The 76th Entry of Aircraft Apprentices.

 

 

Halton and Locking.
 
 

 24/11/2014  Added account of the Cardiff Reunion.

27/11/2014   Entered modified "Whole Entry" listing.

16/12/3014  Added, "Interesting Find In The Chilterns".

22/12/2014 Added Stacey letter to Halton Mag.

 
 
 
The 11th Reunion of the 76th Entry of Aircraft Apprentoces.
 Held over the weekend of 25th &26th October 2014 at the Copthorne Hotel
 

 

The 11th Biennial Reunion of the 76th Entry, Halton and Locking, was held at the Copthorne Hotel, Cardiff from the 24th to 26th of October 2014.  About 50 people, including wives and partners, attended.  A notable absentee was our Secretary, Roger Harvey, who was unwell, and greetings were sent to him.

 

The formal part of the reunion began with a dinner on the Saturday evening.  Members were ‘piped in’ by a local piper, with John Ritchie, formerly of 2 Wing pipe-band, accompanying on his side drum.  After the meal, toasts were proposed, and the Chairman, Revd Andrew MacKenzie then addressed the assembled company.  In his speech he noted how that when we graduated, the Hunter was the ‘state of the art’ fighter – a far cry from today’s electronic, carbon fibre boxes of tricks.  Not only the RAF has changed, but change has come into every part of our lives.

 

Ted Le Count and his wife, Norma, organised their raffle, which has become a tradition.  As usual, there were excellent prizes, including, for the second reunion running, a beautiful hand-crafted clock, made by ex-Locking member, John Austin.  The raffle raised £250.

 

Keith Niblett was thanked for his sterling work in organising the even, even though he was somewhat confused as to whether it was Locking or Cosford where radar fitters were trained!

 

The rest of the evening was relaxed, and given over to chatting.  We dropped the idea of dancing several reunions ago, as nobody seemed very interested. 

 

On the Sunday morning, the General Meeting was held, when various items of business were dealt with, including whether or not we wished to stay in touch with widows.  It would be interesting to hear what other Entries do in this respect.

 

The next Biennial will be held on the last weekend of October 2016, when we shall celebrate the 60th Anniversary of our Graduation.

 Andrew MacKenzie 589400

 

The pictures following were taken by John Ritchie! Through a fear of getting names wrong, I have not anotated them! Unfortunately I was unable to attend this reunion, but from reports received it was an outstanding success.

Roger Harvey 589289.

 

 

 

    

 

               

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

          

 

 

 

 

                                               

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 76th Entry arrived at RAF Halton, the home of The No.1 School of Technical Training, on 19 January 1954.

The Entry was made up of 265 Apprentices, including four Ceylonese and four Rhodesians. During the next three years the original intake was considerably reduced by members getting, Recoursed, Transferred to a Skilled Trade, Free discharge, Medical discharge, Purchased discharge, Expelled etc. In fact 82 who joined originally, did not pass out with the 76th Entry, however 30 of these did pass out with later entries.

During the three years at Halton we were joined by 57 apprentices from other entries, so that the 76th Entry Graduation Parade, on a cold and frosty day, 19 December 1956, consisted of 205 Apprentices.

300 apprentices were at some time in the 76th! All of the 76th Entry started life in No.2(A) Apprentice Wing (housed in Groves barracks). The Engine trade being in No.1 Squadron, Airframes and Armourers in No.2 Squadron, and Electrical and Instruments in No.3

On arrival in January 1954 The 76th became the third Entry housed in No.2 Wing. Already resident were the 70th and the 73rd Entries. Re-organisation took place after the 70th passed out in December 1954. The 73rd were all located in No.2 Wing, 1 Squadron, the 76th in 2 Squadron, and the 79th in 3 Squadron. This particular arrangement brought in to focus the rivalries between entries.

In No.2 Wing particularly, rivalry between the 76th and the 73rd, coming to a head with a major battle on the eve of the 73rd pass out, most enjoyable, but very costly in terms of damage to property! This sort of action was mirrored in Nos.1 and 3 Wings. Perhaps as a result of the 76th / 73rd confrontation, another reorganisation took place at the beginning of 1956, with the 76th, and all other entries being evenly distributed over the 9 squadrons making up the three wings, in an attempt to eliminate conflict (hooliganism / entry spirit). Entry spirit however managed to survive the final year, indeed it's still alive in 2014!

To see who we have on the books see the listing links below.

