These are a few of my classmates from an RAF Boy Entrants military school in the mid-50's. I won't bore you with names, but despite the fact that I hadn't seen most of them for 50 years, I felt an instant affinity with them at our reunion. Some of them had retained a vestige of their 15-year-old looks, while others had changed completely. All of us bore the ravages that time works on the body over half-a-century. The pictures above were taken 5 years ago and two or three of those in them are gone now, reminding the rest of us of our mortality. It's a very strange experience to walk into a room of people you knew intimately in your youth, but have not seen for over half-a-lifetime. In essence, once we started talking (and once I knew who I was actually talking to) they had not changed. Bob was still Bob and Tam was still Tam and so on through the gang. They were as easy to talk to as my own family, who have been by my side almost as long.
What have I garnered from this weekend that pulled the past up and put it before me in my dotage? Really, I suppose, that there is something eternal in a group spirit. Dave, Bob and dear old Alan have passed on, but though their faces won't be at the next reunion, which takes place this year, they'll still be there with us as an invisible part of the whole. We began our training at 15 years of age with almost a hundred of us - now down to a score. Most of them have achieved what they set out to do. I do not know any one of them who has serious regrets of any kind. I could be wrong, but I don't think so. They are the good old boys who served with me. Some of them reached dizzy heights in rank, others changed course and went into civilian life - 55 years of life so far - but still, when I see them, talk with them, they still have that 15-year-old inside them, just below the surface.