The 79th Entry

Thoughts from times long gone BUT only applying to the 1955-1957 years.
Other reminiscences (Post Halton) have been moved to the bottom of the Afterwards page.
Tony J 5.
Hello Gabby,
Thought I'd brighten your New Year up by leaving the wood work to give you something to do on the subject as you said you needed something new? I am not sure how to place these items on the web now? So hopefully you will not be too busy to do it for me, if you don't mind?
I read of some lucky apprentice being given a lift in an aircraft from Europe with Douglas Bader which he obviously appreciated and was honoured by travelling with said hero?
I do have a memory of meeting such a well renowned very senior Air Marshall, but as expected, I was lucky, but not completely?

Quote: "It was the Easter break in 1956 and I was at home and came down with Chicken pox! By the time I had recovered from that and had arrived back at Halton to finish the last half of the pneumatic phase, my hair was longer than normal due to my absence. Also on arrival, Paddy Kelly, who all Armourers will I am sure remember, told me that I was to take part in a boxing tournament in Aylesbury that night! He went on to tell me that "Bomber" Harris would be watching? Well, not my night and due "mainly" my not training for three weeks, the decision went against me, but all was not lost? Bomber Harris sent a Flight Lt into the changing room to put me on a "fisser" for having long, unkempt hair?? So I had been charged by one of the most famous of our Air Marshalls, but still didn't feel too good about it, because I had lost a bout to a "civvy"!

It wasn't all bad for me thankfully, because when it went before the Sqdn Commander, he read the charge twice, then laughed and dismissed me. The following week I received my "snags" stripe! But I don't think Bomber gave any recommendations? "Unquote" Tony Jones.

Gabby 1.
Does any one remember this? After "Lights Out" 2 Brats sneaking out into the darkness and cycling to (I think) Tring where, at the local pub, several flagons of the super cheap VP sherry were purchased and, on returning to the barracks, a good time was had by all!

Gabby 2.
When we all arrived at Halton I think that I was the baby of the entry being only 15 years & 11 months old. As a small, naive kid I was overwhelmed by the whole thing and without the immediate friendship of one person in particular could well have pulled out very early on. That person I will not name BUT I will give his service number which, oddly, I remember as well as my own even after all these years! 680584 stand up & be thanked!

Then the powers that be saw fit to split us all up (does anyone remember or know why?) between the 3 wings and my buddy & I were now separated by distance, he in 1 Wing & I in 3 Wing. Luckily for me I was now a mature 16 year old (!) and more settled but those early months were, to say the least, traumatic.

Tony J 1.
Sorry John,
Born 30.3.39 made me 15 yrs, 9.5 months! However, Great Grandfather as he already is, even now, Dave Middleton, could have been the oldest! Anymore of those claims? - Tony Jones.

Jerry Collier
Gabby 2 queried the reason for the big split-up in 1956.
I have heard that it was intended to destroy the "Entry Spirit" and eliminate barrack block raids and the rest of the minor thuggery. Nowadays, the Entry is all-important, - so "they" failed.

Gabby 2.5
I spoke in Gabby 2 about a friendship that saw me through the initial months. Well, I have just received an e-mail from he who I did not name which I feel I MUST put here. I am putting it on un-edited as I have personal feelings about this which have lasted down the years.


Hi John,
I hope things are well with you and yours.
I have just been on the entry website, first time for quite a while, and seen your remarks about us meeting up on that day, January 14th I believe. You were with Bob Hubbard who is no longer with us, both from Chepstow. And we got on the train at Marylebone for Wendover. Like you, I was very alone and I thank you for your friendship which meant a lot to me. It helped me get through those first few months. I too hated the split up. I remember you brewing wine from raisins in little bottles in your locker. I think I went with you to your home once, Bulwark seems to ring a bell.

I too had a motorbike, an Ariel 350, which was secreted away down in a garage belonging to an elderly lady in Great Missenden. Wednesday sports afternoons for me was cross country running, down to my bike, a quick change into civvies and a hours ride out on my bike and then a slow trog back in time for tea.

