The 95th Entry of RAF Halton Aircraft Apprentices 1960-63



November 2000

13/14 May 2000 - Re-Union Dinner & Church Windows Dedication

On Saturday 13 May, 39 members and ladies, including the Widow & eldest Son of a departed member, attended a meet & greet at the Rose & Crown Hotel, Tring, followed by a re-union dinner in the evening.

Sunday 14th saw an early visit to the RAFHAAA Museum (in the old Gymnasium on Henderson/Groves Square) hosted by the curator, Eric Mansfield. At 1215 hrs the 95th Entry Windows Dedication Service took place at St. George's Church, Chestnut Avenue, Halton (just up towards Main Point from Schools).

The Entry gave such a resounding response to the appeal for our window (No.74 in the plan) that it was also possible for the Entry to donate a further window (No.73), which is at the apex of the main window. The service was officiated by Padre Mark Kennard who presented a fitting history of the Entry, devoted prayers for sick and departed members and finally, the dedication of the two windows. The service was followed by a photo-call, and then a Buffet luncheon at the RAFA Club on the Airfield.

The 95th Entry extends warmest thanks to Padre Mark Kennard and the St. George's Church organist for a beautiful service. Also, our thanks go to Malcolm Taylor, Eric Mansfield and Barry Smith who organised the event on behalf of RAF Halton Aircraft Apprentices Association. Finally, a special thanks to John Hawcock for his help in the design, manufacture and installation of the windows.

Bill Thornley

Committee Meeting

The volunteer committee, comprising John & Gayle Othen, Jeff & Marilyne Bullock, John & Stephanie Cormack, Bill Thornley (apologies from Jeanette) and yours truly, held a planning meeting on Saturday 19th August.

This proved harder to organise than the re-unions. With the five of us being spread so far apart (Swindon, Berwick-on-Tweed, Preston & Bourne) a "centralised" venue at the Harvey Arms Public House, Finningly Village, Nr Doncaster, was chosen for this event. Our thanks go to the Landlady, Mrs. Janet Kettlewood, for allowing us to use their back room free of charge (a letter of appreciation has been sent).

I am very grateful for everyone’s attendance, especially the long distance travellers, in what is generally regarded as the holiday season. Apart from enjoying a great weekend in each other’s company, we covered several important issues reported herein.

95th Entry Benevolent Fund

One of the lads has mentioned that one thing found somewhat upsetting at the 1993 (30th) re-union, was the fact that some of our people were not able to attend due to financial reasons. He suggested that this should not be an obstacle for anyone wanting to attend the 40th anniversary re-union.

Therefore, a proposal has been put forward to set up a formal and anonymous benefit fund, administered and operated by an appointed third party.

The committee considered this proposal in great depth and much discussion ensued. Although everyone thought that it was a good idea in principle it was concluded that it would be very difficult to manage and could lead to emotional distress. The following is an overview of some of the main concerns:

    • Would sufficient funds be donated to meet needs and what would happen if inadequate funds were available to meet demands?
    • Would "once donate – conscience fulfilled" occur (the "I’ve done my bit" syndrome)?
    • How should a request for help be considered and decided? (provocative, but still a consideration)
    • What yardstick to apply?
    • If oversubscribed, what happens to excess funds?

Reluctantly, the proposal was discarded in favour of a simpler alternative, albeit not anonymous but more manageable, i.e. a general appeal on case-by-case basis.

It was decided to make everyone aware that if financial difficulties prevent them from attending functions, then they should advise the re-union organisers in good time. The organisers would then make a general appeal for donations, without names. It may also be possible that put-u-up assistance could be found to alleviate hotel fees in the day or so before functions. Details and limitations about how this may operate will need clearer definition.

Therefore, if you or someone we know, want to attend one of our functions but are prevented because of financial difficulties, please let us know. Discretion is assured!

To Be or Not To Be" (An Association, that is!)

