Gulf War Lecture

As raising funds is an important part in keeping the Museum financially afloat, a great way of doing this is by holding our "annual" lecture. Due to our commitment in refurbishing the Museum last summer the annual lecture was put on hold. Fortunately, at the Grand opening in November, His Excellency, The Lieutenant Governor, Ian McFadyden, said that as a fundraiser he would be happy to do a talk on the Gulf War. It was an offer to good to miss!

So after various meetings and telephone calls, the lecture was to be held at The Post Graduate Centre, Nobles Hospital, Douglas. The society has used this venue before and it has everything that would be required for the event. His Excellency also asked if a charity could also benefit from the lecture, so the Soldiers, Sailors and Air Forces Association (SSAFA) was chosen and a number of their representatives were in attendance.

As a sideline, it was also decided that a display of Gulf War memorabilia would also be given, and after advertising in the Isle of Man Courier, a number of interesting items were loaned and placed on show. A number of newspaper and radio press releases were sent out and this helped to promote the event. I even had the unenviable task of doing a Manx Radio interview over the telephone; thanks Ivor!

The evening started with members of the public arriving soon after the doors opened at 6.30pm; Steve Poole kindly relieved anyone of their money who hadn’t paid for their ticket at the front desk and by the time His Excellency and Mrs. MacFadyden arrived a good crowd was in attendance. After introductions and photo opportunities the lecture started just after 7.40 pm.

This year’s Chairman, a slightly nervous Andy Saunders, introduced His Excellency. Before the lecture took place a minutes silence was observed in memory of the 46 British personnel who lost their lives during the conflict, and the lecture was also dedicated in the memory of Flight Lieutenant Keith Collister from Onchan, who was tragically killed during low level training on November 13th 1990 while serving in the Gulf.

His Excellency spoke about the Gulf conflict on a wider scale, the Iraqi invasion, the build up and the air/land war. The role of the Army, Navy and Air Force was covered, not only from the British, but also from the U.S. and Coalition forces point of view. The lecture ended with a question and answer session.

Afterwards His Excellency was presented with a model of a Phantom, complete with markings of the squadron in which he served. The model was made by the Society’s Secetary, Ivor Ramsden, and as ever, was superbly done. Mrs. MacFayden was also presented with a bouquet of flowers. Tea and coffee was then served, with Brian Duffy, Chris and Phil Paine doing sterling work. The event finally ended about 10.00pm.

About £400 was raised which will be spilt between SSAFA and MAPS.

If I have missed anyone out, then I would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone who helped to make the event possible and to those who came along. Thank you.

Barry Quilliam, MAPS Events Organizer.