The AOBA was formed in August 1948 with the aim of fostering esprit de corps and comradeship among all old boys of the Army Apprentice School as it was known then. Over the years, the names of the various apprentice colleges have changed but the theme of comradeship endures. Nowadays we are a registered charity (Registration No. 1086198) and we represent all those young men and women who passed through the gates of the Arborfield Army Apprentice establishments from 1939 to 2004; this includes permanent staff. We have approximately 800 active Members and a strong committee to deal with the day to day running of the AOBA. We hold an annual reunion, have our own website, have a marching contingent at the Royal British Legion Cenotaph parade and print up to four newsletter style magazines a year. We even proudly boast the AOBA Pipes and Drums dressed in their AOBA tartan!
The main event for the year is our annual reunion which is held in the Midlands in mid-July. We gather at the National Memorial Arboretum for a parade and a short Drum Head Service, before heading to the hotel for the Annual General Meeting and an evening Gala Dinner. The emphasis for the year is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the date of entering the apprentice system, so this year we would have been celebrating the intakes from 1970. We have, regretfully had to postpone the event until next year, so in 2021 it will be the 1970 and 1971 intakes who we congratulate. We also congratulate those on their 60th anniversary and would you believe, their 70th anniversary, such is the pull that brings the ‘Old Boys’ back together. The reunion formula has worked well for a number of years and long may it continue.
Although the vast majority of the membership is retired, there are still ex-Arborfield apprentices serving today . Princess Marina College closed in 2004, and those in the last intake are in the main, SNCO’s or Warrant Officers now; some are even commissioned. As time passes will look to them to step up and run the AOBA when their time comes.
Extract provided by Lt Col (Retd) Mike Tizard CEng FIET (76B2)
Arborfield Old Boys Association was formed in August 1948 and at the time of posting this article (October 2019) the AOBA will celebrate its 71st year.