Yes I am still about. I have been back to Gan these last two years. I managed to grab a lift and tour of the new Herethera resort. It still was not finished but should look ok now. I was also taken to the new resort on VILLINGILLI. It will be out of this world when it is finished. So all being well it will leave equator village alone for us ex Gannites !!
Hopefully these two new resorts will bring in extra revenue for the attol.
A reunion should not be too hard to organise, it will all depend on costs for most people, and time scale. ie the time of the year. I am sure that if there was enough interest it could be viable. I would be happy to look at the pro's and con's.
I will leave it to you to generate the interest, get me enough people and I would look at it and give feed back (you are on the site more than me I still just browse now and then.
Hello Steve,I just sort of knew that you would have been back these last few years.Last time out we were all invited out to Willingilli by the site manager Robert Poole..They were only starting to clear the site and we were shown the various ruins and asked if we had any idea what they were..The only things that made sense to me were a ruined anti-aircraft gun mount and what looked like a building for smoking fish..You would have been shown the lake and in the past Chinese fishermen would come at a certain time of the year when fish congrgated in the shallows and drove them along the channel into the lake.Of course the only way to transport the fish back home was to smoke them,hence the smoke houses.As we were never allowed off Gan during our time stationed there ,we never knew anything of the other Islands,so is that not another reason to get some boys back and have a tour off the whole atoll...Regards getting a Gan reunion organised,we have over the last couple of years talked about it a lot,but never got it off the ground.[YET]..For a starter if I wanted to go today with Cosmos,flying from Newcastle-dubai-male-gan 7 nights all inclusive,it would cost £1150 per person..Everytime we went back we have booked everything ourselves and have comfortably beaten that price...Of course lots of things come into the equation as eveything is quoted in US$ and the exchange rate changes by the day. So what about a deposit per person,so much a month and a run out next Oct/Novand sort the final payment if any then..Put me down for 3 couples,and come on boys lets see some interest.Steve is a professional and will be able to get it sorted,just show the interest and lets go.None of you will ever regret it I promise......Larry
Hi Steve & Larry. Re the trip to Gan, I'll be going back out in the near future and a trip around the whole atoll would be great.
When we were out last year I managed Fedu and Wilingilli as we drove up there on a motorcycle.
The organised trip out there sounds good and worth thinking about, if only we could generate enough interest!
I think we could also get the price down to below a thousand, possibly around £850 or so. With the new resorts opening up, I think that Equator Village will drop their prices just to compete. That coupled with the direct flights that are starting in the new year could make the cost more paletable.
Let's see if we can drum up some interest.
Hello boys,,I have spoken to my contact on Addu telling him we were trying to arrange a reunion on Gan.He came back later telling me,if we have a good turnout,Addu would give us a civic reception[my interpretation]In return we would give the schoolkids a pictorial history of Gan in RAF times as they have no idea what the place was like 30/40yrs ago.He said a lot of the old men are really looking forward to meeting the RAF again.I know its all up in the air at the moment but I am getting a few enquiries by e-mail and I am hoping Taff putts it on the front page to get it all started...The price is mainly to do with the £ $ exchange rate and how good a deal Steve can arrange,and as you know the more you have to deal with,the better a deal you can get.....Larry
I am going out to Gan on the 12 Dec. I will speak to mr Visvalingam and see what kind of figures that I can come up with. Obviously it would depend on numbers and dates etc but a ball park would be a starter
If you give me the details of your contact, I will try and speak to him to put him more in the picture.
If you want anything personal sorting out you have my e mail
Would the trip be for a week, or longer? Not sure about 2009, but I'm hoping for an early retirement in 2010, so would be a better time for me. Would the flights be direct by then? Or, presumably, from the UK at least?
Larry you can put my name down as interested but dependent on costs and dates.
I think they're working on a week Wullie. Having been out there, I think a week is long enough.
2010 sounds good, and the flights will definitely be direct by then.
And, another bonus for going in 2010 is this so called "Credit Crunch" will probably have abated by then.
