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					Chairman’s (Dolly Dew) address to the 78th Entry Association Members at the
Window Dedication Ceremony in St Georges Church, Halton - June 2001


Guests, ladies and gentlemen, and all members of the 78th Entry, on behalf of the Entry Committee I
would like to welcome you to St George’s Church today for the dedication of our commemorative
Window.

                                  The theme of our Window is change.

                                  We thought this appropriate for a School that began as an
                                  Army Training establishment, before becoming Number 1
                                  School of Technical Training for the Royal Air Force and
                                  who’s function today is that of a multi-role training School
                                  for the Royal Air Force.

                                  We were here during its Technical School role, and even
                                  during our swiftly passing 3 years the watchword was
                                  change….

                                  We enlisted in 1954 and were designated the 78th Entry of
                                  Aircraft Apprentices. Originally there were 306 of us. In
                                  1957, 195 finally graduated with a few extra students who
                                  had been added to our original number.

                                  We were all trained as ground tradesmen principally for
                                  employment on aircraft.

                                  Our first home was 3A Wing where we were divided into 3
                                  Squadrons. Change came in 1955 when we were merged into
                                  One Squadron as an Entry.

                                  In 1956 we were again revamped and shared evenly among
                                  the School’s 9 Squadrons. Few reasons, and even fewer
                                  explanations were offered. We simply regrouped and
                                  continued with our training.

                                  The window we are dedicating today reflects this continuous
                                  theme of change.

Most of the installed windows have the Apprentice wheel. Our wheel at the top of the window is
mounted on yellow, with a red inner signifying our coming together as One Squadron of 3A
Wing in 1955.
The split into 3 wings in 1956 is signified by the red, blue and yellow strips in the middle of the
window, representing each wing’s different coloured hatband.

The beech trees are a symbol of the continuing connection with Halton. Our motto at the foot of
the window, NOBIS SATIS OPTIMA, means, as you all know, only the best is good enough for
us.

Change was frustrating at the time, but in later life we were able to meet any new situation, and
accept philosophically, A B C or It’s All Been changed, Sarge!



I quote now from GAIUS PETRONIUS, a Roman Centurion of about AD 60:
We trained very hard, but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form teams, we
would be reorganised.
I was to learn later in life, that we tend to meet any new situation by reorganising, and a
wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress whilst producing
confusion, inefficiency, and demoralisation...

We forgot to include a quill and inkpot, or even the midnight oil…in our window.
Ours was the first Entry for whom it was mandatory to pass Schools as well as Workshops.
That caused quite a panic to your scribe and several dozen other young apprentices at the time.

However the Commandant’s report said we were above average at Schools, giving a list of our
academic achievements, so perhaps that change was certainly beneficial to both the Airforce and
ourselves! We were also the first Entry for a long time to all graduate into the Royal Air Force.

In spite of all those many changes we faced as young men our friendships have endured…. It has
been very interesting renewing old acquaintances and meeting old friends….

Before I close I would like to thank the Padre and his staff for all the assistance they have given
us, and the Apprentices Association Liaison Officer, and especially three members of our Entry
and their wives for the launch and completion of this venture.

Thank you, Dave Kiddle, Robert (Tom) Trender and John Dumbleton.




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