Halton 81st Entry

PROLOGUE.

In the latter half of the 1950s there were two schools that trained Royal Air Force Aircraft Apprentices, No. 1 Radio School at Locking and No. 1 School of Technical Training at Halton. Selection of boys between the ages of 15½ and 17½, hoping to take up such apprenticeships, took place three times a year with courses starting in January, May and September.

After applying a boy had to sit an examination and then, if successful, his parents/guardians were informed by mail and he was invited to attend RAF Halton for a medical examination, an aptitude test and an interview with a selection board; the latter two procedures being used to assess his suitability for training in a specific trade. A return travel warrant and full instructions were provided.

A month, or so, after this attendance at Halton the boy's parents/guardians were informed as to the outcome of his visit and, if he had been accepted, they were informed about the trade in which he would be trained (assuming they were agreeable), comprehensive details about the school he would attend and the three-year course he would be part of. If all was acceptable then the boy should arrive at either RAF Locking or RAF Halton at a certain time on a specific day the following month; again a travel warrant and instructions were included. (If anyone reading this would like to see examples of the letters sent to parents/guardians I have copies of them that can easily be scanned and emailed).

For ourselves, having been selected for training as fitters in the trades of Airframes, Engines, Armament, Instruments (Nav and Gen) and Electrical (Air and Ground), we were to report to RAF Halton on Sunday 4th of September 1955 before 4 p.m. (or, using military-speak, 1600 hrs).

To nip ahead in time a few days, but keeping this as part of my Prologue; on the Thursday after we arrived, the 8th of September, a letter was again sent out to every parent/guardian - rather than scanning it and then inserting here I will type out the entire contents of this letter - it's one I cannot remember my parents showing me but it does answer many questions that have been asked of me over the years.

Dear ('parent/guardian'),

You will be pleased to know that your son/ward - 681*** A/A Bloggs - has arrived safely at RAF Halton.

He will be in No. 2 Sqn, No. 3(A) Wing, with the other boys of his entry. The staff here is selected for its ability to teach and train boys with understanding and tolerance, and you may rest assured that his welfare will receive close attention. Your influence during his training will, of course, be of the greatest importance and I look forward to your co-operation.

Your boy now has the opportunity to learn an advanced trade and to lay the foundation of a really worthwhile career. Every facility for this is available here and he will be given every encouragement and assistance. Provided he has the aptitude, works hard and behaves well, he should experience no difficulty in graduating with his entry.

Although advanced Trade training and Educational training are the two main functions of the school, they are by no means the only ones. We realise that the years spent here will be amongst the most formative in your boy's life. Therefore, in addition to his technical and educational training, his health, physical and, above all, the development of his personality and character, will receive special attention. Our aim is that he shall acquire skill and knowledge of which both he and you may well be proud. and that he shall form habits of integrity, self-reliance and good manners. In this connection, great help can be given by the School Chaplains. Your boy could do well to become acquainted with his particular Chaplain.

I wish to invite your attention to the desirability of helping the boy to form habits of thrift. During the first year of service his pay will be 17s.6d per week. This amount is increased with each year of service until your boy is entitled to an airman's rate of pay at 17½ years of age. He will then earn 7s.0d per day. Not all of this money is paid directly to the boy. Arrangements are made for each boy to have an account in the Post Office Savings Bank and a proportion of his pay is paid into that account. In addition each boy is encouraged to purchase National Savings Certificates. I would strongly advise you not to send the boy additional pocket money during term time, as all meals and many recreational facilities are provided and there is little need for more pocket money.

The question of leave deserves particular mention. Official leave is given at fixed holiday periods - Christmas, Easter and Summer, and at Half-term breaks - and amounts to six weeks in the year. Furthermore, after his first term, he can obtain one 36 hour pass per month providing his work and behaviour are up to standard. This is, of course, a generous allotment, so please do not ask for your boy to be given any more, even at week-ends Odd periods of leave, however short, have a harmful effect on a boy's progress. Leave is, of course, granted on strong compassionate grounds when the presence of the boy at home is necessary and desirable. Civilian clothes must not be kept on camp but may be worn when on leave. Leave is only granted to an address approved by the boy's parent or guardian.

Although it is permissible for apprentices who are above the age of 16 and have commenced their second term of training, to smoke when off duty, permission will only be given upon receipt of an individual application bearing your endorsement. In the interests of physical fitness and general good health of the boys, smoking is discouraged, and I trust you will bear this in mind before giving approval for your boy to smoke.

Finally I would like to draw your attention to one of our Standing Orders which reads as follows:

"Apprentices are forbidden to drive cars or ride motor cycles during term time, or when proceeding on or returning from leave or pass."

Recently a most grievous event occurred when two apprentices who were riding a motor cycle without permission, were involved in an accident in which both lost their lives.

If there is anything further you would like to know about the School, please do not hesitate to write. Any communication in respect your son should be addressed as follows:

Officer Commanding
No. 2 Squadron
No. 3(A) Wing
Royal Air Force
HALTON
Aylesbury
Buckingham

and not to any officer by name. This will avoid any delay in dealing with correspondence.

If you wish to visit the School, I should be very pleased to see you. Perhaps, in this event, you would kindly give me a few days' notice to enable me to make an appointment. Accommodation for such visits is available at the Toc H Club in Wendover, at a charge of 9s.0d for bed and breakfast, as well as hotels in the town.

Yours sincerely, etc.......




IN THE BEGINNING, 5 SEP 1955.

Over the years I have often been asked if I have enough information in my records to tell how many of us were in the 81st Entry when we joined on 5 September 1955 and how many of that number managed to graduate on 30 July 1958. Another favourite query has been "Did we really have, at some time, as many as 400 in the Entry?"

Wg Cdr Charles T Kimber, in his book 'Son of Halton' quotes the range of Service Numbers for each entry from the 1st to the 127th giving, in each case, the lowest Service Number and the highest. He quotes the 81st as having a starting Service Number of 681025 and a finishing one of 681391 which, if my arithmetic is up to it, comes to a total of 367; however things are not that simple! The 56 numbers from 681336 to 681391 were never allocated to the 81st at Halton; I presume they were for the 81st at Locking but my attempts to contact someone who could confirm that have come to nothing. Left with 311 for Halton we were allocated 19 more numbers, 681431 to 681441 and 681452 to 681459, that I'm led to believe were late arrivals and ex Cosford boy entrants; that's not quite the end as we also had one ex Locking apprentice who kept his original number 680183. I am reasonably confident that the 81st Entry at Halton started off with a potential total of 331.

