Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Class 4 & Other Pics from Iain Mortimer

Many thanks to Ian for sending these - already captioned too!

Class 4 - R&I 3

Life in 'the block' at Halton

Life in the real RAF

Monday, 29 December 2008

10th Triennial Reunion

These are big affairs. A show on down at the airfield. You can stay overnight in the blocks, eat from the messes, march down and up the hill and wander the camp (remember how we used to spend money to take every opportunity to NOT do those things . . .). Now that we are older (mid forties) and supposedly wiser, these things are (perhaps) once again OK to do? :-)

They are also good opportunities for entries to organise a reunion. We 139s have never had a reunion (so far as I can tell) and the topic does crop up. We missed 20 and 25 years (can you believe it's been that long?), so maybe it's a 30 year thing for us?

Mark your diaries for Sat 25 September 2010 for the official Appo reunion at Halton..

Join the RAFHAAA!

I'd like to suggest that we support our own association (the Royal Air Force Halton Aircraft Apprentices Association) by joining as members. They do a lot of hard work in keeping the community and memories alive, supporting members interests and in organising events such as the main reunions at Halton. They send out regular newsletters and 'The Haltonian' journal a few times per year.

I recall we all were made members for a year or two when we left Halton. This was because we had money left over in the 'flight funds' and it was used to buy annual memberships. Seemed pretty useless then, as we were fighting to get away from the whole Halton/Apprentice shtick - but on reflection it's perhaps more useful in renewing and maintaining old friendships. That's pretty much the idea behind this website too.

I didn't renew my own membership for years and then paid for a lifetime membership so I could pay and forget about it. Not sure how much it is now, but it was very reasonable at the time - maybe 70 quid?

You can contact them:

Sharing a room at Hotel Halton

Thanks to Jim Boyle for recounting some of his memories on life with room mates . . .

My room was Ade C, Colin B, Alan M, Mark F. But we were really close. What a roller coaster of life and events that 3 years was. I lost count of how many times I washed pots and pans in the kitchens for parade inspection infringements.

One that always makes me chuckle is when our room went out mid week to Aylesbury, there was a Bells whiskey promotion on, I woke up in the morning, 5 mins to go before parade, (knew straight away where I was going in the evening), with Ade cuddling me (what the heck was he doing in my bed? The cheeky b+++++++ bed was perfectly made from the day before) and he had puked on the side of my head, went on the parade with my ear full of carrots. Cpl Clot went berserk. Mark had puked in his beret and had to put it on his head.

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Where are we now?

A page about where we are and/or what we are doing 29? years after leaving Halton.

I have heard (through email) some great stories of where we all ended up. Below is a voluntary update, please send me yours!

I'll split this page into classes once we have enough.
Almost there already!

Roy Leftly
After about 4 years at RAF Lossiemouth working on Avro Shackletons (am I that old?) I was posted to RAF Finningley near Donny, which is now an airport with the longest name ever: something like Doncaster Sheffield Robin Hood International Airport, I'm surprised they even have Donny in the name!

Anyway, I met my wife Lisa at Finningley who worked in the Med Centre, although we actually met in the Theatre Club, Lisa was Snow White and I was a dwarf....

After a year at Finningley I went to RMCS Shrivenham to do a degree in electrical engineering. My old room mate Dave Dawes from Class 2 was also at Shriv' doing a degree in mechanical engineering. From here I was posted back to RAF Lossiemouth as OC Eng on the Rapier Squadron. Following this I did the MSc course in Aerosystems Engineering at RAFC Cranwell and left the RAF at age 38.

After reading Andy May's short write-up, I'm still married, and have 2 kids, a boy and a girl, who are growing up fast! A reunion sounds a great idea, let's hope it comes off.

