RAF Apprentices

RAF Museums

RAF Museums situated across the UK celebrate both the present day and the history of the RAF, including the legacy of the RAF Apprentices. Please explore the pages below to find out more about what each one has to offer.

RAF Halton
Trenchard Museum

Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire

The Trenchard Museum

The Trenchard Museum is based at RAF Halton in Buckinghamshire. It aims to preserve and display items relating to the history of the Royal Air Force, in particular the training of Apprentices which took place at RAF Halton. It was named in honour of Lord Trenchard, who founded the Aircraft Apprentice scheme.

Within the museum, there are important exhibits recounting the major contribution of Lord Trenchard to the founding and development of the RAF. The museum also records the background to Apprentice training at the Halton camp through examples of the tools, work and test pieces completed by Apprentices. It houses many models of aircraft, a number of aero engines, weapons and other equipment, as well as examples of what life was like for a young boy entering the Royal Air Force.

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James McCudden
Flight Heritage Centre

Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire

James McCudden Flight Heritage Centre

The James McCudden Flight Heritage Centre is situated within RAF Halton, and named after one of the most highly decorated airmen in British military history.

Central to the Centre’s display is a Grasshopper Glider from the 1950s, one of the simplest flying machines ever used by the RAF, with all control systems visible and working. Surrounding it, artefacts include a display on the history of flight, aero engines, a wind tunnel and wind machines, aero instrument display rigs, a model airfield, a Chipmunk light training aircraft cockpit (used by the RAF during the cold war), and a flight simulator which allows visitors to take off, pilot and land a Chipmunk at the virtual local airfield. Also on view is a full size replica of the Mayfly. This small biplane was designed and built by Apprentices at Halton in 1926.

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RAF Halton Apprentices' Association
The Tribute

Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire

The Tribute at RAF Halton

This tribute is situated in front of the old schools at RAF Halton, near to St. Georges Church (hyperlink) and was unveiled by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on 31st October 1997. It is made of Scottish granite, and designed in the shape of a ‘brass cube’.

“1922-1993 No1 School of Technical Training RAF Halton. This Sculpture celebrates the Apprentice Scheme started by Lord Trenchard at No1 School of Technical Training. Over 40,000 boys, many from Commonwealth and Foreign Air Forces and from the Royal Navy, all affectionately known as ‘Trenchard’s Brats’ graduated from Halton between 1922 and 1993. This sculpture represents the Brass Cube test job undertaken by apprentices during their training, and incorporates the ‘Wheel Badge’ which was worn proudly by generations of apprentices.”

Royal Airforce Museum
RAF Cosford

Cosford, Wolverhampton

RAF Cosford Museum

The Royal Air Force Museum at RAF Cosford is dedicated to the history of aviation and the RAF. Over 70 aircraft of international importance are housed there, including the world’s oldest Spitfire and a Lincoln Bomber.

Many Apprentices completed their training at RAF Cosford and their exploits and contribution are displayed here – the museum was created specifically to exhibit the airframes which had been used for technical training. The site comprises four hangars dedicated to telling the story of the Royal Air Force, its history, achievements, impact, allies and foes, from the celebrated to the National Cold War Exhibition to the interactive learning centre. This is the only place in the UK where visitors can see Britain’s three V Bombers: the Vulcan, Victor and Valiant.

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National Memorial Arboretum
Halton Grove

Alrewas, Staffordshire

Halton Grove

The National Memorial Arboretum is the UK’s year round centre of remembrance, and the RAF Apprentices have a significant presence amongst the varied plots and dedicated memorials.

As a contribution to the UK Millenium celebrations, the Halton Apprentice Association designed and constructed the Halton Grove. To commemorate the 90th Anniversary of the Apprentice scheme in 2012 an enhanced Grove was opened by Air Commodore Lord Trenchard R Aux AF.

With the Apprentice wheel at the very centre, pavers to commemorate entries and individuals, a plaque and an interactive display board, the ‘Halton Grove’ is a moving tribute as well as an uplifting garden and place of learning. The plaque reads: “The RAF Apprentice Scheme was founded in 1920 by Lord Trenchard, ‘The Father’ of the Royal Air Force. This Grove commemorates those boys who were trained at No1 School of Technical Training RAF Halton as skilled technicians and administrators, known affectionately as ‘Trenchard’s Brats’. The Centrepiece of the Grove represents the famous RAF Apprentice ‘Wheel’ badge. We remember with pride and sorrow our colleagues who made the supreme sacrifice during WWII and those lost in earlier and later campaigns.’When beech leaves are falling, where-e’er we may roam, old memories come calling of Halton and home’".

The Cranwell Apprentices are also represented at the NMA, alongside scores of Armed Forces regiments, Public Services and charities. In total there are over 300 memorials here, and more than 50,000 trees which make up this world-renowned place to reflect and enjoy.

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Historic Airfield & Museum
IWM Duxford

Duxford, Cambridgeshire

Imperial War Museum, Duxford

As Britain’s largest aviation museum, the Imperial War Museum Duxford houses nearly 200 aircraft, as well as military vehicles, artillery and minor naval vessels.

In keeping with the site's history, many of Duxford's original buildings, are still in use. It is these authentic hangars which house the planes - aircraft which were flown and maintained by RAF Apprentices, notably in the Battle of Britain. Some of these buildings are of particular architectural or historic significance and over thirty have Listed Building Status. Aircraft on display include the Hawker Hurricane, Hawker Harrier, Concorde, and Gloster Javelin. The site remains an active airfield and hosts regular air shows.

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