RAF Halton Apprentices 74th Entry 1953 to 1956

Two Griffins holding a 74th shield. "Main Point" (Archive 38).

Main Point Newsletter Archived 7th April 2016.

Current Newsletter of News, Views, Comments and Articles.

Message from Tony:

Sad News: Last posting of 588652 John Pressman 74th/75th Entry Engines, USA Member. No details known at present.

Birthday and Wedding Anniversity Celebrations.

Happy Birthday Chris and a Happy Wedding Anniversary from the 74th Entry Website.

Man and a woman.

Attached a photo of Christopher Miles and his wife Evangeline, from NZ.
Chris tells me that they have recently celebrated both his 78th birthday and also their 11th wedding anniversary.
From Tony Merry.

My old ATC Squadron 2214 Usworth.

Joe Bosher Reports.

Prior to enlisting as an RAF Halton Aircraft Apprentice I joined the 2214 Squadron ATC in Washington that was once in County Durham. Dave Walmsley has written and published a history of the Squadron that is available on Amazon, I am told.

If you have any memories of being an Air Cadet please let me know and I'll publish something on this Newsletter.

Book cover.

Photograph below shows the Usworth Anson that I often flew in. Conveniently the airfield was just across the road from RAF Usworth. We also had Tiger Moths and later Chipmonks for Air Experience.


Visit to Army Aviation Centre Middle Wallop 12 March 2014

Tony has sent the following Report.

Photograph: men.

Lt to Rt - Mike Lewis, Pete Chappelle, Richard Mynors-Wallis, Jeff Paine, Alan Smith, Barry McLenning, Tony Merry, George Hinde, John Davis, Tony Dovner, Dave Allsep.

More photographs below.

After a good dinner and a goodly quantity of wine and beer at The Star and Garter hotel in Andover, not to mention a good night's sleep, we were met by our host Lt Emily Pantoja in the car park of The Museum of Army Flying, for what was a most enjoyable visit. We were transported by minibus to the Station Headquarters for a welcome and briefing by the Colonel Commandant, Colonel Peter Eadie.

Over coffees and teas we were given a power point presentation on the origins of the Army Air Corps, the AAC, and some background history of Middle Wallop. The Station was originally Royal Air Force Middle Wallop, and is noted as being the largest all grass airfield in the United Kingdom.

Unlike the RAF, where flying training is combined with the Cadetship, the Army operates an aptitude assessment programme where volunteers are given basic flying training over a few weeks and then returned to unit if deemed unsuited to flying duties. Emily, our host let on that she had withdrawn herself from the programme as she experienced acute airsickness.

The AAC is staffed with more civilian contractors than military personnel: this is a result of successive defence budget cuts. Col Eadie stated that he was extremely satisfied with the engineering contractors who nearly always put six aircraft on the line every morning and had a very flexible outlook in their approach to their work. However he had a poor opinion of the catering contractor who runs the messes, it transpires that the quality of the food is on the poor side!

Following the Commandant's briefing we were transported to the hangar used by Cobham Aviation Services, the engineering contractor and viewed sundry helicopters in the course of servicing. We had learned that all the technicians employed by Cobham are either ex-REME or RAF trained, and therefore have the Service work ethic. The question had been put to Col Eadie "What happens when the supply of ex-service techies dries up?" His response was to the effect that it does not bear thinking about!

We moved on to the Army Historic Aircraft Flight, which as the name implies is a collection of remarkably well-preserved aircraft. An Auster, a Beaver, a Westland Scout, a Chipmunk, a Skeeter and not actually part of the collection an ex-RN Wasp in absolutely beautiful condition, privately owned by an acquaintance of the Commandant.

Finally we saw the Lynx graveyard. There is a new helicopter coming into service to replace the Lynx, it transpires that various components are interchangeable, such items are carefully removed from life expired aircraft and placed in store for future use. The "butchered" airframes are sold as scrap. There followed a short walk across the dispersal to the Museum of Army Flying where we said a fond farewell to Emily.

After a spot of lunch we were met by Lt Col (Rtd) Chris Hyslop our guide for the afternoon.

The museum tour started with the very early days of flying in the army, tethered balloons with observers in the basket to be able to "see over the hill".

There followed a look at a replica Sopwith Pup from WW1, and a chat about aircraft of the period, flown by the Royal Flying Corps. The 1st April 1918 saw the formation of the Royal Air Force, and army flying went into decline between the wars.

The advent of WW2 saw the need to get soldiers into the air again, and particular use was made of Gliders, the largest being the Hamilcar, capable of carrying a tank. There is a mock-up of such a glider with only the stub of the port wing root and aerofoil section marked on the far wall of the museum some 50 feet away indicating the size of this aircraft. The cockpit was mounted atop the fuselage, and was a dangerous position to be in in the event of an overturn on landing!

Our tour lasted around an hour and a half and after a short browse as individuals we made our departures for home. A most enjoyable day out.


Photograph: men.

Our host Lt Emily Pantoja

Photograph: men.

A Skeeta?

Photograph: men.

An Auster of the Army Historic Flight


A Wasp, privately owned by a friend of the commandant, stored in the Army Historic Flight.


Note the absence of engine cowling on the beautifully kept Wasp.

Photograph: men.

Pete Chappelle takes a close look at the Historic Flight's Skeeta

Photograph: men.

Photograph: men.

The Historic Flight's Westland Scout

Photograph: men.

The cockpit of the Scout - note Emily through the windscreen!

Photograph: men.

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Emily looking serious

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DH Beaver.

Photograph: men.

A Lynx graveyard - after removing any useful and serviceable components, the cockpits and remaining airframe parts are sold as scrap. NB the replacement aircraft has many common components to the life expired Lynx.

Photograph: men.

Emily was pleased with her framed certificate and box of chocolates.


A replica Sopwith Pup in the Museum of Army Flying.

Photograph: men.

Lt Col (Rtd) Chris Hyslop - our Museum guide.

Photograph: men.

A flying Jeep! An unsuccessful design as it did not have sufficient forward speed for the rotor to operate in "autogiro" mode

[Editor] Please send me any news items or stories that may be of interest to members of the 74th Entry Association or any other visitors to the 74th Entry Website.

Joe Bosher (74th).


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