Halton Drums

ISBN 1-84683-060-5
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A truly remarkable 'labour of love' on the part of its author, Halton Drums contains a huge amount of detailed material in the course of its 500 large-format pages ~ more than enough to keep any former Haltonian occupied for many happy hours!
compiled by Keith Youldon
The History of the RAF Halton Aircraft Apprentice Pipe Band

RAF Halton was home to the RAF’s No.1 School of Technical Training from 1922 to 1993. In this austere, strictly-disciplined establishment, young men aged 15 to 19 years served a three-year apprenticeship in aircraft engineering before leaving to join operational RAF Units.

In their spare time, the apprentices could choose from a range of sports, hobbies and other extra-curricular activities, with one of the most popular and worthwhile being the ‘Drums’ band.

Halton Drums records the never -to-be-forgotten experiences of the many apprentices who joined the band and played their part in the cultural life of RAF Halton. It is also the story of Halton itself.

More than just an ‘off-duty’ activity, the band was part of Halton’s daily routine, from ‘Reveille’ to ‘Lights Out’, which would be announced by the sound of trumpets, drums, fifes or bagpipes.

The band was also an essential component of working and ceremonial parades at Halton and also served to represent the Station and the RAF at national ceremonial events, such as the Cenotaph Remembrance Ceremony, the Royal Tournament and the Lord Mayor’s Show.

Told largely by ex-bandsmen, in their own words, Halton Drums includes over 200 photographs and illustrations and a comprehensive record of names and events covering the 70 years of the apprenticeship scheme and later years in which an ex-apprentice band was formed by former bandsmen who had maintained their musical interest into old age.

Halton Drums is almost certainly the most complete and authoritative book that will ever be published on Halton’s Pipe, Drum, Fife and Trumpet band and as such should be of great interest all ex-Halton apprentices who enjoyed membership of the band or the pleasure of marching behind it.


Readers' comments

“You have done a great service to the Association.” Air Chief Marshal Sir Michael Armitage KCB CBE (56th) (who wrote the Foreword)

“A monumental history.  Congratulations for your great endeavour.”  Group Captain Len Rose (21st) (an ex-Band President)

“I don’t possess the necessary linguistic skill to adequately express my admiration for what you have achieved.  The book is absolutely wonderful.” Frank Salt (34th)

“I have read your book from cover to cover and have enjoyed every hour I have spent reading the 500 pages.  A mammoth task, at last completed.”  ‘Jerry’ Jeremy (45th)

“The book will stand as a tribute to all of us ‘skates’ who blew or banged our way up that hill.” 
Vic Bennett (50th)

“I have read the book cover to cover and have to say how impressed I am at the depth of research you have put into it and, speaking for my ‘era, how accurate your history is.”  Bill Pugh (54th)

“What a ‘Tour de Force?  I couldn’t put it down.  Excellent.  It reminded me of how being in the band enhanced my time at Halton.” Stan John (96th)

“I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book.  The end result of all your hard work has been fully justified.  I seem to find fresh information every time I browse through the pages and it brings back so many memories. The only sad thing is seeing and reading about friends who are no longer with us.  Thank you for compiling such a comprehensive history.” Tony ‘Waxy’ Crane (55th)

“It is an incredible achievement to collate all that information and produce it is such an accessible manner.  It is just a mine of information and brings back many memories that I thought had gone for ever.  I would think that once it does the rounds, you will be inundated with many more anecdotes.”  John Channon (97th)

“What a fascinating and provocative read – ah happy days.  I’ve just realised, I’ve been glued to it for 14 hours.”  John Allen (126th) (son of Director of Army Bagpipe Music)

This is a phenomenal piece of work.” Major Richard Powell (ex- Scots Guards Piper now Military Music Historian)

“Your history of Halton is excellent.  I’ve learnt things about the place I never knew when I was there.  Just do not know how you found the time to write it all.  Graham ‘Gus’ White (63rd)

binding softback
page size 215 x 279 mm
pages 500
illustrations over 200 in b/w and colour