The purpose of this message is to introduce you to who we are, what we are and why. We are a group of people with one thing in common, we served or are still serving in what we firmly believe is the finest branch of the Royal Navy. The Aircraft Handler Branch, which has a reputation for comradeship, reliability and professionalism that is second to none.

The Association was formed in September 1987 by Roger Fisher and myself, sadly Roger died in a tragic accident in 1989 and did not see the Association grow to it’s present strength.

From day one when there was just the two of us a firm foundation on which to build our Association was established, encouraged by an endless supply of enthusiasm and motivation from far and wide. Since those early days we have grown into an organisation of some 760 + members and have gained formal recognition by the Royal Navy. The Association has established a strong bond with our parent branch at the renamed Royal Naval School of Flight Deck Operations at R.N.A.S. Culdrose in Cornwall. If that name seems unfamiliar, you will no doubt recognize the original name of the School of Aircraft Handling.

The Roger Fisher Trophy, which was commissioned by the late Roy Neate and who succeeded Roger as Chairman, is presented to the student who achieves the highest overall results on each Petty Officer Aircraft Handler qualifying course. Roy also crossed the bar in 1994.

The Association is run by handlers, for handlers and membership is offered exclusively to all serving members of the Aircraft Handler branch, ex Aircraft Handlers and Royal Naval officers that have or had a close working relationship with the branch. The partners of eligible members are also offered membership on the understanding that they hold no voting rights, and in order to retain our identity we do not offer associate membership.

Please feel free to give any additional information about yourself that you think will be helpful in singling you out from the crowd, like a nickname for instance. Should you require any further information about the Association please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me.

Some 10,000 men have served in the branch since it’s formation in 1945 and many of them are still scattered around the country and indeed world wide. Finding them is the most difficult part but we are gradually getting there through various means, but experience has shown that the most effective method of contacting new members has been word of mouth. If you know of any others that may be interested in becoming members of our association let them know, or alternatively give me their names and addresses and I will make contact.

The Association publishes it’s own periodical magazine called the “Handlers Herald” which is our main medium of communication. The ‘Herald’ features details of forthcoming events, new members, anecdotes, sea stories etc., etc., and is intended to keep everyone informed about the Association and to entertain. Contributions from members is vigorously encouraged and there is seldom a shortage of material. You will receive a copy of the latest edition once your application and payment has been processed.

One of the purposes of an Association like ours is to reunite people who have lost contact over the years, and at this we have been particularly successful. I am frequently asked for lists of members, addresses, telephone numbers etc., and I am pleased to be able to do so. However, since this information is held on computer we are bound by the “Data Protection Act” which forbids us from passing on personal details without your authority. This doesn’t help matters much if you ask to be put in touch with someone and to a point defeats the object of the Association. Therefore, if you wish to have your details kept confidential please advise us when you apply for membership, and in the event that someone wishes to make contact with you, we will contact you first for your approval, otherwise we will pass on the required information when requested. This applies within the Association and no details whatsoever will be made available to ‘outside’ individuals or organisations that seek data for commercial benefit.

Yours Aye!

Ian Beard
Hon. Vice President
(Secretary 1987 – 2006)