John Phillips
I left the mob in 1995 having spent the last 5 years of it as an instructor initially training apprentices (entries 149 until the end 155 - I taught T42 propellers after being posted to Phantoms and Tornado F3's I never really worked the RAF thinking out), and was the only 139 on the final graduation parade which had the support flights made up of serving ex-appo's (I have a photo of me being inspected by the Duke of Kent in the front row of a flight made up of other Corporals, Wing Commanders, Squadron Leaders, WO's and flight Sergeants etc!).

I finished training sooty fitters courses on Gas Turbines and actually re wrote the whole gas turbine course for the new training syllabus and taught in the Propulsion Simulator. I ended up at Cosford after No1 S of TT moved there in 1991.

It was at Halton that I met up with Lee and later Nige Porter again and we had some right old times (you can imagine being posted to a station with a Hospital!).

Since 1995 I've done a number of training management jobs and was at one point a board director of a big recruitment consultancy. Without going into the CV here (I'll right the story for the site), I'm currently setting up my own consultancy business which sounds grand but is really just me at the moment.

Dan (Mick) Carroll
As we left Halton, I managed to remove for preservation purposes (nick?) all 4 of the old b&w class photos that were taken during our first few days at Halton. We all look very young and shiny and smart - although some of the faces of those that "escaped" early are crossed out. The photos are currently in my attic - I'll scan them at the first opportunity and hopefully, they can be put on the site and enjoyed by a few more of us!

I'm now know as "Dan" - soon after leaving Halton, I joined the Kinloss Mountain Rescue Team where nicknames were prolific - I was soon named Dan (apparently due to a similarity with Desperate Dan the comic book character). Kids can be so cruel!

Ged Sidnell
Here's a brief resume of what's happened to me since leaving the RAF. I left the RAF, taking voluntary redundancy, in August 1996 and started work at Lotus Cars as a Test Cell Technician. After 9 months in that role I progressed to Powertrain Development Engineer and then Project Engineer on Client projects. Unfortunately I was made redundant from there in May 2002 and after a 6 month spell of "semi-retirement" I started work at a company called Windboats Marine as Production Manager, building Oyster Yachts.

After 3 years there it was time to move on and eventually I ended up at a sheet metal fabrication company in Salhouse near Norwich as Workshop Manager. Unfortunately, in March last year they went belly up and I was made redundant from there as well! Fortunately, I had kept in touch with some of the guys at Lotus and they were recruiting for Project Engineers and I came full circle back to Lotus last April. I am currently working as Project Engineer on the new Lotus Evora which we are launching in the near future - first customers will get their cars this summer.

In 1997 I split from my first wife, to whom I had been married since 1985 and with whom I had my eldest daughter Abby in 1993. In 2000 my youngest daughter Emily was born to my now second wife Vicki, we married in May 2007.

We live very close to what was RAF Coltishall - I still miss the Jags flying over our place when in circuit and that "Jet Noise - the sound of Freedom!"

If any others from the East Anglia region - well anyone actually fancy meeting up some time just let me know - it would be great to see people again.

The full blown reunion in 2010 sounds like a great idea - definitely up for that!

Andy May
After Halton I got posted to Chivenor along with my old 138 entry mate Ken Switzer. We carried on terrorising the locals with our American car antics together for a couple of years until my heart condition meant the mob gave me a choice of either staying in at current rank until my time was up, or saying farewell.

I left at the end of 1986 and joined British Aerospace at Kingston building Harriers. Got married and moved to BAE Warton in search of affordable housing where we stayed for a good 5 years and I ventured into Project Management of Goshawk (Hawk for the US Navy).

Eventually we moved back south and I had management jobs in MBDA (missiles), AMS (more missiles) and Astrium (Spacecraft & Satellites). During that time I had got divorced and married to wife number 2. For the last 3 years I've been in Kent and have re-joined BAE Systems now running their Bid Centre. Wife number 2 has gone but I'm determined not to make this a habit as it's getting expensive!

Plans for the future include not moving again for quite a while and climbing the Inca trail to Machu Pichu. I'm still in regular contact with Ken Switzer, but have lost touch with everyone else along the way.

