1948 - 2006
Good morning one and all,
Unfortunately I am the bearer of some sad news. By the time you have read this far, you will probably have guessed that we will be one short at our next reunion.
I was informed this morning that Al had passed away on Sunday morning after his courageous battle with cancer of the oesophagus.
Like me, you will all probably have a look through the reunion photos now and see that he and the rest of us really did have a great time. We will always remember Al and the good old days when he was "The Gaffer" at Cosford - and I'm sure we will all have our individual memories of him. I have my own vivid memories of meeting him for the first time, on the first day, as we all queued up in the passageway of Fulton Block letting the admin bods know that "we had arrived". We were like little waifs and strays from Geordieland!! We remained friends ever since, apart from a short period when we lost touch because he "disappeared over the horizon" on some Greek ship, that took him on board unconditionally, so he could get his "ticket" to be a fully operational Radio Officer in the Merchant Navy. I can say without a doubt that the card he sent me from Japan on that first trip, (circa late 70's) he said he would never work on a Greek ship again!! Such was Al, brilliant sense of humour - but dry at times!!
I will miss him and his chats on the telephone about Cyprus - he sincerely would have had all of us out there had the occasion arose to have the reunion in Cyprus.
Al was 57 in November 2005 and had just moved to a new house in Downham Market with his new wife Paula (his partner of several years) - in his own inimitable way, he done the honourable thing to marry Paula and make sure the tax man didn't get any of his money!!
Al's brother Clarry who lives in Lincoln with his partner will be keeping in touch with me about what is happening - he tells me he thinks the funeral could possibly be the middle of next week and to be held in the Metheringham area (where he had his home and video shop for quite a long time).
Any further info I get I will let you all know.
Sorry to hear the news about Al, I have some fond memories
of when we were in Changi too.......
So sorry to hear of Al's passing. What a great bloke he was.
Always game for a laugh. I can remember when he was "posted" from 399 SU to 591
SU at Digby and some of his pals wrapped him up in one of those paper waste
sacks that we used to use and "posted" him, stamps and all, the few hundred
yards to 591's hangar.
It's the end of an era.
Eh what a bugger. We will miss him.
Really sorry to hear about Al's passing, I'm just so pleased
that we were able to get together again on those two occasions and had the
chance get to know him again. I hadn't seen him since we left Cosford
and on our first reunion shared a room with him and did a lot of
chatting into the early hours with him, he was a great guy and will be
I am so sorry to hear this news.
What a BUMMER! Like some of the others I had not seen Al since
Cosford but meeting him again I could not believe there had been a thirty odd
He really was a lovely man.
What terrible news about Alan Paterson. I am glad we got a
chance to say goodbye at the last reunion in Gloucester. I have never met anyone
who had such an upbeat view of life even though he was suffering so much. I will
raise a glass to his memory, God rest his soul, we will be thinking of him if we
ever get together again.
This is a sad occasion.
It is always sad to hear of a death, however, far worse when
they are of the age that Al was. Please pass on my
deepest sympathy to his relatives.
Amazing that we can lose someone so loved at such an age, I was
also 57 last
November. Just can't believe we've lost wor Al but I know he had been, and still
was, quite ill last time we met in Gloucester.
So sorry to hear about Al Pat, Such a good lad, I am glad I was able to see him at the last re-union.
I'm very sorry to hear about Al passing away. Thank goodness I
the first reunion and had the chance to talk to him about the "good old days".
He will be sorely missed.
Mick (Scunnie) Hammerton
Goodbye Al, haven't seen you in 40 years but I wont be forgetting you. God Bless.
On reading this news I want to express my deepest regrets at the
loss of an all round, good bloke.
I can only echo those thoughts that have been placed on the site
by other members. I am glad that I did have the opportunity of meeting up with
Al for the 1st time since Cosford, when we got together for the 1st Reunion.
Terry (Taff) Blackburn
I'll say a prayer and have a beer for Al today.
How sad to hear that one of our number has been taken from us. I
did not know Al well, but I thought he was a fine bloke liked by everyone he
I hope his family and friends can find consolation in memories of a good man. I am sure he has left lots of happy memories.
I am sorry to hear of Al's death, I haven't seen him since
Changi way back in 1970 but I have many
memories of him then and at Cosford. He will surely be missed.
So sad to hear of Al's death. Having not seen him since Cosford, still picture him as was.
Subject: [The 303rd] Al's funeral
Now that I've got a bit of time to myself I'll let you know how the funeral went.
No problems, it was a lovely day and the funeral took place initially at the Lincoln Crematorium and was packed. After the short service at the Crem we shuffled along to the St Wilfrids church in Metheringham (also packed) where there was a lovely service and three tributes to Al. One was given by his brother Clarrie, who made us smile with some of Al's antics as a youngster and latterley as an entrepreneur. A fine tribute was given by one of his Navy colleagues from P & O who also had a repertoire of smiles to endure us with and the tribute for his RAF chums was given by no other than Keith Pike. He gave a wonderful tribute to Alan outlining his friendship with Alan since leaving the RAF in the 70's and a rendering of Al's career in the RAF (one of Keith's comments about us all at Cosford was that we were all a lot of waifs and strays! How true at that time!). It seemed to me that you never know how good you've been and how well liked you can be in life until they're all at your funeral - I only hope Al was having a smile at it all as well. After the service - Al must have known what he was doing - it was popping "next door" (virtually) to the Star and Garter pub for the inevitable old chinwagging and a pint. Unfortunately I didn't get much chance to talk to Keith Pike - apart to say hello in the Crem car park because I wanted to ensure he was going to get in on the Group website etc and the next reunion. However the chinwagging was going well in the pub and those who represented our entry were Clive (who buggered off early - consider yourself reprimanded Clive), Paul L with his missus Pauline (Chas's sister), Keith Pike (got a shock when I shouted "Flash" across the car park to him!!), me and wor lass (with me mother in tow because Al was her "third son" when we were in the font of our youth), and a nice "lad" from 304th - Ian Clough (I think that was Ian's second name - correct me if I'm wrong Paul).
Due to the fact that "ickey" was the only driver in our party we departed at about 1430 ish along with Paul and his missus who had to go back to Gainsborough and Ian, who lived locally.
All in all Alan got a good send off - there were lots of smiles and of course there were quite a few tears quietly shed when nobody was lookin' !! He'll always be remembered by us - some will remember him more than others - but we're all getting that little bit "owlder" now and we've still got them vivid memories when we were all little rascals, coming in late from the "Majestic" - climbing over the coal heap so the Orderly Sergeant didn't catch us, scrapping, pinching girlfriends, wheeling and dealing, photogs ripping the telegs off flogging photographs - eeee by gum didn't we have some good times!!!!!
Gotta call it a day now - getting all nostalgic....
Y'all look after yersels and keep yer peckers up - or whatever you're using these days!!!!
TTFN (Roll on the next reunion - somewhere a bit more central Taff!! Like Southampton!!)
Your Mate & Mine