Presentation of Halton Apprentice Trophy to Recruit Training Squadron

  |  Published: Mar 25th 2015
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Group Captain (Retd) Min Larkin CBE, a former Halton Apprentice of the 63rd Entry, has presented the Halton Apprentice Trophy to the Officer Commanding Training Wing, Wing Commander Peter Whiting. The trophy had originally been presented to Recruit Training Squadron in 1955 and for the last 20 years it has been presented at each graduation parade to the recruit showing the most progress in physical training. However, following some repair work, the trophy will now be presented to the recruit showing the most progress in drill and ceremonial.

In a short presentation ceremony attended by the RTS staff, Min explained the origins of the statuette and some of the outstanding contributions made by former Halton Apprentices in WW2. He mentioned the 116 pilots destroying over 100 enemy aircraft between them, the thousands who supported the vital servicing efforts of the ground crew throughout the war and that the RAF’s youngest casualty was Harry Clack. He was killed on active service at only 16 years old, having been one of the many apprentices who graduated prematurely in 1940 to help meet the demands of the front line during the threat of a German invasion.

Min, who was the project officer for procuring the trophy in 1955, was inspired by the statuette presented to Air Commodore Norman Bonham-Carter on his departure from RAF Halton where he had been Commandant of No 1 School of Technical Training from 1928 to 1930.  As a Lieutenant Colonel in the Royal Flying Corps, Bonham-Carter had also been the first Commanding Officer of the School when it was originally established at Halton in 1917.  On his death in 1953, his widow gave the statuette to Halton House where it remains today as part of the silver collection. Min said that he had: “No hesitation in recommending to the Halton Apprentices’ Association that an exact replica of this statuette would embody all that had been achieved by the boy air mechanics trained at Halton in WW1 and the formidable contribution that Halton Apprentices made to the country in WW2.”

Min reminded his audience that all of this came at a huge cost in lives with some 2000 apprentices making the supreme sacrifice in WW2.

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