Kevin Higgins
Left the RAF in May 2005 as CT. Spent time at Lossiemouth (first posting) then mainly Kinloss with a brief interlude to 33 Sqn for three long years! Bumped into "Dingus" at Westlands on a Puma course. Was Nimrod Crew-chief with Dave Ball for a while then moved into the Nimrod Ground School (NiMS) as an instructor. (Them that can't and them that teach etc!!).

When I left I took a job with Rolls-Royce as a Project Manager in the Oil & Gas sector of the company, working from Aberdeen. 10 months of travelling 120 miles every day at stupid hours left me looking for something else and looking considerably older! BAE stepped up and gave me a Lesson Design & Developement job on the MRA4 (new Nimrod) working at Warton.

After a few months was back home in Scotland doing the same job at Kinloss which was great. Soon after, the opportunity arose for a Training Manager in NiMS where I used to work in the RAF so that's where I am now. Back to what I left 4 years earlier but as a civvy and running the place instead of a WO.

Now employed as the MR2 - MRA4 Groundcrew Training Transition Manager which sounds clever but isn't really! First marriage broke up as I left the RAF (18 years and no kids) and I subsequently met a lovely Geordie lass who I married last year. Previous family from her means that I'm now a dad and grandad by proxy. Strange things happen in life.

Still enjoy mountaineering, cycling and Canadian canoing when the weather's ok. Life is great!

Tony H

Quit the RAF in 89 after 4 years on 7 Sqn at Odiham. Went into sales repping for a few years. Moved to Hong kong in 1992. After 15 years in IT management in HK, I quit the 'expat corporate high life'. I'm now living in Melbourne, Aus and consulting for businesses and other organisations in sustainability with a speciality in 'Green IT'. Trying to save the world from climate change! Have two children, girl 8 and boy 5 and two budgies (oh, and a wife!).

Martin Wells
Left RAF as a Chief Tech in 2005 when I took redundancy from Marham. Bought a house in a village near Thetford, where my wife comes from. Spent 3.5 years driving an artic for a removal company, mostly round London and UK but also all over Europe. Then the housing market collapsed and no-one was moving so work dried good when you're paid hourly. So, got in touch with BaeSystems who've taken over the 'Depth' maintenance of tornado, centralised at Marham and, as a result, am now back doing the job I handed over to them when I left, planning the maintenance cycles for all the Tornado GR4 fleet.

Jim Boyle
I live in Sleaford Lincs, married with 2 children. I’m a project accountant for the Woodland Trust but haven’t got a permanent contract so will be looking to move on before I get the boot. I was an accountant in the construction industry until July 2008 when I was an early casualty of the recession. Unemployment wasn’t on the plan.

Mike Inder
I'm currently a Chief Tech and the Mechanical Trade Manager on IX(B) Sqn at RAF Marham (I still can't get over the multi-skilling fuss, a chock will never be truely multi-skilled!) I've still got the desire to go all the way to WO all things permitting (God knows they've made it as hard as possible with the various manning and post reductions etc!) Operations are a large part of Sqn life with Tornado doing Afghanistan as well as OP TELIC from 01 Apr 09 but still enjoying sqn life. I've been married for 23 years to Val and have 2 children (Steven 21 and Jenny 16) I've spent my career to and fro'ing from Germany until they pulled the plug! we've kind of settled in West Norfolk.

Iain Mortimer
Still in the Mob at Sunny Lyneham, Currently employed as C130K Ground Eng/Crew Chief and work in Eng Ops when not away. Got married to Katrina in 1988 and we have two children Trina 19 and Connor 16. Have been lucky enough to travel a lot around the world with current job as well as postings to Germany and Canada whilst we still had overseas bases, which didn't involve tents and sand.

