Entry to the No 1 School of Technical Training RAF Halton was by examination and the deal was that in return for three years training, both academic and technical, you would pass out as a qualified aircraft technician and serve for a minimum of 12 years from the age of eighteen.
All aircraft apprentices are, or rather were, known as Trenchard’s Brats, or just Brats, as the apprentice system was the brain child of Lord Trenchard, the first Marshall of the Royal Air Force.
The 77th entry had a number of apprentices from overseas Air Forces including, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), New Zealand and Burma (now Myanmar).
The technical trades available to train as fitters were, Armaments, Airframes, Engines, Electricians (Air & Ground), and Instruments (General & Navigation). After 3 years we “Passed Out” on April 17th 1957 and by that time our numbers had reduced to 181, having lost some 103 but gained some 64 from other entries.
This is the short version of our history, and we hope to add more anecdotal tales of those three years as this web site develops. Rest assured there was more to it than just parades, school and spit and polish! See Our Pass Out Parade report from the Haltonian Magazine here.
The “Apprentice Wheel” shown left was worn by all apprentices on the arms of the uniform, with a background colour depicting the squadron you where you were located. Red was 1 Squadron, Orange 2 Squadron and Green 3 Squadron. Your Wing was denoted by your cap band, Red for 1 Wing, Blue 2 Wing, and Yellow 3 Wing. We certainly had the most colourful outfits in the RAF, bar the Air Rank Officers at the time!