Airborne Engineers Association

Bertie Amos Fordham

 

 

Bertie Amos Fordham 28th December 1925 -18th January 2018

 

Bertie 'Bert' Amos Fordham was born on 28th December 1925. He was the surviving brother to a twin, though he never knew if he'd had a brother or sister. His father was notified of his son's arrival by telegram whilst serving on HMS Effingham near Calcutta a few days later, he didn't actually get to meet his son for another 3 years.
On leaving school he joined local Plumbing Firm Millions to begin his apprenticeship.
By the early 1940's he had joined the Air Cadets, with the express intention of enlisting with the RAF. January 1944 he was selected for air crew training. However, later that year he was transferred to the Army as there was no longer a need for air crew. Issued with his Army Number, officially a member of the Corps of Royal Engineers.
Bert's postings included Chatham, Edinburgh, India, Burma and Singapore.
Then a Lance Corporal, he regularly conveyed a variety of large lorries and transporters across the country, constructing numerous Bailey Bridges and temporary roads.
Being part of the forgotten army, he remained there until 1947, receiving his demob papers on 2nd of January 1948. It was during these years of active service that he worked alongside the Ghurkha Regiment, whom he has continued to hold in deep regard.


Bert's 'gun carriage' bearing his coffin, designed and constructed by his son as a large ammo box complete with rope handles

His Final Certificate of Leave confirms his Rank as Wartime Corporal. His Military Conduct: Very good, Personal Testimonial: a good conscientious worker, cheerful and well turned out and recommended to any future employer.

1948 Bert returned to work as Foreman Plumber. Appointed an Officer of the Boy's Brigade and later that year he enlisted in the TA (Corps of Royal Engineers). In the summer of 1949 he met Doreen at a local dance and the legend is that they became engaged three weeks later. They Married on the 25th March 1950. In 1953 he left the TA and then in the following year joined 301 Parachute Squadron RE where he served until 1963.

It was at the Royal Crescent Hotel in Brighton in the 1960's he became friends with Lawrence Olivier and Max Miller who lived there.
Bert became a stalwart member of the both REA and AEA Chatham Branch who he supported with loyalty and pride, regular attending both Branch meetings and events. He also held Annual BBQ's in his garden for Branch members. Those who have visited Orchard Cottage or attended the Annual BBQ's, will know all too well of his collection of model train sets, dolls houses (which he made himself totally out of wood.), his magnificent workshops and the flag pole in the front garden (with the Pegasus proudly flying high).
Bert opened his house once a year to the public to view his model train sets and dolls houses, raising money for charities. He was a regular at military shows, a collector of militaria and a very proud owner of a WWII Willis Jeep.

 

 

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