Halton Apprentices Triennial Reunion

Jane Reilly  |  Published: Oct 3rd 2016

On Saturday 24 September, some 900 Veterans of the Royal Air Force Halton Apprentices' Association (HAA) marked their 12th Triennial Reunion at a Sunset Ceremony at RAF Halton. Air Marshal Cliff Spink addressed the Veterans, and their President, RAF Halton’s Station Commander, Wing Commander Niki Stacey took the salute.

The previous day, some 100 colleagues chose to stay overnight in barrack blocks similar to those they lived in during their training at RAF Halton. However their spirit was not dimmed as the Station permitted them to avail themselves of the ambience of the Sergeants' Mess where they consumed some considerable courage. In the morning reveille was sounded and the veterans were marched to breakfast while other veterans were still arriving.

After breakfast, they were invited by Supply Management Training Wing to see the change to the Old Workshop structure and view the Tactical Wing Museum. Morning coffee was in the tea bar and a cake stall courtesy of the MacMillan Nurses Fund coffee morning. A short walk from there was an opportunity to see The trench system, Lister Lines.

Denis O'Brien, Deputy Chairman of the RAF HAA, took up the story, saying: “After a walk up to Recruit Training Squadron we were able to visit The Trenchard Museum, The James McCudden Flight Heritage Centre and the Station Archives, all of which are of great interest in the History of the Halton Apprentice Scheme and Aeronautical Engineering. Next we had a chance to view a barrack block which showed the difference between how we lived then and how they live today. It was also an opportunity to meet some of the new recruits currently undergoing basic training, and The Newcomers Club, affectionately known to us as the Tank, was the centre for all to meet and greet. Many reflected on the good times they had there.

“A bugle call was a sharp reminder that lunch was being served, and even today us veterans can move quite quickly at the thought of food. The Henderson Mess staff were fantastic, providing us with old favourites and someone was heard to remark: 'How could so few provide so much, for so many in such a short space of time'.

“After the Sunset Ceremony the order was given to 'March To Church’, so marching behind our own Pipes and Drums Band, 'The Golden Oldies', and the Association Standard, we marched to St George’s Church for an excellent Service conducted by the Station Padre. The sermon presented by the Association’s Padre brought a fitting end to a wonderful day. It was also a day when we heard the news that father time had caught up with 'The Golden Oldies', and this was to be their last Triennial. However, whenever Highland Cathedral is played it will always be a wonderful reminder to the rest of us of the great times we enjoyed when they played.

“Finally, our Council, on behalf of our Association, wish to thank our President and Station Commander, Wing Commander Niki Stacey, for her, and her colleagues tremendous support provided at our reunion. It was very much appreciated by all.”


apprentices on parade
apprentices on parade
Wing Commander Niki Stacey
apprentices on parade
apprentices on parade
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