Regret to advise only uncertain result.
Thanks to RAF Halton Apprentices Assn, no apprentice record at Halton for
537812 Hacking RN
It's been suggested perhaps his service no indicates an RAF Cranwell apprentice.
However, Cranwell dealt with Wireless and Electrical tradesapprentices (vs Halton other ground trades, fitters eg).
As the rather loose press record has him as a fitter, this seems less likely.
Further, I have no contact for the RAF Cranwell Apprenctices Assn and it appears, on searching, that their site, formerly www.rafcaa.org.uk, is defunct. (since confirmed: Assn disbanded and site defunct)
After a longish wait, not very helpful at all, my apologies.