Let's bloody hope so, I see the Euro is, or soon will be, 1 to 1 with the Pound, so the cost of a holiday abroad will be that much dearer. I brought back Euro's from my last holiday in Cyprus. where I was getting 1.27 at the time, by the time I left Cyprus it was 1.17, and I was going to change them back to Pounds Sterling, glad I kept hold of them.
Hello Willie/Tony etc,,I think early 2010 might fit better,as if we do have a reception whatever,we would have to miss Ramadan regards the Maldivians and eating during the day..The price will definitely depend on the exchange rate,so hope the £ makes 2$ again.I have e-mailed Etihad airways to ask if direct flights are on-go but as yet have not received a reply.Steve Ellis is away out there tommorow,so he will be able to update when he gets back.I have got a feeling they will not be too busy out there this next year,so maybe we might just be able to get a great deal on a block booking...Larry...
Looks like people are interested in 2010. I will sound out Mr Vis at equator village and try and get some more concrete info.
Flights are not too bad if you shop around and go flight only with first choice/cosmos but if people are prepared to pay more ??
For example flying tomorow is only £156 return.....say no more.
I will see what kind of rates I can muster and get back to one and all in the new year. Mery Christmas to you and everyone else
Merry Christmas and a Happy New year to everybody on the website. Let's hope we have Taff back in the New Year.
2010 sounds good to me - likewise depends on the cost of flights from Melbourne.
Wishing one and all a Merry Xmas and New Year
Hello boys,exspresions of interest are starting to come in with 2010 favourite as most people have booked this years holiday already..Equator village only has 75/78 rooms,do you think we might get enough interest to fill and take-over the hotel?Steve is out there now sounding the hotel manager out,I am hoping Taff will front page it,when he comes back in the new year..When we get these holidays over,and some statistics are forthcoming,we will see if anything can be arranged..You boys that told your wives about the place,tell them you are going to take them out there to see for themselves,and you family members that look in,tell your father you are going to take him back to see if he was telling you a tale or not..I dont think a Gan reunion would be worth having once the place is totally non-recogniseable,and 2010 might just be the last chance,so keep looking in and see if it takes off.Larry.....
No problem with putting a good spread about 2010 on the site... Loads to publish, apologies if I have not replied to sent e-mails !!
Larry, 2010 as you say is the best time to go. Everyone already booked 2009 etc...
Would be good if we could get quite a few to go out.
Think it would be magic and a reunion to beat all reunions. We have them every year in Blackpool, Belfast, Glasgow etc.. But Gan would put the cap on on it.
Both you and I have been back and as am sure you'll agree, it holds so many memories. I'm sure most of the guys out there would like to go back to see the old place before it either changes radically or they peg out, whichever is the sooner!
I think we should get a good response. Here's hoping.
Well, if the people can put up with me being probably very emotional, it will be worth it.
One basic question to ask is 'will it be stag only'. Hope that other half will have plenty of female company.
No Pete, definitely not "Stag" only. My missus will be going with me as I'm sure the majority of the lads, if they go, will take their wives.
But If any of the guys want to go out on their own, that is perfectly OK too. The more the merrier!
My missus has told me I can go on my own, said she doesn't want to hang around with a load of blokes reminiscing about a bygone age, while under the affluence of incohol! Cannae understand that, as she goes to our annual reunions every year, and that's what happens at them all!! Women!!
Willie,put your foot down and demand her attendance,I dont think I would be able to get away without mine,and I am sure Rod wont get away without his and like Tony I would hope plenty wives,partners and maybe some sons and daughters will turn-to..A good turn-out and I am sure they will open the whole Atoll to us..By the way,they put entertainment on in the evenings[live bands]and I refuse to dance with strange men,at least not on the first night..Larry
Wullie, if Ruth is not going, them I'm not. Don't see her enough as it is. Have a word with her!
You can always dance with Rod. Oh sorry, he's VERY STRANGE indeed!!
Hello boys,been looking through the travel agents,just to see if any changes are appearing.I said in an earlier post that Cosmos were doing 7nights all inclusive in the Equator village for £1150,!! Well a company called Blueray travel[ABTA]are now doing the same 7nights A.I.for £899,and I still think it could come a little bit cheaper..Wait till Steve gets back from Gan with some Ideas,and Taff puts the possible reunion on the website front page,,and we will try and take it from there...Larry
Hi guys. I like the sound of this, like Willie, 2010 is retirement yer for me, and would definitely be interested.
