This website is for ex-brats of the 81st Entry to remain in contact with each other and to share their diverse life experiences, no matter where, when or how they also remains an open site for anyone else to visit.

The loss of any member of the 81st Entry diminishes us all.

The 81st Entry extends its sympathy and condolences to the family and friends of Derek Liddell, electrician, who passed away on 16 Feb 2023.

Derek at the 2011 81st Entry reunion - it's smaller than I would like but it's the best image of him I have. Cropped from the group photo at the bottom of this page.

Bruce Robinson (engines) remains stoically an "offliner" relying solely on his own unique style of communication - those who receive such from him will know exactly what I mean. He recently sent me this image - I've enlarged it a bit - of him and friends at our summer camp. Bruce is the poser - say no more - and the others he lists as Taff Harris, Peter (Bomber) Walden Hughes, Johnny Worthey and Bud Rose. Sadly at least two of them I know to be no longer with us.

The loss of any member of the 81st Entry diminishes us all.

The 81st Entry extends its sympathy and condolences to the family and friends of Edward James (Ed) Duke, airframes, who passed away on 28 Jul 2023.

(After passing out from Halton Ed was posted to RAF Jever, in 2TAF, he met Ursula while there and they were married in late 1961; very sadly Ursula had died just a few months before Ed on 1 Apr 2023. Brian.)

The loss of any member of the 81st Entry diminishes us all.

The 81st Entry extends its sympathy and condolences to the family and friends of Jim Lee, engines, who passed away in Dundas, Ontario, on 20 Mar 2019.

(Having not heard anything from Jim for a long time, but knowing he lived in Dundas, Ontario, I googled that town's obituary columns and found the following: Brian.)


James Henry Lee

JULY 25, 1938 – MARCH 20, 2019

Passed away peacefully at the Hamilton General Hospital surrounded by his family on March 20, 2019.

Beloved husband of Doreen for 58 years. Loving father to Frances (Todd), Chris, Angela (Michael), and David (Alisha). Proud granddad to Jason, Cory, Amanda, Jaime, and Addy.

James was a long-time member of the Dundas Legion and a lifetime model train enthusiast. He will be deeply missed by all who knew him. Cremation has taken place and a Celebration of his Life will be held on Saturday, May 25th from 1-4pm at the Dundas Legion, 280 King Street West, Dundas. Online condolences may be made at

The loss of any member of the 81st Entry diminishes us all.

The 81st Entry extends its sympathy and condolences to the family and friends of Barry Close, instruments, who passed away on 24 Jun 2021.

(Barry's daughter Alison sent me the images above and also this eulogy written some time ago by Barry himself. The room photo is one I've never seen before; other than Barry, Andy Anderson, Dave Blake and John Gornall (RIP), the others named on it are among the many I've never managed to trace; had I seen the photo before and the appendages to the names I might have managed to do so as so many that I did trace settled close to their origins; probably too late now though. Brian.)

Barry was born in Banbridge, Co Down, on 30th March 1940. His father was away in the RAF during most of the war. When the war ended, like so many others, he found it difficult to get a decent job and made the decision to rejoin the RAF.

Subsequently in 1954 his father was posted to Ballykelly and the family moved from Banbridge to Ballykelly. Barry spent his last year of school at Limavady Tech and on leaving school he joined the RAF at the age of 15 as an aircraft apprentice in the trade of Instrument Fitter.

Barry’s first posting was to RAF Gaydon working on V bombers. Whilst there his father, who was still at Ballykelly died and Barry asked to be posted to Ballykelly to support his mother. Incidentally his father was in the Tamlaghtfinlagan church choir and is buried among the military graves at the bottom of the graveyard.

After a short spell in the Electrical and Instrument section at BK Barry was posted to 203 Squadron and within a few weeks found himself on detachment to South Africa; this was followed with detachments to Norway, Gibraltar and to the USA. In between detachments he met a lovely local girl called Isobel and they were married in Tamlaghtfinlagan church on 6th June 1961.

In 1962 they were posted to Malta, firstly to RAF Takali and a year later to RAF Luqa; during their time in Malta their eldest daughter Alison was born. At the end of the three year tour they were posted back to UK and to 203 Squadron at Ballykelly. More detachments started immediately with five months in Singapore, and then Borneo, Malaya and Hong Kong.

During this second tour in BK, their second daughter Gillian was born, in the Roe Valley hospital.

Before moving on, there was one last detachment and that was to circle the globe. This was a big deal, as the purpose was to prove that the latest mark of Shackleton aircraft could reach the Far East flying westwards, in case the Middle East was ever closed to UK traffic.

In 1967 the family moved to RAF St Mawgan in Cornwall. This did not suit Barry as he was confined to the Instrument calibration room, so he applied for an overseas posting and the family found themselves bound for the Royal Australian Air Force base at Edinburgh Field in South Australia, just outside Adelaide.

