Unit History: RAF Ruislip

RAF Ruislip
In 1921, a trial scheme for apprentice clerks began with 36 young men being enlisted as Boy Clerks (but known
as The Experimentals) at RAF Record Office Ruislip. Their performance and results proved that the scheme was
worth continuing and following further discussions the Treasury agreed to the scheme which provided 2 years
apprentice training as junior clerks and messengers. Training started at Ruislip in October 1925.
IInitially all apprentice clerks were trained as Clerks General Duties, but after the 61st Entry in 1927, a third of
each subsequent Entry were trained in stores procedures. This Scheme continued until 1942 and the passing out
of the 61st Entry, with, appropriately, the Inspecting Officer being Air Vice-Marshal Sir John W Cordingley, KCVO,
Between 1925 and 1942, 2,080 apprentices were attested at Ruislip, with service numbers in the block 590001 -
592080. They apparently revelled in their soubriquet of ’John Willie’s Boys’; however, here the ’Boys’ were
showing their independence - since their Commanding Officer’s Christian names were ’John Walter’! The 2080
apprentices were trained in accounting and general clerical duties, whilst four evenings a week they were
trained in shorthand and typing. Durinmg the day, the apprentices acted amongst other duties, as messengers
within the RAf Record Office, earning one shilling a day (5p) in their first year and one shilling and sixpence (7.5p)
in their second year. 61 Entries trained at Ruislip with the last entry enlisting on 28 April 1941. Of those trained at
Ruislip 819 were commissioned, 4 of which reached Air Rank. Over 1000 men reached SNCO rank. Of the
remainder, 455 became aircrew

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