Put me down for Reunion in Gan 2010 if you please, she who has no idea of the fun we use to have will be a willing moonie too.
Steve 'Tape Ape' 1974
Hi to one and all. Got back on Sat 27th and after speaking to mr vis, once we know dates and numbers is willing to do a deal comparable with rates for which tour operaters get. Obviously time of year is important, and whether we go ourselves on flight only etc or through travel agents. We can do comparisons to see what we come up with. The first thing I need is some dates/numbers so that we can add meat to the bones. 2010 seems favourite. I think it should be optional regarding wives/spouses/partners no need to go overboard on rules etc. This is just a wee reunion for anyone interested, so lets get some numbers first then see what happens. I will be going out again christmas 2009 so that would be a good time to cement things. Oh geordie, I met rob and phil in willingili, should be ready next year, and it will be awsome but at 1000 us per person per day ......... say no more.
Happy new year to one and all
Hello Steve Mason,regards reunion on Gan 2010,early next year Taff[webmaster]will put same on the frontpage.When we see the results,we will start to sort it out.As you would have seen,Steve Ellis has just come home after making some quite positive enquiries[regards discounts].I know from my own enquiries that we will be made very welcome,with the whole atoll opened up for us.I would like to think that if we have a real good turnout,they will let us do the tour-de-gan as half the island has been blocked off to tourists since 04.I hope we have interest from wives and family,the more the better.,and a few different trades who can recognise some of the buildings that still stand..Keep looking in and hope for a good £-$ exchange rate and we will get a value for money Gan reunion...Larry
Hello Steve Ellis,forgot to ask,,was there any mention of direct flights starting..Have just spoken to some German friends that we met out there,and they seem to think that there will be direct flights from Frankfurt early this year..I tried Etihad airways but so far have heard nothing..Sri-Lankan airlines were also going to fly in from Dubai,but nothing on their website either...They might be waiting for the iooo$ per night hotel on Willigilli opening,if their customers can pay that I would imagine they would be exspecting to fly in in first class..I will e-mail Rob Poole and ask him if he has heard anything....Larry
Although I am moving to Canada for permanent settlement, it will not be easy for me to come with me wife to see GAN - the lovliest place on earch (for me at least), please do let me know. I would try my best to join.
Sheikh Saadi - Gannite (Education Clerk/GIP Production Manager 1970-1972) Education Section, RAF GAN
Hello Saadi,,when we get a reunion organised we will give plenty of notice,and I promise everyone,every trade,Maldivian,Pakistani,Sri-Lankan,civilian any sailors or army that passed through,wives girlfriends,sons or daughters,in fact anybody that had anything to do with RAF Gan will be made most welcome..Also any lads out there that are maybe disabled or not so fit,I am sure you will not be left out of anything..Now what about a few Qs--Lorraine, Pam Mc,,and a few officers[where are they]..Plenty of people and we could have the whole hotel booked for the week.....Keep posted...Larry
If there are occifers going - there will be NO SALUTING
Dear Larry: Until you replied to my message on the Forum, I did not know you. Now that I read the messages, I sympathize with you. I am sure your son must have completely recovered by now. I remember when I was in London in 1987; my wife’s uncle changed his house and moved to a location where no Asians were living. Some of our relatives in London asked him as to why he chose to move to a place where none of our relatives and no Asians were living. He simply said, “I always preferred to live away from Asians to avoid any kind of trouble”. Not all Asians are bad, of course, but now in Canada, we live in a place where although relatives are close, but the place is not entirely a “foreign colony”. One thing is good about Canada, that you are only a Canadian, nothing else. We have even Irish, British, Chinese and French in our neighbourhood besides Indians, Sri Lankans and Pakistanis. We get along fine with all of them.
I look forward to see many of our old colleagues – Sq. Ldrs. Mike Lamb, Peter Truelove, Peter Dolings, and our proofreader for GIP, Malcolm Potts.
