RAFHAA Centennial Reunion of Former RAF Halton Apprentices, photo from Miss Luka WaycottRAFHAA Centennial Reunion of Former RAF Halton Apprentices, photo from Miss Luka Waycott
RAFHAA Centennial Reunion of Former RAF Halton Apprentices, photo from Miss Luka Waycott

Pictures show RAF celebrations at Aylesbury Vale base including flypast and parachute display

Over 700 guests witnessed a special RAF celebration launched at an Aylesbury Vale base to celebrate the centenary of its apprenticeship scheme.

Those in attendance at Saturday’s event (6 August) at RAF Halton, witnessed a parachute display and flypast from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight squad.

An audacious event was organised to celebrate the Royal Air Force Apprentice scheme which began in 1920.

The celebration was scheduled for 2020 before Covid-related restrictions twice forced the RAF to postpone.

In 1920, the scheme was devised by Chief of the Air Staff Hugh Trenchard and approved by Winston Churchill.

Teenagers from the age of 15 took a series of highly competitive exams and tests, and the select few were invited to join the most exclusive boarding school of its time.

RAF apprentices were an elite band who went on to hold some of the highest ranks in the Royal Air Force.

Veterans and their guests attended a service at The Church of St George before gathering at the Henderson Parade Square.

After the ceremony guests were given the opportunity to visit the Trenchard Museum.

Special guests on the day included: Viscount Trenchard, Aylesbury MP Rob Butler and retired Air Marshal Sir ‘Dusty’ Miller KBE.

The RAF Falcons coordinated the parachute display.

Battle of Britain Memorial Flight swooped over the crowd in a Lancaster.

Wing Commander Denton-Powell, HAA Chairman said: “RAF Halton is more than the alma mater for thousands of ex-apprentices, it is where we formed lasting friendships, developed character and above all began careers that so often spread into fields wider than aeronautical engineering.”

Air Force members completed a march around parade square before they were saluted by Viscount Trenchard.

He told the parade how proud his grandfather Lord Trenchard would have been.

The Viscount said: “I am honoured to be your guest today. RAF Halton is the spiritual home of the apprentices, and I am delighted my grandfather’s legacy is still so strong.”

In the last 100 years, the apprenticeships on offer from the RAF have changed dramatically but the award-winning scheme still offers many opportunities and numerous roles.

Mr Butler added: “I was delighted to attend the HAA centenary event on Saturday. Meeting some of the former apprentices who began their Air Force careers at Halton was an absolute privilege.

"It was wonderful to see what a special place it holds in their hearts, even many decades later. Hearing tales of past exploits and witnessing such incredible camaraderie served as a timely reminder of the debt we owe our veterans.”