Memo from the National Secretary

Message of congratulations to Air Marshal C.R.Spink CBE FIMgt FRAeS RAF

From: Mr J Sharpe

On behalf of all the members of the Royal Observer Corps Association I wish to extend our heartiest congratulations on the award of the Order of the Bath in recent Queen's Birthday Honours. This award is a very fitting climax to your service in the Royal Air Force and is extremely well deserved.

The Association is indeed very fortunate to have you as our President and we all greatly value the contribution which you make whenever your busy schedule permits. You must know that all the members hold you in the highest esteem because of the friendship and kindness which you have shown in your term as President of the Association.

I know that you will be retiring from the RAF this year and I suppose that your plans for the future are still being thought out, but we all hope that you will be able to join us at our Annual Reunion in Scarborough which runs from 1st - 3rd November.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely...

Sorry I couldn't scan the handwritten reply.. Roy

National Prize Draw

As usual we rely on you to give this event all the support you can muster. The ticket sales continue to be a very important source of revenue not only for your Association but shared as it is with the ROC Benevolent Fund.


Next informal ROCA day at the National Arboretum, Arlewas, Staffordshire will be on Saturday 17th May 2003. Look forward to seeing many members, family and friends.



21 Group Chairman Member of ROCA National Committee 1991 to 2001

The ROCA was well represented at the funeral of Ed Wills that took place at St Matthew's Church, Little Lever, Near Bolton, on Friday 31st May. The National Chairman, John Sharpe attended along with the Western Area Representative, Ralph Pickering accompanied by Mrs Pickering. From North Wales Ed's long-time friend Mr Ritchie Owen and Group Secretary Clive Cornock were present. Representation from 21 Group included their President Mr A Hawksworth, ex Group Commandant Mr R Burnett, Benevolent Fund Officer Mr F Morris and Group Secretary Vernon Hughes.

Ed Wills was born in Derby, where his father was employed by Rolls Royce Ltd. Ed spent the 2nd World War years in Scotland when his father was transferred to Glasgow. After the war the family moved to Cumberland where he met Liz his wife-to-be. Ed took up an appointment in the Architect's Department with the Bury-with-Radcliffe Local Authority with whom he remained for his working life. Sadly Liz died some four and half years ago after a comparatively short illness.

There is little known of Ed's initial recruitment to the Royal Observer Corps. He served on several posts before his appointment to Group Officer and subsequent promotion to Observer Lieutenant. The rank he held until his retirement on age requirement grounds, shortly before stand-down. An Officer with great enthusiasm who immersed himself in all cluster activities. Always ready to air his views and suggestions at exercise de-briefings and Officer's meetings. He was a frequent visitor to Group Headquarters and thus became acquainted with most of the control crews. Vernon Hughes particularly remembers the happy shared times spent at the many annual camps Ed and he attended. Ed was short-listed for the post of Group Commandant in the early eighties.

At the inaugural meeting of the 21 Group ROCA Ed was appointed Group Chairman. Ed enthusiastically devoted much time to ROCA. He was co-opted to the National Committee in 1991 & 1992 to assist with the Reunion arrangements. In 1993 he was elected Western Area Rep. He encouraged co-operation between the Western Groups and was readily available with advice on all matters. It was typical of his thoughtfulness that in 2001 he retired from the National Committee to avoid the election of two Western Area Reps in the same year. Ed's experience and readiness to coerce and encourage has left a large gap and is sorely missed by his fellow National Committee friends.

With hindsight his resignation from the National Committee was in part due to deterioration in his health it has nevertheless stunned us all that apparently he suffered a fatal stroke at his home on Saturday May 25th.

Ed leaves behind a family of two sons, two daughters, together with five grandchildren. We share in their sad loss and extend our deepest condolences.

Jenny Morris and Vernon Hughes
(Sorry it took so long.. Roy)

[22oct02 02:05]