I also remember you being posted to Singapore on pass out and I tried several times to contact you there but I believe you had to return early because of a family bereavement. Didnít you also have a Vincent 1000 motor bike there?

Also do I qualify as one of the oldest, if not the oldest member. I was born on 5th September 1937. (doddery old git now of course). Maybe you would like to put this on the website, edited if need be, as a reply to your reminiscence of our time at Halton.
Best Wishes
Geof Holland (680584)

Gabby 3.
Guess who thought that joining the pipe band was a good lurk? And who had to have a hernia operation because of blowing too hard? And who was screamed at with "what is that pile of rags doing on your wardrobe" from a certain Sergeant who could not discern the difference between rags and a set of pipes? Correct - ME! That was a relatively short lived exercise! However I still love the pipes - never miss the Edinburgh Tattoo on TV.

Tony J 2.
Sorry I don't recall those two incidents, but do remember seeing the Drill Sergeants bicycle well and truly trapped at the lamppost next to 3 Wing NAAFI! I also remember weeding the 3 wing square, on returning from summer camp on Jankers for, 1st getting back to camp late and getting caught, then 2nd, for not turning up for parade the next morning, when the MO was duty Officer and nearly all the "Snoops" and several of us were given more Jankers!
I will qualify that with a, "If I remember correctly"?

Gabby 4.
Thank you Tony, you have reminded me of the occasion when I skived off Church Parade to hitch hike to Hatfield to spend Sunday with my Aunt. Out near Hemel Hemstead a green VW pulled up to give me a lift - the driver? None other than our beloved Sgt Hiscock! I got the lift but I paid dearly in the ensuing weeks!

Tony J 3.
Have been wracking my feeble brain for something that should include other members of the entry and something as remarkable as possible?
I struck lucky when I remembered: "The "Jam" mutiny of 1955", in which of course, all the 79th were included. Was it too much greengage or strawberry jam, or simply not enough of any jam or butter - Most certainly the latter, which of course was all accepted by us ever suffering hungry Brats? My memory span must be about 30 years or hours, because I have forgotten all the details on this one? Can other 79ers come up with a few facts?

One point I do remember about the cook house (I suppose nowadays that is politically incorrect and we should say something like the beverage maison, or refreshment club?) Anyway I digress. I used to detest the taste of the cabbage thrown at us in those halcyon days of our youth, but knowing that it was a good veggie for us, used to sprinkle a slight touch of vinegar on mine to make it almost palatable, until one stupid member of our midst, decided for his enjoyment, to replace the vinegar with liquid soap, not only ruining my dinner but many others as well!

Rod A 1.
Do you remember that one morning, when we were still fairly wet behind the ears, we got up to find that the small tower on top of the NAAFI had a number painted on it?

This number was either 76 or 79, it was difficult to tell because either the 6 was upside down or the 9 was back to front! I thought about this and was worried that others would think that the 79TH could not write their own Entry Number (I wasn't worried about the 76TH because we knew they couldn't).

So that night I armed myself with a pot of white paint and a brush. After the NAAFI had closed I climbed the drainpipe at the back of the building (past the NAAFI girls sitting room where I could hear them all laughing and joking) climbed onto the roof and made my way to the tower. There I adorned it with correctly written 79s.

The sequel to this was I had to stay out of my room until after lights out for about two weeks, my bed was tipped every night!

Tony J 4.
A most sincere memory returned to me last night, one that I think would affect all 79th Brats deeply, one way or another?

I was watching the film, "Sleepless in Seattle", when they played the Sinatra song, "In the wee small hours of the morning", it wasn't the Sinatra version, but the deep feelings for that song was equally felt! When at Halton, our morning wake-up call, every time accompanied by that song, it was only my pretended manliness that prevented the gushing of tears?

Anyone else have deep feelings for that song?