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 The 71st Profile

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      175 Apprentices commenced training on 29 April 1952 but of these 52 were discharged, transferred to skilled trades or recoursed to junior entries. The remaining 123 were joined by 37 recoursed Apprentices, making a total of 160. Of these, 131 graduated on 6 April 1955. The total comprised 96 Royal Air Force, 6 Royal New Zealand Air Force, 6 Royal Rhodesian Air Force, 15 Royal Pakistan Air Force, 3 Burmese Air Force, and 5 Royal Ceylonese Air Force Apprentices. In the practical and theoretical examinations the entry achieved an
average Mark of 63.4%, whilst in educational subjects the entry achieved an average of 50%. From their results 17 Apprentices were
awarded the Ordinary National Certificate in Engineering and a further 19 had passed the Intermediate Examination of the City and
Guilds of London Institute in aircraft servicing and maintenance.

The entry’s interest in sport was recognized by the award of School colours to 13 Apprentices in athletics, boxing, cross country, football, hockey, road walking, shooting and swimming.

Flight Sergeant Apprentice A E Thomson, RNZAF, was awarded a General Duties Cadetship at Cranwell.

Whilst our entry was small in number there was nevertheless an excellent spirit and camaraderie. The entry upheld all Halton Apprentice traditions ranging from bandsmen, bull-boys and queuing for the senior entry at the cinema. As senior entry the privileges were not abused- The entry formed a committee to consider and authorize those activities that were not part of the official training programme. Two notable exercises were, firstly, arranging during darkness for all footwear of the junior entry to be located on Henderson Square in the shape of the entry number-71 . The next morning produced significant amusement to witness the junior entry recover their footwear. Secondly, and perhaps the most exceptional, was associated with placing our entry calling-card in all prominent offices and locations on the station. The calling-card highlighted the fact that “The 7lst Entry was Watching You” The required places included the Commandants breakfast tray, senior officer’s desks and airfield offices. The task was achieved, mostly at night and no adverse punitive measures ensued.

In common with tradition the entry held a competition to decide an entry badge. This was achieved and for over 45 years the badge has been worn with pride.

Irrespective of chosen careers it is reasonable to assume that Halton and the Apprentice ethos made an exceptionable impression on us all and has stood the test of time.