 

Happenings at Halton, 1954 - 1956.

1954

1st January Air Commodore Tindal-Carill-Worsley CB CBE assumed command.
19th January 76th Entry (2W) arrived, consisting of RAF 257, RCyAF 4 and RRhAF 4.
4th April Wing Commander WG Brinn DFC DFM posted in to command 3(A) Wing.
13th April 68th Entry (1W) passed out. 242 plus 37 recoursed from previous, 59 retained for further training, 37 discharged, 183 passed out.
11th May 77th Entry (1W) arrived, consisting of RAF 196, RNZAF 6, RCyAF 7 and Burma AF 12.
26th July 69th Entry (3W) passed out. 357 plus 38 recoursed from previous, 74 retained for further training, 63 discharged, 258 passed out.
7th September 78th Entry (3W) arrived, consisting of RAF 303 and RRhAF 1.
15th December 70th Entry (2W) passed out. 223 plus 64 recoursed from previous, 40 retained for further training, 54 discharged, 184 passed out.

1955

19th January 79th Entry (2W) arrived, consisting of RAF 298, RCyAF 7 and RRhAF 3.
14th March Wing Commander FH Stubbs AFC DFM posted in to command 2W, vice Wing Commander E Donovan DFC, posted to Coastal Command.
6th April 71st Entry (1W) passed out. 175 plus 44 recoursed from previous, 33 retained for further training, 26 discharged, 133 passed out
18th April 80th Entry (1W) arrived, consisting of RAF 234, RCyAF 3, RRhAF 5, RNZAF 6 and Burma AF 13.
27th May Wing Commander WDG Watkins DSO DFC DFM posted in to command 1W, vice Wing Commander HA Paton.
27th July 72nd Entry (3W) passed out. 346 plus 47 recoursed from previous, 61 retained for further training, 85 discharged, 247 passed out.
7th September 81st Entry (3W) arrived, consisting of RAF 332.
9th October Nine Venezuelan AF apprentices arrived for English language training before joining an entry.
15th October Wing Commander P Peters OBE DFC posted in to command 3W vice Wing Commander WG Brinn DFC DFM posted to HQ Maintenance Command.
15th December 73rd Entry (2W) passed out. 229 plus 37 recoursed from previous, 35 retained for further training, 44 discharged, 176 passed out.

1956

1st January The organisation of the Wings into Squadrons by Entries, which had been introduced in January 1955 was abandoned and Apprentice Wings re allocated so that all Entries were evenly distributed throughout all Wings, Squadrons and Flights. The Squadrons by Entries system was abandoned for the following amongst other reasons.
1. Loyalty to the Entry appeared to be greater than loyalty to the Flight, Squadron, Wing, Station or Service.
2. Mass bullying on an Entry basis, ie organised in gangs by the worst element in the Senior Entries was prevalent and growing.
3. Segregation of Entries prevented apprentices from getting progressive experience in responsibility for juniors.
8th January 82nd Entry arrived, consisting of RAF 265.
9th February Lord Trenchard dies.
28th March 74th Entry passed out. 233 plus 41 recoursed from previous, 35 retained for further training, 43 discharged, 137 passed out.
18th April 83rd Entry arrived, consisting of RAF 202, RRhAF 5, RNZAF 7 and Venezuelan AF 9.
24th April The Freedom of Aylesbury Parade, lead by the 76th Entry. On parade were 24 Officers, 10 WOs, 40 SNCOs, 513 Apprentices, 160 Airmen and 58 Airwomen.
May 76th Entry at Summer Camp. RAF Woodvale.
14th May Air Commodore ED McK Nelson CB ADC posted in to command vice Air Commodore GNE Tindal-Carill-Worsley CB CBE posted to FEAF.
1st August 75th Entry passed out. 370 plus 56 recoursed from previous, 56 retained for further training, 57 discharged, 289 passed out.
10th September 84th Entry arrived, consisting RAF 315.
November The Suez Crisis. The station ordered to make a 10% saving in commodities and to increase the rate of saving over the next few months.
19th December 76th Entry passed out. 265 plus 57 recoursed from previous, 63 retained for further training, 54 discharged, 205 passed out

 

INTERESTING FIND IN THE CHILTERNS

OR

THE MISSING LINK

 

When Senor G. O. Rilla. Anthropologist died two years ago, it was a widespread belief in scientific circles that he failed in his quest to prove that man evolved from the ape. Now, however, new facts have been brought to light showing that he did find what was hitherto referred to as, "the missing link".

