RAF Halton 69th Entry Archives
25th July 1952: The Queen presents the colour to Sergeant Apprentice F. M. A. Hines, who received it on behalf of the No. 1 School of Technical Training. Lord Trenchard was also present. This archive is based on a box of stuff I "inherited" after the 2019 reunion of the 69th Entry to the RAF's Aircraft Apprentices technical training scheme, which was based at the No. 1 School of Technical Training at RAF Halton between 1922 and 1993 (it has since moved to RAF Cosford).
The archive is a collection of memorabilia, a few historical photos, a large collection of paperwork to do with the running of the reunion committee, a comprehensive collection of 69th Association newsletters, and many photos of reunions since the first in 1994. It is also supplemented with a number of photographs from the Imperial War Museum photographic collection, which are used with permission under their non-commercial with-attribution licence.
An "Entry" was one of two or three intakes of apprentices, known as "Brats", per year to the scheme, which had been started in 1920 in order to produce qualified aircraft technicians who would, hopefully, go out into the wider RAF armed with a high level of training. Graduates of the scheme are known as Old Haltonians.
The 69th Entry commenced training in September 1951 with a combined strength of 357. About 208 apprentices of the Entry graduated on July 26th 1954.
The Royal Entry
The 69th ended up becoming known as The Royal Entry because it was picked to represent RAF Halton at the Coronation in 1953, where it lined part of the route along Regent Street. It was also one of several Entries in residence and on parade when the No. 1 School of Technical Training received the Queen's Colour in 1952, in a ceremony which was one of the new Queen's first ever official engagements. It is the Entry which included my old man, hence the interest.
The Presentation of the Queen's Colour, 1952
The actual presentation of the Queen's Colour to the No. 1 School of Technical Training, in 1952, has been digitised and published on YouTube by British Pathé
The Queen, as yet un-crowned and on one of her first-ever official duties, receives the colour from Air Commodore J. G. W. Weston before presenting it to Sergeant Apprentice F. M. A. Hines of the 63rd Entry, in 1952
F. M. A. (Mike) Hines, who received the Queen's Colour on behalf of RAF Halton's No. 1 School of Technical Training in 1952, was awarded a scholarship to RAF College Cranwell following graduation, where he trained as a pilot. Whilst there, he was awarded the Sword of Honour and in 1956 took part in bombing raids over Egypt as part of 12(B) Squadron at RAF Binbrook. He eventually became Wing Commander and Commanding Officer of the famous 617 "Dambusters" Squadron at RAF Scampton in 1971, before retiring from the RAF in 1984, after over 34 years in service.
He came full circle in terms of the royal connection when he was one of many former Halton apprentices invited to Halton in October 1997 for a second presentation by the Queen of a Colour. In an interview with the Lincolnshire Echo, Hines was reported as saying "I stood on a stand of apprentices near a picture of me receiving the 1952 Colour and [the Queen] said she recalled the day vividly".
Hines also ended up making a commemorative window for the 63rd Entry which was installed in the station church of St. George's. Hines' tutor in lead and Tiffany glass work, John Hawcock, would make a similar window for the 69th a year later.
The 69th's motto is "nosce aut face viam", which roughly translates from Latin as "know or make your way", or according to 69er "Bucky" Buckman as "If you can't find a way, make one". It's not a hundred miles away from the motto of the founder of the Aircraft Apprentices scheme - Lord Trenchard - which was "nosce teipsum", or "know thyself".
- RAF Halton and the Brats
- The RAF Aircraft Apprentices Scheme
- The 69th's Graduation Review, 1954
- The Senior Entry - a graduate's letter, 1954
- A full list of 69th Graduates
- Summer Camp, RAF Formby, 1953
- The 69th and the Queen's Coronation, 1953
- The Burmese Brats
- Halton days: stories from the Brats
- Clubs, Societies and Sports at Halton
- Dispersal: into the RAF
- Tributes to Halton and the Brats
- The 69th's commemorative windows
- 69th Entry Reunions