Have split the Bungee to Mike Inder I seemed to follow him around till 1994 :) Then went back on AFT course at Halton and met Kev Hudson for the year. Also did a Puma Course at Westland's with Kev Higgins. Had a laugh other year when I had to be assimilated to Multi skilling as Ground Eng we are qualified all four aircraft trades, but we still had to do a 30 question Multi guess to be qualified as heavy splitters.

Speak with Si Rowden a bit as he is Godfather to my daughter and still see Rich Martin nee Turner he would be different on occasions. Very Active with the Ssangyong Owners Club big Korean 4x4 that uses Merc engines and runs on Veg oil cheap as chips :)

Plans for the future getting out of mob and running own Gite and campsite in France.

Richard Martin (Turner)
On my part a brief catch-up is as follows: From Halton posted to Binbrook on 5 Sqn. Lightnings (with Brian Rowley and Col Barlow). This was probably my most enjoyable (social!!) period involving trips to Europe and Cyprus for APC (Armament Practice Camp or A Pissed Corporal). I 'worked' exclusively as a sumpy whilst there on the opposite shift to Brian. Posted with the demise of Lightnings in Nov '87 to St Athan (Oh what joy!). Once at St. Athan I switched to rigger and worked on 4 Sqn. (majors on Phantoms). Dave Boothroyd was also working there and Iain Mortimer (when he took that photo of me scoffing a sausage buttie!). It was round about this time I realised I didn't want to be an engineer and started looking for a proper job. I applied for PVR and left 12 month later as Gulf 1 started (war dodger!)

I couldn't find a proper job so I followed my father into the police back home in Nottingham where 18 years later I still work as a trainer. I married in '03 and acquired a step-son now 21. Had a daughter '98, separated/divorced '05 and now live with partner Suzanne and her daughter.

Mark Freemantle
Still working away, life sentence I think. Currently working as a gas engineer in the Wolverhampton area, but probably in line for a new direction soon.

Colin Browning
Living in Norwich working as a social science and public service studies lecturer at Easton College. This is an FE college just outside Norwich. Left the RAF in 1989 and went to the University of East Anglia. Studied for a degree in politics, an MA in International Relations and then worked as a researcher and tutor at the uni. Then worked as a freelance business writer before a spell at Norwich Union. Started at Easton College Sep 08. Married for 3 yrs and have a 10 yr old daughter from a previous relationship. Keen runner and triathlete which is odd considering how much I hated PE. Did a solo John O Groats - Lands End cycle ride in May 08. Raised a few quid for local charity. I think that's enough to be going on with. Don't want to bore you all.

Kevin Hudson
I'm currently a Chief Tech on 33 Sqn at Benson on Pumas. I was previously at brize on VC10's and am currently trying to get back there for my last tour of duty. Incidently Mal Griggs has just been posted there on promotion to Chief.

Dave Boothroyd
I Left last April and am currently working as a maintenance engineer. It's not particularly exciting or challenging! However I get to see my family every day, which was one of the main influencing factors. If the reunion thing comes off I'll make every effort to be there.

Dave Ingolotti
The power of the internet . . . Dave's daughter found our site and was pleased to be able to show her dad. They are now in Malta. I have his email address if anyone wants to contact him.

R&I (Resource and Initiative) Training

I first added a couple of Class 1 R&I pics from Mike Quigley with some thoughts and questions they raised for me.

Kevin Hudson kindly replied with some details below, which is such a fantastic memory jogger. I'd forgotten a lot of these details and have no recollection of my (Class 3) R&I 1 at all. Anyone else remember?

Kev refers to the story about the police pulling up a landrover in a small Welsh village on R&I2. I was in the back of that landrover when it happened. We sped along the country roads towing a canoe trailer after a cold day on the water. As we sped past a stationary police car, the driver (the PTI Kev refers to) muttered something like "bollocks - I hope he didn't clock us - keep an eye out back to see if he chases us". Sure enough the blue light went on and the copper gave chase. The PTI decided to press on regardless (in denial!) and hope the copper gave up. In the end we pulled over and the driver was pretty nervous and started to make excuses. The copper said "look, are you going to keep making excuses or take your bollocking like a man?". He took the bollocking and, as Kev says, that's when that great one liner came out!

