father: James Charles Bird
Ed. at Warlingham Council School, and Croydon Polytechnic.
m. 1937 Vera Mabel [Nye], 2 children
prev. an inspector for Tollerton Aircraft Services Ltd - from 1937 in Croydon and then from 1939 in Tollerton, Notts.
Address in 1942: The Bungalow, Highbury Rd, Keyworth Notts.
"Very trustworthy, can be left on his own and will work under any conditions."
Salary at start: £5.5.0. per week, plus £2.12.6. per week subsistence allowance.
Recommended for promotion to Senior Flight Engineer in August 1943, together with Flt. Engineers P.S. Brown and C.E. Duffill: "Although they are slightly under the required time, they have worked extraordinarily hard and well and are all first-class engineers. I feel that they well deserve the benefit of the extra three or four weeks which they lack to bring them up to the official qualifications but, if they fail to obtain their promotion now it will mean a further six months before the possibility comes round again."
The documentation of his promotion hasn't survived, but in any case he died within 6 months:
d. 24 Jan 1944 (Died in ATA Service) - Halifax JP182 flew into Eel Crag 4 miles SW of Braithwaite, Cumbria, during a snowstorm. Pilot Flt Capt Bernard Short (q.v.) also killed.
Much more detail at http://www.yorkshire-aircraft.co.uk/aircraft/lakes/jp182.html
buried Edenbridge Cemetery, .
[The headstone says 'Senior Flight Engineer', so his promotion must have been approved.]
His children, Richard and Brenda, were 5 and 2 at the time.
On the 5 Feb 1944, his C.O. Frankie Francis wrote to HQ ATA; "At the funeral the other day, I had intended to speak to his widow about his equipment and the disposal of his car, but she was in a very distraught state, and I thought it would be kinder to write to her and ask when she would be prepared to come and see me... I have accordingly written to her, but have not yet had a reply."
"It is understood that Vera and the two children have very limited resources on which to live."
On the 14th, Vera replied:
"Dear Sir, I am writing to thank you for the money order of £10 you sent me which I recieved safely. Again I thank you for all you have done for my and still doing through these weary days."
She also asked for permission to move her furniture from the rented house in Keyworth down to Warlingham in Surrey, which is where all her relatives lived.
Then on April 11th, Vera wrote this rather heartbreaking letter:
"Dear Sir, I have recieved parcel on the 8th of my husband things, but there are a few thing I would like to know if they could be found that is a pair of Blue Stripe Pyjamas also a Brown leather zip shaving cases which he carried in his A.T.A. bag as the towel was return which was alway carried to-gether, if it can be found I should be very pleased as it was a present to my husband, also about the 2 watches he had on him one was wrist watch the other a pocket watches which he carried in his little pocket off his Tunic where is knife was alway kept,
The Post Office here tell me that I can get a government Pension acording to my husbands wages, Could you tell me if this is true, or how I should go about it, I would like to now the name of the A.T.A. Pilot who was killed with my husband, as it only gave my husband name on the 24th and two(?) more on the 23rd. I am wondering why this is.
Again I thank you and all at the A.T.A. for what you have done for me and my children. Your Truly, V.M. Bird"
The ATA insurance for Flight Engineers was £1,500.