Former RAF Halton Apprentices remember their roots

On September 21ST, RAF Halton once again hosted the Halton Apprentice Association Triennial reunion. This was the 33rd anniversary of the event with 950 former Apprentices who trained at No 1 School of Technical Training, “On Parade”.

Although an overcast sky threatened rain it but did not spoil the day, the purpose of which was to bring old comrades together to share memories and provide the opportunity to see how today’s young Airmen and Airwomen set out on their career pathways. A number of the recruits had helped in the refurbishment of the memorial to Polish Apprentices who trained at Halton during WW2.

After a splendid lunch, the Entries represented marched and paraded for the Sunset Ceremony under the watchful eye of our President, Halton’s Station Commander, Group Captain Simon Harper, and to the sounds of the “Golden Oldies” Association Pipe Band and RAF Halton Voluntary Band; the oldest marcher being 92 years of age. The parade was ably guided by Warrant Officer Crossley and his drill instructors of Recruit Training Squadron; and still the rain held off.

Following the Sunset Ceremony, the traditional march down from Henderson Parade Square to St George’s Church took place to the majestic sound of the pipes and drums, including several renditions of the Black Bear. The Association was honoured to have the Queen’s Colour of Number One School of Technical Training, now at RAF Cosford, and originally presented at Halton in 1952, on parade.

Following the Service conducted by the Reverend (Wg Cdr) Tony Gilbert which ended the days formal events, Min Larkin of the 63rd Entry and Deputy Chairman for many years, finally handed over the baton to Duncan Grant, formally of the 99th Entry.

Halton Apprentice Chairman, Group Captain (Ret’d) Geoff Burton, an ex apprentice of 100th Entry, and Station Commander of RAF Halton 1992-24, said: “As always, such an excellent occasion was only made possible by the magnificent support the Association receives from RAF Halton. Special mention should be made of Warrant Officer John Porter, who project managed the Station’s involvement, which required support from almost all departments on the Station, who rose to the challenge and ensured the day was a great success. To them all we send our sincere thanks.”