 

Apparently and by accident, he made this remarkable discovery while on a visit to this country as guest of The Royal Society of Anthropologists, for in some of his recently discovered notes this is what he had In say on the subject.

 

“Acting on a sudden impulse while walking in Buckinghamshire one day, I glanced over my shoulder to see a most amazing creature. It was human in form and copied human mannerisms well enough to deceive a layman, but the gleam of animal cunning in its eyes was quite plain to an experienced anthropologist like myself. It aroused my curiosity and I decided to learn all I could about it. Being in the vicinity of Halton I named the creature Haltonorum Apprenticorum”.

 

Careful to avoid detection, I followed the brute for a short distance and to my great joy found that it had led me to a large colony of the same species. After studying their habits and way of life for several years I am now in a position to set down the following facts:

 

Haltonorum Apprenticorum is a young male biped, possesses a unique character and weird habits and speaks a dialect of English not to be heard anywhere else in the world. Usually harmless, the creature becomes a real menace on the few occasions when it starts to think. Singly it is known as an oaf, clot or yob. A group of them may be referred to as a shower or rabble.

 

On its arrival at Halton the potential apprenticorum is quite normal - that is, apart front its long hair, hand-painted tie and a firm conviction that its promotion to Air Rank will come through in a day or two. It continues in this state for a further period of two days. On the third it enters in a new and creased uniform a little self-conscious but ready to do or die. As time progresses, however it does neither, it just takes life easily learning the best ways to avoid work and that the man with the white-topped hat does not sell ice cream.

 

At this stage of the proceedings, the senior members of the community i.e. the senior entry decide that it is time to take the newcomer in hand. They promptly do this, presumably to make a man of it, but I fear this is only a thinly veiled excuse to make it do all the dirty work possible. Naturally enough the rookie is loud in its protests, but a growled "If you don't keep yer trap shut, you'll get yer swede thumped", accompanied by the appropriate gesture of raised fists gives it a gentle hint that the incident would be best forgotten.

 

Senor G. O. Rill, goes on to say, I found that the apprenticorum had by the end of his first year of training adapted itself perfectly to its environment and acquired a wide vocabulary of .language. It speaks of a hat,  service dress, as a 'bull', the NAAFI as a 'tank' and all sergeants as ‘!!!!!s’. It harbours a deep suspicion of all policemen, senior NCOs and cookhouse kippers. It likes girls, lying in bed on Sunday and of course girls.

 

Like every other species of animal, Haltonorum Aprenticorum play games and get a big thrill from simple things like drenching each other with cold water, tipping beds, letting off fire extinguishers and smashing plates.

 

By the end of its third and last year at Halton, the apprenticorum has developed fully its low leaning towards blondes and beer. It is master of the art of skiving and just about ready to graduate. After the graduation parade Haltonorum Apprenticorum is given the benefit of the doubt and called a man. One would have thought that after its harrowing period at Halton, the apprenticorum would only be fit material for an insane asylum. This I am sad to say, is very true. It is completely barmy, crackers, or as they say at Halton, ‘harpic’!

 

It is all very sad, isn’t it?

 

B. Patton.

65th Entry.

 

Accredited  to the Halton Magazine January 1953 and to B Patton of the 65th Entry in particular.

Many thanks B. Patton for a great humorous piece!

Halton Magazine May 1954 

The following letter appeared in the May 1954 edition of the Halton Magazine. It was submitted by JKS of the 76th Entry. It was not difficult to work out that this must have been, John Stacey 589266, Engine Fitter. John did not pas out, I wonder does anyone know his fate? Here is the letter:

Sir.

     Why is it that the Halton Magazine is so conspicuously lacking in humour? Walking around the billets, providing that you know the right places to look, you can find drawings, rhymes and jokes galore. Surely on a camp this size something must get through to the right people. I am not alone in this complaint – I have heard similar complaints from the 70th and 73rd Entries.

                                                             Yours etc

                                                            JKS (76th)

The reply was:

We can assure readers that next to nothing in the humorous line gets through to the Right People – We only wish it did! – Ed.      

 Brave stuff eh? I hope that they didn’t mark his card!

RH

 

 

 

 

 

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Links

Locking Apprentice Association 

Halton Apprentice Association

76th Halton Faces, PDF document. LOADS SLOWLY!

Names of those who have attended all 76th reunions 1994 to present day.