THE LOST ENTRY
I am a 144 Entry Apprentice and spent 3 years at Royal Air Force Halton from November 1984 to October 1987 studying two trades: Airframes and Propulsion and either an OND or HNC in Aerospace Studies – Mechanical. There were 2 intakes per year, so during my 3 years there were 6 entries at anyone time. For the 6 entries, there were 3 sets of Drill Instructors/Discip Staff: a Cpl, Sgt and Fit Lt and they looked after 2 entries a piece, 18 months apart. For example: 139 Entry and 142 Entry; 140 Entry and 143 Entry; 141 Entry and 144 Entry. These were called sister entries and the idea was for the more senior entry to look after the other. For want of a better description, this included a multiple of tasks, mainly building our characters. Unfortunately, as the story goes, the top brass decided, around 1982/83, that there were too many Halton Apprentices graduating, so there was no 141 Entry intake at Halton in Spring of 1983. This meant that when my entry arrived at Halton in the Autumn of 1984 we had no sister entry and it became a bit of a free for all against us, with the both the 142s and 143s having their turn. It was not all one sided though and we did give as good as we got at times. At the same time that I was at Halton, and I don’t know when it started, there were apprentices that were graduating from Cosford after a 3-year apprenticeship with identical entry numbers to ours. We actually did our 6 weeks basic training together with our counterparts at Swinderby before I went to Halton to do Airframes and Propulsion and they went to Cosford to do Air Comms, Air Radar and Flight Systems. Both Halton and Cosford Apprentices did come together frequently, on ceremonial occasions; we lined the streets of London for state visits and royal weddings. Ironically there was a 141 entry, but they all went to Cosford.
Nick Johnson 144th