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Thanks to Geoff Williams, ex RAF Halton for information “Brats” (What’s a “Brat”? See below).

The term Brat springs from the fact that in 1920, Marshal of the RAF Lord Trenchard, who is looked upon as the founding father of the RAF, conceived the idea of setting up training schools to provide a cadre of well trained and rounded individuals to be the backbone of aircraft servicing and maintenance in the RAF. These young men, many of whom were aged fifteen and a half when they joined, were still in some cases under normal recruiting age when they finished their training and entered RAF service proper. Their knowledge put the noses of some of the old hands out of joint and they became known as Trenchard's Brats. The name has stuck and they now happily call themselves such.

Aero Engine trained apprentices could become Flight Engineers for bombers with very little additional training, and many of them volunteered for operational service.

Aero Engine Apprentices were trained at RAF Halton, in Buckinghamshire, except in the early days when Halton was being built, and their training took place at RAF Flowerdown and RAF Cranwell. Sir Frank Whittle (jet engine fame) was in the 8th Entry. The last Entry at RAF Halton was the 155th and these apprentices graduated in 1993.

There are many memorial windows to The Brats in the Church at RAF Halton, including one dedicated to young Polish lads who trained at RAF Halton and RAF Cranwell (Wireless Apprentices) from 1943 – 1948.

Last updated 30 October, 2019

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