In Memory

 

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RAF CRANWELL APPRENTICES' ASSOCIATION MEMORIAL
AT
THE NATIONAL MEMORIAL ABORETUM ALREWAS 

Dedicated on 24th May 2006

The idea for this memorial was first suggested by Jim Green of the 32nd (8M7) Entry of Cranwell Apprentices.   By the time the committee had canvassed members about having such a memorial, collected donations to cover the cost, agreed a design and negotiated arrangements for the memorial with the National Memorial Arboretum it was not until early 2006 that the memorial was ready for dedication.   The dedication service, attended by about 100 CAA members and guests, finally took place on 24th May 2006.    

The Committee had always planned on inviting Jim Green to be our primary guest at this dedication but unfortunately Jim died on the 12th November 2004.   We were however pleased to have as our primary guests Jim's wife Heather and his son Steven.

The Green family are clearly dedicated to the Royal Air Force.   Jim's father, 136 H Green enlisted in the Royal Flying Corps on 16th August 1909.   He served in the Air Battalion and with 1AM 2 Squadron in France from August 1914.   He was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal in July 1916 and later the Army Meritorious Service Medal for Valuable Services to the Army in the Field.   He transferred to the Royal Air Force in 1918 where he was shown in the Muster Roll as Chief Mechanic (Rigger Aero).   Unfortunately 136 H Green was killed in a motorcycle accident in 1930.   

Jim Green, or more properly John Eric Green, joined the RAF as a Cranwell Apprentice in 1935.   He progressed from Aircraft Apprentice to acting Warrant Officer before being commissioned in 1943.   Jim spent most of his career in Avionics, and after retirement, was employed as a Civil Servant in the Ministry of Aviation, later to become MoD PE.   He retired in October 1969.

Jim's son Steven, more formally Squadron Leader S J Green BSc Euring CEng CPhys CSci M.inst.P RAF (Retd), was commissioned as an Acting Pilot Officer (University Cadet) in 1973 and graduated from the University of Birmingham in 1975.  Steve's career has also been in Avionics, with the Nimrod and Tornado programmes.   Promoted Squadron Leader in 1988, he retired from the RAF in 1992 before joining MoD Procurement where he is currently responsible for the procurement of advanced V/UHF radios.   He is Chairman of the NATO Technical Committee responsible for the development of interoperability standards.

At the Dedication Ceremony Air Commodore WJJ Northmore CBE CEng RAF (Retd), President of the Royal Air Force Cranwell Apprentices Association, welcomed all attending Association Members and Guests and explained the background to the memorial.   This was followed by a reading by Wing Commander RJ Thompson RAF (Retd), Association Vice-President, of a poem "Memories" that had been adapted from a poem published in "The Wheel" the Association Magazine.   The text of this poem follows:

MEMORIES

Some came from far-flung countries;
some came from farm and town
But all were young and healthy;
eager to serve the crown.
To gain new knowledge was their bent,
to make new friendships too;
They formed some life-long friendships
that proved so tried and true.

They were a motley bunch
with eagerness a-plenty
But when they truly settled in,
they all became one "entry".
A feeling of belonging,
to a family of bright young men,
Who spent their hours in classrooms;
with paper and with pen.

And when it came to pass out
they spread out far and wide
To serve King, Queen and Country,
with honour and with pride.
Many gave their precious lives,
in some cold and foreign field
But blessed with Cranwell training
ne'er thought their ground to cede!

The training and the discipline,
the Friday nights of "Bull"
All honed these so young airmen,
to live their lives so full.
Oh how I can remember them,
though many years ago,
the chaps I met at Cranwell;
and how I miss them so.

Following the "Welcome" and the "Reading", which took place in the National Memorial Arboretum Conference Room, guests and members moved on to the Millennium Chapel where the actual Service of Dedication was conducted by The Reverend BPR Pegg, Chaplain to the Association, otherwise known as Bill Pegg of the 54th (9M9) Entry.   Within the Service Squadron Leader S J Green gave "The Exhortation"

THE EXHORTATION

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old,
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We Will Remember Them.

The "Last Post" was then played followed by "Reveille".

At the conclusion of  the Service of Dedication members and guests moved on to the site of our memorial, picture below,  which was formally unveiled by our Patron Air Marshal Sir Eric Dunn KBE, CB, BEM, C.Eng, FRAeS RAF (Retd).   

A wreath was laid by the Chairman of the Association, Squadron Leader VJ Ludlow MSc RAF (Retd).

