St. Michael's Branch


The Overseas Branch of the

Royal Air Force Police Association





9th March 2017

It is with great sadness that I report the passing of Denis Read a member of SNI Branch.

Denis originally joined the RAF in 1944 and started airman-aircrew training to be an Air Gunner on Lancaster bombers.  However in 1945, while he was undergoing training in Canada, the decision was taken to start reducing the size of Bomber Command and he was returned to the UK for compulsory re-mustering.   Offered his choice of trades, Denis decided on becoming a NCO in the RAFP because their training school was at RAF Weeton near his home in Lancashire and he encouraged 2 of his friends to also join the police.  This was a notable event as the officer-in-charge of re-mustering couldn’t recall anyone ever volunteering to transfer to the police and now he had three in a row.  

Denis became a well-known character in the RAFP serving around Europe and the Middle East, including in the Canal Zone during the Suez Crisis.  Many people will remember him from his time as an NCO instructor at the RAFP School in the UK and the RAF Police Auxiliaries’ School in the Middle East.  He was involved in the creation of the first RAF Police Museum (pictures of him and some of his ID documents are still on display in the current Museum), the early years of the Provost Parade and with numerous RAF theatre groups (probably a career he would have chosen if he hadn’t joined the Service).  As a sgt, he featured in a Provost Parade article himself.  This publicity obviously proved useful and he was later selected for a commission in the Provost Branch.  As an officer he served in a variety of roles, including at the RAFP School and in the Middle East before he returned to the UK to work as part of the Security Test Team.  Unfortunately, one night Denis and his Sqn Ldr were testing nuclear security by trying to covertly enter a Restricted Area, Denis broke his leg while evading a RAFP Dog.  His complicated fracture combined with a back injury sustained when he fell from a horse while riding, could not be fully healed to the required military standard and resulted in his medical discharge. 

Suddenly finding himself an unemployed civilian, Denis found work with Securicor, which at the time was managed almost exclusively by former RAF Provost Branch officers.  This started a very successful career in commercial security and Denis was responsible for introducing the first armoured cash-in-transit van into the UK while with Securicor.  At the time this was a significant media event and Denis was given the honour of providing HRH the Duke of Edinburgh with a guided tour of the first van to enter operational service, thus was the level of interest in this new innovation.  Denis spent his time working on security projects in the UK and USA and was a popular lecturer in security matters (obviously that time he spent teaching at the RAFP School wasn’t wasted).  For his significant contribution to developing security policy and practices, he was made a life member of the one of the leading international security institutes of the time (I think it was ASIS, but could be wrong) and was still receiving and reading their journal until his death.  He was also a proud member of the RAF Police Association, even when no longer able to attend events. 

Denis married twice.  His first wife was a RAF signals clerk that he met at a Theatre Club in the Canal Zone.  She had been a 'Bletchleyettes’ working on Signal Intelligence at Bletchley Park during the war.  While in the Canal Zone, she was again employed on Signals Intelligence, but also worked as a courier for MI6.  Throughout their married life, she refused to tell Denis about her time at Bletchley Park, in case she breached the Official Secrets Act.    

Sadly, he was twice a widower and, to his greatregret, was never blessed with children.   On retiring he moved to live near friends in the Scotland.   We met in 2006 when I was the Director of the RAFP Museum and he was advising on creating a new facility at Southwick Park.  We became friends and my family became regular visitors at his home in Broughton in the Scottish Borders. 

For many years, until he was well into is eighties, he was a volunteer helper at the John Buchan Museum in the village where he was a fountain of knowledge on Buchan and the author’s book The Thirty-Nine Steps.  Active into his nineties, despite DVLA taking his driving licence due to fading eyesight and continuing problems with his leg, he became a well-known and popular ‘character’ in the village, always dressed in a sports jacket, tie and carrying a walking stick.  He managed to retain his independence until he was 90, when he had to begrudgingly accept home help after a hip operation.  Unfortunately, late last year he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease and Oesophageal Cancer and needed fulltime care in a nursing home, finally losing his independence forever (to his great annoyance).

Denis died peacefully in his sleep yesterday morning, 7 March, at the age of 92.  A realist, he was prepared for death and looking forward to being free from pain and seeing his wives again.  Perhaps he will now be allowed to know the secrets of Bletchley Park! 

A genuinely good person and a real gentleman, Denis will be missed by all those who had the privilege of meeting him over his long life. 

His funeral will be in the Scottish Borders and I will provide details when known.  Denis had no surviving close family members, but I am sure any members of the Association who wish to attend would be most welcome to join me and his other friends. 

Gp Capt Kevin Bailey RAF


4th February 2017



It is with regret that we have sadly learned of the passing of James (Jimmy) Nuttall on 21st January 2017. 

Jimmy served in the RAFP from 1947-1985 retiring in the rank of Warrant Officer. Amongst the many places that he served were Germany (twice), Malta), Maseira, Cyprus, Scotland (Edinburgh/Turnhouse/Machrihanish), Dishforth, P&SS(NR) Newton plus other U.K. locations. He had been a member of RAFPA since 1988.


His funeral will take place on Monday 13th February 2017 at City Road Crematorium, Sheffield, at 1.45pm.


