Coachlines - March 2023

29.03.23 The Clerk

Clerk’s Notes – March 2023

On 27th March 1912, Leonard James Callaghan was born in Portsmouth, the son of a Royal Navy Chief Petty Officer and father to Past Master the Hon. Michael Callaghan.

Mark The Clerk

Mark The Clerk

Following the outbreak of World War II he joined the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve and during his service he was appointed to the Admiralty and assigned to the Japanese section where he wrote a service manual for the Royal Navy entitled “The Enemy: Japan”. He then served in the East Indies Fleet on board the escort carrier HMS ACTIVITY and was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant in April 1944. By 1945, he was serving in the battleship HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH in the Indian Ocean.

After VE Day, he returned home, along with other prospective candidates, to stand in the general election of that year. The rest, as they say, is history.

To date, the late Baron Callaghan of Cardiff remains the last British Prime Minister to be an armed forces veteran and the only one ever to have served in the Royal Navy.

Forthcoming Coachmaker events

City of London Walking Tour – 22nd April 2023

This has been rearranged following its cancellation earlier in the year. The focus will be on medieval myth and mystery. Tickets will cost £27.50pp and the advert will be distributed shortly.

Bletchley Park – 17th May 2023

A private guided tour for circa 25 people is being organised with a self-pay lunch on site to follow. Watch out for the advert in early April.

Visit to Cranfield – 25th May 2023

This will be a day trip visit including Cranfield Aerospace Solutions and its hydrogen powered Islander, the University and possibly the airborne lab, followed by a pub supper. More details will be distributed nearer the date.

Banquet – 6th June 2023

See separate feature in this edition.

Forthcoming City events

An opportunity to attend a talk and concert at Barbican Hall – 20th April 2023

I have been asked by my colleague, the Clerk to the Worshipful Company of Educators, to inform you that an opportunity exists to attend a talk from 6pm for 6.15pm followed by a concert between 7pm and 9pm at Barbican Hall on 20th April 2023.
The title of the talk is: ‘The London Symphony Orchestra: Inspiring hearts and minds through world-leading music-making’.

Becky Lees (Head of LSO Live) and Andra East (Head of Discovery from the London Symphony Orchestra) are hosting a talk in the Stalls Lounge (a private room near the Barbican concert hall). They will be sharing an overview of the LSO educational activity.

Following that, guests are invited to attend a sell-out concert in Barbican Hall conducted by world famous Sir Simon Rattle – featuring Adams Harmonielehre, Debussy La Mer and Ravel Daphnis and Chloe Suite No.2.

There are a limited number of places available. And ticket prices are: Circle: £35; Front area: £49 or £65.

If you would like to attend this exciting event – please email

Lord Mayor’s Big Curry Lunch – Thursday 30th March 2023

This event directly supports the three service charities’ efforts to help service veterans back into work and for the first time in its history all tickets have been sold.

However, there is an associated silent auction from which there is a range of desirable items available to buy. The link to the silent auction page is here:

Recent Coachmakers’ events

For those who attended the recent Automotive Industry Dinner at Vintners’ Hall on 23rd March 2023, photos from the occasion can be found at this link.

Other Livery News

The City Livery Committee City Briefings are held to educate and inform Liverymen and Freemen on the ways and history of the City of London. The next Briefing is on 25th May 2023 at Guildhall. The Briefings are designed as an introduction to the City of London and its relationship with the Livery Companies. Spouses and partners are also welcome at the four City Briefings arranged each year. A small fee is charged to cover refreshments, book using the Livery Committee website here:

If you are new to the City I strongly encourage you to attend one of these briefings.

The John Pearl 100 Club

With the agreement of his family, the Court has recently approved the 100 Club to be renamed after its founding Liveryman, the late Liveryman John Pearl. Since 2009 until his untimely death last year, John had tirelessly administered the 100 Club, helping to generate circa £80,000 for the Coachmakers’ Charitable Trust and distributing a similar sum in prize money to the lucky winners in each quarter.

The idea is simple, 100 Coachmakers (or members of their family) pay £10 per month to be entered into a prize draw four times a year. The prizes available in Q1, Q2 and Q3 are: 1st Prize – £800 and 2nd Prize – £400. Each quarter £300 is also transferred into the prize pot so that the prizes available in the Q4 Super Draw, usually held at the Christmas Carol Service Supper, are: 1st Prize – £1,600 and 2nd Prize – £800.

