The Boy Entrant scheme started in September 1934 and continued until the 51st Entry in 1965. Teleprinter training commenced in 1938. The course ran for 18 months with recruits graduating and commencing 'mans service' at that time. Mans Service proper only officially started when the 'boy' was 18. Each recruit had to sign on for either 9 years with 3 in the reserves or a full 12 years.
Each entry was made up of a number of trades of which Telegraphists was one. Telegraphists were employed on ground telecommunications across the globe and were in high demand. Each RAF base required communication channels to operate effectively whether this was via teleprinters, morse code or other radio methods. (see below for some pictures of the equipment used)
The last member of the 42nd Entry Telegs to retire from the RAF was Warrent Officer Trever (Pisky) Wilce in 2000 after 38 years service. The last Boy Entrant to leave the RAF from all trades retired in 2006.
THe 42nd Entry Telegs was made up of 95 boys recruited following aptitude tests at RAF Cardington in Bedfordshire.
The Telegs belonged to No. 1 Squadron and this was identified by the the yellow disc and the boy entrants wheel which was worn on the arm. The wheel is thought to have come from the propeller badge seen on the arm of a Sargent in the RFC (see picture right).
The distinctive chequered cap band was worn by all Boy Entrants.
The Creed teleprinter was the backbone of communications in the sixtys. Each Boy Entrant was trained to touch type during their time at Cosford. Many were so fast on this maching that they could type faster than the teleprinter could respond! The teleprinter produced a tape using the Murry Code and can be seen to the left of the printer.
Each set of vertical holes represented a character and Boy Entrants could read the Murry Code from the tape. The tape was fed into a tape reader for transmission to its destination.
Many RAF stations relied on the use of morse code trasmission and receiving for its communications particularly overseas. Each Boy Entrant was fully trained in sending and receiving signals via morse code. The radio used was the RACAL RA17/117 a top radio used by many military organisations
In the 1964 James Bond film "Goldfinger", several RA-17/117s can be seen in the background as electronic filler in the 'laser table' scene!
RAF Cosford in the 1960's. The building in the foreground is the famous Fulton Block where most of the Boy Entrants had their accommodation. The old huts where a large number of Boys were accommodated can be seen around the parade ground top left.
Typical 'huts' can be seen below and held approx 20 'Boys' with one lucky Leading boy who had thier own room just inside the door.
The Strangers : Nev De Sousa, Ozzy Orton, Pete Wincott, Keith Ackerly, Stu Richards, Mick Gay
From top left: Tony Williams, Glos Telling, Paul Stocker, Bob Flahant, Norman Hoppe, John Lews, Ron Eagleton
Outside hut J8 in Initial Training Squadran (ITS) in our new track suits Jan 1961
Fulton Block Room 105E Christmas 1961
Can you name the boys?