Graduation Reviewing Officer     



54 Entry        27 April 1949 - 12 December 1951

From Blue to Grey ( authored by Fred Hoskins, Richard Robson & Brian Meadley) is a book about the RAF with a difference. It is an anthology of stories and anecdotes contributed by former cadets at the RAF College, Cranwell. The stories are entertaining and evocative, concerning the writers’ lives from their time as cadets, back in 1949 to 1951, during their subsequent service in the RAF, and after they had retired and moved into civilian life. The book is much more than a collection of reminiscences. It is a fascinating snap-shot of the history of the RAF, which has changed a great deal since the writers joined the RAF more than half century ago. Many of the stories in this book are of a world that will not return, of a time when the RAF still had many bases across the globe, of an RAF with operational commands with the evocative titles of Near East Air Force, Middle East Air Force, and Far East Air Force. The writers of this book had the good fortune to be in the RAF at a time of rapid technological change and to fly a great variety of types spanning the end of the age of the piston-engine fighter through the developing jet age to the 1970s. Their accounts of often hair-raising flying experiences are revealing and amusing. They are particularly interesting to those accustomed to flying the more sophisticated aircraft of today in a much more regulated environment. The book also gives us a glimpse of the social history of the UK in the post-war period though the eyes of those who lived and served through the withdrawal from Empire and changes from post-war austerity to modern Britain.

An Airman of the Queen is written by Richard Robson. There was one night high over the Mediterranean. In the gaps between the clouds far below, the sea shone silver in the moonlight. All was quiet on the radio and intercom. Two hundred miles ahead, the lights of Malta sparkled like a tiny jewel... Many, many years later Richard "Robby" Robson sits in the Spanish sunshine with nothing more dramatic than topping up the dog's water bowl and reflects on livelier days. Too young for WWII combat and too early for fly-by-wire aviation, Robby nonetheless witnessed the perilous dawning of the jet age over a period during which 6 of his RAF College contemporaries perished. Would anyone else really want to read a first hand account of this largely neglected period of aviation history? Well "YES of course, but do get it done before your eyesight fails you altogether or your mind really begins to wonder", said his family and friends, so this book is their responsibility.

There I Was ... Memories of an Old Aviator is an autobiographical series of stories relating to the airborne carreer of Brian Meadley. After his lifetime in aviation, Brian Meadley has many thousands of flights in his log books. Most were routine, many were especially interesting or challenging, some were amusing or exciting, and a few were downright dangerous. These memories recall some of those episodes, incidents and accidents, and some of the other aviators involved in them, and will produce a smile here, a pause for thought there, and sometimes bring a tear to the eye.

54 SENIOR ENTRY December 1951

Fred Hoskins and Alistair Christie 1951

Tony Dawes Germany 1952

Tony Dawes and Cec  Jonklass Germany 1952

In April 1949 three flight cadets were enlisted from Ceylon for the first time, to be trained at the Royal Air Force College, Cranwell. Two out of the three cadets were David de la Harpe and Cecil Gerald Dunbar Jonklaas. Later another burgher cadet, M. Deutrom got enlisted. Attached are some pictures of these cadets, from an old scrap book of RAF Officer Neil Weerasinghe.

In September 1952, Pilot Officer David de la Harpe died in an air crash in Germany involving the Vampire jet aircraft he was flying.

Cecil Gerald Dunbar Jonklaas remained in the RAF and retired as a Squadron Leader. He was a recipient of the Queen’s commendation. Later his brother Michael Leonard Jonklaas, joined the RAF but in November 1955, almost a year after graduation he died in an air crash in the UK when the Gloster Meteor jet aircraft he was flying overturned on take-off and crashed.

It appears that M. Deutrom had left the service during this time as a cadet since there are no available documents to prove that he remained in the RAF.



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General Sir Gerald Templer  KCB KBE CMG DSO

AVM G. R Beamish CB CBE,   AVM LF Sinclair GC CB CBE DSO