candidates arrived at RAF Halton during the last
week of August 1937.
Here we were medically examined and if fit we took an oath of allegiance to King
George VI his heirs and successors. This was followed by being given the
opportunity to state the trade we wished to join, from the following:-
Aero-Engine Fitter, Airframe Fitter, Armourer, Instrument Maker, Wireless
Operator Mechanic. (Not everyone was given the trade of their choice). We were
lined up and given Injections, Vaccinations - and suffered sore arms. The
following day we were kitted out with uniforms etc. All of our civilian clothing
we packed and sent to our homes by the RAF. When in uniform we were taught
drill, how to march, swing ones arms, turn whilst on the march, and how to
salute officers. We were called on Parade and told which trade we would be
taking. Those selected in the trade of Instrument Maker or Wireless Operator
Mechanic were to be sent to The Electrical & Wireless School, RAF Cranwell.
We arrived at RAF Cranwell during early September 1937.
At this time there were 3 Apprentice Squadrons, the accommodation for each was
an 'H' Block. 'A' and 'B' Squadrons housed Wireless Operator/Electrical
Mechanics and 'C' Squadron housed Instrument Makers. Apprentices wore
distinguishing hat bands 'A' Sqn. wore Red, 'B' Sqn. wore Green, and 'C' Sqn.
wore Sky Blue. 'D' Sqn. was formed shortly after our arrival, housed Wireless
Operator/Electrical Mechanics and wore Dark Blue hat bands. Initially
we were known as the 0M7 / 0J1 Entry.
Aircraft Apprentice Training
Was for a period of 3 years and on successful completion of our apprenticeship
we would become tradesmen in July 1940. However, on the outbreak of World War 2
in September 1939 those of our Entry, over the age of 18yrs. were posted as
Tradesmen to RAF Stations. We were soon recalled to RAF Cranwell to complete our
training which because of the emergency was reduced by 6 months, we, therefore,
Passed out of our Apprenticeship in January 1940.