From Kevin Hudson:

I've just had a look at the website and read Mike Quigley's contribution. I would like to expand a little.

R&I 1 as I remember it was an exercise about getting back to camp under our own steam, over two days. Class 1 was taken and booted out in the vacinity of RAF High Wycombe. I remember hiking past a large hole in the ground as the new HQ facility was under construction. We were given co-ordinates to make for which was where we cmped in a field for the night. The first of Mikes photo's was taken in a nearby Pub. The next day we carried on back to Halton via Combe Hill (with the monument) and then through Wendover. I think we had to go up it to the woods and come into camp through the back door 'as it were'.

R&I 2 was a week in North Wales based at Capel Curig [Tone says: I just found Betws-y-Coed, the village/outdoor camp we actually stayed in], where we were treated to canoeing, rock climbing and hill walking. We walked to the top of Snowdon via Crib Goch which was very narrow and had a 2000' drop to one side hidden by cloud. We also went sea canoeing in Conway Bay. I remember on the way back the PTI (Bungle) driving the Light Weight Landrover with a canoe trailer, loaded with about ten canoes got pulled for speeding in a 30 mph zone. The coppers parting words were "the next time you come flying through Conway, raise the bloody undercarriage".

News - latest contacts from the group

Jan 10 - 36/72 = 50%
  • Roy Leftly - made contact.
  • Brian Rowley -made contact.
17 Nov 09 - 34/72 = 47%
  • Richard Galkowski - responded.
21 Oct 09 - 33/72 = 46%
  • Adrian Bell - responded.
1 Aug 09 - 32/72 = 44%
  • Andy Smith - joined the mail list.
  • Dave Elford - joined the mail list.
14 May 09 - 30/72 = 42%
  • Graham Smith responded.
29 April 09 - 29/72 = 40%
  • Graeme Schlueter responded.
  • Pete Walker - confirmed email address
27 April 09 -27/72 = 38%
  • John Phillips responded.
19 April 09 -26/72 = 36%
  • Howard Jones responded.
2 April 09 -25/72 = 35%
  • Dan (aka Mick) Carroll responded.
22 March 09 -24/72 = 33%
  • Mark Bilney responded.
6 March 09 -23/72 = 32%
  • Andy May responded.
  • Kev Higgins responded.
1 March 09 -21/72 = 29%
  • Ged Sidnel responded.
29 Jan 09 - 20/72 = 28%
  • Dave Boothroyd responded.
28 Jan 09 - 19/72 = 26%
  • John Peacock responded.
7 Jan 09 - now up to 25%.
  • Andy Bailey responded.
  • Mark Freemantle responded.
  • David Ball responded to Rich M.
6 Jan 09 - now up to 20%.
  • Richard Turner (now Richard Martin) responded and sent some email address and a personal update.
  • Ed Down responded.
31 Dec 08 - now up to 18% of entry are in contact again.
  • Iain Mortimer sent in some pix.
  • Glenn Cotter responded from his Blackberry . . .
30 Dec 08 - now up to 15%
  • John Purser responded with some addresses for 4 other 139s.
  • Colin Browning responded.
  • Jim Grigg responded (at least his holiday email bounce did!).
  • Nigel Porter responded with some contacts to come.
29 Dec 08 - responses to my first email to the old email addresses I had . . . many thanks to all. That's about 10% of the Entry now accounted for! If you wish to contact any of the below, please let me know (see Contacts) and I will send you their email address.
  • Jim Boyle responded.
  • Mike Inder responded and is digging out contacts for Iain Mortimer, Ade Bell and Steve Ward, Dave Arden and Rich Galkowski. (I have Dave and maybe Iain's contacts already).
  • Kevin Hudson responded with some memories on the three R&Is.
  • Martin Wells responded with updates on recent years.
  • Dave Arden responded, but was rushing out to a panto . . .
  • Mike Phelps responded and expecting a second child in April.
  • Mike Quigley responded.

