Our humble apologies to those whose names slip my aged memory or whose names we may have mixed up. Regards to u all , Bruce and Jim.
First Posting… Nearly a week after my 17th birthday arrived at RAF Uxbridge along with 7 former members of 310 Craft Apprentice Entry. Our apprenticeship behind us, obviously we knew everything there was to know about communicating so, no doubt, we would be able to update our new colleagues on all the latest from Cosford. I was sporting shiny new SAC props with my fist & sparks and was extremely keen to get stuck in.
The following day all eight of us, resplendent in our best blues, found ourselves in the W.O.’s office in the RAFAN Supervisory Centre awaiting his arrival. Just outside the office door the traffic hall was extremely busy with dozens of people milling about, apparently it was pay parade once the WO had finished with us. It was like waiting in a goldfish bowl as the office walls were half glass and we raised an eyebrow or two over some of the phrases coming from the ever increasing throng just beyond the open door, such as “Oh, goodie, fresh meat” and dozens of eyes weighing us up. The WO arrived, we snapped to attention as one, he looked impressed, the throng went very quiet, the door to the WOs office remained open. “Which one of you is Duffy?” “Me Sir”, answered George still at attention. “Welcome lad, you will be working in the LTO, just behind Hillingdon House, over there (pointing at the window). You can go now and join the pay parade just make sure you finish your arrival process completely”. George replied, “Yes. Sir” and promptly departed. We didn’t realise at the time but George was over 18. The WO now surveyed the rest of us, seemingly in disbelief, then started to read out our names allocating our roles. I was assigned to RAFAN with a few others while most were to go to the LTO.
I shall always remember the WO’s speech. “Now, gentlemen, you may relax. I use the term “gentlemen” very loosely because you are not quite gentlemen yet are you? As you are all under 18 with some of you only just past 17, you are all classed as minors and I have been made responsible for you. You will all keep your noses clean, do exactly as you are told by you watch NCOs and we will get on fine. How many of you are over 17½?” Two hands went up. “Thought so. Right, you two can keep yours but the rest of you are to go back to your accommodation immediately after pay parade and remove those new SAC & LAC badges as you are not entitled to wear them until you reach 17½. Until then you will continue to be known as Craft Apprentices. Naturally, you can keep your comms badge because you have earned them. Oh, and one more thing, until you’re 18 you are all allowed to draw a pint of milk each day from the mess.” There was a roar from the throng. The WO glanced through the door, the noise subsided. Seven rather dejected “boys” were dismissed to join the pay parade amid the stares and sniggers of almost the entire flight. Walking around camp clutching a blue card with only a fist & sparks on your arm drew some very puzzled looks but the real fun started on my first shift, the following morning.