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125 Halton Apprentice Entry Web Site

Memories Page

This is where memories can be shared.  E-mail your memory to me (contacts page) and I'll add it to this page.

Marching up and down that hill twice every day!  Assuming the distance from the old workshops to the block was around a quarter of a mile and taking into account holidays, weekends and time spent at the airfield, we must have covered something in the order of....125 miles.
added by Dave Papworth 18/02/2002 
The Summer of 1976!  God that was a hot one.  Early starts and trying to keep awake in the early afternoon in classes.
added by Dave Papworth 18/02/200
The Nijmegen March!  Class 2 completed this in July 1976.  This was a road march (in Holland) over four days, 25 miles each day, wearing 25Kgs of weight.  Considering the heat, we did well to all get round it.  I also completed the march a further twice, 1979 &1980 during my time at Odiham.  Visitors to the Apprentice museum can see the class 2 team medal.
added by Dave Papworth 14/05/2002
Alistair Raffan - Always a cheerful "bit of a laugh" type person.  I remember an incident at Swinderby where we were having a morning kit inspection.  Our DI stopped at Alistairs kit and told him that his shoes weren't fit to be seen for inspection.  The DI then picked up the shoes and lobbed them out the window, where there landed perfectly side by side in the soft mud below.
added by Dave Papworth 14/07/2003
John Peel – An odd place you might think to give a mention to John Peel who died on the 26th Oct 2004 but his death rememinded me of the times spent listening in to his evening show.  Back in the our training days Radio One was king, commercial radio was only just emerging, stereo broadcasting hadn’t been around long and I rarely watched the TV.  So I used to often spend a late evening laying on the "the old pit" listening through the headphones on my recently aquired Hi Fi to the John Peel show in glorious fade free stereo. (The BBC at that time was slow on the uptake and didn’t seem to appreciate the value of putting R1 on permanent stereo FM, R1 and R2 shared the FM stereo frequency, R1 was however broadcast in stereo at night so this was the time when one could  really appreciate it). 
Anyone recall those "sight and sound" concerts the BBC occasionally put on?  (The sound was broadcast in stero over the radio at the same time as the pictures were transmited).
added by Dave Papworth 27/10/04
Spending hours queing up to use a phone, something I used to do quite often after training as well!   While buying my first house in 1984 making calls to chase solicitors etc was a nightmare, I had to ask for time off work then go in search of a phone box, now it's so much easier, just whip out the mobile! 
added by Dave Papworth 22/11/04
Alistair Graham, who sadly passed away in his sleep in Sep 2013 - While at Halton he met his wife Phyll and used to visit her in her barrack block.  One day he got caught sneaking out and made a run for it.  On being told to stop by an irate WAAF Sgt, he did exactly that and was put on a "fizzer" (charge).  I believe the result was a "mk 1 rollocking" as Phyll and he were engaged at the time. Alistair spent many years in the RAF going on to transfer to aircrew and later gain a commission.

Pass out at Swinderby.

This was taken at Swinderby, there some 125 members in there.

Bull Night at Swinderby

The day after the night before when a Whirlwind was "re-parked"

The Nijmen Team medal

Walking Medals Gained During My (The Site Administrators) RAF Days

This where we took all those ONC exams, enough said!!!

A photo of the two blocks we once occupied

A receent photo of the rear of what was phantom block - note the fire escape!

The first picture is of passout at Swinderby.  For me I cringe everytime I see this photo.  To get into this position we had to march forward 14 paces and during rehearsals (carried out in a hanger, due to the wet weather) I always managed to end up just over the white line.  Some of you may remember one Cpl Smith (our drill instructor) bawling me out, his face just inches from mine, because my feet were a shade (no less) over the line.  As you can see, on the day I was bang on, (second from right).
The second picture was taken at Swinderby and I think we were all in the same room, (there are 125 members including myself in there).  My recollection is that that the flight consisted of about three times as many people occupying three out four rooms in one barrack block.
The third picture was taken during a "bull night" session at Swinderby, (again there are some 125 members in there including myself).
The fourth picture shows the re-parked Whirlwind which was brought up the night before.  As the photo is a little out of focus I am not too sure if I could correctly name everyone on it.  The building behind is the old gym now the apprentice museum.
The fifth picture shows the Nijmegen team medal.  The march was undertaken by members of class 2 and included:  John  Eddell (instructor), D.Hutchison, (medic), (Apprentices) Al Airey, Paul Burns, Phil Eastwood, Ian Fletcher, Bill Ford-Hutchson, Bill Gibbons, Al Nicoholson, Dave Papworth and Bob Thompson.  The march took place in July 1976 and despite the extremely hot weather everyone successfully completed it.
The sixth picture shows my Nijmegen medal, centre (1976, 1978 and 1979) along with other walking medals I collected during my service days.  The Nijmegen medal represents 3 x 4 days of 25 marching - with 25Kg minimun weights!  The others represent 25 miles each.  The other medals from left are RAF Lyneham (WARM club), Colchester, (run by the army red caps), Britsh Airways, (Windsor Great Park) and RAF Lyneham again.
The seventh picture shows Hall A inside the schools building, where we sweated over our ONC exams.  Enough said!!!
The eighth picture shows what used to be Phantom and Lightning blocks.  We started off by living in Phantom block, (foreground) then moved into the the converted four man roomed Lightning block about half way through our training.
I included this photo, number nine, the rear of Phantom Block because it shows how "valued" trainees are these days.  Fire escapes have now been added to all the blocks!  Back in the seventies we would just have had to jump!