So, to answer the question "How many did we start off with?":

Out of these 331 numbers I have names to go with all but 3 - I assume that those missing opted out at the last minute before signing on the 'dotted line' - so it looks likely that we started with a grand total of 328. I can break this total down into trades: 89 Airframes, 79 Engines, 80 Armourers (including 1 ex-Locking), 40 Electricians and 35 Instruments; the astute will notice that if you add those numbers together it only makes 323 - the missing 5 are those whose trade I'm not sure about (maybe you can help fill in the gaps).

AIRFRAMES:

  • 681025 Bambrick MFM
  • 681026 Birchenough AE
  • 681027 Blackman KA
  • 681028 Boden
  • 681029 Bone GM
  • 681030 Brook RWH
  • 681031 Brownbill A
  • 681032 Bugden JHT
  • 681033 Burnie J
  • 681034 Cairns IH
  • 681035 Campbell BG
  • 681036 Camper RKF
  • 681037 Chapman FC
  • 681038 Cuthbert IG
  • 681039 Dakers IH
  • 681040 Duke EJ
  • 681041 Dunn PJ
  • 681042 Dymond MJ
  • 681043 Ellis J
  • 681044 Enfield GJ
  • 681045 Chapman RKF
  • 681046 Manley DH
  • 681047 Martin BH

  • 681048 McLellan DC
  • 681049 Minton LA
  • 681050 Mitchell AE
  • 681051 Morris JM
  • 681052 Nicholas KE
  • 681053 Osborn AT
  • 681054 Pallister TG
  • 681055 Parker DJ
  • 681056 Parsons SR
  • 681057 Patterson DA
  • 681058 Fairless TW
  • 681059 Fisher AB
  • 681060 Fowler SD
  • 681061 Francis KG
  • 681062 Gaunt T
  • 681063 Grantham R
  • 681064 Gregory DR
  • 681065 Guy MB
  • 681066 Hadden BS
  • 681067 Halton CR
  • 681068 Harrington R
  • 681069 Hathaway JHT
  • 681070 Hawshaw JC

  • 681071 Hodges J
  • 681072 Humphrey AE
  • 681073 Jarratt B
  • 681074 Jones KJ
  • 681075 Lill IA
  • 681076 Longhurst RG
  • 681077 Luesley RE
  • 681078 White E
  • 681079 Sanderson JD
  • 681080 Spurway B
  • 681081 Wood PH
  • 681082 Waghorn A
  • 681083 Smith BJ
  • 681084 Thorpe DA
  • 681085 Reed JD
  • 681086 Quick MH
  • 681087 Woodward MS
  • 681088 Taylor HJ
  • 681089 Wells D
  • 681090 Ward G
  • 681091 Robertson JF
  • 681092 Wood JD
  • 681093 W/Hughes PP

  • 681094 Worthey JWH
  • 681095 Strachan J
  • 681096 Timberlake GC
  • 681097 Robins MV
  • 681098 Wagstaff EC
  • 681123 Furner RG
  • 681149 Carss JW
  • 681158 Perry PJ
  • 681159 R/Cooper DE
  • 681160 Richardson RE
  • 681161 Roberts RL
  • 681162 Rowe HF
  • 681163 Taylor N
  • 681164 Waters BR
  • 681165 Wilcox JH
  • 681335 Butters CW
  • 681435 England AL
  • 681441 Thompson WG
  • 681454 Wells W A
  • 681455 Hughes DE

ENGINES:

  • 681099 Grant DSC
  • 681100 Hughes DW
  • 681101 Gardner B
  • 681102 Hutchinson HWF
  • 681103 Chappell PE
  • 681104 Bremner JR
  • 681105 Cooper D
  • 681106 Galbraith RA
  • 681107 Borthwick IA
  • 681108 William KW
  • 681109 Fry TG
  • 681110 Jones L
  • 681111 Johnson MS
  • 681112 Sidgwick DD
  • 681113 Oliver JA
  • 681114 Kynock ER
  • 681115 Lynn WH
  • 681116 Johnson EV
  • 681117 Nicholson MP
  • 681118 Mortimer TI

  • 681119 Lovelace JR
  • 681120 Hills N
  • 681121 Jackson AR
  • 681122 Chammings FWH
  • 681124 Fleet HT
  • 681125 Harris DP
  • 681126 Higgins DL
  • 681127 Hibbens AC
  • 681128 Hinton BWS
  • 681129 Bone JC
  • 681134 Richmond RB
  • 681137 Munro TSM
  • 681167 Baker G
  • 681169 Bell TDS
  • 681170 Binks AA
  • 681171 (possibly) Baker G
  • 681172 Carver BGJ
  • 681173 Copeman CRK
  • 681174 Copley NA
  • 681175 Edwards JC

  • 681176 Gibbins RJB
  • 681177 Hague AW
  • 681178 Jordan J
  • 681179 May JHC
  • 681180 Parker RE
  • 681181 Pullman G
  • 681182 Puzey BJ
  • 681183 Roberts GW
  • 681184 Rose LH
  • 681185 Simkins JAH
  • 681186 Simnet RMR
  • 681187 Slaughter AJ
  • 681188 Storer IDT
  • 681189 Thomas DE
  • 681190 Throsby R
  • 681191 Tutton HP
  • 681192 Verdin HWP
  • 681193 Walton CA
  • 681194 Watson AE
  • 681195 White TF

  • 681196 Wright RA
  • 681198 C-Rendel AW
  • 681200 Hindley R
  • 681201 Lee JHC
  • 681203 Morely WB
  • 681204 Pascoe AN
  • 681205 Pounsett RL
  • 681206 Robinson BM
  • 681207 Saunders R
  • 681208 Thompson MA
  • 681209 Winters MR
  • 681334 Pinn J
  • 681431 Groves LWG
  • 681433 Keay BPJ
  • 681436 Sinnock PJ
  • 681437 Burton DM
  • 681439 Tomsett GC
  • 681456 Hart WH
  • 681459 Keays WJP

