(click on thumbnails to expand)
Below from Ken Henry who is the son of Cyril Henry of the 19th entry
Following from Tim Cherry (90th) who resides in France
In am located at Bourcefranc le
Chapus (17560) - close to the viaduct over to the Ile d'Oleron half
way up the west coast of France, but near to Rochefort where the local French Air Force base is the equivalent of Cosford;
I (sort of) made contact some time ago but my connection with them is very tenuous - please no requests to arrange visits !
However am just north of the Bordeaux wine region (St Emilion is about 90 miles south, and the Medoc starts 20 miles south also)
and just 40 Km west of Cognac so our access to good things is straightforward. A good UK community around the Charente Maritime;
about 300 families based between and around La Rochelle, St Jean d'Angely, Saintes and Royan: we have an anglo-french association
(Mrs C is the Secretary) see http://www.associationfrancoanglaise.eu for details. Also a lively RAFA branch - RAFA South-West - the
Chairperson (!!) is a lady sqn ldr (ret'd) who with her husband - also an ex sqn ldr - presides over about 150 members in the region.
Tim's email address should you wish to contact him is: email@example.com
Interesting information below from Ray Dunn (47th)
A great happening
in the experience of the 47th, and presumably any other entries that
Halton at the time, was the evacuation to Cosford. The reason for this mass evacuation is
questionable but it must have been in 1944 when the V1s and V2s were being directed at London.
They were not expected to hit Halton, unless the odd one did a dramatic overshoot, and one
tale was that parts of the Government were to be moved from the city into Halton,
for their safety. So our wings were cleared.
Our accommodation at Cosford was wooden huts. Our W.O. is reputed to have declared, ‘How am
I supposed to maintain discipline in this rabbit warren? It was a good question.
Dreadful tales were told concerning the sinks of immorality in the surrounding towns,
our releases into these areas were strictly limited.
Try as I might I cant remember class-room work during the Cosford stay, we must have done some.
There was lots of airfield time, very enjoyable. We were mixed in with civilian employees.
There was one strapping lass who would stalk out to the planes carrying an Hispano 20mm on each shoulder!
Cosford received planes from the factories, checked them over, test fired guns, armed them up and sent them on to squadrons.
We just pitched in and helped.
ATA pilots brought the planes in. I vividly remember a Spitfire coming in for a belly landing because the
undercarriage wouldnt come down; the wooden prop diminished in diameter as splinters flew off in clouds. Good landing otherwise.
A Lancaster made a perfectly normal landing, taxi d around and stopped. Door opened and a most diminutive young woman jumped down.
Don’t know how she reached the controls. What a long time it’s taken for women pilots to regain their place.
The 47th was the first entry to go back onto a 3 year course (43-46) following the 2year system during the war. Our Cosford
break was maybe the nearest we got to a taste of a wartime airfield life, distinct lack of discipline and bull.
Check out the following from Richard de Fraine (86th) and
on 13th April 1960 as the 30,000th Apprentice Graduate from Halton
The following from Al Bennett (219) regarding 'Barnie Meehan'
he was there as far back as 87th, unless he came back for second
helpings. I think Barney was his
nick name as that is what I remember him calling everyone which meant you never knew who was getting the
bollocking!! He was our DI in Typhoon flight when Dad dy Lewis left on promotion. Im sure he came up to 2 wing
with us when we moved after 218 passed out so dont know where that fits in with you having him
Below from Alan Gordon (61st)
In 1950 Electricians were split into Elect Air and Elect
Ground. Also, at about that time 61st were
guinea pigs and we wore one-piece denims as working dress. I think that after we had left all entries wore them.
The first Queen's Colour was after my time but, obviously after 1952.
Others, older, will be able to tell you when Puttees were discontinued, as also the two part bed which slid one
half under the other was replaced by the angle iron and springs bed and also when the three biscuits were
replaced by a single mattress. We had a round bolster instead of a pillow but I understand that later a normal
pillow was issued.
Also during our time, we had a plastic coloured disk [red, blue yellow] behind our beret badge.
In 1949 we were all UK but later, in our time, we had Pakistanis, Singhalese, New Zealanders and I think others.
