RAF Apprentices
RAF Apprentices

RAF Apprentices:
Celebrating the past, securing the future

Media Centre

The Officers Desk

Our History

History

Timeline

Timeline

Key People

People

Museums

Exhibitions

Places

Places




The RAF Apprentice Scheme

From school to the skies – the boys who truly took flight

The Royal Air Force Apprentice scheme began in 1920, having been devised by Chief of the Air Staff Hugh Trenchard and approved by Winston Churchill. Boys from the age of 15 took a series of highly competitive exams and tests, and the select few were invited to join the most exclusive boarding school of its time.

RAF apprentices were an elite band who went on to hold some of the highest ranks in the Royal Air Force, and make huge contributions to their country and the wider world. Come with us to discover more about ‘Trenchard’s Brats’ as we hear first hand accounts of their stories, see how life was for these young men and marvel at the legacy they left.

See More




The Halton trained men provided the nucleus on which the great expansion of the Air Force was centred… surely the efficient maintenance of aircraft has also been one of the outstanding features of the war, and that has been made possible by the Halton training of our men.

- Lord Trenchard, founder of the Apprentice Scheme
Lord Trenchard



People

Royal Air Force Apprentices were a breed apart, a cut above, a group of boys who went on to become highly skilled craftsmen and airmen. An Olympian and an inventor, Dam Busters and Great Escapers… come and meet the boys who truly took off!

See More


Don Finlay

Don Finlay

Thomas Gray

Thomas Gray

Sir Frank Whittle

Sir Frank Whittle

The Great Escapers

The Great Escapers




Events

Through war-time and peace-time, being honoured by the Queen and honouring a Prime Minister, welcoming trainees from around the world and moving to bases across the UK since 1920, the RAF Apprentices have been part of significant events in history. Journey through our timeline to discover more.

See More




“To my mind, the future of this great Service depends largely upon Halton; the boy of today is the fellow who will man the RAF tomorrow. It is tomorrow we must prepare for and so the success of Halton as the birthplace of the RAF, mind and spirit is of the most vital importance”

- Sir Alan Cobham, Aviation Pioneer
RAF Halton



Why This Project?

The trust was set up to commemorate the centenary of the inception of one of the most fore-sighted and innovative schemes in British military history.

A group of dedicated retired service personnel and proud ex-Brats came together to ensure that the story was told of how thousands of boys were trained to levels of excellence which led to them to make huge contributions to the Royal Air Force, to science, and to Great Britain.

Through this website, exhibitions and the media, the story of the boys who were propelled to excellence is relived by those who are proud to call themselves ‘Trenchard’s Brats’.

See More



Through
learning we grow

Crescentes Discimus

RAF Halton Apprentices