ARMOURERS:

  • 680183 Mackenzie JS
  • 681144 Anderson ADL
  • 681146 Bingham RG
  • 681150 Cox RJ
  • 681151 Cross D
  • 681154 Gilbert JP
  • 681155 Goodacre DR
  • 681156 Gourley B
  • 681157 Grace
  • 681211 Beston ED
  • 681212 Chilton GC
  • 681213 Cooke JP
  • 681214 Cooper MJ
  • 681215 Cox CA
  • 681217 Faulkner R
  • 681218 Goodwin BJ
  • 681220 Hall ALJ
  • 681221 Harris BD
  • 681223 Henry GL
  • 681225 Howells MI

  • 681226 Humphreys JM
  • 681227 Hutchinson KB
  • 681235 Kennard BL
  • 681236 Peacock ?
  • 681237 Pyke BGC
  • 681239 Squires J
  • 681240 Waldock RJ
  • 681242 Moore J
  • 681243 Murphy MP
  • 681244 Murray AC
  • 681245 Remnant CN
  • 681246 Shipp JW
  • 681247 Spencer BD
  • 681248 Stebbings CJ
  • 681249 StorrowPL
  • 681250 Walker A
  • 681252 Gates AC
  • 681253 Gutteridge AV
  • 681254 Kelly WE
  • 681255 Longland RH

  • 681256 Guest
  • 681257 Gray AR
  • 681258 Head KEJ
  • 681265 Harris JDC
  • 681267 Lowther JA
  • 681272 Taylor ATR
  • 681277 Jukes JE
  • 681278 Kennel GD
  • 681281 Walters RGA
  • 681282 White J
  • 681285 Brown K
  • 681286 Catley GC
  • 681287 Chambers AH
  • 681288 Collingwood GS
  • 681289 Conway PJ
  • 681290 Dilloway M
  • 681292 Jarman PL
  • 681296 Lord P
  • 681298 Penney CC
  • 681300 Armiger NS

  • 681301 Izzard BM
  • 681302 Martin TCD
  • 681303 McLanachan G
  • 681304 Morley JT
  • 681305 Ripley G
  • 681308 McConnell MJ
  • 681310 Russell MG
  • 681312 Stanley MD
  • 681313 Stokes DL
  • 681317 Davis JS
  • 681319 Jackson M
  • 681320 Jenner GE
  • 681321 Stone EF
  • 681322 Walker JA
  • 681323 Wheeler CP
  • 681328 Lawry
  • 681327 Knights DW
  • 681329 Coxon GJ
  • 681438 Goldstone MF
  • 681457 Hunt DA

ELECTRICIANS

  • 681130 Liddell D
  • 681131 Littlecott DF
  • 681132 Whittaker J
  • 681133 Thomas WG
  • 681135 Thorpe GA
  • 681136 Lynch JJ
  • 681138 Cottrell IF
  • 681139 Haywood JE
  • 681140 Beadle EB
  • 681141 Cruikshank CJ

  • 681142 Hagger
  • 681143 Cowan TW
  • 681147 Bowron HA
  • 681148 Carey CJ
  • 681152 Duke RA
  • 681153 Knight JL
  • 681166 Avery RE
  • 681168 Barty EW
  • 681197 Lucas RA
  • 681199 Hannah DC

  • 681202 Manley MJ
  • 681210 Withers C
  • 681216 Dunn PJ
  • 681219 Griffin S
  • 681222 HarveyAP
  • 681224 Hinchcliffe M
  • 681228 Jones NW
  • 681229 Martin NR
  • 681230 Mullally HM
  • 681231 Pirie DK

  • 681238 Quantrill TK
  • 681241 Brown AD
  • 681259 McMahon T
  • 681261 Spear J
  • 681262 Tunstall T
  • 681274 Brown BC
  • 681275 Cowcill D
  • 681279 Russell JG
  • 681280 Sherlock PGG
  • 681458 Johnson M

INSTRUMENTS

  • 681233 Gornall JH
  • 681251 Coates DH
  • 681260 Scholes JDAB
  • 681264 Anderson FA
  • 681266 Knowlton ER
  • 681268 McArthur MC
  • 681269 McLeod RM
  • 681270 Plumbley J
  • 681271 Reed P

  • 681273 Barry AC
  • 681276 English LT
  • 681283 Baker SF
  • 681284 Booth DC
  • 681291 Fellik BF
  • 681293 Peto ER
  • 681294 Senior M
  • 681295 Crocombe LJ
  • 681297 Parker RJ

  • 681299 Whiteway DJ
  • 681307 Melville JM
  • 681309 Ottaway AT
  • 681311 Sparshott GS
  • 681314 Wright GS
  • 681315 Blake DMP
  • 681316 Chenery AA
  • 681318 Hawkins S
  • 681324 Williams AF

  • 681325 Close RB
  • 681326 Grimwood GG
  • 681330 Parker BJ
  • 681331 Marsden PH
  • 681332 Whittle RH
  • 681333 Etsell RG
  • 681440 Payne JE
  • 681452 Nagle PMF

    TRADES NOT KNOWN


  • 681145 Ashworth ?
  • 681232 Richardson ?
  • 681234 Griffin ?
  • 681263 Wilson ?
  • 681306 Crabb ?

    NUMBERS WITH NO NAMES:


  • 681432
  • 681434
  • 681453



IN THE MIDDLE.

As for whether we ever reached the figure of 400: well if we ever did it would only have been by adding in those who had been recoursed from earlier entries. At the end of our first year 363 of us, including 47 who had been recoursed, sat the First Year Intermediate Examination (known as 'Inters') - that may well have been the largest we ever were. I have no information on losses and gains during our second year but doubt very much that we exceeded that figure.

