The THREE HUNDRED AND THIRTIETH Entry was attested on 4 September 1972. Training in the trades of Clerk Secretarial, Supplier and Chef was undertaken at RAF Hereford: The Entry passed out on 17 August 1973.
13th September 2022
Our 330 Supply Admin Apprentice Band of Brothers celebrated our 50th Anniversary at a Reunion in the Barnes Hotel in Cannock who did us proud over the weekend of the 9-11th September 22. Those travelling from a distance including the Scottish contingent arrived on the Friday and we enjoyed a meet and greet in the hotel bar and dining room where a delicious evening meal was available. Most of us retired at a reasonable hour after reacquainting ourselves and meeting first time attendees whom we had not seen for 50 years, however some serious drinkers remained till the early hours.
The following morning after everyone had met up over an excellent breakfast, we synchronised watches for our planned visit to the National Arboretum at 11am and departed in convoy to Alrewas for what turned out to be a very poignant visit. If you haven’t been I would highly recommend a visit.
We were surrounded by both current Service personnel and veterans from all three military services alongside representatives from a multitude of civilian services and occupations. The Police, Ambulance, Fire Service, Miners and numerous charity and other service orientated organisations were represented. There is a feeling of great unity, and many regiments had their memorial services with their regimental bands honouring the fallen with age old regimental tunes. The sound of brass bands and pipe bands echo around the grounds and the old veterans can be seen sitting on benches foot tapping to the marching songs.
Much of this atmosphere was created and enhanced by the hundreds of people laying wreaths for Queen Elizabeth II, a very poignant and memorable sight.
Having taken a Land train ride around the site individuals decided to visit the particular memorial they had a connection with. Some were RAF camps they were stationed at and associations they were members of, such as The RBL and the RAF Administrative Apprentices memorial. After the compulsory coffee and cake and a quick visit to the gift shop we made our way back to the hotel for a couple of hours rest before the formal dinner on Saturday evening.
The hotel again did us proud with a private function room and formal setting for our 50th Anniversary Reunion dinner with fine dining and waiter service throughout the night. The food was delicious and enjoyed by all. Throughout the night the sandbags were pulled up and we all took turns reminiscing about our apprentice days in training and where and when we crossed paths during our careers. We drank a toast to Queen Elizabeth II to King Charles III then to absent friends and finally to those brothers we had lost over the years. The night continued into the early hours as one by one we heard our beds calling and the knowledge we would all be up early for a breakfast farewell taking shape.
A few hours later we were all on parade for a hearty breakfast and sharing farewells whilst already looking forward to the next Reunion and the hope of more attendees that could not make it this time. There are some people who choose not to attend a reunion and that is fine and their choice but the renewed feeling of comradeship that comes from a reunion is rejuvenating to the soul and something to be cherished.
To my 330 Band of Brothers congratulations on our 50th anniversary.
I first met Andy when he joined the Royal Air Force as an Apprentice in 1972. The door to my classroom opened and a group of young men all towards the back was a little lad looking apprehensive but determined, this was Andy. During his 12 months training he showed his qualities as a team player in and out of the classroom. Always cheerful and ready to learn, attributes that clearly came from his parents who I had the pleasure of meeting on a number of occasions over the years. Andy will be remembered for his professional skills (I never met anyone who had a bad word to say about him) and his interest in others. An enthusiastic player on and off the pitch he organised hockey teams doing jobs that others tried hard to avoid! I remember his sense of humour. Frequently on the receiving end of the ‘Little Andy’ jokes such as ‘Stand up Mr Sperring, oh you are standing up’ At the last 330 Entry Reunion he had to climb onto a table before being allowed to ‘say a few words’ These were greeted with applause and laughter as he had to be lifted down. When we last met he told me how happy he was to be with Lesley and with his usual cheeky smile, how determined he was to beat his illness. Andy will be remembered with affection by the many friends that he made during his time in the Royal Air Force. Raise a glass, I am sure that he would not want it any other way. Frank Hubber
Russ Bond of the 330th Entry is the last former administrative apprentice to leave full time service in the Royal Air Force. Russ joined the RAF as a Clerk Sec on the 4th September 1972 aged just 15 ½ and is the last of some 8,200 former apprentices to retire. To mark the occasion a luncheon was held at the Halton attended by other members of the 330th Entry and also Bryan Schofield. Following retirement Russ is hoping to become a Beefeater in the Tower of London. Russ is pictured centre in four of the attached photographs taken at Halton House with Kevin Wise and Garry Hoyland all members of the 330th Entry Administrative Apprentices; they were joined in the fifth photograph by Bryan Schofield, the Chairman of the RAF Administrative Apprentices Association.
Obituary To 8001969 William Cooper 330th Entry – Bill Huggins 5th My acquaintance with Bill Cooper was very limited, we met and spoke at a Reunion at Swindon, but when involved with our Newsletter, 7 of our members – including Bill lived locally, and I delivered them by hand. I know he arranged get-togethers for his Entry, and I always wondered why he had not attended more of our Reunions. I attended his funeral in Gloucester and learned what a character he really was! Very theatrical, he dressed up, impersonated and performed as a number of pop stars of the day, Elvis and the like, entertaining various groups and clubs locally. For one of his performances, he dressed normally but then proceeded to deliver a monologue in the voice and style of Pam Ayres – the audience was delighted and very amused. For his church, with others, he went as a missionary to an area of deprivation in Africa, where they were much appriviated and admired by the people there. However, what struck me at the Memorial Service was the number of attendees of all ages, and listening to the various speakers, it was clear that he was dearly loved, very involved, and respected by them all. Life is not about what we take out of it – but rather what we put into it. Clearly Bill knew and demonstrated this. Vale Bill
1973 Admin and Craft Apprentices Football Team – Keith Appleyard 330th Having seen a couple of posts about posting a photo of earlier days in the RAF, I have found this going back to 1973, when 330 entry (The last but unsurpassed-some may disagree), Craft & Admin Apprentices Football team won the inter apprentice trophy 45 years ago at Cosford. During my 39 years Service I met up with 8 of the team. The goalkeeper, Julian Calvert is not on the photo. Going from left to right back row, Frankie Clifford, Martin Legg, Myself, Pat Blake, John McCormack, Gordon Pennington. Front row Alex Fleming, Eddie Goodstadt, Nick Eastment, Kenny Hayes & Jock Stein. Hopefully I have remembered all the names correctly, please feel free to amend if I’m wrong.