Maurice Bowker AC1 (RAF No. 3020985) Armament Assistant
(Foto kindly provided by Family Bowker)
Maurice Bowker was born on 18 May 1925 in Hyde, Cheshire – pre-war he worked as a Warehouseman at Lancashire Felt, and lived in Denton, Lancashire. Prior to his enlistment Maurice was a member of the Air Training Corps. He enlisted in the RAF on 14 July 1943 at No 8 Recruit Centre in Edinburgh, and was trained as an Armament Assistant. Maurice has a twin sister, Muriel, who served in the WAAF at RAF Abingdon, Berkshire, and three brothers Eric, Kenneth who also served in the RAF, and Albert. His brothers and sister now all live in Canada.

After trade training he served in 3012 Servicing Echelon, which became 6350 Servicing Echelon, as an Armament Assistant, with 350 (Belgian) Squadron at different RAF airfields around the UK – which can be found at - by late 1944 the squadron, which had been held back in the UK by the bad weather in Belgium, was due to move to the continent in early December, and, in advance of the squadrons move, 6350 Servicing Echelon moved to the continent in late November. 

Maurice landed at Ostend, Belgium on 19 November 1944, and proceeded to join 350 (Belgian) Squadron in Brussels when they flew in to B.56 Evere on 3 December, with a move to Y.32 Ophoven/Zwartberg on 29 December, further moves were to B.64 Diest in Belgium, then in to Holland to B.78 Eindhoven and then to B.106 Twente/Enschede.

On 12 April 1945 he moved in to Germany to B.118 Celle (near to Hannover and the Belsen-Bergen Concentration camp). When 125 Wing, in which 350 (Belgian) Squadron served, moved to Denmark in May 1945 350 (Belgian) Squadron moved to B.152 Fassberg, and then to B.172 Husum in June when 125 Wing came back to Germany. When 125 Wing disbanded in July 1945 350 (Belgian) Squadron moved to B.116 Wunstorf and then back to B.152 Fassberg again. 

Maurice returned to the UK in January 1946 and was posted to No. 12 School of Technical Training at RAF Melksham, Wiltshire – then to No. 2 Personnel Despatch Centre at Morecambe, Lancashire this resulted in a posting back to Germany to No. 3 Base Recovery Unit (which became No. 1, Base Repair and Salvage Unit) as a Motor Transport driver at RAF Uetersen,  recovering damaged aircraft in Germany and Denmark, returning to the UK to No. 101 Personnel Despatch Centre at Warton, Lancashire,  he was discharged from the RAF on 25 June 1947. 

Maurice married Beatrice Smith on 23 March 1946  in Denton, Lancashire, and he continued to live in the  Denton area. They had met when Maurice was a warehouseman, prior to joining the RAF, it was at a company called Lancashire Felt. Denton was big on the manufacture of  hatting, hence the numerous felt works, also working there was Muriel, his twin, and a girl called Ada Smith, who was one of Beatrice’s three other sisters, she also had two brothers. Through their two mutual third parties a date was arranged. This resulted in a trip to the Odeon cinema at Guide Bridge and the rest as they say is history, as they later had three children (Linda, Graham &  Kevin), six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

As a former Motor Transport driver his RAF service and release book said "He is a careful and conscientious driver and is strongly recommended for this type of employment in civilian life", and that is just what Maurice did. He earned his living as a HGV driver, working  for different company’s delivering bread for a good portion of his working life with Moore’s Luxury loaf which became Mothers Pride. He also worked for Hazel Grove Music delivering pool tables and finally Crusader, a furniture store, and this was delivering 3 piece suites.  When Maurice was not working his major interest was family activities with regular trips to Ainsdale beach, trips to the cinema and other outings so, as his son Graham advises “I suppose you could say dad's hobby is and was his family . In the latter years as we grew up mum and dad did go on walking holidays to Austria etc.”

Sadly Beatrice passed away on 27 March 1982 and Maurice sadly passed away on 11 July 2013, aged 88.

(Biography supplied by Karen and Graham Bowker and written by Allan Hillman)

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