81st ENTRY SPORTS AWARDS:

SCHOOL COLOUR AWARDS:


    ATHLETICS


  • L/A/A C Cruickshank
  • A/A TW Fairless
  • A/A WV Goodwin
  • F.S/A/A HWF (Hutch) Hutchinson
  • C/A/A BJ (Zom) Parker
  • A/A RB Richmond
  • A/A BJ (Brian) Smith

    YEAR


  • 1958
  • 1958
  • 1957, 1958
  • 1957, 1958
  • 1958
  • 1957, 1958
  • 1957, 1958

    HOCKEY


  • A/A NA (Nick) Copley
  • A/A TW Fairless
  • A/A JJ (John) Lynch
  • C/A/A J (Chunky) Plumbley
  • A/A MH (Mike) Quick

    YEAR


  • 1957, 1958
  • 1957, 1958
  • 1957, 1958
  • 1957, 1958
  • 1957, 1958

    BOXING


  • A/A T (Nipper) Fry
  • A/A WJP (Willie) Keays

    YEAR


  • 1957, 1958
  • 1957

    CRICKET


  • C/A/A MJ (Mike) Dymond

    YEAR


  • 1956, 1957, 1958

    SHOOTING


  • A/A AC Murray
  • A/A G Ripley
  • L/A/A GC (Geoff) Timberlake

    YEAR


  • 1957
  • 1957
  • 1957

    CROSS COUNTRY


  • A/A AH Breton
  • A/A ALJ (Bert) Hall

    YEAR


  • 1957
  • 1957, 1958

    SOCCER


  • A/A TG (Nipper) Fry
  • L/A/A J (John) Gornall
  • A/A AC (Tony) Hibbens
  • A/A WE (Ned) Kelly
  • A/A JA (Alan) Lowther
  • C/A/A J O'Reilly
  • C/A/A D (Dave) Wells
  • A/A JD Woods

    YEAR


  • 1957, 1958
  • 1957, 1958
  • 1957, 1958
  • 1957, 1958
  • 1957, 1958
  • 1957, 1958
  • 1957, 1958
  • 1956, 1957, 1958

    FENCING


  • A/A EW (Eddie) Barty
  • A/A KA (Al) Blackman
  • L/A/A BG (Brian) Campbell
  • A/A DE (Doug) Renton-Cooper
  • A/A AE Watson
  • L/A/TF White

    YEAR


  • 1956, 1957
  • 1956, 1957, 1958
  • 1956, 1957, 1958
  • 1956, 1957
  • 1956, 1957
  • 1956, 1957, 1958

    RUGBY


  • C/A/A MJ (Mike) Dymond
  • W.O/A/A BH (Tank) Martin
  • C/A/A HP Tutton

    YEAR


  • 1957
  • 1957
  • 1957

Although not recognised as a sporting activity 18 of our members took part, during our last term, in a course of Gliding. Out of that number 14 successfully gained their British Gliding Association 'A' and 'B' Certificates; they were:

  • L/A/A D O'N (Derry) East
  • L/A/A Bone
  • S/A/A N (Twink) Hills
  • S/A/A MS (Mike) Johnson
  • S/A/A B (Brian) Spurway
  • A/A (Dave) Wells
  • L/A/A Lucas
  • L/A/A/ G (George) Lowe (ex 80th)
  • S/A/A D (Dave) Cooper
  • A/A Murray
  • L/A/A HP Tutton
  • A/A Johnson
  • L/A/A Walters
  • A/A Taylor



AT THE END.

At the end of training 265 apprentices sat the 81st Entry final examinations; 40 of them had been recoursed from earlier Entries and 2 were foreign apprentices (see below). Just 223 of 'original 81st' were included in that 265; sadly we had lost a total of 104 between 'day-one' and taking our Final Examinations. I have records for the 17 listed below who went down to the 82nd, 83rd or 84th (for whatever reason) but little, if anything, is on record for the remaining 87.

    To the 82nd Entry:


  • Worthey JWH
  • Pirie DK

    To the 83rd Entry:


  • Bowron HA
  • Brown AD
  • Carey CJ
  • Coates DH
  • Hannah D
  • Higgins DL
  • Nicholas KE
  • Parker R
  • Parker RJ
  • Spear J
  • Withers C

    To the 84th Entry:


  • Dakers IH
  • Knowlton ER
  • McArthur MC
  • Mackenzie JS

    Re-coursed maybe?

    Bought Out?

    Med discharge?


  • Anderson ADL
  • Ashworth
  • Baker G
  • Baker SF
  • Barry AC
  • Beadle EB
  • Bell TDS
  • Boden
  • Bone GM
  • Booth DC
  • Borthwick IA
  • Burnie J
  • C/Rendel AW
  • Catley GC
  • Chapman FC
  • Chappell PA
  • Chenery AA
  • Close RB
  • Collingwood GS
  • Copeman CRK
  • Cowcil D
  • Cox CA
  • Crabb
  • Dunn PJ
  • Ellis J
  • English LT
  • Felik BF
  • Gilbert JP
  • Gourley B

    Re-coursed maybe?

    Bought Out?

    Med discharge?


  • Grace
  • Grant DSC
  • Grantham R
  • Griffin S
  • Griffin
  • Groves LWG
  • Guest
  • Hagger
  • Halton CRK
  • Harrington R
  • Harris DP
  • Harris JDC
  • Hart WH
  • Hawkins
  • Hawshaw JC
  • Hinton BWS
  • Jackson M
  • Jones
  • Jordan J
  • Jukes JE
  • Kennard BL
  • Lawry
  • Longland RH
  • Lord PJ
  • Lynn WH
  • Manley DH
  • Manley MH
  • Marsden PH
  • McMahon T

    Re-coursed maybe?

    Bought Out?

    Med discharge?


  • Morley JT
  • Mortimer TI
  • Nicholson MP
  • Patterson DA
  • Peacock
  • Pounsett RL
  • Pullman G
  • Quantrill TK
  • Reed P
  • Richardson
  • Robinson BM
  • Rose LH
  • Saunders R
  • Scholes
  • Sherlock PGG
  • Simnet RMR
  • Sinnock PJ
  • Sparshott GS
  • Stokes DL
  • Taylor N
  • Thorpe GA
  • Tunstall T
  • Wheeler CP
  • White J
  • Whiteway DJ
  • Whittaker J
  • Wilson
  • Woodward MS
  • Wright GS

Taking examinations inevitably means that some will fail and 33 of our 'original 81st' did; so, at the end, only 191 of us who had been there at the beginning graduated and set off in July 1958 to join the real Royal Air Force.

