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The Flying Photographer

by ateamwar

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Archive List > Love in Wartime

Contributed by 
People in story: 
Bob Bird
Background to story: 
Civilian Force
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
18 August 2005

My father was Bob Bird, he was a photographer working for the Government during the war and he was assigned to top secret projects. Amongst the things he filmed were Britain’s first Paratroopers training at Ringway Airport, Manchester. When he was there he visited a distant cousin called Thea who was a teenage fire-fighter with the National Service during the Blitz in Liverpool and romance blossomed and she became his war bride. After Ringway, my father went up to Scotland, to film preparations for sinking the German battleship; the Terpitz and for sinking U Boats, he adopted a little cat up there called Pyro, he used to fly in these flying boats with this cat. Pyro used to chase the gremlins out of the aeroplanes, the gremlins being little imaginary monsters that used to mess around with the controls. My mother and Bob went to Leeds where he filmed the preparation for D-Day. My father flew in all kinds of bombers; Halifax, Whitley: ‘the flying coffin’, he also flew in the gliders used on D-Day, it always crashed. He then went down to the New Forest with my mother and Pyro and then spent the rest of the war in Bewley filming the preparations for the attacks on Japan and the captured German weapons like the V2. Unfortunaltey in 1945, Pyro was killed by friendly fire, waiting for my dad to return from a mission: he was run over by an RAF tender. After the war my mother and father settled in Merseyside, my father opened a photographic business, which he ran until he died. So WW2 for my parents, whilst it was fraught with danger, had a happy ending as my parents met each other and got married and my father opened his own business.

By Robin Bird

'This story was submitted to the People’s War site by BBC Radio Merseyside’s People’s War team on behalf of the author and has been added to the site with his / her permission. The author fully understands the site's terms and conditions.'

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