Royal Air Force Cosford

24th ENTRY BOY ENTRANTS
Royal Air Force
February 1955 to July 1956


Royal Air Force St Athan

50th ANNIVERSARY PASS-OUT REUNION
Reports and Pictures - Reunion Dinner at Telford 25th July 2006


Group Captain Gary Fletcher

SPEECH BY GROUP CAPTAIN GARY FLETCHER - 25 JULY 06

TO CELEBRATE THE 5OTH ANNIVERSARY OF
THE PASS-OUT OF 24TH BOY ENTRY

TO CELEBRATE THE 5OTH ANNIVERSARY OF
THE PASS-OUT OF 24TH BOY ENTRY

To be a little different, this evening at this time
I have chosen to speak to you, in a short little rhyme
I won't take much time, it's your celebration not to be missed
I'd rather you get to the bar, tell stories and have a drink

For me it's a great pleasure, to join with you here
To celebrate the anniversary, of your pass out this year.
As we said Feb 55 to July 56, the time must have passed very quick
Although I suspect enough time - for young boys to feel homesick
Enough to be taught telegraphy, wireless, radar, cook and engineer
And receive some guidance, from those discips you did fear.

As you know I'm here from Cosford, where tomorrow you visit for the day
Where some will remember all you did back then, in your own special way
But to be tonight at this anniversary, gives me a large amount of joy
Celebrating your graduation to airman, graduating from joining as a boy

It is great to see so many of you, back together here tonight
After time apart I'm sure, that getting together again is a delight
I understand some of you, have travelled quite locally by car
But some of you have come here, travelling distances very far

It is never easy to track down people, with whom you remember patrolling
It needs dedication, terrier spirit - and a large amount of cajoling
I think thanks have to go, with a large amount of insistence
To the co-ordinators of tonight, for their endeavour and persistence

Of course it's not only you boys, to whom I wish to be polite
For your ladies I wish also, to thank here tonight
None of us can be so committed, and achieve such success
Without the support, encouragement, and love they possess

Now about the Boy Entrant Scheme, I have read up a little bit
A scheme that Lord Trenchard invented, to which you all did commit
To leave home and join the Air Force, when not very old
Took a lot of mettle and courage, you were all very bold

I am sure you remember it all, without me giving you a clue
Of marching and polishing, not only the floor, but many a shoe
Of living in multi-man rooms, and collecting your pay
Of not having much spare time, at the end of the day
Of shared ablutions, where you washed and cleaned
To ensure that the Discip saw that your face, and buttons gleamed
The barber you visited, and hair cut very short
Exactly on time for everything, you had to report

For at this time Cosford and St Athan, they were your home
The barrack block walls I am certain, remember every moan
As do the trains that carried you, homeward and then bought you back
For you Cosford Halt or Gileston Station, were at the end of the track

Your hats worn with pleasure, the hat bands you would never hide
The chequered colours of course, you wore with a great deal of pride
The red & green and the red & Blue, at St Athan were the two wings
Whilst at Cosford of course, they did slightly different things
Here the bands allocated differently, 1&2 Sqn having Yellow and Red
With 3 & 4 Sqn having Green and Blue, around the hats on their head

But of course it's the end of your course, that we are celebrating tonight
The getting to pass out, overcoming the challenge and occasional fright
Of walking onto the parade square, training finished and complete
You were now in the Air Force, as you proudly marched to the bands drumbeat

Of course at St Athan, FS BE Broadbent commanded the parade
At which as drum major, young Brierley very loudly played
Now as No 2 Flight Commander, young Scruton took the lead
I'm informed that his flight certainly, listened and took heed.
At sport there's not much recorded, except a picture of a bloke much thinner
Someone who got Boxing Colours for his training school, a chap called A Skinner

There were also many prize winners, and First in Education was awarded
To a young chap called Montgomery, his academics rightly rewarded
Followed closely by young Neal, an education prize winner as well
But of course you all graduated, and should have rightly felt quit swell.

Across as Cosford Sgt Boy Entrant Kendrick, commanded No 1 Flight
Whilst Sgt Boy Entrant Slatter as standard bearer, was turned out just right
Burton took colours for Rugby, whilst Curtis got colours for soccer
For Cross Country and athletics, Skinner took 2 colours what a shocker

Vellacott also took colours for athletics, but I'm not sure he was good at the wicket,
Because it was Simmons, White and Moulton, who received the colours for cricket
As for education up at the front, young Woodrow was very close in the race
But with 385 out of 400, it was Boy Entrant White who got first place

Now as for trade ability, there were many who were recorded
But Woodrow, Tillotson and Rhoden, as the best were rewarded
For the award - certificate of Merit, 24 course successfully grew
Slatter and Whinkley, who where up there amongst the few.
In the educational test, amongst the cooks there were more
With a young D Switzer, getting the highest cooks academic score.

If any of this is wrong, or I've missed off any who were rewarded,
I firstly say sorry, but it was not all that accurately recorded.
It is certain that you all, did the very best you could of achieved
The pass out pictures proved your success, but also show you relieved.

For many old friendships, this anniversary re-kindles and renews
Whilst back now at Cosford, the high standard of training it continues.
Although we are reducing in size, the money needed for others
We still do a professional job, us close band of brothers

We still have the commitment, and the dedication you will remember
The same sense of service in our youngsters, I am insisting we engender
We are trying to ensure, the RAF culture and ethos we nurture
Also the commitment and loyalty, that to you became second nature

I only get them for 6 months, before they work aircraft at first line
But we mould them and train them, the best we can in that time.
We tell them how important, it is to have respect
And only total integrity and excellence, will we accept
We ensure that they know, it is not all about wealth
We labour very hard, to ensure they remember Service before Self

The Air Force is still great, it still has a role that is vital
We are still the envy of other nations, where our ability is pivotal
You were in close to the start, your example still remains
Your example still used today, for the excellent message it contains
We still fly aeroplanes, train well and can carry gun
For your contribution, a heart felt - very well done

Your visit to Cosford tomorrow, I am sure will feel unreal
But hopefully you'll again see on display, the 4 bladed wheel
Set up by Fulton Block, for all to see and remember
And hopefully high values, and ethos engender
I'll be seeing you at lunch, which I think is in the Fulton canteen
Were as always the foods okay, but it's certainly smart and clean

For your Boy Entrant time in the Air Force - I thank you all from my heart
For your service and dedication, for doing your part
As I monitor today's trainees develop, it makes me watch and dwell
For me it's really fantastic, that the Air Force still trains them so well
It was that very training, and your commitment and dedication
That got you all through finally, onto the parade for graduation
Well done to you all, in this celebratory way
For graduating 50 years ago, and getting back together today

It is great to see you all here - together tonight
The discussions in the bar later - I'm sure there will be no respite
I have twittered on long enough - of the evening there is more
So at this stage in proceedings - I'll hand over the floor
You're together again, I'm sure the Air Force camaraderie you miss
That's why I need to sit down, so that you can go on the LAGER

But before I finally sit down, there's one thing to do
And this requires a little movement, from all of you
Please stand with your glass, and toast with all the rest
The Royal Air Force's 24th Boy Entry - who were clearly the best