HOW TIMES HAVE CHANGED
The first Apprentice Entry to start and finish its training at RAF Halton was, in fact, the 5th Entry which arrived in January 1922; the first four entries had started their training at Cranwell. A brief impression of what life was like at Halton in those early days of the RAF Aircraft Apprentice scheme can be gained from the poem on one of the other page on this site, which was written by Harold Dewey 1st Halton Entry. CLICK HERE.
Originally accommodated in the North Camp, the Apprentices were relocated to Bulback Barracks – better known now as Henderson/ Groves – as soon as the new barrack blocks were completed. The sight of hundreds of young lads pushing all their kit down the Tring Road between North Camp and Bulback Barracks on their wheeled beds must have been something to behold. The terms and conditions of service evolved throughout the 71 years that Apprentices were being trained at Halton. The quality of their accommodation, clothing and training facilities all improved and, most importantly, they received greater remuneration for their efforts. Regarding the latter, Ron Bowers (39th) in his book, “Seeing Life From A New Angle”, recalled that his pay, “Was really, for those times, quite good, seven shillings and sixpence per week for the first two years and ten shillings and sixpence for the third”. Compare that with what a trainee at Cosford now receives: about £270 per week at the start of training and £325 at the end! There have also been some changes in the conduct of post-Passing Out Parade celebrations at Halton, as illustrated by these two photographs.
By Graeme Booker 107th Entry