Having come across this good website recently, I was amazed to find pictures of both my entry - 218 - and also my class - 218D - and both supplied by a dear friend of mine - Phil Holloway - who, sadly, passed away in 2004. He was only 49. So; in both his memory and the fact that this year - 2010 - we celebrate 40 years of signing-on, I think it appropriate to add some words to those 2 pictures.There is another reason also, why I should do this now: If I leave it any longer, I'll forget everything, Forty years on..and sometimes you wonder if it was all a dream?
We signed-on on Wednesday 13th May 1970 for, what was to be,a 2 year Craft Apprentice Course in a variety of Avionics trades: Air Comms, Air radar, Nav Inst.
Initially,there were 63 boys in 218 but, after the first major exam (one-B-one) that following October, we started to lose a lot of members, so-much-so, that only 23 appear in the final photograph (one of which is a down-entry).
Therefore, Of the 'originals' only 22 were left, giving an overall Entry pass rate of 35% or, to put it another way, an overall Entry failure rate of 65%...Yikes!!!
What followed then was a series of vote-for-joes every Friday afternoon and, if you did badly in them, you went to see the SEO (Senior Education Officer) that following Monday.
We had one Air Comms class, 2 Air Radar classes (later amalgamated due to falling numbers) and, I think, only one Nav Inst class. The Nav Inst class was to eventually have the lowest number of members (4-5) and the other 2 classes ended up with 9 members each. Our class - 218d - originally stayed in room 32 (ground floor), after which we moved upstairs to room 64 and eventually to room 72?. I still remember our postal address; number/rank/name followed by 218 Entry, Room 32, A Flight, No 1 Apprentice Squadron, Apprentice Wing, Raf Cosford, Wolverhampton,WV7 - 3EX.
Our Flight Commander/Boss was Flt.Lt P.M. Gardner/ener (Percy) and our drill Cpl/Sgt was Norman Locke (RAF Regiment)...rolled his own cigarettes...Black Russian? Other officers who were part of the Apprentice Training scheme; Sqdn Ldr Knight/s, Wing Cmdr Edwards, and the Station Commander, Group Captain Smedley (who was to be the Reviewing Officer at our passing-out parade). We passed out - as Junior Technicians - on Tuesday 9th May 1972 and, because of weather conditions, used the hangar with the Indoor Sports Arena (one nearest the guardroom). Presentations followed at the SKC Cinema, and then dinner with Family members etc.A quick tour around camp, and after some quick good-byes/best wishes/good lucks etc, we scattered to the four corners of the UK for our first postings.
Some key words that linger in the brain...long after those 2 years have come and gone: bumper, bed pack, jankers,inspection, pass-out, drill, blanco, Ben, parade, one-B-one, room raid, bollock rot, NAAFI, Brasso,
No 10 Club, Happy Valley,leave, chit, charge, 252, Sam's Cafe, Spider's Web, Mally,SLR, workshops,airfield,locker, RC, CofE, gym, guardroom, Albrighton, SEO, HQ, ap3302?, bull night, room job, gdt training, class leader,
craft apprentice, leading ca, 48 hr pass, cavalier club, senior entry, pay chit, eyes right, fulton block, vote-for-joe, SKC, wheel, yellow disc, SMC, jabs, bed space, dust,Star Trek...
About 10 years ago, I managed to make contact with some members of 218d, and the following is a brief summary of what happened to them after leaving Cosford.
Jerry was killed in a road accident - Dec 1972 - whilst we were both serving at RAF Valley. R.I.P
Phil had left by 1984, and sadly, died at the age of 49 in June 2004.I was one of the pall-bearers. R.I.P
Mal/Colin/Chris: all had left the RAF before the end of 1977.
Both Daves - Shaw/Stewart - and Graham, went on to serve for 22 years+.
I'm still in touch with Graham, who sends me jokes - via email - on a regular basis.
In October 1993, I managed to get tickets for myself and Mike Burnett to attend the very last passing-out parade of an Apprentice Entry in the RAF: No 155 Entry at Cosford but... that story is for another day.
If I've made any errors, or you wish to contribute , contact me for a chat etc.
Tony B email; 2861022"atsign"protonmail.ch or the facebook page "218 Facebook Group"