written by


                                               Incorporating the Collated by J.H.Palmer


John died in August 1986 before completing this story. He spent the last day of his life writing the Macalpine story , enjoying every minute of it. I have done my best to copy faithfully his notes and put together what he had written. if the spelling of any place name is incorrect, I apologise. When John wrote in rough form, his writing was sometimes illegible!

Mabel (Joan) Taylor


The Story of 836 Squadron F.A.A. was digitised from the typewritten copy of  the late P.O.Robertson . "Robbie" Robertson was Lt.Ransford Slater's TAG (Telegraphist Air Gunner). My thanks to his daughter Jenny McFall who scanned & emailed the document to me from Australia. Various extra photographs from other members of 836 squadron have been added. Since John did not finish his story, various other sources have been added to give some indication of the later history of MAC ships. The text has been "broken up" into smaller sections.


Below is a list of individuals mentioned in this document. Are you related, can you add  to the story? Please contact mike@aggleton.name if you can.
Lt Cdr Crawford - CO in Jamaica
Lt Ransford Slater- Operational CO (OBE,DSC)
Lt Frank Fox- later CO of 830 squadron
S/Lt Bob Barrett
S/Lt Phil Blakey
S/Lt John Lisle- ditched Le Havre (POW)
S/Lt Owen Johnstone
S/Lt Reg Singleton- later MBE
S/Lt Geoff Aggleton- later 811 squadron
Lt Bertie  Blacow
Lt James Turner- later CO of 830 squadron
S/Lt Jim Palmer-later Lt.Cdr & MBE
S/Lt Nick Piercy
S/Lt Robertson
S/Lt Cartwright
S/Lt John Taylor
S/Lt Billy Muir- drowned English Channel
S/Lt Paddy Allen- drowned Le Havre
S/Lt Gus Macve- later 811 squadron
"Robbie" Robertson- Slater's gunner
L/A George- drowned English Channel
Pat Solway-ditched Le Havre (POW)
The following are also mentioned in GMA's logbook:
L/A Woodhams,L/A Bradburn, L/A Showey, A/P Marriott,L/A Rigby,A/F Paxton, L/A Eric Waterson, LAM Penn, L/A Green, L/A Fisher

In late September 1945, a month after the end of the Second World War, men who had joined H.M.Services for the "duration of hostilities" now awaited demobilisation. Some were impatient to pick up the threads of civilian lives and careers; some were bewildered by the sudden end to tension and danger, unready for the equally sudden change that peace implied; others were content, as they had learned in the Services to take each day as it came and were merely grateful to have survived. As men returned home from foreign stations or disembarked from redundant aircraft carriers to H.M.S.Daedalus- it was inevitable that they found themselves once again among friends and comrades from earlier phases of the war.

So it was with R.A.Singleton MBE, P.W.Blakey and J.K.G.Taylor, three Lieutenants (A) R.N.V.R who had known each other in 836 squadron earlier in the war. Reg Singleton and his wife Kathleen had taken a flat in the High Street while they awaited not only demobilisation but the arrival of their first born. Phil Blakey was "looking in" at Lee during a period of sick leave following a road accident, and John Taylor was about to be discharged on medical grounds. As the three talked of old times and absent friends in the High Street flat it was clear that their wartime experiences, the months spent in 836 had a special place and that the spirit of comradeship that grew in that Squadron had been unique. They resolved to continue that fellowship of earlier days in the days of peace through some form of informal organisation. They agreed that Lt.Cdr. (A) J.H.Palmer, MBE, RNVR was the ideal man to get things off the ground and maintain the secretarial centre. The three wrote to him suggesting that the organisation be called the RANSFORD CLUB in memory of their incomparable Commanding Officer, Cdr. Ransford Slater. OBE, DSC, RN whose brilliant career had ended tragically in a flying accident in 1944, and that Ransford's widow should be invited to be the Club's president.

Membership of the club should in the first instance be limited to those who had served in the Squadron between the spring of 1942 and the autumn of 1943. Jim Palmer agreed to be secretary, Katharine Slater (Katharine Hollins) delighted everyone by accepting the role of President, and the first reunion and meeting of the Ransford Club took place at the RNVR club in Pall Mall in June 1946.Thirty five years and twenty five reunions later (twenty six if the reunion in the Commodore Hotel, Timaru, New Zealand in 1975 between Taylors, Johnstones, Blakeys and Robertsons is included) the Ransford Club met at the Taylors home in Kings Heath Birmingham. That it was held at all is a tribute to the constant work of its secretary in keeping in touch with the members, and the enthusiasm and encouragement of the President over the years. The President drove up from Ringwood with the secretary as passenger/navigator. Owen and Prue Johnstone were over from New Zealand and staying with the Taylors, who five years earlier had spent three months with the Johnstones. Eric Waterson, the Air Gunner to Johnstone and Taylor in H for Harry in former days, now Cdr.RN (retired) came with his wife Pat. Reg Singleton and Kathleen were there, as was Johnny Lisle. Ginny Blakey was there "in loco parentis" one might say and the Taylor children and friends, there was a gathering of seventeen. James And Joanna Turner telephoned (they would have been there but for a confusion over dates) as did Tug Wilson, Bertie Blacow, and from New Zealand,Phil Blakey. Reg Singleton took many pictures of the occasion including that seemly rare phenomenon- a complete Swordfish crew after nearly forty years. The Ransford Club was very much alive.