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Last updated on 24 July, 2023 at 3:29 PM

84th Entry

84th Entry blazer badge. RAF Roundel. Apprentice Wheel. Also used for Boy Entrants. RAF Roundel. 84th Entry blazer badge. Apprentice Wheel. Also used for Boy Entrants.


Before our Apprenticeship

1939 - 1941 - members of the 84th Entry born

Boys had to be between the ages of 15 and 17 years to become Aircraft Apprentices and between 15½ and 17½ to join as Boy Entrants. As five Boy Entrants from RAF Cosford joined the 84th Entry this meant that all those who joined the 84th Entry on 19 September 1956 were born in 1939, 1940 or 1941.

1950s - Recruiting booklet printed

One of these recruiting booklets was kept as a souvenir by Derek Orgill which means we all probably read one before we became Aircraft Apprentices.

During our Apprenticeship

8 June 1956 - 28th Entry of Boy Entrants arrive at RAF Cosford

Five members of the 28th Entry of Boy Entrants, DeFreitas, Mooney, Powell, Slevin and Wingate, were later to become Aircraft Apprentices at RAF Locking.

10 June 1956 - 28th Entry of Boy Entrants Attested

September 1956 - arrived at RAF Locking

On 18 September 1956 109 members arrived at Locking. Three others had already arrived; one was from overseas and came via RAF Halton were he attended trade selection and two others were from service families. Soon after, the five ex-Boy Entrants arrived.

Each year of the three year course was divided into three terms of four months starting in September.

19 September 1956 - Attestation day except ex-Boy Entrants

A number of attestation documents have survived. You can see them on the Members’ pages. Here’s an example.

First Term

Kit issued.

Allocated to Huts in C Squadron lines

Allocated to classes.

Everyone was allocated to a class which we believe they remained in until they were re-classed in the 5th term for trade training. Three class photos exist but it is not clear if they are all of the first classes or the second ones. 84A 84B 84E 84G Another.

Class Leaders appointed.

Ex-Boy Entrants (who had service numbers in the series 1930001 to 1950602 from July 1954) received new service numbers in the Aircraft Apprentice series (680000 to 689444 from September 1954).

27 September 1956 - Letter to parents

A letter was sent to parents by OC C Squadron giving details about Leave, Pay, Dress, Recreation, Spiritual, Moral and Physical Welfare, Progress Reports and Careers.

12 October 1956 - Freedom of Weston

Many members of the 84th Entry took part in the parade in Weston super Mare to mark the event.

Easter 1957 - 84th Entry Tree

Tony Beard carved ‘84’ onto an elm tree on the Sussex Downs.

June 1957 - Exams

Intermediate Exams in:

English and General Studies

Mathematic and Mechanics

Basic Radio Principles

Final Exam in:

Engineering Drawing

September 1957 - awarded 1st Good Conduct Badge

16 December 1957 - Xmas  Dinner

Our second Xmas dinner was held in the Apprentice Mess on 16 December 1957.

Fifth term - reallocated to classes for trade training

The classes were:

84A - Ground Radar Fitter

84B - Not taken up

84C - Ground Wireless Fitter

84D - Not taken up

84E - Air Radio Fitter (Bomber)

84F - Air Radio Fitter (Fighter)

84G - Air Radio Fitter (General) i.e. Maritime and Transport

14 February 1958 - YMCA

An article appeared in The Western Mercury and Somersetshire Herald announcing that a new YMCA was to be built at RAF Locking for use by the apprentices.

June 1958 - Entry gated

Sometime early in 1958 we, together with members of the 85th entry, organised a large “tipping-out” raid on the 87th Entry who numbered something over 200 strong and were flexing their muscles a little early in their careers. There must have been some minor injuries sustained by the 87th as word of our misdeeds reached officialdom and consequently we were gated for several weeks. To show the rest of the Wing, and particularly the Wing NCOs and Officers that we were a mature and responsible set of young adults, we organised a day of activities on the station for a large group of children from a local orphanage during one of these gated weekends. This went down very well; at least the children enjoyed it. On another weekend, we held the 84th Entry Games which achieved relatively nothing other than increasing the numbers at sick parade the following Monday.

September 1958 - awarded 2nd Good Conduct Badge

19 September 1958 - Chunky's Charleys composed as 84th Entry Anthem

September 1958 - Summer Camp at Park Camp, Lulworth

1958 (assumed) Gary Guy and Mike Barnes' Odeon Roof escapade

September 1958 - moved to Skid Row to make room for the 90th Entry in C Squadron lines

25 October 1958 - Higgins Shield

At least one member of the 84th Entry received his Higgins Shield Certificate. No doubt there were many more.

