Time stands still for RAF Halton

Jane Reilly  |  Published: Sep 20th 2018

A Time Capsule has been placed into the ground at the Lister Lines Trench System by outgoing Station Commander Gp Capt James Brayshaw in the presence of serving RAF Halton personnel and members of the local community. The burying of the capsule marked the end of a six- month project organised by individuals from across the whole force at RAF Halton.

The time capsule itself was meticulously crafted from titanium over 40 hours of labour by RAF Halton’s workshop team with design guidance from the Project Officers, Squadron Leader Toby Watkins and Flying Officer Conor Maguire. RAF Halton memorabilia, hand written letters, magazines, donated items and photographs make up just some of the contents of the time capsule. The range of items included hope to provide an insight into the history and heritage of the Station whilst recognising the contribution of RAF Halton personnel to the wider Royal Air Force over a 100-year history up to the recent RAF 100 celebrations. The sight is marked with a concrete plinth and commemorative brass plaque and it is hoped the time capsule will remain in place at the RAF Halton Heritage trenches for 100 years.

The capsule was designed, made and welded by Clive Puddifoot from Station Workshops and Jamie Holdforth cut the metal and made it ready for welding.  It is made of stainless steel titanium to avoid corrosion.  The craftsmanship gone in plays homage to the care that the whole team within Station Workshops does.

Group Captain Brayshaw addressed the gathered guests including Servicemen Awaiting Trade Training, SATTS, Station Executives, Heritage staff and members of the Workshops Team, saying: “I am always surprised by the quality of the work that comes out of Workshops and I shouldn’t be because once again they have turned out something of such high quality.  The Open Day and the burial of the Time Capsule heralds the end of RAF Halton’s commemoration of RAF100 and the Joint Graduation Parade on 4 October will be the end of celebrations for the Country.  I am actually extremely humbled to be immortalised in brass for all to see.”

Squadron Leader Watkins, who is Vice Chairman of the Heritage Committee and Chairman of the  Trench Committee, who oversaw the project, welcomed everyone to the ceremony, saying: “This site was chosen as the place to bury the capsule as it was here that the whole RAF story began. In the start training young men for the Western Front and still going on today, training young people to serve. I was keen that the artefacts inside the capsule reflected the long and varied history of this unit.  Items selected included workmanship from the apprentices, items related to phase one training, and of course a range of RAF 100 memorabilia that pay homage to the Station’s role as the base for the Parade in London on 10 July.” Describing the contents, he added: “Halton is a special unit for me having done my trade training here over 20 years ago. Thanks to our founder, Lord Trenchard, training and ethos are in the very DNA of this station we hope the contents reflect that. The capsule itself is such a fantastic piece of craftsmanship by our workshops; it’s a really pity to have to bury it in the ground!”

Reverend (Squadron Leader) Dave Skillen explained that this was a very positive occasion and he was here because he was asking God to cast an eye in this direction and give his blessing.

Workshops Supervisor, Mick Higgins, said that a lot of hard team work had taken place, carrying three cement mixer loads to make the pit for the capsule after digging the hole, as it is buried quite deep. He continued: “I am extremely proud of my staff for rising to the task of a request not many Workshops sections would receive. From the start of the planning to the final Capsule I have been proud of everyone involved.”

the time capsule closeup
the time capsule plaque
the time capsule in the workshop
the time capsule
Gp Capt Brayshaw
group photo
All images Crown Copyright.
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