117 Entry RAF Halton
Martin R m_g_radwell@117hotmail.com
Nick L nicnac117@117sky.com
Charlie M charlie@117morrison5.fsnet.co.uk
Bob C bob@117mybest.net (that's me)
Steve C kites808@117tiscali.co.uk
Hugh J hugh@117swantonabbott.com
Dave S das55us@117ntlworld.com
Brian J warksouth@117yahoo.co.uk
Tom N tomn@117topleague.co.za (Angus)
Trevor S trevorsampson@117xtra.co.nz
Chas M chas.matthews@117btinternet.com
John McM john@117lookslikeharold.fsnet.co.uk
Gordon Lane gordonplane@117shaw.ca
Howard Prissick howardprissick@117live.co.uk
Peter Richards pj.richards@117auckland.ac.nz
Sean Ward seanward@117ntlworld.com
Stu Bailey
NOTE: Remove the entry number AFTER the @ sign. That prevents "trollers" picking up the addresses. Who needs junk e-mail?

Other Links

Forces Reunited

Wikipedia Entry

Apprentice Schools

219 Craft

223 Craft

Pensions

Apprentice Timeline

The Old Haltonian social networking site.

Class breakdown (Red is 1 Wing & Blue is 2 Wing)

T1

Charlie Morrison - Kinloss, then went single trade (Engines)

Dave Sutherland - Kinloss

Chris Burton

"Titch" Macgregor

John Pickering

Don Smith

Steve Crump

Rob Green - went for flying commission; killed while flying

Hugh Jones - dropped down from 116th

JD (Taff) Morgan

(Wilma) O?Connell

John McMillan

Paul Heffer

Geff Millington

Howard Prissick - went for flying commission.

Gordon Lane - Marham

T2

Trevor Sampson - Wittering

Al Nichol

Sean Ward - Kinloss

Martin Radwell - Marham

Percy Pearce

Dave Wells

Charlie Matthews - Wittering

John Harness - Conningsby

Richard Jennings

Tam Neilings - Wittering

Nick Newton - Wittering, then Aircrew

Hugh Liggett - Died: Sept 2005

T3

Rick Andrews - went aircrew at end of training?

Stu Bailey - Coningsby

Roy Barbour

Bob Chassels - Kinloss

Kev Cover - Marham

Donald Grant - Kinloss

John Hornsey - went to single trade (rigger) at end of training

Brian Johnson - Kinloss

Loz Lawson - went aircrew at end of training

Nick Loughrey - Kinloss

Dave Parker - went aircrew

Left before graduating:

Bob Ferguson - went single trade

Jim Gordon - went single trade

Peter Richards - Went for a commission after the second year

Dave Smith - Went for a commission after the second year

Brian Ferries - bought himself out after one year

Alan Choat - killed at Halton: flying experience accident

Thanks to a few of you, we are getting a complete picture We might still be missing a some... Help, and apologies. I think we are missing people in T2(1 Wing)

I count 39 in the table above. Is that right? Did 40 of us graduate? Did John Hornsey actually graduate? Where did I get the number 36??? Did the Entry start with 56? Hugh Jones was added to us after breaking a leg while skiing in the 116th Entry. Still, we have discrepancies....

Check the picture (thanks to Trevor). It is of 2 Wing. I have highlighted twelve of the 2 wing group It is a big file --  Halton 2(A) Wing RAF HALTON 1972.

My Letter to the Haltonian - Spring 2007

Continuing the "young" Haltonian thread, I am submitting my perspective as a 117th Entry apprentice.

The 117th (Technician) Joined-up with 216th (Craft) in October 1969 and Passed-out with the 219th (Craft), and the 410th (Mechanic) on the 19th October 1972.

We were the middle of the ten-year Technician Apprenticee experience/experiment, and perhaps the largest T/A entry with a graduating party of 36 aspiring corporals dispersed in groups of six to various front line stations. Firstly, I sympathize with Bob Rodham (223rd) who points out that there was a definite "Class" system of Technicians, Craft and Mechanics. Then again, there was little to-do within each structure; the 116th looked down on us, as we looked down on the 118th.

Being very much outnumbered by the Craft Apprentices, and because we were split between two wings, we always had a problem maintaining a close entry "Identity". This was true after Halton as it was during those three years from 1969 to 1972. Sadly, I don't think there exists an Entry photograph.

Our pay when we started was 10 shillings a week (plus deferred pay which came to about 50 by the time Christmas 1969 came around).

Our Claim-to-fame range from being the last Entry (perhaps the last service people) to be issued with underware (Shreddies), proper hob-nail drill boots and pajamas ...

Being three-year Apprentices amongst the one and two years apprentices has its own pressures (apologies to my older Aircraft Apprentice cousins); Three years is a long time when we see people arrive after us and leave before us. Some of us (myself included) were Sergeant Apprentices for the whole final year. That is a long time to play mini-god to the the rookie entries (some of the 220 and the 222 may read this and say "That B******d, I remember him").

Mini-godliness has its responsibilities too; I remember being asked to referee a football match between two rival flights. At the end of time it was a draw, so we decided on a shootout. Five players from each side duly lined up and took turns to score - or not. A true god might have taken tally of the goals scored. I did not, and had to deal with both sides claiming victory (now a another bunch of ex-brats will be saying "That B******d, I remember him").

On a sad, but memorable note; one of our numbers - Alain Choat - actually got married while an Apprentice. Within months of that event, Alain was killed in an "Air Experience" flight in a Chipmunk flying from Halton airfield. Anybody at Halton at that time will remember that sad event.

We were at Halton for the 50th anniversary; celebrated in August 1970. In our final year (1972), many apprentices from different entries participated in the man-powered flight project, headed by Flt Lt John Potter (One of our teachers if I recollect). Both these events were commemorated with a First Day Cover.

As to my overall impressions of Halton: They are nearly all positive. Halton was well populated in those years. All three wings were in operation, the bands were at full strength, the clubs and sporting facilities were available and well used. That all added to the Halton Experience. We T/As worked hard at leaning four trades, we leant many sports and pastimes, and we grew up in those three years. Yes, we probably did "lord" it over the Craft Apprentices, not through malice. Remember, we were nearly all under 20 years old and establishing our Entry (and personal) identity. We were picked on by more senior Craft Apprentices and we were a little jealous of the Craft apprentices leaving after only two years at Halton.

Our "Schooling" included the civilian Ordinary National Certificate (ONC) in Engineering which many found useful when transiting to civvy street. Many of us (Including myself) attained a HNC at a local community college during our two-year "Improver" training - following our Halton experience.

Some of us went on to commissions, some aircrew, but most of us served on first and second line serving for many years. I completed my nine years, worked at British Aerospace for a year before emigrating to Canada to work on aircraft simulators. My Halton experience and education stood me in excellent standing to take on responsibilities ranging from programming software systems, installing aircraft simulators overseas, even working with aircraft manufactures programming wind-shear models and other special projects.

Although I do not work within the aircraft industry any more. I do consider my Halton experience as the excellent basis of a solid career. With all ex-Halton apprentices we leant discipline, self-discipline a solid trade (or trades), Sports, and plenty of square-bashing!

Bob Chassels, 117th

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