    NAME:


  • Perry PJ
  • Verdin HWP
  • Armiger NS
  • Johnson MS
  • Hutchinson KB
  • Lucas RA
  • Hutchinson HWF
  • Murphy MP
  • Brown BC
  • Cooper D
  • Hague AW
  • Edwards JC
  • Thomas WG
  • Morris JM
  • Gray AR
  • Gates AC
  • Francis KG
  • Hathaway JHT
  • Bingham RG
  • Waters BR
  • Hall ALJ
  • Morley WB
  • Wells WA
  • Birchenough AE
  • Martin TCD
  • Cuthbert IG
  • Hunt DA
  • Grimwood GG
  • Spurway B
  • Russell MG
  • Gardner B
  • Gornall JH
  • Harvey AP
  • Wood PH
  • Slaughter AJ
  • Watson AE
  • Keays WJP
  • Parsons SR
  • Hinchcliffe M
  • Williams KW
  • Thompson W
  • Gutteridge AV
  • Martin BH
  • White TF
  • Etsell RG
  • Russel JG
  • Wells D
  • Fowler SD
  • Lee JH
  • May JHC
  • Lynch JJ
  • Jackson AR
  • Burton DM
  • Puzey PJ
  • Timberlake GC
  • Chapman RKF
  • Mullally HM
  • Reed JD
  • Osborn AT
  • Stone EF
  • Gregory DR
  • Pallister TG
  • Hills N
  • Bambrick MFM
  • Davis JS
  • Chammings FWH
  • Dilloway M
  • Taylor HJ
  • Campbell BG
  • Wilcox JH
  • Humphrey A
  • Camper R
  • Duke EJ
  • Dymond MJ
  • Stebbing CJ
  • Tutton HP
  • Thomas DE
  • Parker BJ
  • Bone JC
  • Fairless TW
  • White E
  • Fleet HT
  • Munro TSM
  • Walton CA
  • Minton LA
  • Hadden BS
  • McLeod RM
  • Murray AC
  • Parker DJ
  • Enfield GJ
  • Pyke BGC
  • Binks AMl
  • Plumbley J
  • RemnantCN
  • Mitchell A

    POSTING:


  • Marham
  • Abingdon
  • Manby
  • Coningsby
  • 2 TAF
  • Gaydon
  • Horsham St Faith
  • Benson
  • Sigapore
  • Waterbeach
  • Waddington
  • West Raynham
  • Odiham
  • Abingdon
  • Horsham St Faith
  • Wittering
  • 2 TAF
  • Little Rissington
  • Wittering
  • 2 TAF
  • Cranwell
  • 2 TAF
  • Ballykelly
  • 2 TAF
  • Ballykelly
  • Lyneham
  • Marham
  • Lyneham
  • Chivenor
  • Cyprus
  • Abingdon
  • Lyneham
  • Abingdon
  • Lyneham
  • Duxford
  • 2 TAF
  • Cyprus
  • Marham
  • Cottesmore
  • Valley
  • St Mawgan
  • Wittering
  • Wyton
  • 2 TAF
  • Gibraltar
  • Abingdon
  • Waddington
  • El Adem
  • Cranwell
  • Cottesmore
  • Aldergrove
  • Lyneham
  • Conningsby
  • 2 TAF
  • Aden
  • Swinderby
  • Singapore
  • Cyprus
  • Abingdon
  • Chivenor
  • Little Rissington
  • Wittering
  • Lyneham
  • Marham
  • ASt Athan
  • Cottesmore
  • Upwood
  • Cottesmore
  • Lyneham
  • Abingdon
  • Horsham St Faith
  • Waterbeach
  • 2 TAF
  • Wyton
  • Cyprus
  • 2 TAF
  • Cyprus
  • Singapore
  • Gibraltar
  • Lindholme
  • Ballykelly
  • Cyprus
  • Lyneham
  • Waterbeach
  • 2 TAF
  • Swinderby
  • Marham
  • Leuchars
  • Little Rissington
  • Waterbeach
  • 2 TAF
  • Cranwell
  • 2 TAF
  • Duxford
  • Aldergrove

    NAME:


  • Nagle PM
  • Lovelace JR
  • Henry GJ
  • Kelly WE
  • Ripley G
  • Roberts GW
  • Furner RG
  • Bugden JH
  • Walters RGA
  • Ward G
  • Brown K
  • Guy MB
  • Jenner GE
  • Storrow PL
  • McLanachan G
  • Johnson EV
  • Knight JL
  • Richardson RE
  • Johnson M
  • Senior M
  • Cruickshank C
  • Littlecott DF
  • Gaunt T
  • Smith BJ
  • Hibbens AC
  • Bremner JR
  • Rowe HF
  • Wood JD
  • Walker A
  • Hindley R
  • Liddell
  • Robins MV
  • Brook RWH
  • Hodges J
  • Strachan J
  • Barty EW
  • McLellan DC
  • Pascoe AN
  • Hayward JE
  • Brownill A
  • Cox RJ
  • Goodacre DR
  • Hughes DE
  • Roberts RL
  • Head KEJ
  • Martin NR
  • Coxon GJ
  • Squires J
  • Thompson MA
  • Dunn PJ
  • Kynock ER
  • Fry TG
  • Taylor ATR
  • Walker JA
  • Wagstaff EC
  • McConnell MJ
  • Payne JE
  • Peto ER
  • Kennell GD
  • Oliver JA
  • Walden-Hughes PPF
  • Knights DW
  • Beston ED
  • Longhurst R
  • Stanley MD
  • Howells MI
  • Penney CC
  • Ottoway A
  • Richmond RB
  • Quick MH
  • Pinn J
  • Sidgwick DD
  • Blackman KA
  • Simkins JAH
  • Waldock RJ
  • Tomsett GC
  • Cooke JP
  • Conway PJ
  • Luesley RE
  • Butters CW
  • Chilton GC
  • Humphreys JM
  • Robertson JF
  • Moore J
  • Jarman PL
  • Copley NA
  • Williams AF
  • Goodwin BJ
  • Faulkner R
  • Renton-Cooper DE
  • Lowther JA
  • Carss JW
  • Thorpe DA
  • Galbraith RA
  • Hughes DW

    POSTING:


