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On 20 January 1959, 265 bright-faced young men ‘signed on’ at the start of their 3-year apprenticeship. They came from all backgrounds and all regions of Great Britain and Northern Ireland along with young boys from Ceylon, Malaysia and Venezuela. All embarked on an intensive technical training course that turned them into qualified ‘fitters’.

Inevitably there were some losses and on 20 December 1961 the remaining 232 boys graduated on a misty morning. To celebrate, the newly qualified technicians held a Graduation Dance in the Town Hall in Aylesbury, music being provided by Bob Miller and his Millermen.

Since then, all have now finished their RAF careers, many leaving at the end of 22 year’s service but many staying on until age 55. Several were commissioned, 1 Air Commodore (Dick Bogg), 2 Group Captains (Mike Clegg and Pat Kiggell), several Wing Commanders, and the Entry produced the first ever Chief of the Air Staff’s Warrant Officer (Jim Andrews), which was a particularly fine achievement. Sadly, some have died on the way, but they are not forgotten.

 

Although Halton no longer exists as an Apprentice School, the 91st continues to maintain its bonds of friendship and over the years has had and will continue to have reunions every few years.

 
 
 
 
 
   
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December 2021 marked the 60th anniversary of our graduation, but as COVID still bit and lots of places were still under restrictions, I felt that a reunion later in 2022 would be worthwhile. Initially, I looked at the Bellhouse hotel again as that is where we had our graduation dinner, but they were overcharging for a private room, so that was a non starter.

Bristol seemed a popular choice so I plumped for that and a visit to the aerospace museum there. Decent hotels were a problem and I had to search further and further afield before plumping for the Bailbrook House Hotel just outside Bath on the advice of one of our members. This reunion is from the 19th to the 21st April.

Another reunion is the very last apprentice reunion at RAF Halton. Originally on the 20th August, this was changed to 6th August by RAF Halton, citing service requirements! For the few that are attending, I have organised a hotel – the Bell Hotel in Winslow.

We still have no news on 63 of our members that seem to have vanished without trace. It would be good to try and track them down but I suspect it will not now happen.

18th Feb 2022