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15 October 2014
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Youngest Apprentice

by cambsaction

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Archive List > Royal Air Force

Contributed by 
cambsaction
People in story: 
Bert Gower
Location of story: 
UK and Far East
Background to story: 
Royal Air Force
Article ID: 
A4379907
Contributed on: 
06 July 2005

In 1941, at 15 ½ years of age, Bert joined the RAF as an apprentice and, for a year, he was the youngest person recruit. Because of this, when he was demobbed, there was no insurance card for him.

Bert trained at RAF Halton as a Wireless Operator/Mechanic and, after training, went to RAF Cranwell. He vividly remembers very large barrack blocks standing over 3 stories high. At this time he applied for aircrew training but failed the medical as he is colour blind.
Eventually Bert was posted overseas to the Far East. He served in India, Burma, Bengal and Ceylon. Initially he serviced Spitfire radios but then joined a Mobile Signals Unit (MSU).

During his tour with the MSU Bert’s main job was to open communications at forward airstrips.

Bert was awarded the Burma Star.

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