The month of April will be remembered by many for two important events. It will go down in the history of the country as the month when Sir Winston Churchill resigned from the office of Prime Minister. It will go down in the annals of Halton as the month when the 7lst Entry of Aircraft Apprentices graduated. The former has just terminated a brilliantly successful career: the latter are just on the threshold of theirs—a career, incidentally, made possible partly by Sir Winston Churchill. Both are alike in that they chose to serve their country: both are alike in that they have connections with the Royal Air Force; let us hope that they will both be alike in the magnitude of their achievement.
If the boys of the 71st Entry were lucky in sharing a page of history with Sir Winston ChurchilI they were no less lucky in having such a distinguished and dignified reviewing officer. Resplendent in his blue, scarlet and silver uniform, the Lord Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire. Sir Henry Aubrey Fletcher, D.S.0., M.V.O., arrived at the dais accompanied by Air Marshal Sir Victor E. Groom, K.C.V.O., K.B.E., C.B., D.F.C., Air Officer Commanding in Chief of Technical Training Command, Air Vice-Marshal G. B. Beardsworth. C.B., Air Officer Commanding No. 24 Group. Air Commodore G. E. N. Tindal-Carill-Worsley, C.B., C.B.E., Officer Commanding Royal Air Force Halton, Group Captain R. J. Carvell, Senior Training Officer of No. l School of Technical Training. Group Captain E. Knowles, M.B.E., Principal Education Officer of No. 1 School of Technical Training, and Wing Commander H. A. Paton, Officer Commanding No. 1 Apprentice Wing.
The parade passed off with its accustomed and expected high standard, though perhaps C/A/A Lewis should be reprimanded for regarding the arrival of the Reviewing Officer as the signal for resuming the mastication of his breakfast.
The Parade was under the command of Flight Sergeant Apprentice A. E. Thomson, 71st Entry. The other parade appointments were as follows:-
Colour Bearer S/A/A. F, O. Hutchings
Colour Escort C/A/A P. D. Cunningham
C/A/A H. W. Annan
Colour Warrant Officer S/A/A P. G. Turner
Parade Warrant Officer S/A/A D. S. Watson
No. 1 Flight Commander S/A/A H. Gordon
No. 2 Flight Commander S/A/A J. F. Turk
Standard Bearers C/A/A N. A. Morgan
C/A/A J. G. Redding
Apprentice i/c Junior Entries S/A/A R. H. Wood
Drum Major Military Band A/A G. M. Payne
Drum Major Pipe Band A/A R. P. Rickwood
THE COMMANDANT’S REPORT
At last the long rehearsed moment was over and the parade ground a depressing blank.
A short break followed while the guests assembled in the Burnett Gymnasium for the prize giving. There, after welcoming the Reviewing Officer and his wife, the Commandant read his report. He spoke first about the School in general, beginning with an item of great importance and "one which,” he said, "should greatly encourage everyone, both staff and Apprentices, at Halton." At the Graduation at Cranwell the day before the Sword of Honour and two other prizes had been awarded to Senior Under Oflicer Hines who was an Apprentice in the 63rd Entry. This was, he said, "a convincing proof that the opportunity was there for those who are able and keen enough to take it." As usual there had been many visits during the term. Apart from those of various Army and Navy instructors there have been visits from Admiral Fisher. who was recently appointed Admiral Ground Training, Youth Employment Oflicers from Essex and Yorkshire and the C.C.F. contingents of several schools.
As a result of efforts to bring the instructional equipment up to date there were a Hunter and a Swift in the workshops and an order had been placed for a Rover Gas Turbine for the engines’ laboratory. Another major improvement in the amenities was the gradual installation of fluorescent lighting. ln sport the School’s fortunes had varied considerably. The winter games against Locking were lost by a narrow margin though Fisgard inflicted a resounding defeat. On the other hand the junior soccer team had done very well and reached the final of the Berks and Bucks Minor Cup. Among the activities of Halton Society, the most noticeable was the line performance of the Aircraft Recognition Society in the All England Contest. Mention was made too of the car built by the Motor Racing Section which appeared on television a short time ago.
Then, turning to the 71st Entry, he said that l75 Apprentices commenced training in May I952 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 those 131 were graduating. They 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% which was the lowest since the introduction of the new trade structure and generally showed a falling off of standards in all trades. `In educational subjects the entry achieved an average of 50% which was slightly below the average for the past few years. As a result of their course in schools, 17 Apprentices were being recommended for the award of the Ordinary National Certificate in Engineering, while 19 had passed the Intermediate Examination of the City and Guilds of London Institute in aircraft servicing and maintenance. There were two first class passes, one of whom was awarded the Institute’s Bronze Medal. In General Service Training the entry reached a satisfactory standard. Once again visits to manufacturers’ works had been arranged and representative parties of Apprentices from each trade spent some inter-
esting and profitable days. The entry took an average interest in sport and games with a number of representatives in the major boxing contests. School colours were awarded to 13 Apprentices of the 7lst Entry.