In 1997 the then RAF C of E Padre at St Georges Church, the Rev Richard Lee, suggested that the Association encourage its members to install stained glass windows in the church to commemorate their time at Halton. The membership was immediately enamoured of this idea and soon windows, depicting Entry numbers, Wing colours, Entry badges, famous (and infamous!) Entry activities and a host of other events were appearing in glorious coloured glass: each telling something of its creator's time at Halton. For example the 2nd Entry shows the tunic and puttees that the early apprentices wore and one of the aircraft types that was in service in 1922. The 76th shows badges of the Commonwealth Air Forces who sent boys to be trained with the Entry and includes a Russian Tank commemorating the Soviet invasion of Hungary which took place during their apprenticeship. The 62nd Entry window depicts the Tornado which swept across the camp during their time at Halton causing much damage to the workshops.
So far the main response has been from the Aircraft Apprentices and the call goes out to the "young-uns" from the Technician, Aircraft Engineering, Craft, Admin. and Mechanic Entries to get cracking and to produce their stories for posterity. Remember, as a Brat, you too were graduates of the world's first and best formal aircraft engineering college.
For details of how to go about producing a window contact the HAAA office or perhaps call directly to a stained glass artist; a move strongly recommended by the Association. The contact details are:
Karen Newby, tel. 01452 859272.
The windows are split between two locations within the Church each location presenting a splendid sight. The main gallery being set above the entrance to the church whilst others are shown set into the wall of the Lady Chapel. However, given the scope and range of the designs it can be difficult to absorb the beauty and detail of what is on show regardless of how much time may be spent in the church. It is therefore proper that much gratitude is given to Dave Howell of the 75th Entry for his generosity in allowing his splendid selection of pictures of the individual windows to be reproduced here. The pictures are presented in two sections. Firstly are shown those in the Main Gallery with the second section showing those displayed in the Lady Chapel. Where available notes and a description of each is provided. (If you have a missing description for your entry window that fills a gap then this will be gratefully received and added).
The windows in the Main Gallery:
RFC and RNAS: Boy Mechanics The window celebrates the Boy Mechanics scheme which was hastily set up in 1917 to guarantee a steady supply of skilled ground crew for the RFC and RNAS. The design bears testament to the minimal planning for the scheme's start-up and the woeful lack of provision of adequate welfare for the boys. The boys are shown in their khaki trousers and grey shirts standing in front of the primitive Bell-Tent accommodation and the wooden ablutions and toilet huts which supplied little or no hot water. Overhead is the iconic Sopwith Camel which was in service at that time. Displayed are the crests and badges of the RFC, the RNAS and the newly formed RAF which came into being during the time of the scheme. With the introduction of the Apprentice scheme in 1920, the Boy Mechanics' training stopped.
1st to the 19th Entries:
As there were few known survivors of entries 1 to 19 when the window project was conceived, the HAAA Council decided to fund and produce a window on their behalf. The simple design shows the Tribute, the RAF hat badge and the red and blue hatbands worn by No 1 Section and No 2 Section respectively. (Later re-named Wings). Owing to the very poor accommodation at Halton in 1920 at the start of the RAF apprentice scheme, the first four entries were trained at Cranwell. The 8th entry was also trained at Cranwell. The 10th entry started training at Cranwell, but returned to Halton to complete it. Hence the mention of Cranwell in the window.
The design of this window was suggested by the late Arther Ruffell who was the last known survivor of the 2nd Halton entry. He also paid for the production.
The Aircraft is a "HAWKER HORSLEY TORPEDO BOMBER" which he flew as a Sergeant Pilot. The two figures represent his entry collegues; one in his "best blue" outside a Barrack Block and the other in his Overalls outside Workshops.
The bottom Panel is his Flight on parade.
6th to the 12th Entries:
The Apprentice schemes at Halton and Cranwell were merged in 1925 resulting in a renumbering of the Halton Entries. The 6th became the 12th.
The window displays the school badge and an aircraft - a Bristol Fighter - on which many of the entry worked and some flew. Shown beneath the banner proclaiming the change of entry number is the Apprentice Wheel; dates of the Entry at Halton and a representation of an apprentice of the period.
The window is the result of a campaign run and managed by the 86th Entry as a personal memorial to Sir Frank Whittle and his iconic invention, the Entry number only being included to identify the Entry with which Sir Frank passed through Halton.