After six months he was posted again, this time to Singapore where he ended up on 205 Squadron at RAF Changi. Once again there were lots of detachments, including Australia, Hong Kong, Malaya and the Maldives.

In 1970 he was posted back to the UK, this time to RAF Cosford where he was a Senior Instructor for four years.

His next posting was to 15 Squadron at RAF Laarbruch in Germany; he then had annual detachments to Sardinia, and one to Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada where accommodation for a while was in Las Vegas; at times life in the RAF could be so hard!

From Germany his next posting was to RAF Honington in Suffolk with his family living in Bury St Edmunds where they remained for the next thirty years. Their youngest daughter Gillian was ill on their return from Germany and had to attend hospital in London. Barry was posted back to Germany but handed in his notice and left the RAF in 1983.

British Sugar had just opened a new packaging plant in Bury St Edmunds, the most modern in Europe at the time. Barry got a job as a maintenance technician and spent twenty-two years there, until his retirement in 2005.

In 2009 he and his family returned to Limavady; it had always Barry’s dearest wish to eventually return home to his beloved Northern Ireland.

The loss of any member of the 81st Entry diminishes us all.

The 81st Entry extends its sympathy and condolences to the family and friends of Maurice Frances Bambrick, airframes, who passed away on 12 May 2021.

"Three Men in a Boat":- Wal Butters,Tony Birchenough and Maurice.

Maurice's funeral took place at Mintlyn Crematorium, King's Lynn on Friday 4th June; the following is a copy of an obituary in the Lynn News :-

BAMBRICK Maurice Francis passed away peacefully at home on Wednesday 12th May 2021 aged 82 years. Beloved husband of Pam. Dearly loved dad of Philip and Susan and son-in-law Brian. Loving grandad to Bobby and Jasmine. A loving, caring family man and friend to so many. He will be greatly missed and forever in our hearts. Funeral at Mintlyn Crematorium on Friday 4th June 2021:-

The loss of any member of the 81st Entry diminishes us all.

The 81st Entry extends its sympathy and condolences to the family and friends of Kenneth Wilfred (Ken) Williams, engine fitter, who passed away on 14 January 2021.


Ken's funeral took place at The Sherwood Forest Crematorium on Friday 12th February; the following is a copy of an obituary which had been published in the RAF News on 29th January:-

"WILLIAMS, Ken, Flight Sergeant (Ret'd) of Grantham, Lincolnshire, on January 14 at Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham, aged 81. Husband of Liz, father to Richard and Alun and grandfather of Victoria, James, Holly and Emma. Ken joined the RAF in 1955 when he was 16. He joined as an Aircraft Apprentice at RAF Halton (81st Entry). After passing-out in 1958, he had a long career during which time he serves at RAF Valley, RAF El Adem (1960), RAF Little Rissington (1962), RAF Seletar (1969), RAF Changi (1970), RAF Lyneham (1971), RAF Kemble (1975), RAFC Cranwell (1978), RAF Kinloss (1983) and RAF Sealand (1987). He retired in 1995 after 39 years' proud service. He will be sadly missed, but now at peace."

The whole content of our Journal, "The First & Last", has been made ready for donation to the Imperial War Museum at Duxford where it will be archived and, hopefully, used in the extended future to tell of the 81st Entry, its history and many of its members' life experiences, to those seeking such information. The current Covid lockdown has delayed my dispatching the large file to the IWM but once its staff have returned to their posts I will send it off. I also plan to approach the RAF Historic Branch to see if they too would like to archive the Journal; again it's the lockdown holding up that plan.

I will continue to maintain this website by placing any news etc., that anyone may like to send to me, on this Home Page, I will also continue with the Galleries and with the Feedback page should anyone want me to add anything there.

It has been a great pleasure, and a privilege, for me to have been able to edit this website for such a long time; it has undoubtedly been a success and my appreciation must accordingly be given to those of you who have contributed the many articles that have made up the "First & Last" - thank you one and all.

Group Photograph of our 2011 Reunion at The RAC, Cirencester.

2011 Reunion photograph

I'm leaving this photo of those of us who attended the 2011 reunion here on this page so that, as time flies by, memories can be re-kindled and faces put to names. It remains 'interactive', so click on this thumbnail (or the 'Enlarge...' message below) then place your cursor on a face and 'Hey Presto' up will come the name.Enlarge...

First & Last, Journal of the Halton 81st Entry - LATEST ISSUE

The Journal of the 81st Entry

A Journal for the 81st Entry of RAF Halton Aircraft Apprentices.

Click the 'links' on the left at the top of this page to view the latest edition or choose from an archive of all previous editions. If you have an article that you would like to be included in a future edition, would like to contact an old pal from the 81st Entry or get up-to-date gen on future events please:

Contact me.

Brian Spurway - Webmaster and Journal Editor.