By the way, don’t ever play hockey with Pakistanis or with WRAF [WAAF in our day] they all treat the game as much
more lethal that war! Earlier, of course, there were the Polish apprentices around the 47th. My boss at GEC was one.
That, of course, explains "Polish Avenue"
Other notable events might be when St Georges moved from a hut by the railway and when the various bayonets
came and went. We had pig-stickers, short round-sectioned and sharp. Incidentally, when we first drilled with fixed
bayonets we were told that if we stuck our ear when bringing the rifle up from ground to slope we would be
charged with self-inflicted injury which meant [I think] time in the guard room rather than jankers.
The following from Frank Haynes (59th)
Gus Turnbull (87th) sent this about Barney Meehan
Hi Bob, I see that you were at Halton in 1971 so I'm
not sure if Sgt Barney Meehan was
still there then but he was Irish and prone to catchphrases like you described.
He also used to do a trick with his ears where he tucked them inside then called first
one ear to attention wherupon it would pop out, then do the same to the other one.
Then he would tuck them in again and call them both to attention at the same time.
We were quite young and naive admittedly but he was a fascinating character and you
just never knew what he would do next. I believe he did a stint in the Irish Guards
before joining the RAF. Mind you he was such a bullshitter he could have told us
anything and we'd have believed it!
These from Bob Lippett (222)
The following from Jonathon (Mac) Brackenbury 215 Entry
"Thanks Bob....heres a few of the 215 pics for you to 'guest' on 223's site...until I get one up & running. Looking at the 'Contributions' I definitely do remember the Skinhead 'Invasion' very well....partic because one of ours...John Steward-Browne.. crammed 8 lads into his Austin Princess and hared off to Wendover to find any stragglers....armed only with 'bumpers' and webbing belts (mine included!! took me ages to get it cleaned, blancoed and polished again!! grrrr)...no 'enemy' found so they all popped into the Sun and scrounged a 'last order'...Also remember being taken to the very small pub on way into Tring by some of the older looking lads (I looked about 12..was, I think, the youngest and smallest in 215...hence nickname of Titch and the centre of the line place on parade!!)..when I was well and truly legless on Vodka & Orange (still hate the mix) and being half carried back down the A41 I insisted I could walk and promptly fell onto the centre white line and fell asleep....thanks Phil Hanna, Chris Beech, Jock Mowatt et al....you don't realise the life of drunken orgyfying you set me onto....Glad you heard from Ron Hewson (tho' why he at a 223 reunion?) ...we used to have great times on the rope swing overlooking 3 Wing.Many more memories but for now... Best. MAC 215
Mac present day
Glorious Halton days in Buccaneer Flight
This sent by John Nash ex 231 entry
Hi Bob , saw your web page after a quiet day at work.
I do remember you after seeing Bill Ralston photo. I am John Nash and was in the same room as Bill,
and I remember you as our LA with the big tash. Great web page ,wish 231 had one as well.
Just a quick résumé of my career.
Have just left the RAF after 33 years (I know still a Rook!!) we joined up on the 1 Nov 72.
Spent 2 years as a J/T plumber at Scampton and after failing my Cpl board exam applied for
Airman Aircrew to get in the back door of the Sgts Mess. Tours on Nimrod at Kinloss and
St Mawgan then in 88 went for a brain transplant at Cranwell.
More flying at Kinloss and then down to Hereford for teaching Airman Aircrew GST.
Back to flying at Waddington on the E3 and Nimrod.
Last tour at Brize Norton on VC 10 and Tristar.
4 medals and 3 wars along with one divorce I am now working for a small company in
Malvern called Lockeed Martin as a consultant in Command and Battle Space Management,
sounds good but I have only been here 2 months so still learning.
Took the very good offer on redundancy and left 1 Nov this year.
The only thing I can remember about Halton is the Ten Tours and bed stacking.
The last year was pretty awful after we lost the apprentice wheel and became adults.
