RAF Locking - No1 Radio School of Apprentice Training
RAF Locking, near Weston Super Mare in Somerset, was the No 1 Radio School from the 1940’s to the early 90’s, when it was transferred to RAF Cosford.
Virtually all Radio, Radar and Missile Technicians were trained here. The main training being a three year apprenticeship for “boys” from the age of 16 up.
From day one at RAF Locking, boys were taught first to be Airmen, and Technicians second, who after training could maintain sophisticated electronic equipment right down to component level. Around 300 to 500 boys a year were trained this way. Nothing like this level of technical training exists today.
The story of RAF Locking already has a web site of it’s own. It is hoped HERE only to give an idea just how the government could take a spotty teenager out of secondary school, and turn him into a wizard with a test meter and an oscilloscope, able to read complicated circuit diagrams, and in just 36 months, let him loose maintaining the electronic equipment used in the defence of the realm.
Within the statutory 12 year engagement from the age of 18, many became Chief Technicians. Some applied for a commission and became Engineering Officers.
For those that signed on to the age of 55, the sky was the limit. One of our number went on to became an Air Commodore.
When they left the RAF, many RAF Technicians went on to become Computer Engineers, and other worthwhile technical jobs.
Some left the service, and like myself, became self employed, using the expertise gained from Locking and their service postings, to further their career in other ways.
Whatever, those three years gave everyone who went through RAF Locking, real memorable experiences. 50 year reunions are still being held at Weston by several entries.