  • Thorney Island
  • 2 TAF
  • Ballykelly
  • Aldergrove
  • Middleton St George
  • Lyneham
  • Abingdon
  • 2 TAF
  • 2 TAF
  • Cottesmore
  • Scampton
  • 2 TAF
  • Wattisham
  • West Raynham
  • Leeming
  • Abingdon
  • St Mawgan
  • West Raynham
  • Kinloss
  • Church Fenton
  • Singapore
  • Balleykelly
  • Lindholme
  • Honington
  • Cottesmore
  • Honington
  • Lyneham
  • 2 TAF
  • Swinderby
  • Cyprus
  • Marham
  • Duxford
  • Cottesmore
  • Lyneham
  • Wittering
  • 2 TAF
  • 2 TAF
  • Ruislip
  • Duxford
  • West Raynham
  • Waddington
  • Cottesmore
  • Cottesmore
  • 2 TAF
  • Marham
  • west Raynham
  • Gaydon
  • 2 TAF
  • Middleton St George
  • Wittering
  • Cottesmore
  • Cyprus
  • Waterbeach
  • Leuchars
  • Wattisham
  • West Raynham
  • Duxford
  • Singapore
  • Wattisham
  • Abingdon
  • 2 TAF
  • Cottesmore
  • Cranwell
  • Cyprus
  • 2 TAF
  • Chivenor
  • 2 TAF
  • Swinderby
  • Cottesmore
  • 2 TAF
  • Cottesmore
  • Valley
  • Lindholme
  • ?????????
  • 2 TAF
  • Valley
  • Middleton St George
  • St Mawgan
  • Cottesmore
  • Little Rissington
  • Kinloss
  • 2 TAF
  • 2 TAF
  • Swinderby
  • Binbrook
  • Aldergrove
  • Wyton
  • Cranwell
  • St Athan
  • 2 TAF
  • Binbrook
  • Abingdon
  • Cottesmore
  • Kinloss
  • Valley

You will have noticed the anomaly in the above lists; there are only 190 names - 681185 Simkins JAH (Engines) definitely graduated 178th in the Order of Merit but was omitted from the postings list. I have no idea why this happened; does anyone have any idea either where he was posted to, or know of a reason for this omision?

What happened to the 33 of our originals who sat but failed the final examinations? Well these two lists that follows are the best I can come up with:

    RECOURSED TO THE 82nd:


  • Avery RE
  • Cairns IH
  • Cooper MJ
  • Cottrell IF
  • Cowan TW
  • Duke RA
  • Jones NW
  • Anderson FA
  • Blake DMP
  • Crocombe LJ
  • Whittle RH
  • Cross D
  • Goldstone MF
  • Harris BD

    RECOURSED TO THE 82nd:


  • Shipp JW
  • Spencer BD
  • Gibbins RJB
  • Keay BPJ
  • Storer IDT
  • Throsby R
  • Winters MR
  • England AL
  • Fisher AB
  • Jones KJ
  • Lill IA
  • Sanderson J
  • Waghorn A

    NO RECORD:


  • Melville JM
  • Chambers AH
  • Izzard BM JM
  • Carver P
  • Wright RA
  • Jarrat B

All the above lists relate to original 81st members, however there were others who had been recoursed, from the 78th, 79th and 80th, to join us so far back in our training that they had become very much part of the 81st; those of them who graduated with us, and their postings, were:

    Ex 79th:


  • Williams DCH (Inst)
  • White ET (Elect)
  • Mason MAA (Arm)
  • Rawlinson WT (Arm)
  • Woolley WJ (Arm)
  • Butcher RM (AF)
  • Breton AH (AF)
  • Jones FW (Arm)

    POSTING:


  • Ballykelly
  • St Eval
  • 2 TAF
  • Church Fenton
  • 2 TAF
  • 2 TAF
  • 2 TAF
  • Horsham St Faith

    Ex 80th:


  • Clark J
  • Lowe G (Arm>
  • East D'ON (Eng)
  • Barden J (Arm)

    POSTING:


  • Waddington
  • Gaydon
  • El Adem
  • Manby

Then there were those, like the above who had been with us for varying lengths of time, who failed to graduate with us:

    Ex 78th.


  • Branch CR (Elec)

    Ex 79th.


  • Hawley JC (Elec)
  • Hill VW (Elec)
  • Slade DNE (Arm)
  • Clack MA (Eng)

    Ex 80th.


  • Bristow RE (Elec)
  • Jarvis D (Elec)
  • Murphy TF (Elec)
  • La Garde AL
  • Cubbon MR (Elec)
  • Walton A (Arm)
  • Lane H (Eng)

Those of the 80th who had failed their own final examinations but were successful after being held back a term to re-take them with us, and therefore graduated with us were:

  • Bennet DJ (Eng)
  • O'Reilly J (Eng)
  • Haywood G (Arm)
  • Tanner MN (Arm)
  • Dunn ER (Inst)
  • Walton A (Arm)
  • Goodwin WV
  • Marshall WH (Inst)
  • Towsend DL (Inst)
  • Watts ME (Inst)
  • Sharp IW (Elec)
  • Witherspoon BD (Elec)
  • Barnes CA (AF)
  • Miles AC (AF)
  • Cane RF (AF)

Finally there were two Burmese apprentices who, I think, had been with us throughout (although, being unsure, I have omitted them from the first set of lists); on the Final Order of Merit they are highlighted as 'Satisfactorily completed the course although not reaching junior technician standard.' They were:

  • Hla Myint (Arm)
  • Lahpai (Arm)

TO SUMMARISE:


The 81st Entry started off with 331 aircraft apprentices and then, three years later and taking into account all the above details, a total of 220 took part in its Graduation Parade - just 190 out of the 331 were there, a loss rate of 43%. As the Commandant of No 1 S of TT, Air Commodore T N Coslett O.B.E. quoted at the time "This high wastage was the price which had to be paid for the maintainance of quality."




GRADUATION, 30 JUL 1958.

The following paragraphs are taken from The Halton Magazine, Volume XXⅼ, dated Autumn 1958.