An appeal was launched to attract funding and the response, from Entries, individuals, corporate bodies, and commercial interests such as Rolls Royce and others, both large and small, was truly astonishing.
The centrepiece of the window depicts the Apprentice Wheel superimposed on the front of the forward fan of the RR RB211. Below is a silhouette of the Gloster E28/39 which was powered by Whittle's first prototype jet engine whilst above is shown a RR-powered Airbus A340 airliner thereby illustrating the scope of development from his original design.
Following the window installation, the small surplus in the fund was donated to the "Musicians Window" Appeal.
The Widow of one of the Entry paid for this window, as a gift to her husbands memory, showing the actual "HAWKER HART" her husband flew over the "Khyber Pass" and his Pilot Wings.
20th Entry: This window was the second to be installed and was designed by Gp Capt King of the 20th Entry. Predominently shown is the Apprentice Wheel; the colours of No. 1 Wing and, beneath, the RAF Roundel. Gp Capt King died shortly after its installation.
21st Entry: Designed by one of the last surviving members of the entry this window depicts, in the bottom panel, the famous airship R101 which flew over Halton whilst the 21st were here. The panel above shows an aircraft carrier in memory of those members who went down with HMS Glorious in 1940 whilst displayed in the top half of the window are aircraft of WW2 on which many of the entry worked and many others flew and lost their lives. Included in the design is a Searchlight projecting the Entry number and a banner showing the dates the entry were "in residence" at Halton.
The window is dedicated to the large number of the 22nd who gave their lives in WW2. It shows a cap with a red hatband as the Entry were accommodated in Henderson Barracks, aka. No 1 Wing.
The 23rd psalm was the inspiration for this window.
The window consists of two main devices: The Apprentice Wheel and Air Commodore Bonham-Carter, the school commandant during the years the 24th were at Halton, was often seen riding around the station on a white horse.
The window records that the 25th worked on and some flew the Wapiti aircraft shown in the window. The two hands cradling the aircraft represent the care shown to aircraft in their charge by the brats of the 25th Entry.
From the base of the window rises a runway which symbolizes the path from arrival at Halton to graduation. Either side of the runway the words 'fitter' and 'rigger' to signify that their training started in two trades but were amalgamated in 1932 into a new trade of 'fitter 11' which is displayed on the scroll beneath the Entry number.
At the bottom of the window is shown the dates encompassing the period the Entry were at Halton.
The window commemorates the Entry being present at the take-off of the De Havilland COMET crewed by SCOTT and BLACK when it won the 1934 UK to AUSTRALIA Air Race.
The scroll with Motto "TWO SIX UP" is a play on the Entry number and the RAF call for extra effort when pulling or lifting. An Apprentice from each Wing is shown supporting the scroll and crest.
27th Entry: The window celebrates the aircraft worked upon and some of the tasks carried out by the entry at that period. The aircraft shown in the centre panel are an AVRO 504K and a Bristol Bulldog whilst the lower panel depicts apprentices working on the Rolls Royce KESTREL Engine.
The Avro 504N featured in this window was worked on and flown by many in the 28th Entry after graduation. The school badge and the RAF Halton badge also appear along with the Entry number and the dates the entry were at Halton.
In the top panel of the window are the dates of the entry's time at Halton, 1934-1936. Also shown are the theatrical masks of "Happiness" and "Sorrow" symbolising the association the entry had with the Dramatic Society. The panel also contains references to Baseball which was introduced and played during their time.
In the panel beneath are displayed Two Uniforms; the newly introduced one with collar and tie and ‘glengarry” hat which replaced the ‘dog-collar’ tunic during the period they were at Halton.
The lower half of the window shows the Entry number 29 with the “2" in red to denote 2 Wing and the "9” in green indicating 1 Wing. Beneath the numbers are shown Two aircraft tail units; a reminder of their third year when they marched to the aerodrome to have a first flight as passengers in either the Avro Tutor (on left) or Avro 504 (on right).
The 30th Entry served under three monarchs, George V, Edward VIII and George VI, and this is depicted as the main feature in the centre of the window. The 30mph speed limit was introduced during their time at Halton and the Road Sign was adopted as the Entry logo and is shown at the top.
The Green, Red and Yellow borders represent the colours of Nos. 1, 2 and 4 wings with the overall blue background representing their Cranwell colleagues.
