Today, Halton is still training new recruits into the services, both male
and female. When I first arrived there, there were no females, and whilst I
was there, they appeared-this caused quite a lot of trouble in the time I was
there, separating the girls from the boys. But as time went on, things settled
down, and we started proper technical training on aircraft engines. Once again,
my Park Street training on the Rolls Royce engine, which they had there, was
in front of me again. I knew parts of it, where the other chaps had no idea
what they were.
Our training was very strict again; once again a mistake and you could have a serious accident. As time went by, it was Christmas .The first Christmas away from home, knew nobody, nowhere to go. Here I palled up with two other chaps, both called Harry, and my name Harold was then changed to Harry, so we became known as the three Harrys, 1,2 and 3.Where one was you found the other two and all the time we were at Halton we stuck together, going down into the town where we enjoyed our company, our drink, laughs, going to the dances and what have you.
The Station Commander had a Christmas dance, one of the lads, Harry, bet me I dare not dance with the CO’s wife, he made a mistake! , I walked across the dance hall on my own, everybody watching me, and asked the CO’s wife for a dance .The CO, being the Group Captain of the station, acknowledged my request, so we lead off the dance at that moment. Having survived it, I came back to the lads, I hadn’t known what I would do or if I’d had the guts to do it, but I proved to myself that if I set myself, then I could do it. Once again the challenge was overcome, from everyone else I got respect, and admiration from the other two Harry’s, which was a great deal of help to me because, we were still only young trainee recruits being shouted at on parade every morning.
Coming to the parade, at Halton, there are two parades, one with a brass band and one with a pipe band, doing alternative weeks. On parade every morning, a big Billy goat with his medals on, and his coat over his back with the Halton mascot on it. This Billy goat had its horns and hooves polished every day.
When I was posted from Halton, having completed my Flight Mechanics course, I was then posted to Coltishall, in Norfolk. This was a fighter aerodrome where I came to my first real aircraft-the squadron being 64th squadron, or technically known as 6064.
64 squadron, I learnt later, had been stood down from the fighting on the channel coast. What brought this home to me was the fact that we only had 6 Spitfires and 6 Hurricanes. These I was to learn were new training aircraft for the pilots, or should I say, re-training the pilots, who were replacing those that were lost down at the channel.
The Hurricane fighters were actually covered in fabric and not metal .If there was any damage on the fabric, all it needed was a gun patch, over the split or hole, whichever it may be. Whereas, with a Spitfire, they were metal and riveted.