 

This picture shows Sir Eric, having unveilled the Memorial, with The Rev Bill Pegg.

 

This picture shows the actual plaque in greater detail.

 

CAA Memorial Sir Eric John Pegg.JPG

CAA DEDICATION Plaque.jpg

 

Click on thumbnail images to see picture full size.

 

 

St Georges Church
Royal Air Force Halton

The picture below shows just a few of the windows in St Georges Church at RAF Halton that various Apprentices Entries, and others, have had designed and installed.

  

Click on thumbnail to see image full size.

AppsWindow2.jpg

 

 

RAFCAA MEMORIAL WINDOW

The Dedication of the window designed by Karen Newby and installed in St George's Church RAF Halton as a memorial to all Aircraft Apprentices who trained either at RAF Flowerdown or RAF Cranwell between 1922 and 1952 was held on Sunday 17th June 2007.   The church service and dedication was attended by some 27 ex Cranwell Apprentices, plus Mrs Pam Goodger (an RAFCAA Affiliated Member) and 9 ex-Apprentices and Boy Entrants from other Associations.   Prior to the actual dedication Air Marshall Sir Eric Dunn KBE CB BEM CEng FRAeS, Patron of the RAF Cranwell Apprentice Association, gave a short talk about the history of the Apprentice scheme, an extract from which appears  hereunder, while Squadron Leader Vic Ludlow MSc, Chairman of the RAF Cranwell Apprentice Association, tried valiantly to explain the Cranwell Entry numbering scheme - I am not sure he succeeded, at least with our guests!   After the Dedication Ceremony the group visited the Apprentice Tribute, adjacent to the church, for photographs, then to Henderson Mess for lunch and finally the Trenchard Apprentice Museum was opened for those who wished to take a walk down memory lane.

Extract from Sir Eric's talk.

"Of the thousands of aircraft apprentices who were trained at Flowerdown and Cranwell, there are only some hundreds of us left.   And we are old and becoming weary.   But we have had the strength to see through the completion of this last memorial to our colleagues.   Colleagues - Sergeants, Flight Sergeants, Flight Lieutenants, and Squadron Leaders in the main - who, for eight decades from 1922, enabled the Royal Air Forces' wings "to mount like eagles" and thereby contribute to our glorious history.

We have already laid down a number of memorials, and reminders for historians, to the Cranwell aircraft apprentice:  We have left a brass plaque and re-named a Parade Ground in Lincolnshire, we have, in conjunction with the other apprentice associations, placed a memorial paving stone outside St Clement Danes, we have planted trees at the National Memorial Arboretum, and both Flowerdown and Cranwell have published histories of their training.   However, we have always believed that a stained glass window, in a church, would be the most appropriate memorial - and that such a memorial would stand the best chance of acting as a permanent reminder of the Flowerdown and Cranwell aircraft apprentice.   Unfortunately, the windows in the Cranwell church - an obvious venue - are a key feature of that building's Georgian architecture, and could not be modified.   We were delighted. therefore, to take up the offer from RAF Halton to place our window here in St Georges Church.

But that was the easy bit.   As always, when attempting to design a solution by committee, the path to an acceptable solution can be long, and at times fraught with tension.   But thanks to the strong and persuasive leadership of our project officer, Wing Commander Rocky Thompson, we arrived at a very acceptable design.   This design attempts to combine, simply and clearly, the history of the two training schools with the unique character of the aircraft apprentice.   But the main credit for this magnificent window must go to Karen Newby.   She transferred our design ideas to glass, gave them a religious context, constructed the window and finally installed it here in St Georges Church.   We believe that this window provides a fitting memorial to those aircraft apprentices who were trained at RAF Flowerdown and RAF Cranwell between 1922 and 1952.   We hope you, and all who follow, think so also."

Click on thumbnail to see image full size.

 

Window pre Fitting mod.JPG

 

Group of Windows.jpg

 

 

This picture of our window was taken prior to installation

 

This picture shows our window after installation at the lower left

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apps in Church.JPG

 

Apps at Tribute.JPG

 

 

Some apprentices and their guests viewing the window after the Dedication Service

 

Most of the Cranwell Apprentices who attended the Dedication Service gathered at the Apprentice Tribute.  Not sure why Sir Eric has his hand up!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright 2006.   RAF Cranwell Apprentices Association.   All rights reserved

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This page was last updated on 29th June, 2007