I am looking forward to attending the Royal Air Force Halton Apprentices Triennial Reunion on 21st September 2013. As I write this there are only 410 hours to go.
At the 2010 reunion there was a very funny incident but I’m not sure if anyone else saw the end result, it was a picture
We were all waiting to march off for the taking of the salute on the parade ground and we were just chatting away amongst ourselves. Suddenly there was a “BARK” from the young D.I. who had the honour of marching with us ex-210er’s, “The Magnificent Seven”. There were actually seven of us for quite a while until a straggler turned up to make us 8. We said hello to the new attendee and generally took the mick out of him for being late and for mentioning he should be awarded a “252” but I digress, as usual. Oh yes, the “BARK” from the D.I. informing us group of “wrinklies” to “BE QUIET IN THE RANKS” and suddenly one of us politely shouted back “Say please then”. That was Dusty Miller and we all laughed. The D.I. just glared at him. The band started to play, we were near the back of the long line of about 1200 ex-apprentices and the D.I. brought us to attention and ordered us to “By-the-left-quick-march”. We were all out of step after the second step and we just seemed to saunter off and concertina into the 209th entry in front of us. Some of us remembered to mark-time, especially the one that recalled it from his time in “Cosford” for his 7 day holiday.
Dusty was just in front of me and to the right and he was doing as he pleased, talking to the guys next to him, generally making a noise when the D.I., who was just in front of me and to the left, gave Dusty the “LOOK”. It didn’t work, like water off a duck’s back. The D.I. was getting a bit peeved by this time and kept mumbling to himself and giving his head a little shake, probably thinking we have a stubborn one here. We finally got it together and were within striking distance of the dais with RAF Halton’s Station Commander Group Captain, Chris Elliot, as I thought standing ready to take the salute.
Dusty suddenly piped up “See you later then chaps” and made a break for it to the left, darting out just behind our irate D.I. The young corporal spun his head around, nearly lost his cap with the “slashed peak”, and I could see by the expression on his face that he was about to say something but didn’t get a chance because Dusty was too fast for him. The corporal saw Dusty running towards the Group Captain, probably thinking he’s off to ask for a date. The D.I. appeared to be trying to obliterate all thoughts from his head and concentrate on the job of marching us once around the parade square and back in line for the march past the officer taking the salute. He shouted out for us to do an “eyes left” and, yes, you have already guessed, Air Marshal Sir Dusty Miller KBE 210th Entry was standing there taking the salute.
With one eye I was looking left as ordered but the other eye was looking at the expression on the D.I.’s face. “Gob-smacked” would probably capture it best.
I wonder if we will have the same D.I. this year?
I have just looked at the date, we all signed on 46 years ago tomorrow, 4th September 1967, SOCIT TUUM.
See you all there,