The Royal Air Force Changi Association was formed in 1996 by Mike James, with the assistance of Brian Lloyd and the late Jim Hart. Mike had originally recognised that there was a need for an organisation that would bring together ex-service personnel, who had been lucky enough to have served some of their service lives at RAF Station Changi, on the island of Singapore. Hopefully this would enable some of them to be reunited with their “old” buddies and also to meet and reminisce with other like minded people, united by the fact that they had been there. Considering that at any one time there would have been in excess of three thousand service men and women stationed at Changi and that the camp was in existence for approximately twenty-six years, from 1946 to 1971, the number of eligible personnel was quite considerable. We only had to contact them, a task that we are still trying to achieve. At our best we have peaked at just over twelve hundred and fifty members, and currently (2014) we are running slightly over a hundred lower. In latter years the membership qualification has been opened up to include the wives, husband, partners and children of service men and women, which has proved to be quite popular.
Since it started a reunion has been held every year on a Saturday in early May, usually in the Birmingham area, which is well supported by the membership, several of whom make a nostalgic week-end of the occasion, which culminates in a dinner on the Saturday evening. On the Sunday morning the Association’s Annual General Meeting is held to present the Chairman’s, Treasurer’s and Membership Secretary’s reports, etc. Attendance at this meeting is of course optional as the committee are fully aware that many members have long journeys to make, and would like to get away as early as possible. During the run-up to the dinner on the Saturday, the albums from the Associations archives are available for viewing, also items of regalia are displayed for purchase. On the Saturday and Sunday afternoons optional coach excursions are available to take members and their guests to local places of interest, including the National Memorial Arboretum.
Throughout the year several mini-reunions are organised, and to date these have been held in Sussex, Wiltshire, Yorkshire, Hampshire and Buckinghamshire, with a new one later this year in Essex. Hopefully this list will expand when willing members can be found to carry out the organisation. For details see the “Events” and “Reports” pages.
Contact with the members is through the “Changi-ite” newsletter, which is published and circulated to everyone three times a year, the cost of which is included in the annual subscription. Every two years, since 1998, a chance to return to Singapore is arranged by Mike James, followed by optional additional time in Penang. Again, details of this can also be found on the “Events” and “Reports” pages as well as in the “Changi-ite”.