204th Entry RAF Halton Home Page

This website belongs to the 204th Reunion Society. Its purpose is to share tales of life in the 204th and the experiences of reuniting with old friends after forty years. We have so far located almost half the original entry and continually search for those not yet found. If you were a serving member of the 204th, or you know of someone who was, please get in touch.

2007 Reunion at the Halton Tribute. 40th. anniversary of passing out in Sept. '67

About the 204th

In the early 1960s it was decided that the RAF apprenticeship scheme needed to be revised to take account of new technology, especially that associated with the forthcoming introduction of the TSR2, Britain’s cutting edge multi-role aircraft. To this end the existing three-year Aircraft Apprenticeship was replaced with a two-year Craft Apprenticeship scheme, and the first Craft Apprentices were attested in September 1964.

A new numbering system was also introduced to differentiate between the two types of apprenticeship and the first Craft Apprentices entry was the known as the 201st Entry.

In the event, the (then) new Labour government scrapped the TSR2 development and destroyed all the building plans and jigs to ensure no other government could ever revive it; but despite this the new RAF apprentice scheme went ahead.

There were several R.A.F. Training Schools in existence at the time, with each one offering training in their specialist trade areas. R.A.F. Halton was known as the "No.1 School of Technical Training" (No 1 S of TT) and located near Wendover in Buckinghamshire; a beautiful location surrounded on its southern perimeter by the gloriously wooded Chilterns.

It was at Wendover station then that most of us arrived on the 6th September 1965. After being greeted by relatively cheerful (and almost polite by later standards) NCOs, we were ferried up to the camp by the ubiquitous R.A.F. grey coach, built for neither comfort nor speed.

On that day a total of 98 boys aged between 16 and 18, from a variety of educational and social backgrounds, met each other for the first time. All were volunteers, thrown together with a common aim in life -- “to become a trained aircraft engineer”. Of those who joined that day, approximately 50% trained as Airframe Fitters with the remainder divided equally between Engine and Electrical/Instrument trades.

Of the original ninety eight who reported on the first day, eighty five successfully completed the training and passed out in August 1967 -- the other thirteen either failed to be inducted into the R.A.F. or fell by the wayside. There is a tale that one potential member turned up on the first day riding a motorbike and swiftly rode off again after he was told in no uncertain terms that he wouldn't being seeing another bike for two years!

Of the ninety three members on pass out parade, seven were originally members of the 203rd Entry and one was from the 202nd. and had been 'back-entried' for some reason or another.

Ostensibly, Halton had two very distinctive faces. On the one side it provided what was probably the best technical training available anywhere in the country at the time; but on the other side the rigid (often extreme) discipline occasionally made the experience more akin to being in the hardest of borstals rather than an educational establishment. Halton was certainly far from being a soft option!

However another facet of life at Halton, possibly spurned on by the unmitigated discipline of the early days, was the inevitable camaraderie that developed quite quickly. The "Entry" system used at Halton was well practiced and key to consolidating a band of disparate young men into a cogent team, and Entry loyalty was imbued in us in a very short time.

In the early days our "Spirit" was questioned by one of the drill instructors and we quickly dispelled this accusation by adopting
"Esprit De Corps" as the 204th Entry motto.