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The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. A W Gear


Alan Walter Gear was born on 2nd February 1916 and joined the RAFVR in April 1939 as an Airman u/t Pilot. He carried out his elementary training on Magisters at 15 E&RFTS Redhill.

Called up on 20th September 1939, he was posted to 8 FTS Woodley on 23rd October. Whilst there he had a motor cycle accident and was badly concussed.

On 16th May 1940 he went to 9 EFTS Ansty for a refresher course before being posted to 12 FTS Grantham. Gear moved to 5 OTU Aston Down on 17th September and joined 32 Squadron at Acklington on 3rd October 1940.



He stayed with the squadron until 18th October 1941 when he was posted to CFS Upavon for an instructors course. Gear instructed at 9 FTS Hullavington on Masters from 15th December 1941 until 15th July 1942. He then went to 58 OTU Balado Bridge for a few weeks, finally settling at 9(P)AFU Errol where he instructed FAA pupils on the Swordfish, Albacore and Walrus.

On 18th October 1942 Gear was posted to 72 Squadron at Ouston and went with it to North Africa in November. On 10th December Gear damaged a Ju88, this was probably the one reported lost by KG60 on that day. He claimed a Ju87 destroyed on 5th January 1943, damaged a Me109 on 11th April and claimed one destroyed on 22nd April.

Gear was commissioned from Warrant Officer on 11th January 1943, awarded the DFC (gazetted 27th July 1943) and posted away from 72 on 14th October 1943 to become a test pilot at 59 RSU Foggia.

In early January 1944 he crashed after his engine failed and suffered severe injuries, including a broken back. Gear was invalided out of the RAF in early 1945, as a Flying Officer.

He returned to civilian life as a transport manager. Sporting a 10-inch handlebar moustache, he joined the Handlebar Club in September 1947 and remained a member for nearly fifty six years. He never fully recovered from his injuries and passed away on 22nd May 2003.



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