With best wishes, Sheikh Saadi.
I have very fond memories of Gan, it's people, the good times we all had there, and in particular, the GIP. I could hardly wait till it was published. I wish now, that I had kept my collection.
You will be seeing more issues of GIP, as I am in the process of scanning them. Once I have finished, I will send them for posting on the Website...Sheikh Saadi.
Re your post on Dec 5th '08.
I have just acquired an old book which explains the reason for the buildings on Willingilli.
If you email me your phone number, I will phone you and read you the pertinent chapter.
I think the answer will surprise you - it certainly did me!
Ultimately I intend to precis it and post it on the website under Stories and Articles.
Hello Pete,,will e-mail you tommorow,in the meantime the man who was really wanting to know was the project developement manager for the new hotel on Willingilli,i.e.Robert Poole....his e-mail....email@example.com......I am sure he would like to know as they were selling the hotel as a type of ecological exsperience and the history of the place was a vital part of it.....Larry
Hello Sheik Saadi,I have those two dvds ready for to post to you.Just e-mail me your adress and I will put in post for you..I will send the same message by e-mail,this is just in case I have your e-mail adress wrong...Larry
Hello again Peter,your e-mail adress keeps coming up U/S. My phone number 01830 520060 Looking forward to speaking with you Larry
Thank you very much for your message on "ganmeet". Here is my permanent address in Toronto.
Sharafuddeen Saadi Sheikh
111 Glen Springs Dr.
Scarborough, Ontario, M1W 1X9
I anxiously look forward to the DVD, although I am still here in Qatar to wrap-up and finish some jobs here. I shall be returning soon.
Thanks again, and God Bless You.
I think, Emirates of Dubai, and Sri Lankan Airways have better arrangements to fly to Gan than Etihad. If Emirates or Sri Lankan Airways are contacted in Britain for a group booking, they will certainly offer a special price all the way from London or better still Manchester to Gan via Colombo/Male--Sheikh Saadi
Hello Saadi,,in the post for you on monday.Come back onto the site and give us your thoughts/memories after you have watched both the dvds..Smiles and tears I think...Larry
Hello boys,regards possible reunion on Gan 2010, I think it is time to start thinking about possible dates etc..Myself, any month will do me,the other lads that are still working may need time to book holiday,so lets have your suggestions please.Addu is primed for a RAF veterans invasion so lets make it happen...Larry
May I suggest late May early June - not so hot for us moonies!
March/April is probably the best bet. Not too hot and the weather is drier at that time of year.
Whatever the concensus of opinion is will be fine by me. Cant seem to remember when the best weather was, as I always seemed to be indoors! Hence the name "Moonie" as I came back from Gan as white, if not whiter, as when I arrived.
Willie I had that problem being fair skinned but it had an advantage towards the end when you were approached by the panic tanners who had been there for about a month and they thought you had only just arrived. The look on their faces when you replied that you had about a month left.
That actually happened to my while I was doing my clearance card. A guy shouts over, obviously having seen the blue card in my hand, how long have you got to do? My answer was "About 24 hours how long have you got?" The expression on his face was priceless!!
I think the weather is pretty constant but I was worried I was loosing my tan in the months upto coming home in the january,need not to have worried because I came home like [dare I say it]a darkie.Remember this was 1970 and the PC lobby was not in existance!!..Everytime I have been back since it has been end november and no bother but hot.I think late spring might be best[no monsoon then],but the reason I was asking is because if Taff is going to put it on the website front page,he will of course need some details as will Steve Ellis to consider the arrangements......Larry
Will be keeping my eyes on the website, to see when the majority want to go. I am hoping to retire in September, this year, so any time after that will be fine by me.
Hello boys,just for information for the lads that have not visited Tonys site whilst Taff has been sorting his business out,,,we are having a reunion on Gan around end march 2010.We have around 30 people to go already,and we are exspecting the list to fill up when Taff front pages-it on this site..If you want to come along have a look on tonysirrell.synthasite.com where you can see what is happening,and also place your name on the list..Everyone but everyone is welcome including families and friends...Thank you..Larry