They had direct entry fitters who after9 months passed out as J/Ts and the new 3 year
guys who passed out as J/Ts with an ONC. We all had to be treated the same so we lost
all the traditions. They all went to Swinderby to do there 6 weeks so when they came to
Halton they already thought they were old hands. We were prevented from raiding them
and as they were over 18 they could also go into the NAAFI bar. At the end I was glad
to leave. The question I always ask is would you allow your son to do the same, and a big
NO from me. I am stiil proud of being a Halton Brat and have come across Bill and do you
remember Liam Perry, we all used to play the bagpipes .
Hope to get to some reunions now I am a real civvy.
John Nash 231 entry
The following was sent by George Barker ex 29th entry
I find the history bits absorbing. I'm 29th Entry, age 86.
The 24th was the last with Fitter AEs and Metal riggers. Later we were all
Fitter-Rigger Grade II s or just Fitter II s for short. We came in useful. As a corporal at Evanton I would be sent to Invergordon
when a Tain Sunderland had run out of flying hours to be Sergeant i/c hull, Sergeant i/c engines and Flight-sergeant to sign off the F700!
They carried a F/Mechanic and Rigger in the crew. The first Fitter II entry 25 was small-about 80 and the next four were about 180. I
went to France in 39 with an Army Coop squadron with Lysanders. Previously we had had Audaxes (Kestrel engines) and then Hectors
(with 24 cyl Napier-Halford Dagger engines). I was an engineer officer after so could leave early and in 46 I went to UCL to
take B Sc (Engineering) degree, and maintained and designed petrochemical plants thereafter. I now play in amateur orchestras and
quartets on viola. I played trombone in the Halton Station Band and later Sax and clarinet in dance bands and the Halton Orchestra..
I am sec and webmaster for one of the orchestras, not in the same class as your website though, www.baps-orch.co.uk. I think it is
quiite a good idea to omit page headings and nav bar from all except Home. It leaves more room for more content to be seen without
scrolling. I'm afraid I'm using the site to experiment with things I'm learning at a second year Dreamweaver course at
Brockenhurst College. I live in Ringwood. One fellow 29th also 86 Ted Little, plays the pipes in the Golden Oldies.
At the last Triennial he was a bit dubious about playing up the hill He has an artificial heart valve so I sneaked him up by car
and he nipped in to the band on the square. The other 86 year old there was David Howells who designed the Tribute and also
the 29th window. After taking my car down the hill I hurried up to take a few pictures (eg the one on p29 with David Howells top right.
I was pleased to see several other shots of mine in the journal - the blue car and Ted Little as "The oldest Golden Oldie" on p4
as well as some pics in the hangar. I didn't mean to be so garrulous - I just wanted to say I enjoye your site and I shall come back to
see some more of it. George
Above 1st photo is George in a balloon in the Albuquerque
Balloon Fiesta in 2002, second taken at Catterick
circa 1939 and are 4 guys in 26 (AC) Squadron
223 Entry RAF Cosford
Looks like they had similar problems to us looking at the plaque
Halton Repulses Attack
was the time of the skinheads gangs in Aylesbury (can't remember
how to spell it). Anyway. There was a big fight and some people got attacked
in town when we fist arrived, in November I think it was. The whole wing
or maybe station was held on camp over the weekend. because of fears of
trouble and maybe even reprisals. The next thing we knew the skin head gang
had come on to camp to cause trouble and the whole bloody camp was grabbing
mops, brooms and bumpers ready to smash and break these peoples heads who
dared to invade Halton.
they didn't get a chance to come into our block but we heard later that the blocks they did get in fought back bravely - notably dropping bumpers down the stair wells nearly killing one skinhead and all night long we saw areas around "pimple point" light up with torches and shouts of the skinheads trying to escape the snowdrops dogs.
Gods we were frustrated. Just arrived and confined to camp for 6 weeks anyway and a bloody battle going on around us we saw nothing just hearing shouts and dogs and lights.
Nick Grazier 216 entry
They called us the Luxies after radio Luxemburg 208. we passed out on December the 13th 1968 and the air commodore died during the previous night as I remember (Sir Hugh Connolly?) they all said what a great entry stunt that was!!!
It was so cold on the pass out parade day all the moisture froze in the reeds of the bagpipes, which as pipe major caused me some strife! We made a horrible sound that day and the brass(gash) band were not much better. I got a nice first posting tho’ to CFS Little Rissington in the beautiful Cotswolds.