28 October 1958 - Letter to parents

A letter was sent to parents by OC No 1 (Apprentice) Wing about cars.

December 1958 - became C Squadron Senior Entry

1958 - Xmas Dance

December 1958 - Xmas  Dinner

Our third Xmas dinner was held in the Apprentice Mess in December 1958

January 1959 - awarded 3rd Good Conduct Badge

March 1959 - became Wing Senior Entry

14 March 1959 - Easter Dance

Circa 1959 - Nurses’ dance

Final Term

Superhet could be bought for 10/-

Submitted Thesis

Tuesday 28 July 1959 - Passing Out Parade and Dinner

After our Apprenticeship

8 September 1959 ex-FSA Johnny Nottingham and ex-SAA Frank Milligan began their Cadetships with the 81st Entry at RAF College Cranwell.

31 January 1962 PO J Nottingham and PO F Milligan completed their Cadetships at RAF College Cranwell

1990 - 1991 - RAF Locking Apprentice Association (RAFLAA) formed

RAFLAA website

A Short History of RAF Locking

History of Apprentice Training

History of RAFLAA

1993 - 50th Anniversary of No 1 Radio School

To mark the occasion an article entitled The Locking Apprentice written by Dick Cheeseman appeared in the June 1993 edition of Airwaves. In the same year a booklet was published the mark the anniversary.

1 March 1998 - Over and Out by Sqn Ldr Ray Tillbrook was published to mark the closure of RAF Locking

23 September 1998 - Last Freedom Parade

The last ‘Freedom of the Borough’ parade for the RAF took place on Wednesday 23 September 1998, forty-two years after being granted this honour, the march along Weston seafront being over-flown by Supermarine Spitfire IXe MK356, that had at one time been gate guardian at Locking, and now with the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.

Extract from Weston Super Mare & the Aeroplane By Ted Johnson

September 1999 - Entry box

In September 1999 Tony Mooney became the custodian of the 84th Entry Box previously under the care of the RAFLAA. You can see a list of the contents on the RAFLAA Box page.

15 April 2008 - 84th Entry website

Tony Mooney announced the 84th Entry website to replace the Google pages he had set up as part of the forum:

Hi everybody

Our website is up and running! Go to http://www.84thentry.me.uk/ to see it. You may wish to bookmark it so you can access it from Favourites or whatever your browser calls it. Instead, you could create a Shortcut and place it on your Desktop or elsewhere.

Tony M

2009 Golden Entry - RAFLAA presentation

For some years the RAFLAA have included in their AGM under Any Other Business a section called Golden Entries. This section affords an opportunity each year for the three entries who reach their 50th anniversary since passing out to present a short history of their Entry. Our 50th Anniversary was in 2009 and Tony Beard wrote a piece about the 84th. He was unable to attend the meeting so it was read out on his behalf. What Tony wrote is available from his member’s page and also from here.

26 & 27 July 2009 - Reunion

The first major reunion of the 84th Entry of Aircraft Apprentices was held on  26th and 27th of July 2009 at The Three Ways House Hotel, Mickleton to mark the 50th Anniversary of our Passing Out.

Many other major and mini reunions have taken place both before and after this major reunion. You can see details of them all here.

30 July 2009 - Entry Archives

On the 30th July 2009 Tony Mooney started the 84th Entry Archives to hold the various items donated for safekeeping at the 50th Anniversary reunion which took place on the 26th and 27th of that month. More items have been donated in the intervening years. A full list is available on the Memorabilia page.

5 July 2016 - 84th Entry website moved to a replacement server and renamed www.84thentry.me.uk.

18 & 19 September 2016 - Reunion

Another major reunion took place marking the 60th Anniversary of our attestation. You can see details of what took place here.

18 July 2018 - Apprentice Monument Dedication

A Monument was dedicated by the RAFLAA at Locking Parklands on the site of the old gate Guardians to commemorate the link with apprentice training at RAF Locking. An article about it appears here on the RAFLAA website and a report by Tony Mooney who attended the event is here on this website

28 July 2019 - Reunion

A major reunion took place on 28 July 2019 to mark the occasion of our 60th anniversary of Passing Out. You can read all about it here.

18 & 19 September 2021 - Reunion

We continue to celebrate major events by holding another major reunion to mark the 65th Anniversary of our attestation. You can see details of the reunion here.