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Links to other 'Brat' resources


You can search the contents of this website using the built in feature.

Please go to the top left of the page and type in your search request in the empty text box and click 'Search Blog'.

The picture below shows the search box:

About us

We were the 139th entry of RAF engineering apprentices.

We were A Eng Tech A/Ps (Aircraft Engineering Technicians Airframes/Propulsion). Our rank during training was AET (Aircraft Engineering Technicians). We passed out as JTs (Junior Technicians) and were supposedly guaranteed to become Corporals within one year and then Sergeants in three years.

Just a brief intro to the history of this site. Will update this to be more about the Entry later, as we progress.

I (Tony, class 3) hand built a site for 139 Entry a number (8-10) of years ago as I was running my own web development business. It was too time consuming to keep it up to date, but I did receive a steady flow of contact information as people found the site, which was very satisfying.

But in the end the lack of time and the cost of keeping the site going didn't seem worth it and I let the domain ( lapse. This was a shame really because we came at the top of the Google search if you searched for '139 entry'!

A couple of years later I tried to reregister but some so and so bought it and 'parked' it. Companies do this, buy lapsed domains, in the hope that the original user will come back one day and pay them a large sum to recover its use. Needless to say I was not up for this, so I eventually registered and fired up this blog.

It's very easy to post to the blog and I'm happy to allow other 139'ers to contribute - just let me know and I'll give you access.

Contact us

Please contact me to:
  • Stay in touch.
  • Send me your email address for the list I keep. (I only distribute it to other 139'ers. For privacy/spam reasons I no longer publish it on the website.)
  • Send me pictures or stories you'd like to have posted on the site.
  • Request a copy of the latest list of entry email addresses.
  • Request to be able to add entries to this site on your own.
  • Request to be automatically informed by email when this site is updated.
Please contact Tony at: hodge 'at' - just replace the 'at' with an @ when you address it.
I can also arrange for upto 9 other people to have their own personalised address forwarded to their usual email account. Let me know if you want one - first come, first served!
Please also see info on our emailing group.

Class 1 Pictures

Contributed by (Wing Commander) Mike Quigley . . .

R & I 1

R&I 3

UPDATE - Kev Hudson provided some background to these pictures here.

'R&I' was short for 'Resource and Initiative' training. The most initiative displayed was usually in having the best piss up holiday one could get away with!

There were three R&I's over the apprenticeship period and I seem to remember that they became more 'interesting' the higher the number. So by the time you got to three, the class could decide on its own plan, so long as it involved some sort of adventurous activity.

Here Class 1 are at R&I's 1 and 3. I can't remember what R&I 2 was all about. But 3 for Class 1 looked like surf canoeing, given the picture above.

Class 3 did our 3 in St Ives, Cornwall. We pitched RAF 12 man tents in a commercial holiday camp and surfed our kayaks on the local beach. It was basically a good holiday at the expense of the RAF. Lots of clubs, girls and beer involved. Rich Gaze managed to dislocate his shoulder in a surfing mishap. He spend the rest of the 'training' with his arm in a sling and met his future wife on the campsite whilst hanging around. I remember our Flight Commander wryly commending my 'initiative' in booking such a comfortable site . . .

Friday, 26 December 2008

Other Entry Websites

136 Entry

The master list is kept at the RAFHAAA (RAF Halton Aircraft Apprentices Association) site at It's possible that there are a few more sites around that the RAFHAAA don't know about.

I just counted 70 brat websites on their page. Interesting that the newer entries (107-149) are less likely to have a site running than the older ones. For some of us, it may be that we are in those busy years of careers and children? But surely not all of us.