I am an English teacher now in a tech college with two great teenage sons. I think they’re probably sick of hearing about Halton from me! I don’t regret the time I spent there, even tho’ I only stayed in a short while after. I met some great people in aviation in and out of the RAF. I still maintain contact with it through a gliding club I’m a member of here in Sydney and until recently was an officer with the air cadets. I am a member of the NSW police pipeband and you will have the pleasure of seeing and hearing us at the tattoo televised here in Sydney in Feb next.
Stan Holloway 208 Entry
This is Bill Ralston (231 Entry) who remembers me from
Anson Flight (I was his L/A !!)
he is still serving as a S/Ldr helping to train the Army !
(He promises to send some more photo's soon)
A Stupid Stunt
We were undergoing 'Airfield Practice,' gaining experience by working on 'real aircraft' and were completing a range of tasks without the close supervision normally experienced at Halton. We sometimes became bored with these simplistic jobs and so engaged in various pranks to add excitement to the day. As we all trouped out for our Naafi break, the only noise coming from inside the hangar was from a Type L Air Compressor and it sounded as though it was really struggling. Being inquisitive, I wandered over to find a couple of Brats had inserted a bolt into the end of the supply line and had secured it firmly with a jubilee clip. The relief valve was normally set at 200 lbf/sq.in but these blokes had wound it right up until the poor compressor was at it's last gasp, with the belt slipping as much as driving. The guy at the air tank end then opened the air supply valve and the supply hose became rigid, just as the bloke holding the end unscrewed the hose-clip holding the bolt. There was an almighty bang, followed by tremendous hissing as the air rushed out. The bolt shot out at incredible speed, left bolt-shaped holes as it passed through the fuselage of a nearby Mosquito and put a sizeable dent in the hangar door. From inside the fuselage came the sound of frantic activity and, in a flurry of arms and legs, an ashen-faced Pakistani Apprentice jettisoned out of a hatch. He had been adjusting control cables and the bolt had put a new parting in his hair. As he yelled and gesticulated, I learned quite a few expletives in Pakistani!!
I don't recall anyone being held accountable but, in hindsight, what a stupid thing to do! The compressor might have blown up or, if the bolt had travelled lower, those guys could have faced a manslaughter charge. It doesn't bear thinking about!
Bryan Beames 66th
This from Christopher Miles in New Zealand (74th entry)
year, there was published in the “Haltonian” an
edited version of an essay I wrote - “Home
thoughts from Abroad”.
A pun on Browning and the fact that the 74th. was
an “April” entry. In it, I
described very beneficial and universal effects that three years’ worth of
training at Halton had given me.
only that, but I alluded to the almost impossibility of finding another wife and
one of suitable proportion, in
did, and by good fortune, on March 27th. this year,
the then “Miss
Evangeline Nibot Carillo” became Mrs. Christopher Miles.
My wife comes from
Her father had been a literati and his favourite poet was Longfellow. My wife is a rather short girl
Rebellious, hard-working, conservative, politically incorrect, and worse still,
The following from Charles Stenner (21st entry)
21st entry Halton Brats. Now 90
and still going strong, couldnt have done us much harm. Ended up as Wing
Commander 50 and 106 Squadrons, mainly RAF Waddington. After war flew Vickings,
Hermes, Dakotas, Viscounts, Bristol 170, Airspeed Consul for Airwork. The
Britannias for Ghana, Caledonian and Donaldsons. Retired in 1974 after 23,000
hours flying. IRE and TRE, Chief Pilot and Training Capt.
Excellent site, nice to see what others are doing.
The following from Ray Thompson who was 88th Tech entry.......
In my day the senior entries used to get up to mischief by doing unexpected things. One day they pinched all the boots from beneath our beds and piled them on the square, we didn't bother with trying to identify our own but took any boots that fitted. Another entry flew a pair of ladies undies from the flag pole. Another had a dummy in a hangmans noose on the 'pimple' and the last a 'red top missle' from workshops on the square.
When I was at Halton the Cof E church burnt down and was eventually rebuilt but I know not where.
The following sent from a member of 206