The Graduation Parade of the 81st Entry of Aircraft Apprentices at Halton took place on the Henderson-Groves Parade Ground on 30 July, 1958. The Reviewing Officer was Air Chief Marshal Sir Walter Dawson, K.C.B., C.B.E., D.S.O., Air Member for Supply and Organisation. He was accompanied by Air Marshal Sir Arthur McDonald, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief Technical Training Command, Air Vice-Marshal H. D. Spreckley, C.B., O.B.E., Air Officer Commanding No. 24 Group, Air Commodore T. N. Coslett, O.B.E., Commandant of No. 1 School of Technical Training, Group Captain A. K. Hunter O.B.E., Senior Training Officer, Group Captain E. A. Stockwell, Principal Education Officer, and Wing Commander A. A. Pedder, Officer Commanding No. 1 Apprentice Wing.

The Parade was under the command of Warrant Officer Apprentice B H ('Tank') Martin, of the 81st entry. The following Apprentices were subordinate commanders:

  • Parade Adjutant
  • S/A/A E T (Eddie) White

  • Parade Warrant Officer
  • C/A/A J ('Chunky') Plumbley

  • Colour Bearer
  • F.S/A/A H W P (Bill) Verdin

  • Colour Warrant Officer
  • S/A/A J H T (John) Hathaway

  • Colour Escort
  • S/A/A P J (Pete) Perry
  • S/A/A A R (Tony) Jackson

  • Colour Orderly
  • A/A A R Thompson
  • Escort Squadron Commander
  • F.S/A/A H W F ('Hutch') Hutchinson

  • No. 1 Flight Commander
  • S/A/A M A A ('Mac') Mason

  • No. 2 Flight Commander
  • S/A/A M S (Mike) Johnson

  • No. 2 Squadron Commander
  • S/A/A E F (Eric) Stone

  • No. 1 Flight Commander
  • S/A/A D (Dave) Cooper

  • No. 2 Flight Commander
  • L/A/A R A Lucas

  • Standard Bearers
  • C/A/A A V Avis
  • C/A/A D Brooks

  • Apprentice i/c Supporting Entry
  • F.S/A/A D K (Doug) Pirie

  • Drum Major Pipe Band
  • A/A J (Jack) Squires

81st ENTRY CADETSHIPS:

Something I only recently found out about was that the top thirteen in our order of merit were, at some stage, intervewed as possible winners of Cadetships: out of the thirteen four subsequently received them:

Prize Cadetships in the Technical Branch were awarded to:

F.S/A/A H W P (Bill) Verdin.
S/A/A P J (Pete) Perry.

A Cadetship in the Technical Branch was awarded to:

F.S/A/A H W F ('Hutch') Hutchinson.

A Cadetship in the General Duties Branch was awarded to:

S/A/A M S (Mike) Johnson.

PRIZE WINNERS:

Monsignor Beauchamp Memorial Prize.

The late Monsignor Beauchamp was Principal Roman Catholic Chaplin for the Royal Air Force and for almost 20 years Roman Catholic Chaplin at Halton. On his death a fund was raised to provide, amongst other presentations, a book prize to the best all-round Apprentice graduating with each Entry:

Winner - F.S/A/A H W P (Bill) Verdin.

Pioneer Trophy.

Presented by the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Naval Air Service Ex-Boys' Association to the Apprentice who obtains the highest marks in all tchnical training subjects at the final examination of each Entry.

Winner - S/A/A P J (Pete) Perry.

Crebbin-Robinson Cup.

At the 1936 Model Engineering Exhibition, held in London, certain examples of basic exercises carried out by Apprentices at Halton were on display. These exhibits were admired by a Dr Robinson and a Mr Crebbin who kindly offered a Cup for the best Trade Standards Practical Fitting Test at the final examination of each Entry.

Winner- A/A R G Etsell.

Elliott Memorial Prize.

Mr R D Elliott was Sir Alan Cobham's ground engineer during his many flights to India and South Africa in the early 1920s. In 1926 Mr Elliott was killed during the first England to Australia flight. In 1927 a Memorial Prize was awarded by the Royal Aeronautical Society to be presented to the Apprentice who gained the highest marks in English and General Studies at the final examination of each Entry.

Winner - S/A/A P J (Pete) Perry.

Quinton Memorial Trophy.

On 13th August 1951 Flt Lt J A Quinton sacrificed his life in saving an ATC Cadet when both were flying in an aircraft which was involved in a mid-air collision. For this supreme act of gallantry Flt Lt Quinton was posthumously awarded the George Cross. As a mark of esteem all ATC Cadets at that time subscribed one penny per head so that the Quinton Memorial Trophy could be presented to the best all-round ex ATC Cadet graduating with each Entry at Halton.

Winner - F.S/A/A H W P (Bill) Verdin.

AIR MINISTRY PRIZES:

Highest in the Order of Merit, all subjects:

S/A/A P J (Pete) Perry.

Highest in the Order of Merit, educational subjects:

  • First Prize:
  • Second Prize:
  • Third Prize:
  • S/A/A P J (Pete) Perry
  • F.S/A/A H W P (Bill) Verdin
  • S/A/A MS (Mike) Johnson

Best "Set Task" General Studies:

A/A R L (Roy) Roberts.

Highest in Order of Merit, General Service Efficiency:

  • First Prize:
  • Second Prize:
  • Third Prize:
  • F.S/A/A H W P (Bill) Verdin
  • S/A/A MAA (Mac) Mason
  • F.S/A/A HWF (Hutch) Hutchinson

Highest Average for Practical Fitting over the three year course:

S/A/A MS (Mike) Johnson.

