2007 Halton Reunion

The weekend of 11th August 2007 saw our 40th anniversary celebration of the pass out parade in 1967. This was an event-packed weekend well-organised by Chris Curtis and Min Larkin from the RAFHAA.

We started on the Friday with a casual meeting at the Holiday Inn in Aston Clinton, which served as a very good base for the weekend. The first venue for our Saturday itinerary was a visit to Halton House, where we enjoyed an excellent talk given by Min on the history of the building followed by a free rein to have a good look around; with Min on hand to answer any questions.

For most of us this was a novel experience as previous visits had inevitably been through the back door with the purpose either of moving chairs for some grand event, or spending an enjoyable Saturday afternoon in the tin room as part of some punishment or other. (In those halcyon days I doubt whether Peter Sellers would have risked walking across the grass with such impunity either!).

Following on from the visit to the Officers Mess we next had a look around the school's area and of course St Georges Church.

During our days at Halton I don't suppose many of us appreciated St Georges to any great extent as we were subjected to monthly church parades which deprived us of a well earned Sunday morning lie in. I have since learned that Chris actually joined the choir in order to get out of the parade itself - one of a number of skives that he's let me in on 40 years too late!

On entering the church we were all astounded at seeing the church window, which comprised of many panes of leaded glass representing various Halton apprentice entries.

As there were only a few vacant panes remaining,we decided there and then that the 204th should be represented and reserved a slot.

 

 

Just outside the main school entrance is a piece modern sculpture known as "The Tribute," which is dedicated to all past apprentices and represents the first workshop's test job that most of us had to attempt (with variable degrees of success!).

The Tribute has become a focal point for many apprentice reunions and other official functions, so in keeping with tradition the 204th Entry were proud to line up for yet another photograph.

 

 

 

 

We next went up onto the main camp area to visit the RAF Halton Apprentice Museum. This is located on Henderson Square in what was, in our day, the Henderson Gym - the place of many a torturous afternoon!

The museum holds very many interesting artifacts many of which were instantly recognisable even from our days. But for one member in particular the highlight was an old Gnat aircraft located in the centre of the museum. Yes, one of the peaks of Tez's career was having to eject from the back seat of a Red Arrow.

He was very easily coaxed into hopping in and giving us an action replay. The speed with which he entered the aircraft and secured the harness was evidence enough that he was well practiced in this exercise, however the creaking joints may have given something away :) We are just all glad you're still with us Tez!

 

Following an enjoyable lunch in the mess we were fortunate enough to be able to visit block 12, room 6, which was my home. In some ways this was quite an emotional trip down memory lane, especially when I got to my old bed space. Something was obviously missing though! There was not a square inch of brown lino in sight, instead everything was carpeted; and the small wardrobe and bedside locker that once contained our total worldly goods were now replaced by reasonably modern furniture of adequate size.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We spent the rest of the Saturday afternoon looking around Wendover, although the majority of us gravitated towards the King and Queen pub, which was our entry pub of the time. The pub now sports a pleasant beer garden which it never had in our day. But my lasting impression was just how small it was inside. It's a job to imagine what it must have been like on a Saturday night back in '67.

Finally, after a memorable day our reunion dinner was held in the Holiday Inn Hotel.

This was a tremendous weekend that went very smoothly, and our thanks go to Chris and Min for arranging everything.

Thanks also to Nessa who I'm sure played her part!

Lots more photos are available in the gallery.