Last of the Apprentices As We knew them.
The 107th Entry and the TSR 2.
The introduction of the TSR 2 instituted a new thinking in aircraft strategy and a major change in the training of RAF Apprentices.
Thus, in September 1964, the 107th Entry at No.1 School of Technical Training, Halton were designated as Aircraft Technician Apprentices, each to be trained in the trade of airframes, propulsion, electrics and armament and graduated in the rank of Corporal.
This anticipated the adoption of the repair by replacement concept in preference to the traditional maintain by repair approach for the RAF. We all had to adapt to this during our own RAF service.
Jack of All Trades.
The first entry of the new jack of all trades - master of none apprentices (they misguidedly called themselves the new supertechs) were being recruited as diagnostitions for the TSR 2. Apparently, during the course, the syllabus changed with monotonous regularity on the whims of the ever changing aircraft procurement policy. In true Halton spirit they protested strongly about this unsatisfactory situation, earning themselves the reputation as "beefers". The cancellation of the TSR2 did not reverse the changes in the RAF Apprentice Scheme at Halton and things would never be the same again.
What Would Biggles Have Done?
Imagine this. Poor Biggles stuck behind enemy lines. No radio and a bent prop. Enemy closing in. But, no basic fitting tools to do repairs. No more Biggles!
Seriously, If you spent many a hour in workshops at Halton chiselling and filing perfect cubes and other male and female bits of metal and have since used these skills please let me know your story. How valuable was basic fitting skills learned during your time at Halton? Could you have repaired Biggles' prop with a hammer, chisel and a file? And OK I'll allow you a fire.
Have you got a good tale to tell? Or would you like to comment about items on this page, especially the Technician Apprentice Scheme or other RAF policies that effected you in your own RAF career, I would welcome any Feedback.
Joe Bosher (74th).