Halton Apprentices Tribute
Air Marshal Julian Young was the special guest this week as the Halton Aircraft Apprentices held their Annual Service of Dedication and Act of Remembrance.
The Station Commander, Group Captain Katherine Wilson, was in attendance as they gathered at St George’s Church for the Dedication Service and after marched to the Tribute in front of Kermode Hall where a wreath laying ceremony took place.
The Station Warrant Officer, Ian Giles, organised a lining party of Servicemen Awaiting Trade Training, SATTs, and RAF Northolt provided the Last Post and Reveille. Musical accompaniament for the march to the Tribute was provided by The Golden Oldies. After the formal commemorations, a buffet lunch was served in Halton House Officers’ Mess, after which, Air Marshal Young left to act as Reviewing Officer for the Gradaution Parade of Douglas Intake at Recruit Training Squadron.
Following the reorganisation of Air Mechanic Training in 1917, Halton was selected as the main centre for the training of vast numbers of air mechanics then needed for the rapidly expanding Royal Flying Corps. It was designated The School of Technical Training and, between 1917 and 1921, trained many thousands of men, women and boys for the RFC and the RAF.
However, Halton will principally be remembered for its famous Aircraft Apprentice Scheme created in 1920 by Lord Trenchard. Under this scheme boys aged 15/17 who had received a good secondary education were able to undergo a three year apprenticeship in aircraft engineering trades. Ex-apprentices formed the bedrock for the enormous expansion of the Service which started in the mid-1930s to counter the massive rearmament then being undertaken by Nazi Germany. They and their successors went on to be the backbone of RAF’s engineering support during WW II, the Cold War and beyond.
Since 1917, Halton has provided over a century of service as a centre of excellence for the Technical, Medical and Administrative training essential to the operational efficiency of the Royal Air Force during conflict and peace.
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