The window commemorates that the 31st took part in the celebrations of the Silver Jubilee of King George V and Queen Mary in 1937. Apprentices of the Entry are shown standing around the fire and fireworks display at the top of Bacombe Hill, Wendover, on the evening of the celebration.
At the top of he window a Handley Page Heyford is shown, an aircraft type which many of the Entry serviced and flew.
32nd Entry: The four corners illustrate the Rose of England and the beech trees of Halton. From the top of the window to the bottom is shown the King’s Crown for George V, Edward VIII and George VI, The RAF Eagle, the Entry dates and number, the apprentice wheel on a laurel wreath and banners showing the trades, the two wings and the apprentices unwritten code, “Honour”.
Across the top a Harp representing the largest apprentice band with 110 musicians; the orange hat band of No.4 wing upon which a Coronet is shown for their Earl; the rings for their Air Vice Marshal. Across the bottom is shown ammunition for the Armourers; the chequered hat band for No.3 Wing; a Crown on a black square for the last entry to witness a Drumming Out and Public Flogging Ceremony.
Each side of the window are beech leaves and primroses recalling the cross-country runs. The central panel depicts beneath the Apprentice Wheel an opaque white barrack square as the 33rd was the only Entry whose Passing Out Parade was cancelled because of snow. Beneath are shown figures depicting the last Entry to wear Pantaloons and dog collar tunics.
At the centre of the window is the Apprentice Wheel badge within which the numbers 3 and 4 denote not only the entry number but also individually represent the two Apprentice Wings in which the entry was housed during its time at RAF Halton. On a scroll beneath the Wheel are the years spent at Halton (1936-39) whilst below are two ribbons in the colours of 3 and 4 Wings - Blue/Maroon and Orange/Yellow respectively.
The entry wheel is surmounted by the crown of King Edward VIII under whose short reign the entry members took their oath of allegiance.
This window is steeped in symbolism. The broken wheel and damaged wall symbolize the start of war during the time the 35th were at Halton. Through the tree of knowledge they grew out of the destruction of war to peace as represented by the dove of peace.
The simple but effective design is a celebration of the various capbands of the five Wings of this large Entry who were dispersed between Halton and Cosford between August 1937 to December 1939.
In the centre of the window, the Apprentice Wheel surrounded by panels of plain Green and plain Red for No.1 and 2 Wings, Halton, respectively; Red/Green for No.5 Wing Halton which became No.1 Wing Cosford and Black/Green depicting No.2 Wing Cosford.
The central upper panel features the RAF crest, an albatross fess-wise on a circlet carrying the RAF motto “Per Ardua ad Astra” (Through difficulties to the stars) surmounted with the Tudor Crown of King George VI, reigning monarch during the period of the 37th apprenticeship.
The lower central panel carries a contrived emblem for the 37th Entry. A RAF Apprentice Badge with the upper and left portions of the circlet between the propeller blades removed, set on a half RAF roundel. Between the lower and right hand propeller blades the 37th is inserted. Below the emblem the dates pertaining to their time as apprentices; from attestation in January 1938 to graduation in March 1940.
The peripheral panels at the top and both sides show the colours of the five Apprentice Wings when they joined.
The bottom panel carries the inscription “We came as boys and we left as men, and we left we went to war”
38th Entry: Of the 1300 boys in the 38th Entry who arrived at Halton in August 1938, several hundred were transferred to Cosford and Cranwell. However, on the outbreak of WW2 those at Cosford returned to Halton. Hence the Cranwell and Cosford hatband colours. The 38th served the shortest apprenticeship in the history of the school being dispersed to operational stations in April 1940 after only 20 months of training in time to take part in the Battle of Britain.
The anchors signify that some of the 39th Entry were transferred to the Fleet Air Arm (whether they liked it or not!). Some were transferred to Cosford hence the Cosford colours. Also shown are some of the tools the 39th used during their training.
This window is not in the main gallery and can be found in the normal windows on the right hand side of the church.
The wheel is the main feature. Also depicted are the beech trees of Halton, the 40th logo, the anchor (representing Naval apprentices who trained with the entry) and the wing colours.
The 40th was the largest entry to be trained at Halton being over 1200 strong.