Jimmy is survived by his children Margaret, Jimmy & Sheila.

May he Rest in Peace.





4th October (further update)

Tony's daughter inadvertently gave me the wrong date for Tony's funeral. It is Friday 21st October at 1400 hours, not Monday 31st. The rest of the details remain unchanged. The post funeral reception will take place in the Crematorium Tea Rooms adjacent to the Crematorium Chapel from 1530 hours onwards. This is the first crematorium to have a dedicated reception venue, attached to the crematorium - it has a licensed bar.

If anyone is able to attend it would be appreciated if you will let me know for catering purposes.




29th September 2016 (update)

The funeral of Tony Lake will take place at Westerleigh Crematorium, Westerleigh Road, Bristol, BS37,  on Monday 31st October 2016 at 1400 hours.

At the request of Tony's family, the RAFPA will form an Honour Guard and, to date, the following Branches have indicated their intention to be present with their Standards: Wiltshire, Scotland & NI, South Downs, London Home Counties and/or the National Standard.

Any other RAFPA members, who wish to join the Honour Guard, with or without Standards, will be very welcome.

Tony's family have requested no flowers, but if anyone wishes to make a donation in lieu of flowers the details will be promulgated later, as will the details of the venue for the 'after funeral' Reception. 

It would be appreciated if you could let me know if you will be attending, in order to give Tony's daughter an idea of numbers, for catering purposes.

Brian Flinn



15th September 2016

It is with deep personal sadness that I must inform you of the death, today, of Tony Lake. Tony went into hospital several weeks ago where he was diagnosed with Pancreatitus, Oesophagal Cancer, a Perforated Bowel and Crohns Disease.

Tony served 22 years in the RAF Police and retired in 1979 as a Flight Sergeant.  He was a keen sportsman, playing cricket and rugby for the RAF and RAF Police.

Tony was a stalwart member of the Royal Air Force Police Association and served as the National Treasurer from 2007 to 2012, he carried out the role of Association Quartermaster from 2007 to 2016 and became a RAFPA Trustee in April 2015.  In 2009 he received the Alan Rusling Memorial Award for his outstanding service to the Association, as its Treasurer.

He was an active supporter of the RAFPA (Wiltshire Branch), regularly attending social events and parades, and he was present at over 100 of the 147 military repatriation ceremonies that have taken place at Wootten Bassett and Carterton . 

Tony's daughter, Samantha, has asked me to thank all of his former RAF Police colleagues and friends, who sent cards, emails and FB messages to Tony.  He was able to read them all and was comforted by your messages of support.

Rest in Peace, dear friend,

Brian Flinn


RAFPA Wiltshire Branch




5th August 2016

We have sadly learned of the passing of former member Brian Fletcher at his home in Champagne-le-Sec, France, on 4th August,  aged 80 years.

Brian served in the RAF from 1953 to 1977 and retired in the rank of Squadron Leader.

His funeral service will be at the Crematorium, Poitiers, at 1130am on Tuesday 9th August. It will not be a religious service but a celebration of Brian's life.

May he Rest in Peace.



21st July 2016

We have learned of the sad passing of former member Rev Michael Cole of Virginia, USA. He had been ill for several years passing away on 13th May 2016.

Michael served in the RAFP from 1953 to 1957 and was later a RAF Chaplain before re-locating to ministry in various locations in North America.

His funeral service was held on 17th May at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Ivy,Virginia.

To read his full obituary click here.

May he Rest in Peace.



14th July 2016

It is my unpleasant duty to have to inform you that I learned earlier today that Peter Farmer of Paphos, Cyprus, passed away on 31st May aged 80 years.

Peter served in the RAF Police from 1953 to 1955 returning to a career in banking after National Service. He had been a member of RAFPA since 2003. Peter was also Commissioned into the RAF VR(T) holding the rank of Flight Lieutenant.

He retired in 1991 and had lived in Cyprus for over 20 years.

Peter’s funeral took place at Ayia Kyriaki, Cyprus, on Tuesday 7th June 2016.

May Peter Rest in Peace.

Neil Rusling



27th June 2015

It was saddening to to learn from the RMPA (Western Australia) of the passing of member George Chamberlain, aged 84 years, of Calista, Western Australia, on 24th June 2015.

George served in the RAF Police from August 1951 to September 1953 serving at Pershore, Netheravon, Duxford, Hook of Holland, RAFG at the 2nd TAF and Buckeburg.

May George rest in peace.



10th April 2015

It was saddening to discover when confirming the details of our overseas members that member Jeremy George (USA) passed away in 2013, aged 39 years.

Jeremy's obituary can be found at:

We had not been previously aware of Jeremy's passing, may he continue to rest in peace.



24th January 2015

It was saddening to discover when confirming the details of our overseas members that longstanding member Derek Williamson (Spain) passed away in 2013, aged 84 years.

Derek served in the RAFP from 1947 to 1949, following which he had a long career in H.M. Prison service. He joined RAFPA in January 1994 becoming a Founder Member of the North West Area Branch later that year.

Following the passing of his wife, Derek relocated from Lancashire to Benidorm where he lived for several years before passing away peacefully in his sleep on 14th June 2013.

The Association had not been previously aware of Derek's passing.



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