BEST TRADESMEN IN TRADE STANDARDS TRADE TEST:

  • Airframe Fitter 1st
  • Airframe Fitter 2nd
  • Armament Fitter 1st
  • Armament Fitter 2nd
  • Electrical Fitter (Air)
  • Electrical Fitter (Ground)
  • Engine Fitter
  • Instrument Fitter (Nav)
  • Instrument Fitter (Gen)
  • S/A/A PJ (Pete) Perry
  • A/A W Thompson
  • L/A/A/ RG (Dick) Bingham
  • A/A TCD (Terry) Martin
  • L/A/A JG Russell
  • C/A/A WG (Bill) Thomas
  • F.S/A/A HWP (Bill) Verdin
  • C/A/A DCH Williams
  • A/A RG Etsell

Apart from those who gained Cadetships there were a further 9 who were promoted to Corporal (speaking personally, a doubtful privilege, as I found out on arrival at 229 OCU where they were hoping for an Airframe JNCO with considerably more experience than the 19 year old boy that turned up!). Those 9 promoted, probably as surprised as myself, became:

  • Cpl NS (Nip) Armiger
  • Cpl RA Lucas
  • Cpl MP (Spud) Murphy
  • Cpl D (Dave) Cooper
  • Cpl AW (Arthur) Hague
  • Cpl JC Edwards
  • Cpl AC (Gerty) Gates
  • Cpl JHT (John) Hathaway
  • Cpl B (Brian) Spurway

AIRFIELD SQUADRON TROPHY:

C/A/A KG (Ken) Francis

I have absolutely no memory of this trophy being presented, or even of its existence, and it was only very recently that Ken has pointed out the error of my ways - if only that was all that had slipped from my grasp regarding those far off days! Anyway, now reminded, I have approached the RAFHAA archivist to find out more about the Airfield Squadron Trophy; nothing regarding it has ever appeared in my records or in my several old copies of the Halton Magazine. Ken is searching for photos both of the trophy itself and his presentation but in the meantime has written this interesting slant on it; I think it better here than as a Journal article.

It was back in the mists of time! Was it really the year of 55 in the month of Sep, when the young man, of barely 16 seasons, first came to the hills called Chiltern?

With him came over 300 others, including such worthies as Albert of England, Kingy of Guy, Ron of Furner, Robert of Longhurst, Sid of Fowler, Mickey of Dymond, Lawrence of Minton, Brian of Spurway, Bill of Morley, Steve of Parsons, Bill of Johnson, John of Hathaway, Alan of Humphrey, Graham of Enfield and Terry of Gaunt. Together they became known as the 'Entry of 81'.

Nestling within these hills, there lay a hollow, containing the Wings of Yellow, of Red and of Blue; 'twas the hallowed Land of the Brats - Halton.

In the beginning the Wing of Yellow was the place of dwelling for the Entry of 81. However demonic powers were lurking above, stirring the cauldron that contained this particular brew. Thus at Yuletide of 55 the Entry of 81 was stirred, agitated and blown about such that, although some remained in the Wing of Yellow, other came to rest in the Wings of Red and Blue. All this period of upheaval became known generally as the passing over of the 'Death of the Spirit of Entry', its manner proportionately affecting entries of a lower number than 81.

At some later point during the Year of One, in the Wing of Blue, somewhere deep in the Barracks of Grove, the young man (and others) sat listening, wide-eyed, to an older man who wore his collar back to front, this man was known as 'Padre'. "Ye of year one", said Padre, "beware the Year of Two, the entry of 77 is in its clutches as I speak, they are suffering greatly from the malaise known as '2nd year blues' - doubtless most of them will survive - but brace yourselves - you also will there within dwell." The young man absorbed this with interest and decided, instead of fighting this malaise, he would embrace it wholeheartedly and thus not be undermined. It was a plan of undoubted cunning, it worked.

Results from the Hall of Kermode and the Shops of Work were suitably degraded and the Year of Two was survived.

In the Year of Three there was a phase defined by the donning of an outer garment known as the 'Mac of Trog'. The normal hazardous daily running the gauntlet of the Point of Main was heightened whilst wearing a Mac of Trog. One day, having successfully descended from the Square of Grove and Henderson (overlooked by the baleful Eye of Pimple), the young man was, without ceremony, removed from the safety of his accompanying flight. His persecutor was the evil troll (Sqn Ldr Taylor??) who lurked at the Point of Main looking for victims amongst those bearing the Ma(r)c of Trog (This happened despite the wailing of the pipes intended to ward off evil spirits). "Tell me", said the evil troll "is it because you are of the Entry of 81 that you wear your beret with its badge above the centre of your forehead instead of above your left eye?" The young man gulped and looked him squarely in the eye (did he only have one?) and replied "With all due respect sir, your beret is being worn such that your cap badge is over your left ear." (which was as great a sin as being over the forehead). This so threw the evil troll that, with a twinkle in his eye he said, "Touché - away with you to the Field of Air."

Thus did the young man survive his confrontation with the evil troll - others were not as fortunate.

Following the phase of Trog, safely back in the Airframe Shops of Work, much was the astonishment of the young man to learn that he had been awarded a prize related to The Field of Air (in fact a metal bird known as Victor).

Apparently his joyful plunge into the '2nd year blues' and the appropriate lowering of his results therein resulted in his winning the 'Airfield Squadron Trophy', which took into account improvements between the Years of Two and Three.

I wrote emails to the webmasters of the 82nd and 83rd to ask if anyone from either had heard of this Airfield Squadron Trophy and within a day or two Ken Nicholas, who had been medically re-coursed to the 83rd, contacted me; he was the 83rd's winner of it. Some coincidence this, two winners of the trophy, both 81st, both Airframes and both called Ken! I'm still waiting from he of the 82nd to respond.




AFTERWARDS:


A FEW THINGS SAID ABOUT US:


THE COMMANDANT:

In his report at our Graduation Prize Giving, in the Burnett Gymnasium, the Commandant recalled that his predecessor had noted in the 80th Entry a much better spirit than in preceeding entries; he was assured by his staff that we had bettered even the 80th in this respect. In view of our good spirit and our sound attainment in training he believed that we were leading the way to a general improvement in the quality of the Halton Apprentice.

In educational training our achievements were particularly gratifying with an average mark in the final examination that had been equalled only once in the post-war period and that had been six years previously. Some 20% of us had been awarded the Ordinary National Certificate in Electrical and Mechanical Engineering whilst in the General Certificate of Education 80 of our number had obtained a total of 102 passes. A further 2 had broken new grounds by taking Mathematics at G.C.E. Advanced Level (he didn't say they had passed!). These excellent results, he said, were a just reward for our keenness and diligence.

We had shown an above average interest in the cultural (?) activities and hobbies run by the Halton Society, particularly in the Handicrafts Club and the Halton Branch of the Royal Aeronautical Society; apparently the churches would also miss our co-operation and enthusiasm.

He rated us as comparable with preceeding entries in all other respects - trade and general service training, discipline and band activities. In the field of sport we had assisted in the breaking of 13 Halton apprentice records.