Halton Triennial Reunion - Saturday 23rd September 1995
There wasn't an official 69th Entry Association reunion in 1995 - the next to be held after 1994's inaugural meeting wouldn't be until 1996. However, several members of the 69th arranged to get together at one of RAF Halton's three-yearly general reunions.
RAF HALTON 40 YEARS ON - from Jack Strange (Instruments)
On a sunny autumn Saturday in September, thousands of ex brats (lately No. 1 School of Technical Training) headed out for the 1995 Triennial Reunion for RAF Halton - amongst them were some 21 members of the 69th Entry.
As Tom Faulkner (engines) and I travelled from Naphill, near High Wycombe, the first landmark we saw was the Boer War monument overlooking Wendover. Next we were passing Wendover station and memories of boisterous Brats departing on leave and tossing pork pies at unsuspecting railwaymen along the Metropolitan Line as reported in the Telegraph.
Through Wendover, which was much the same as we remembered it, past P.M. Hospital and we were at Main Point turning down Chestnut Avenue, as majestic as ever with its chestnut trees in their autumn colours.
We parked on the sports field below workshops. A steady stroll followed through Halton village, over the canal and on to the airfield. There were many grey haired 'young' gentlemen smiling at each other wondering if they knew each: other and much enthusiasm when they realised they had found an old friend.
Having registered in No.1 Hanger and gathered under the 69th sign we met many old colleagues and reminisced about the good times and places near and far. At 11 am the bar opened in No. 3 Hanger and lunch boxes were issued - but no pork pies!!!
Through the hanger doors a Vulcan could be seen performing over the airfield - not possible -this was a superb model, part of the excellent model aircraft display.
The HAAA Pipe Band marched on to the hardstanding and gave a creditable display which of course included THE BEAR and was appreciated by everyone. Before the bars closed at 2 pm a Yak 50, appropriately marked with a large 69 on its fuselage, gave an exciting flying display and was followed by the Spitfire flypast.
The bars having closed we strolled through the woods (memories of silica gel battles), over the canal and across playing fields to the church by the Education Block. The church was full and a simple service was conducted by the station padre; the service included a humorous sermon by an ex Brat vicar.
Later the Entries gathered under the critical eyes of station drill staff, including lady DIs, in Swann Road for the March to Henderson Groves Square led by the HAAA pipe band. That hill passing the MT section and up to Henderson gets steeper every year. But we all made it and marched smartly past the Station Commander and the Reviewing Officer, our Chairman Mike Evans (70th).
The marching was supported by the station band. Once muster was complete the station band was joined by the Station Ceremonial Flight and they performed a very emotional Sunset Ceremony. Under a clear autumn sky, eyes watered; no doubt memories went back for the 69th, who as a junior entry were on parade with Lord Trenchard when Queen Elizabeth presented No 1 School of Technical Training with its first colour. That day the parade ground was full of uniformed Brats, three bands and even stick boys!! Today as a sign of the times it was full of civilians who had spent a day amongst friends an relived memories in one of the most beautiful places in the world.
Much thanks should be given to the RAFHAAA committee who organised the reunion, and in particular to the Officer Commanding RAF Halton, Group Captain ODL Delany and the station personnel who gave up their time to make the reunion possible.
Those members of the 69th who registered at the Triennial Reunion were: Airframes: Hugh Perfect, Pete Quinn, Frank Sheppard, Alan Skipp and Jock Shuardson. Plumbers: Mousey Bearnes, Derek Gosling, Richard Hambly, Richard Hollis, John Nelson, Tony Parrott and Laurie Turner. Engines: Barry Curtis, Tom Faulkner and Bill Harris. Instruments: Jack Strange, John Stroud and Ron Townsend. Electrical: Derek Morris, George Rork and Gerry Smith.
On We Friday evening prior to the reunion five of us had dinner at the Crows Nest Beefeater Hotel the Five being:- Frank Sheppard, airframe. Derek Gosling, plumber, Barrie Curtis and Gordon Weston, eng; and Ron Townsend, inst. Later in the evening we were joined by John Stroud, inst. The Hotel seemed an excellent venue for 'the night before'. FS
Thank you Jack for that report. As Jack was instruments he had no reason to visit the Airframe Workshop but some of us did. Imagine our thoughts when we saw that it is currently in use for SNOOP training! - Editor
- RAF Halton and the Brats
- The Aircraft Apprentices Scheme
- Clubs, Societies and Sports at Halton
- RAF Halton's goats
- Tributes to Halton and the Brats
- The Presentation of the Queen's Colour, 1952
- 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 69th's Burmese Brats
- Halton days: stories from the 69th
- The 69th's commemorative window
- 69th Entry Reunions