The association between Halton and the Armed Forces began in Autumn 1912, when large scale manouevres were held to exercise the defence of London against attack.

Defending forces from Aldershot were offered help and hospitality from Alfred Rothschild, the owner of Halton House; these forces had three aircraft and an airship as part of their resources.

This was the first link between aviation and the Halton estate - a link which has continued unbroken to this day.

In the Spring of 1956, 216 young lads made their way to the No. 1 School of Technical Training at RAF Halton near Wendover in Buckinghamshire. They came from cities, towns and villages in the United Kingdom and from far away places such as New Zealand, Rhodesia and several other countries around the world. The 83rd was truly an entry of Commonwealth dimensions and on the 7th May 1956 they embarked on their new life as "Trenchard Brats" (RAF Aircraft Apprentices).

Halton House

Over the period of three years at Halton, 89 of those lads were to falter in their studies. For many different reasons some were re-coursed to later entries or skilled trades or were discharged, and 24 members of previous entries joined the 83rd to complete their aircraft apprentice training.

The entry graduated on 25th March 1959 and 145 young men ventured forth into a new world to start full time careers as airmen. There were junior technicians and corporals (accelerated promotion) in engines, airframes, electrical, instruments and armament. Some went forward as pilot and technical officer cadets and others went direct to aircrew training as flight engineers, navigators, etc.

The future saw some members of the 83rd complete full service careers of 22 years or more. However, others elected to leave the RAF after they had completed their initial 12 year engagement, or before. Many have since carved out successful second careers in civilian life. Sadly, some of our colleagues' lives have been cut short in their prime but although they were taken away from us too soon, they will not be forgotten.

The common bond for those young men who 'signed-up' in 1956 and graduated in 1959 is they are ex. Halton Apprentices of the 83rd Entry. They each served their country and wore their colours with great pride.