The RAF Boy Entrant scheme ran from the mid 1930s to late 1965 where boys joined the RAF between the ages of 15 to 17 1/2 and then underwent training in various occupations (or Trades) which fitted them for employment in the Royal Air Force. Training was suspended during WWII but recommenced in May 1947.
Training was undertaken at a variety of RAF Stations including RAF Cosford, RAF Yatesbury, RAF Compton Bassett, RAF St Athan, RAF Hereford and RAF Locking. Training took 18 months and included not just the trade and basic training but also more general academic education. After their 18 months of training they then moved to regular RAF duty stations and commenced employment in the trade they had trained on.
The Boy Entrants scheme provided training and a focus in life for boys that often had a poor education. In the early post WWII years, this education had probably been severely disrupted by the war itself.
Thanks to the RAF’s experience with aptitude tests and the knowledge that lack of education did not mean lack of intelligence, the RAF was able to train suitable candidates in appropriate trades and created the backbone of the RAF’s technical services during the years dominated by transient National Servicemen. The Boy Entrant scheme ran alongside another Boys scheme called the RAF Apprentices who undertook 3 years training but run on similar lines.
for a fuller and more extensive explanation.
- RAF Museum: The autobiography of a Trenchard Brat. Wg Cdr Joseph (Joe) Northrop, Author
Square One Publications, Publisher Production Date 1993
- Further information on the RAF Museum Hendon web site.
- RAF Cosford Aviation Museum has a small static display which commemorates Boy Entrant service in the RAF.
Other than that little has been written about RAF Boys Service apart from articles/memories submitted on various web sites. Try Googling "RAF Boy Entrants".
- "BOY ENTRANT" by Brian Carlin ISBN nr 978 1411694333
Available from Lulu.com or Amazon.com What begins as a boyish adventure results in a 15-year old boy’s fateful decision to commit himself fully to a course of military training that shapes the remainder of his life for the better. The author recalls his enlistment in the British Royal Air Force as a 15-year old Boy Entrant.
- Wheels Up!: A Former RAF Boy Entrant's Recollections of Life in the Boy's Service in the Early 1960s (Paperback) by Bob Price (Author)
- Boy Entrants and Young Servicemen: Report (Command 4509) (Paperback)
by Committee on Boy Entrants and Young Servicemen (Author) Publisher: Stationery Office Books (Nov 1970) Language English ISBN 0101450907 ISBN 978-0101450904 Report in Hansard of a debate in the UK House of Commons on the 5th Feb 1968 concerning Boy Entrants and other youth entrants to the UK Armed Forces. http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/1968/feb/05/armed-forces-boy-entrants-and 24 September 2009
A newly refurbished and extended exhibition dedicated to the RAF Boy Entrant Scheme has been unveiled at the RAF Museum Cosford http://www.rafmuseum.org.uk/cosford/news/article.cfm?news_id=245
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