Each quarter, £1,500 is transferred to the Coachmakers’ Charitable Trust, a total of £6,000 per annum. The winners of the Q1 draw held at the Automotive Industry Court Meeting on 23rd March were:
1st prize – Liveryman Carol Madeley
2nd prize – Liveryman Paul Tweedale

At the time of writing there are four vacant places on the John Pearl 100 Club roll call. If you would like to take one of those places and be in with a chance to win, please contact the Clerk:

The Clerk and Assistant Clerk took on the role of administering the John Pearl 100 Club following John’s sudden and unexpected passing. However, this is a role that should be fulfilled by a member of the Company. It is an important part of the Company’s charitable activities.

If you would be willing to take it on and help generate funds that directly support the various bursaries, scholarships and awards that the Coachmakers’ Charitable Trust bestow upon young people throughout the year, please contact the Clerk:

RAF Museum Appeal

I have recently received the following note:

I am reaching out to the Worshipful Company of Coachmakers on behalf of the Royal Air Force Museum to ask if you might be interested to hear details of an ongoing fundraising appeal to secure a very important piece of our shared heritage, the Victoria Cross of Squadron Leader Arthur Scarf. Due to your Armed Forces affiliation, I thought it may be of interest to the Company.

On 27th April 2022, Scarf’s Victoria Cross was sold for the world record price of £660,000 at auction to an overseas bidder. The UK Government has placed an export ban on the Victoria Cross and medal bar and now the Royal Air Force Museum has the time-limited opportunity to keep them in the UK. Scarf’s is the only Victoria Cross awarded to the RAF for services in the Far East, and we are doing everything we can to permanently secure it as part of our National Collection.

We would be incredibly grateful if you could share the details of our fundraising appeal with your network, and indeed, if you would be open to receiving a funding application to support us in the final push to reach our £660,000 target. We are so close and only have until 30th April 2023 to raise the remaining funds.

For more details and to see our progress, you can follow this link to our GoFundMe page:

Aimee Pitchford
Development Manager – Trusts & Foundations


To conclude

I was born in Scunthorpe and in 1964, when I was five years old, my parents bought one of the two village shops in a little Lincolnshire village called Bishop Norton. Until 1983, my mother took care of the shop while my father continued his career in the steel industry. Mr and Mrs Clapham, the couple who sold the shop to my parents, had three sons and in 1964 the eldest was about to join the Royal Navy as an officer.

In 1979, I joined the Royal Navy as an officer and while training at the Britannia Royal Naval College Dartmouth, in February 1979 my parents sent me a copy of a local newspaper that featured a story about another Lincolnshire lad who, as a Lieutenant Commander in the Royal Navy, had just been appointed as the UK’s Assistant Defence Attaché in Moscow; his name was Ian Clapham, eldest son of Mr and Mrs Clapham.

In 2010, referring to Cabinet papers released by the National Archives under the 30-year rule, the following story appeared in the MailOnline:

A British spy endured the frostiest treatment the Soviet Union could deliver at the height of the Cold War. The naval attaché was pounced on and debagged at minus 27 degrees by KGB agents who spotted him “spying” in Leningrad. The incident in February 1979 was deemed so sensitive that confidential reports, including references to the removal of the attaché’s trousers, were sent to the then Prime Minister, Jim Callaghan.

Lt Cdr Aubone Pyke said he had taken a newly arrived colleague, Lt Cdr Ian Clapham, and their wives on a tour of Leningrad, now called St Petersburg, which was a centre for warship and nuclear submarine construction. In a secret communiqué seen by Mr Callaghan, the British Ambassador, Sir Curtis Keeble, said the four ‘observers’ had been ‘thrown to the ground and robbed’.

A Foreign Office assessment of the diplomatic implications, requested by Mr Callaghan, said the incident was ‘an exceptionally large-scale and carefully planned operation’. But the note added that the Soviet authorities were ‘keen not to play the incident up’, probably because the Duke of Edinburgh was visiting Moscow the following week on Equestrian Federation business connected to the Olympic Games.

It’s a small world.