Designed jointly by Peter Beckett (in Australia) and John Cook (in England) with input from former members of the Entry the main elements of the Window are the Apprentice Wheel (displaying the Entry Number and dates) surmounted by the eagle motif. Beneath the centre a diamond shape enclosing a set square, a micrometer and a scroll bearing the lettering "PRECISION" symbolises both the accurate workmanship and the great accuracy in the execution in all activities demanded of aircraft apprentices during their training and, lastly at the bottom is shown beech trees and falling leaves depicting the beauty of the Chiltern Hills.
The 47th was the first entry to return to a three year apprenticeship after the two year courses held in the early part of the war. They enlisted in war and passed out in peacetime, hence the war and peace theme of this window.
The white ribbons relate to the time when shortly after their arrival at Halton they were evacuated to Cosford like a lot of schoolchildren. On the journey to the midlands the train's complete ration of toilet paper was festooned from every carriage window; the Great Western Railway Company were non-too happy!
During the entry's tenure after their return to Halton nightly raids by Lancasters against Germany were the norm. The Lancaster depicts this and is also a tribute to the many former brats killed on operations in this aircraft.
At the bottom is shown the Dove of peace which had returned by the time of the Entry's pass out.
The Cranwell apprentices of the 48th are also represented in this window with Wing and Squadron colours taking centre stage. During their apprenticeship the 48th saw D-Day in June 1944; VE-Day in May 1945 and VJ-Day in August 1945.
The cypher in the centre of the window is a reflection of another event in 1945 when Lord Trenchard the founder of the school took the salute at the Silver Jubilee of his RAF Apprentice Scheme. In his speech he made reference to the Halton spirit. The 48th referred to this at their Xmas dinner that year when they had bottles on the table labeled 'Halton spirit'; a cynical reference to the fact that as apprentices they were forbidden to drink alcohol.
Designed by Don Alexander of the 50th, the window depicts the different cap bands worn by the entry during their 3 years at RAF Halton. Brown, Brown and Orange as D Sqn 1(A) Wing; Blue as A Sqn 2(A) Wing and Orange as A Sqn 3(A) Wing. The Red disc behind the Cap Badge was worn as A Sqn 3 Wing.
The other major feature is the representation of the War Medal given the 50th Entry were the last Entry to qualify for this award without the accompaniment of the Defence Medal.
At the top is displayed a panel containing the Apprentice Wheel superimposed upon a fall of snowflakes. This depicts the great winter freeze of 1947 when all Apprentices were sent home for 3 weeks. To the right a panel displays the Olympic Rings, a reminder of the first post-war Olympics to be held in nearby London; a most memorable and significant event that occurred during the Entry's time at Halton.
In the centre is shown the Entry number whilst along the bottom is recorded the years the entry were "in residence".
At the corners are shown the Rose; the Thistle; the Shamrock and the Daffodil, to reflect the Entry comprised of members from all UK areas. At the top is shown a Spitfire and a Meteor depicting the progression from Piston to Jet Power during the Entry's time in training. At the bottom, a commemoration of the 54th having the first Flight Sergeant Apprentice.
In the centre an illustration of the "Feure de Jollie" when the Entry fired off blanks on marching off their passing out parade; an event not appreciated by the high-ranking US Army officers present. (Retribution was exacted - Detention, etc.)
An outer Yellow border signifies their parent 3(A) Wing enclosing a border of alternate Red and Blue to recognise both Nos. 1(A) and 2(A) Wings respectively.
At the top, the Apprentice Wheel and the Entry number whilst the central panel displays Daffodils amongst the snow; a reminder of both the terrible winter of 1947 and the re-birth of No.3(A) Wing.
The lower panel is quartered and shows, Clockwise from the Top LH segment, a set of bagpipes, a reference to the Entry's strong membership of the Pipe Band; crossed screwdriver and spanner - tools used by all trades - to refer to the Technical Training received; Sports Kit highlights the Entry's involvement in sporting activities; an open book indicates the academic achievement.
Finally at the very bottom, a White Bar pays tribute to the many hours devoted by the Entry to being confined to camp and the wearing of the White "Jankers Band"; a way of life for many!
56th Entry: At top and bottom are horizontal bands showing the colours of the Wings and Squadrons occupied by the 56th whose number is prominently displayed in the window's centre. However the central theme is a celebration of the hugely successful careers of two members of the 56th one of whom became an Air Chief Marshal and the other an Air Marshal. They were both Knighted and their respective pennants are shown alongside the dates of the entry's stay at RAF Halton.