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The Unofficial 203 Entry craft apprentices web site

No 1 School of Technical Training, RAF Halton, Aylesbury, Bucks




STOP PRESS - 203rd entry now have a Facebook Page at 203rd entry's Facebook page and the Old Haltonian social network

       Click here to go to the 203 entry official web site

A 203rd entry Paver has been laid at the Halton Grove at the National Memorial Aboretum at Alrewas. In addition, we have laid pavers for J/T Paul Bricklebank (d1967) and W/O Geoff Hoyland (d1999), who both died in service.

To mark the passing out of the 83 apprentices, the 45th anniversary reunion took place at Rhyaeder in mid-Wales on 7-10 June 2012. A good turnout was noted as many ex-brats of 203 entry had attended the RAFHAA triennial reunions in September 2004, 2007 and 2010 and the several entry reunions that have been held over the last few years. Jim Glass' widow, Julie, attended the dinner we held on the Saturday night. Details of the next reunion are available from Tony Missen, who lives in Hirwaun, Aberdare, in South Wales. Tony is the entry secretary. The next RAFHAA Triennial Reunion will take place at RAF Halton on 21 September 2013.

This is the unofficial web site for ex-apprentices of 203 entry, No 1 School of Technical Training, RAF Halton (1965 - 1967), which has been produced by Stuart Morgan. 203 entry joined the RAF in May 1965, the third entry of Craft Apprentices. We passed out on 21 April 1967.

At the 2007 entry reunion a decision to purchase and install a stained glass window in the St George's Church at RAF Halton was made by the 29 ex-brats who attended the reunion. The window commemorates the entry. This window was installed at the beginning of September 2007. A dedication service and entry reunion was held at Halton in April 2008 to coincide with the 41st anniversary of our passing out parade. Entry reunions have taken place on an annual basis since then.

Over the years some members have gone to the their final postings. Regrettably, Ian Ash, Paul Bricklebank, Jim Glass, Geoff Hoyland, Dave Skingsley, and Dave Still are now deceased.

Craft apprentice scheme

As the craft apprentice scheme started, the Wilson Government was just at the point of cancelling the production of TSR2, one of the most advanced bomber aircraft in the world, and ordering F111 aircraft from the US. The development of TSR2 had created the need to train technicians in new methods and in a shorter period than previously undertaken. The new breed of aircraft technicians were to be trained as in two years, unlike the three year training of aircraft apprentices. However, the craft apprentices would still pass out as Junior Technicians, the same rank as the aircraft apprentice scheme. When 203 entry was recruited, TSR2 was scrapped and a hasty rewrite of the syllabus was made, thus enabling the new Craft Apprentices to do the same work, on passing out, as the aircraft apprentices. However, like TSR2, the decision to buy F111 aircraft was also scrapped - in 1968.

The entry list and details of first postings

At the end of the training period, brats from 203 entry made a daring plan to sent a detachment to the Royal Military College at Sandhurst to borrow a cannon. After a recognisance mission, the cannon was duly taken silently in the dark of the night, from under the noses of an army guard, and transported on a trailer to the Henderson parade square at RAF Halton. The following morning, the entry were duly paraded and punished for this audacious prank. Rather than apologise to the Army, the entry made a donation to a charity - the RAF Benevolent Fund!! Details of the heroic prank were widely reported included entries in the Bucks Herald and RAF News (dated 6 May 1967).

Members of the entry still recall with great pride the escapade that nearly ended in all members of the entry being court martialled.

Last updated: Date 23 June 2012


Author: Stuart Morgan


Copyright Stuart A Morgan 1998 2012