If technologically, time or cost challenged - try making a free site at Make a free Google account (if you don't already have one) and start a blog. That's what I did for 139 Entry (this site) then I bought a domain for about USD9 at and forwarded that to the blogsite so it looks like our own pages. I'm happy to help anyone with that process, just contact me .

I've just informed them of 139 Entry's site link change.

Pictures of Wendover

These pictures were taken during a revisit of the camp, some years after the passout of 139's, in a fit of nostalgia.

Wendover is a large village next to the camp and had 'tolerated' its neighbour graciously for many years. No doubt the legions of trainees swamped the local culture, but then the village must have gained some great economic benefits generated.

Local youths would occasionally set upon RAF trainees as they walked to the camp or around the village on a night. It was a risk walking back after getting a late night train home. We were supposedly forbidden from fighting back - but then on a number of occasions following an attack, we'd round up friends from our flight and head down to the village in a fleet of cars ready to identify and punish the culprits!

'Cardiac Hill' - we marched down and up this hill in a parade, twice per day

Station Headquarters (SHQ)

Roundabout at the bottom of 'Cardiac Hill'

The workshops

The road passing by the workshops. Kermode Hall on the right side (unseen in this pic).

Sports fields and grounds at the camp - behind Halton House

Wendover Railway Station

Old cottages in Wendover

Class 1 on a Gnat

standing on wing, rear (l-r): Hudson, Rowden, Sidnell, Inder.
sitting on wing (l-r): Ball, Bell, Quigley, Wells, Roberts (cockpit), Darrington, Boyle, Lefly, Philips.
standing (l-r): Morris, Ward, Griggs.

This picture was taken at the time of completing our airfield training, very close to passing out from the apprenticeship. It was taken on a snowy, cloudy day so the whole background has faded to white, giving an impression we are actually floating. Not even we were good enough engineers that we cuould make a Gnat float . . .

The Gnat was the aircraft we used to practice our overall training and skills on in the hanger in a 'real' environment. We had to remove various major componants and rebuild the aircraft. This included the engine, which was subsequently test started once the exercise was complete.

139 Entry Passout Parade

(l-r) Trott, Quigley, Sidnell, Smith, Lefly, Purser, Wells, Hodgson, Arden
140 Entry in background

April 1985?

Imagine this scene, with the Halton Pipes & Drums Band leading us off the square, playing "Auld Lang Syne". The crump, crump of shoes on gravel. We're doing a slow march - which takes some concentration, see it written on our faces?

We've finished the Passout Parade and we're on our way to the church for the Passout Service. It's the last time we'll EVER march together as a complete entry on this square, down the hill, across the road. Once dismissed, we join our families for the service and 139 Entry ceases to exist, except in memory.

The guys behind us are from 140 Entry, saluting us as we leave. You see those badges on their sleeves? They are Apprentice Wheels. Those guys are happy because they are now the 'senior entry', which means they rule the roost. They're also maybe sad and a little jealous because they still have six months of training and the final exams still ahead of them, while the 139's are leaving Halton today to start a new life.

From the 139 point of view - today is the pinnacle of our service career, so far. Three years of training and now we remove our Wheels, replace them with a Junior Technician badge, move on to an operational station and earn more money. We will probably get more sleep too!

I remember feeling very happy, proud & relieved to have made it through the apprenticeship as well as through the parade!

Three pix fron Kev Hudson:

(l-r) Cotter, Moir (behind Cotter), AM Sir Eric Dunn, Porter, Massey, Rowden, Littlewood, Ward, Hudson, Monnery, Kilgour.

(l-r) Kilgour, Monnery, Hudson, Ward, Littlewood, Morris, Rowden, Massey, Porter.

Class 3 on a Gnat

standing on wing, rear (l-r): Peacock, Whittle.
sitting on wing (l-r): Purser, Kilgour, Hodgson, Down, Phelps, Smith (cockpit), Gaze, Cook, Bilney, May, Spencer.
standing (l-r): Reed, Withers.