This is a subject which has been broached by me in previous newsletters and which was discussed in some degree.

The main advantage to forming an association is that a formal control can be established and there will be elected officers to run it. Also, it allows for an annual fee to be collected in order to meet administration expenses and provide a degree of financial stability.

The considered disadvantages were primarily:

    • An Association must have rules. (Do we really need a set of rules for our Entry? - Nay, lad! Thrice times Nay)
    • An Association must have officers and formal meetings, minutes and accounts
    • An Association must call an AGM every year

The disadvantages won the day! We unanimously rejected a formal Association and decided that rules are not needed! In the event, all we really need to keep us going is our enthusiasm. The 95th Entry is our bond - keep it up!

Maintaining the "keep it casual" approach, we also decided to invite annual voluntary donations (any old odd £5.00/£10-00 notes, or even Euros at a push) to meet administration and expenses etc. Any surplus (sic!) will be put in the pot at the next Re-Union do. Some of you have made voluntary donations in the past and I thank you for each one. If you wish to send something, then please make cheques payable to the "95th Entry Fund" and send to either Bill Thornley or myself.

    • Bill Thornley12 Mill Drove, BOURNE, Lincs. PE10 9BX, or
    • Alf Banyard105, Stone Hill Drive, BLACKBURN, Lancs. BB1 5TS

95th Entry Fund Bank Account

Yes! We now have our own dedicated bank account opened with the residue from the window donations. It is a "Treasurers Account" entitled "95th Entry Fund".

Lodged with Lloyds TSB, it is operated on a "any one of two signatories" authority. Bill Thornley is the main account holder with myself (purely by default) as 2 i/c. Anyone is free to take over that role, at any time.

All cheques sent in for any reason should be made payable to "95th Entry Fund" and will be forwarded to Bill for paying in. Obviously, anyone can make payments directly into the account but for functions etc it is better to send a cheque (as above) to enable proper recordings to be made – you know it makes sense!

A Re-Union to Celebrate the 40th Anniversary of our Graduation

This was the main purpose of our committee meeting. Of prime importance was the date, nature and venue of the next milestone re-union. Working from a home produced calendar for April and May 2003, we observed that the 10th April, our actual graduation date, falls on a Thursday. Stephanie Cormack was able to advise that Easter fell on 18th to 21st. Thus, it was unanimously agreed that the 40th Anniversary of 95 Entry Graduation Re-Union Function would be on:



The style and content of the function was discussed at length with everyone putting forward their views. We eventually agreed to a similar style of event to that enjoyed at Thame in 1993 and at Leeds in 1998. Several venues were reviewed which showed that we only really had a choice of three in the Halton area. (An earlier opinion poll had already decreed that this was the most favoured area.)

There were lots of "oohs" and "aahs" over the choices (and the ladies also had opinions) and we finally decided on:

The Spread Eagle Hotel, Thame

Telephone: 01844 – 213661. Fax: 01844 - 261380.

on Saturday 12 April 2003

Saturday 12 April 2003 has been provisionally booked with the Hotel (it has to be provisional this far in advance). However, this will allow everyone to make their holiday, budgetary and travel plans accordingly.

The Spread Eagle at Thame was the venue for our 30th Re-Union in 1993 and thus will be a return visit for some and a new experience for others. We chose the Spread Eagle again because: -

    • We needed a suitable establishment close to Halton
    • To accommodate the anticipated numbers (100 ish), that meant a 3 * or 4 * with the right facilities available.
    • Of the other two choices one was a totally isolated 4* hotel with nowhere to wander during the day except the M40 and the other was considered to be too expensive
    • We were familiar with the service and meal provided by the Spread Eagle
    • Black tie and long frocks would have been expected at the alternative venues but are optional at the Spread Eagle (you can still go to town if you want to - I will)

Nevertheless, the Spread Eagle is still likely to be quite pricey, so we recommend that specific private savings schemes ought to be started (or send your monies to us, suitably annotated, and we’ll save it on your behalf – in our own bank account tha’ naws!).

