On the 21st of August 1945, just 6 days after VJ Day which signalled the end of
World War 11, 252 young men aged between 15½ and 17 years of age reported to platforms
at Marylebone and Baker Street stations in London.
Everyone boarded a train which eventually ended up at Wendover station, where they
piled out onto the platform with suitcases and the like, bulging, tied with string and suitably labelled.
They were gathered together into a long "snake", 3- deep, ready to be marched to Halton
Camp. Marched because it was "quicker than walking"! By some strange coincidence,
surely not by design, they looked up to the skies to see a Lockheed P38 Lightning making
a pass over them, but he didn't open fire. Probably radioed back to base saying
that he had found a mass of late stragglers from some place or other - Dunkirk?
At the Camp they were registered, FFI 'd, (a Free From Infection medical examination),
attested and issued with RAF clothing and uniforms from the Clothing Store.
Then, amongst lots of excitement, they were assembled in the Camp cinema for an address
by the Great Man himself, none other than Viscount Trenchard,
the founder of the RAF Engineering Apprentice scheme back in 1922.
Little did those lads know how the following 3 years would shape their future lives.
Throughout the years some kept in contact with each other, and it was at the 1992
triennial reunion of the RAF Halton Aircraft Apprentice Association (HAAA) that our
Association was formed. Following the formation of the 51st Entry Association,
annual reunions have been held each September/October since 1993 at the Pine Lodge Hotel (now known as the Holiday Inn Birmingham-Bromsgrove) in Bromsgrove.
The members have agreed that they will continue to be held for the forseeable future, and
the Diamond Anniversary of 'signing on' took place on 21st August 2005 at RAF Halton, 60 years to the very day.
"The final reunion was held at the Bromsgrove Holiday Inn on 26th September 2015 and was attended by 16 of the 51st members along with 31 family, friends and guests. A full report on the occasion can be found under Reunions".
Should anyone wish to make contact with the Association, then you can find Committee member addresses on the Officials page.