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    Biography

    Kenneth W. Fowler

    Canadian Air Force in support of the Royal Air Force. Following enlistment in 1942 at the age of 18, his basic training was at Lachine, Quebec followed by special training at Uplands Airport, Ottawa, Ont. Initial gunnery training was at Quebec City followed by air gunnery training at MacDonald, Manitoba. Upon graduation, he was dispatched to Halifax, N.S. to await deployment overseas.

    Ken sailed on the “RMS Andes” which carried over 1,000 military personnel. While crossing the Atlantic, the ship engaged ‘zig zag’ manoeuvres to avoid enemy submarines and successfully arrived in Liverpool, England.

    Ken was assigned to 77 Squadron of the Royal Air Force located at Full Sutton near York, England. The aircrew, composed of 4 Canadians and 4 British, would command a Halifax bomber which carried a significant payload including 2000 pound bombs, 1000 pound bombs and canisters of firebombs. It had 11 machine guns: four in the top turret, four at the tail, 2 at the front and one under the belly. Ken was the tail gunner and he would later recall many “close calls” while successfully completing 38 missions over enemy territory. This was an amazing accomplishment given the enemy’s inclination to attack Allied bombers from the rear resulting in the average life span of a tail gunner being only 5 missions.

    Ken sailed for home on April 12,1945 on the “SS Ile de France”. There were over 3,000 personnel on board and Ken served as an orderly to the many injured in the ship’s hospital. He sailed into New York amid the music of many bands and jubilant crowds welcoming them
    home.

    Upon returning from the war, Ken was based at Camp Borden where he met his future wife Patricia (“Pat”) who was also a member of the R.C.A.F. serving as an aerial photographer. Following their war service, they married and took up residence in Ken’s hometown of Stratford, Ont.

    In later years, Ken would maintain his military interest while serving as a Lieutenant with Squadron 19 of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets in Stratford. Regardless of weather or physical limitations, attendance at Remembrance Day services, each and every year, was a given and always in the willing company of family members.

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