We also agreed to open the event to family (bring thy sons & daughters) and selected (military type) friends (Dave Kennett & Rob Johnson, please note) to try to boost numbers [we rely on your discretion on this matter]. Also, there will be an addition to the Website inviting relatives of departed members to make contact with us (we know some have visited the web sight). I feel sure they would appreciate the opportunity to mix with the colleagues of their son’s / brother’s / nephew’s / cousin’s etc and possibly hear of good memories etc.

Please bear in mind that this may be the last function of its type (but the 50th will be a goodie in 2013). We’re all getting older (I’ll be 59 in 2003), heading rapidly into retirement with the inevitable change in financial circumstances. Let's endeavour to make this 40th Re-Union: -


95th Entry Badge

Sometime in the latter half of 2002, I propose to hold a postal ballot to determine the new 95th Entry Badge from the proposals sent in.

There will be as many rounds as necessary, supervised by a lucky volunteer (one pace forward, march!) yet to be detailed.

You have almost 2 years now, plenty of time to come up with your own designs – the more the better!

Over to you - send in those designs with a brief explanation. John Yates will work his magic and produce an excellent drawing.

Missing Members

Good News! Tim Hazell and John Pollock Found:

Shortly before the May 2000 re-union, Tim Hazell emerged from the darkness in time to join us all at Tring. Great merriment abounded and I know Tim enjoyed himself. Unfortunately, due to the short notice, his good lady Shirley was unable to attend.

Also, just before the May 2000 re-union John Pollock re-emerged from the shadows. John had become lost after the 1993 re-union (or should I say mislaid) but fortunately we found him again and he and Carmen were also able to join us at Tring.

Welcome back to the fold, Tim & Shirley and John & Carmen, we look forward to meeting you again in 2003

If anyone has any claims on things "owed", I can pass your requests. (I know that one of our members is particularly keen to recover a "ten bob note" that was proffered as a "short term" loan during the graduation dance in 1963!)

Signed up" Members

This Newsletter has only gone out to those members "Signed Up" for future news about the Entry. If you have received it, thank you for your continued support.

Behind the scenes, attempts are on going to find missing members (aka Tim Hazell). Please send a stamped A4 SAE for a copy of the current Members Listing. [Note: If you have email, a copy can be electronically dispatched (hopefully)].

This database shows those who have advised us that they want to retain contact, and by default, those who have not yet done so. Please do your bit to convince the others to change their minds.

The 40th anniversary re-union deserves full attendance on

Saturday 12 April 2003.

email Addresses

If you have an email address please let us know what it is. It will make communications so much quicker, easier and cheaper. Please pass the addresses to either: -

John Yates at: or

Me at:


New Members for RAFHAAA

The HAAA has almost complete representation from 20th to 110th entries. Representation is then sparse until the last technician entry, the 155th. The HAAA urgently need the younger generation to join and form their own entry branches. If you know of any members of these later entries, please encourage them to join.

I strongly encourage all of you to join independently. With regular issues of "The Haltonian" it is an excellent method of maintaining touch at very small cost and you will always know of any events, e.g. the triennial HAAA reunions, well in advance.

Since the new HAAA computer system came on line, there have been a number of observations that members have been awarded inappropriate post-nominal letters after their names when receiving correspondence. If it happens to you, please advise the HAAA.

Correspondence with RAFHAAA should be addressed to:

      The Secretary,

      RAF Apprentices Association,
      Royal Air Force Halton,
      Aylesbury, Bucks.
      HP22 6PG.

      Tel: 01296-623535 Ext. 6300.

      BT/Fax: 01296-696896.



 Qualitas non Quantitas.

On behalf of your volunteer committee,

Alf Banyard

105, Stone Hill Drive, BLACKBURN, Lancs. BB1 5TS

Tel/Fax: 01254 692697


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