The Spirit of the 74th Lives On.
The Best Years of My Life, Joe Bosher.
Note: Due to the deterioration of Joe’s health I have taken over the website, I offer our thanks to Joe for keeping it going for a good many years and apologise, to him, for pruning his more personal entries (note the lowercase “e”) Tony Merry, May 2020.
The photograph of the Website author, Joe Bosher, at his first posting to RAF Sutton Bridge in 1956, the start of a fantastic (his words) but short stay in the Royal Air Force. He left the Service in 1961 having enjoyed every moment of his time with the RAF all those years ago, “but that is what memory does for you.”
Joe had joined the RAF as an Aircraft Apprentice in April 1953 as a member of the 74th Entry, but left, I believe on compassionate grounds, in our second year. He was subsequently called up for National Service but opted for a short service 5 year engagement as an engine mechanic. I believe that he kept his 6 digit Halton service number throughout his time in the RAF.
Go to the Site Map, scroll down to Joe’s RAF stories, to read of his experiences.
Welcome to the 74th Entry Website.
If you are wondering what it is all about: we are ex-Aircraft Apprentices of the 74th Entry, No 1. School of Technical Training, RAF Halton. That was over fifty years ago but the spirit of the 74th lives on.
It all started for us in April 1953 when we arrived as sprogg brats to begin induction, kitting out and three weeks full time square bashing, after which we enjoyed three years part time square bashing, senior entry bullying, lack of good food, interspersed with bouts of technical training and education. Our off-duty hours were spent pursuing sports, (avoiding sports), hobbies, charping on one’s pit and visits to the Tank or the Astra. Remember the tanner crush?
Three long years of Workshops, Schools and learning to live together, Bulling
everything in sight and cursing the D.I's, filled our working hours.
28th March 74th Entry passed out. 233 plus 41 re-coursed from previous entries, 35 retained for further training, 43 discharged, 137 passed out.
Definitions of words in italics above can be found on the Home page, many are unique to Halton Apprentices others are in common use in the RAF.
Website Accessibility is Important.
This website is designed to the standards of the World Wide Web Consortium Guidelines for Accessibility and should be capable of being read by any visitor to the site, including the blind, visually impaired and other disabilities.
These pages can be used by most assistive technologies such as braille readers and screen readers in general. That is why there are no tables for design on the site and no Flash animation and where video is used a meaningful text alternative will be provided. All graphics have alternative descriptions.
Web Standards Compliance.
- All pages validate to the major Web standards of the W3C. This requires an element of personal judgement as many accessibility features can be measured, but most cannot. If you have any problem with access to the Web pages, please contact me .
- All CSS style sheets validate as CSS 2 standard.
- All pages on this site are WCAG Level Double A approved, complying with all priority 1, 2, and 3 guidelines. Again, this is a judgement call; many guidelines are intentionally vague and cannot be tested automatically. I have reviewed all the guidelines and believe that all these pages are in compliance.
- All pages on this site validate as XHTML 1.0 Transitional. This is not a judgement call.
I was looking for a theme for a Website. So, after the wonderful experience of meeting fellow ex-brats from the 74th entry on the occasion of the Golden Graduation Reunion (March 2006) I knew that I had to dedicate the Site to the spirit of the 74th Entry.
Fortunately, I was able to register the unique domain (Website) name of 74th.co.uk and went on from there. Having a shockingly bad memory the only two numbers I can never forget are my Entry number and my service number.
Joe’s Personal Project.
This Website is a personal project for anyone and everyone to enjoy, but it is proudly dedicated to the lads of the 74th Entry. Especially to those Engine Fitters.
Over fifty years ago, as a fifteen and a half year old, I joined the RAF as an Aircraft Apprentice in the 74th Entry at No 1 School of Technical Training, RAF Halton, near Wendover, Buckinghamshire. This was a long time ago and although I did not stay long at Halton, leaving in the second year, I like to believe my experience with the 74th influenced the rest of my life in a good way.
A Sentimental Journey.
In March 2006, The Entry held its Golden Graduation Reunion at Aylesbury. It
was the first time I had met these lads in fifty years. Felt like only
I soon realised that the Reunion was not a recognition of service in the Royal Air Force but a celebration of the wonderful comradeship we had built in those early years and had survived the passage of time. Some had served many years in the RAF, others, like me had left early, to take up successful careers in civilian life.
The Master Plan.
The spirit of the 74th lives on. I believe that this spirit has given me the strength and fortitude to have led a life full of adventure and variety. I hope to build up this website (hopefully with the help of other ex brats) into a light-hearted cocktail of topics, interests, hobbys and jobs that I have been involved in over the past fifty years. My memory is not what it used to be so I can only promise the stories as I remember them not necessarily as they were
A Website Motto: Never let facts stand in the way of a good story.
For further aspects of Joe’s time at Blackburn aircraft click here:-
Thanks lads. Meeting you all those years ago gave me a great start in life.
Thanks, Joe, for maintaining the site. (Tony, April 2020)