that NOBODY had wanted to do ANY events other than GET SHITFACED !! I should have paid more attention to the small print!

It continued when some other weird looking blokes called Andy; Steve and Steve also 'gate crashed' my bloody stag do!

Turns out this was Pony, Stevie Bowe and Skin, who is that in name only these days, as others soon discovered, and asked me who is was, so at least THIS minor embarrassment passed quickly !!

Had Bomber's camper van not opdefed and he had turned up in his Crocodile Shoes first' the game would have been up instantly, Unfortunately that wasn't to be, so no offence intended to the first four arrivals or anybody else who I didn't recognize without a prompt!

When are you going to write a book Bomber? I will save the cover as my wallpaper!!

One guy who was instantly recognizable (apart from June Whitfield, of course!) was Hugh Axton. When I found out he had been traveling for 22 hours having flown from Hong Kong, driven from Heathrow to Deale' then from Deale to of all places, Skegness. My admiration for the man soared, but there was no room to climb up his arse with Tim Froggatt so far up there already. Dick Cooksley had been out done - he had only come from Brussels the day before, lightweight!!

I am sure that we would all prefer that Rosie would not to have the accolade of furthest traveler, but having flown to Australia and back again in the last five days due to a family bereavement and still attending is something to be admired. Well done on your contribution before and during I am sure all of our thoughts are with you at this difficult time mate, thanks again, best wishes.

Buck Taylor had done two night watches at the Pompey coastguard, then a 4-5 hour bus trip - no wonder he was 'out pipes' at 9.30 after two shandies - hope Dave turned up to give you that lift pal?

Barney was saying goodbye at 7 O'clock on Saturday, he had only got there at 5.30!! He couldn't get a stand in so had driven from Bradford between watches and had to get back for his all night on.

How June Whitfield drove back to Yeovil I don't know, and looks like Tommy struggled too!!

I could go on and on and on, as my head is still in a spin - as it was all weekend, which I think you were all hoping for!!

I will try and dig out some phots and see if I can find an old address book to help track the missing messdeck members. If that fails, I hope you're not too embarrassed that I have already asked Paul O'Grady to mention the website on his show on Radio 2 next Sunday to see if that helps??!! IF you are embarrassed, it really is tough shit after what you put me through. Just as well I was on my own 'shark watch' and that fiver WAS wasted on the Viagra/Goldrush or whatever shite you put in someone else's beer instead of mine you twats!!! - what did happen to it Bill!!??

Anyway - loafing on the sofa wont get the kitchen deck scrubbed after the various unplanned emergency plastering, re-pointing, damp coursing and decorating we have had to squeeze in five weeks before getting married on Friday 19th August! If any of you are GENUINELY interested in attending mine and Sarah's evening reception, I have managed to extend last weeks deadline for booking at the nearby Holiday Inn, reduced rate of £55 for a double room B&B, until this Friday, 22nd July. Its mainly family, as these things are, again loads of people we have not seen in years, so I make no apologies that you will most likely be left to your own devices, which may not be such a hardship! (as my civvy mates found on Saturday! - they all had a great time by the way - thanks for making them so welcome, especially my dad!!). Stretching the buffet budget to allow for a few old salts and their misusses is the least I can do having spent the square root of fuck all over such a fantastic weekend which was an expensive weekend for the rest of you - thanks for that too, it certainly hasn't been lost on me!!

Im gonna TA88-3 now, wipe the tears from my eyes (again) - not quite as many as Bombers 'Little House on the Prairie' dit, but enough is enough.




Tony, thanks for the First Impression Report of what was a brilliant run ashore for all of us, let alone for you on your stag do. Jim †deserves a medal for all the work in tracking us down in such a short time, ably assisted by Rosie of course.†It says a lot that a group of lads who have not seen each other for 25 years can just pick up as though they had been on a run ashore just the night before, actually it just shows what a great bunch you were then and still are now.†I still can't believe that 25 years since the SIB interviewed me about Bomber (and others!) that he was bending my ear about the very same subject Saturday night.†

The very best of luck for you and Sarah on your big day and for the future.

Here's to the next time we get together.

BZs all round.

Dick C


Hi guys ...... sorry to have missed the weekends get together.

What Jim and Rosie did was nothing short of a miracle tracking down so many people spread far and wide .... what a surprise for Tony!!!

Have enjoyed looking at the photo's Jim uploaded and LMAO at the distinction 25 years has added to some of the faces .... many instantly recognisable especially that of my own Best Man Bomber Mills.

Congratulations to Tony and well done Jim and Rosie .... Hope to see all or some of you next year !!!

All the very best to ye all

Paddy Marshall

HMS Illustrious Harriers

HMS Illustrious head on