This picture was taken at the time of completing our airfieled training, very close to passing out from the apprenticeship. It was taken on a snowy, cloudy day so the whole background has faded to white, giving an impression we are actually floating. Not even we were good enough engineers that we cuould make a Gnat float . . .

The Gnat was the aircraft we used to practice our overall training and skills on in the hanger in a 'real' environment. We had to remove various major componants and rebuild the aircraft. This included the engine, which was subsequently test started once the exercise was complete.

Members of 139 Entry

Class 1
David Ball, Adrian Bell, Jim Boyle, Paul Darrington, Malcolm Griggs, Kevin Hudson, Mike Inder, Roy Lefly, Jim Morris, John Philips, Mike Quigley, JJJ Roberts, Simon Rowden, Steve Ward, 'Fred' Wells, Ged Sidnell.

Class 2
Eric Baillie, David Boothroyd, Mick Carrol, Adi Challonder, Glenn Cotter, Dave Dawes, Dave Elford, Richard Galkowski, Jim Grigg, Howard Jones, Steve Monnery, Steve Parsons, Brian Rowley, Andy Smith, Bob Swift, Tim Thompson, Richard Wilby.

Class 3
Mark Bilney, Ian Cook, Edward Down, Richard Gaze, Tony Hodgson, Lee Kilgour, Andy May, Alan McLean, John Peacock, Mike Phelps, John Purser, Tom Reed, Pete Robinson*, Graham Schlueter, Graham Smith, Andy Spencer*, Gary Whittle*, Rob Withers.

Class 4
Dave Arden, Andy Bailey, Colin Barlow, Colin Browning, Roger Crowder*, Keith Egerton, Mark Freemantle, Kevin Higgins, Ian Hughes, Mark Littlewood, Norman Massey, Colin Moir, Iain Mortimer, Nigel Porter, Frank Trott, Richard Turner (now Richard Martin), Pete Walker, Martin Wells, Graham Wilmore.

  • We now have email addresses for those in green font though some of those addresses are a couple of years old and may be out of date.
  • I will send them to you on request (pls email photohodge at I no longer list email addresses on the website because of potential privacy/spam issues.
  • To email ALL of the entry (in green) please send to - but you can only send to this list if you are already a member. Subscribe here:

* joined the Entry after April 1982

Sadly, I've heard (not confirmed) that Roger Crowder, Jim Morris and Pete Robinson have passed away.

139 Entry Picture

click on pic for a full sized version

139 Entry
Royal Air Force Aircraft Apprentices

In front of Henderson Mess

back row - L to R
'Big' Wells | Richard Turner | John Philips | Nigel Porter | Dave Arden | Tom Reed | Andy Bailey | Ed Down | Mike Quigley | Andy Smith | Tony Hodgson | Mike Phelps | Andy May | Steve Parsons | Keith Edgerton | David Boothroyd | Norman Massey | Frank Trott | Lee Kilgour | Colin Browning | Iain Mortimer

middle row - L to R
Jim Boyle | Andy Spencer | Steve Monnery | Paul Darrington | Mick Carrol | David Ball | Dave Dawes | Ian Hughes | Jim Grigg | ??? Rowden | Kevin Hudson | Tim Thompson | Rob Withers | Pete Walker | Brian Rowley | Kev Higgins | 'Little' Wells | Richard Gaze | Adrian Bell | Malcolm Griggs | Dave Elford | Mark Bilney

front row - L to R
Richard Wilby | Roy Lefly | Mike Inder | Steve Ward | Mark Littlewood | Richard Galkowski | Eric Baillie | Mark Freemantle | Colin Moir | Cpl ??? | Flt Lt ???| Sgt | John Peacock | Roger Crowder | Ian Cook | Howard Jones | John Purser | Glen Cotter | Jim Morris | 'Frank' Whittle | Bob Swift
not present
Colin Barlow | Alan McLean | JJJ Roberts | Pete Roberts | Graham Schluter | Ged Sidnell | ??? Wilmore