Royal Air Force
Administrative Apprentices Association

Multum A Parvo

The Dieter Batten Page (Formerly Peter Willis – 31st Entry)

I have dedicated this page to Dieter Batten who was known in 1957 as Peter Willis. Dieter now lives in Germany and provided the images shown in the galalery. These were all taken at RAF Hereford in 1957. Although Dieter has given some information as to who is shown in the various photos, I have decided not to include this information for the time being as hopefully you guys out there will be able to help put names to faces. Each picture has been listed starting Willis 31st 1 to Willis 31st 68. I can now add a full description of each photo as and when they are identified. This is where your help is required!

A link to this gallery will be also placed on the 31st Entry Scrapbook page (albeit some of the apprentices shown in the photos will be  members of other entries training at Hereford at the time). and also on our RAF Hereford page,

If you know any of the characters and/or precise locations of anyone or anything shown, please let me know which photo you are referring to when you contact me

Below is Dieter’s own account of his Apprentice training experience.

My name is Dieter Dappen born in Krefeld, Germany 1940. My mother married a British soldier 1947 who had me naturalized as a British Subject under the name of Peter Willis.

It was under the name of Peter Willis that I decided March 1957 for a career in the RAF as an aircraft electrician. I successfully absolved the entrance exam at RAF Halton but failed medically to qualify on grounds of colour blindness .. However, the interviewing officer, after the medical examination, somewhat restored my disappointment by hinting that my “colour blindness” However, the interviewing officer, after the medical examination, might only be temporary. The officer suggested basic training in the administration field at RAF Credenhill and later re-apply for a transfer for an Aircraft /Electrical Apprenticeship. Agreeing with this I joined as an Administration Apprentice Clerk Secretarial (official No. 593368) in the 31st entry at RAF Credenhill, on May 17th, 1957. In the course of this training my colour blindness was again checked by an eye specialist at the hospital in Hereford, who diagnosed to my great disappointment ‘born permanent colour-blindness’. That finally dashed my hopes for the technical career in the RAF.

On account of all this I decided against a career as a clerk-secretarial in the RAF and subsequently applied for discharge, which the School CO at first turned down, on grounds that of my commitment under oath and signed on the dotted line. The thought of being tied down to a job for 12 years that I felt not being suited for, especially short­hand for which I had no head, enticed me to persevere for at least of a compassionate discharge. This was eventually granted to me with the very considerate help from my group CO Squadron Leader JFM Lawrence who sympathized with my plight.

Regardless of the above ordeal, I must sincerely say that my time with the 31st Entry at Credenhill was in all very good and helped in many ways later in life. I was discharged on February 18th 1958 with around 10 other apprentices who had also opted out for whatever reasons.

To underlined this agreeable phase in my life as an Admin. Apprentice at Credenhill, I attach photos I had taken

during this time, which might recall memories with some of the active members (ex31 Entry) in your organisation. Although at 77 I have considerable difficulties in remembering names of all those fellow apprentices shown, I have recalled what information that has come to mind.