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The Airmen's Stories - P/O G A Holder


Gerald Arthur Holder was born in Plymouth on 2nd May 1922. He enlisted in the RAFVR on 6th September 1939 as an Airman u/t Observer.

On 1st December Holder was posted to No. 1 ITW Cambridge, moving on 11th January 1940 to 9 AONS Squires Gate. He went to 9 B&GS Penrhos and on completion of the course was commissioned from LAC and posted to No. 1 (Coastal) OTU at Silloth.

He joined 236 Squadron at Thorney Island on 24th July 1940. The squadron was seconded to Fighter Command during the Battle of Britain, flying later from St. Eval and Aldergrove.



On 19th November 1940 Holder was posted away with his flight. It joined with a flight of 235 Squadron at Aldergrove to reform 272 Squadron. He flew his first sortie with 272 on 21st November.

Holder moved to 254 Squadron at Sumburgh in April 1941, remaining with it until 9th November when he went for a course to 2 School of Air Navigation at Cranage.

On 22nd December 1941 Holder joined No. 1 OADU at Portreath. He later applied for pilot training, was selected and in March 1943 he went to 5 ITW at Torquay, moving on to Grading School at Alton Barnes in April.

Holder went to Canada in May, to 19 EFTS Virden, Manitoba, then to 4 SFTS Saskatoon in July and passed out in November 1943.

In December Holder went to No. 1 GRS at Summerside, Prince Edward Island for a course. He returned to the UK in May 1944 and was posted to 14 EFTS Elmdon as an instructor.

From September Holder was at No. 1 (Middle East) ARC and in November went to RAF Gianiclis on 38 GR Course, which he completed on 18th January 1945.

Back in the UK, Holder was posted to 13 OTU Harwell in April, later moving with the unit to Finmere. In August he went to RAF Eastchurch and in October was declared unfit for flying.

Holder went to RAF Innsworth as Squadron Commander at No. 1 PHU. He was released from the RAF in September 1946 as a Flight Lieutenant. He studied at University College Exeter, becoming a BSc in 1949 and a certified teacher in 1950.

In July 1950 Holder rejoined the RAF on a five year short service commission as an Education Officer.

On release in 1955 he became a Physics teacher at Hautlieu School, Jersey.

In July 1956 Holder went to the Atomic Energy Research Establishment at Harwell as an Experimental Officer, Demonstrator and Physicist at the Reactor School.

In 1966-67 he went, as a Technical Expert, as adviser on Reactor Training in Pakistan. From 1968 until his retirement in 1981, Holder was leader of the Cobalt 60 Section.

He died on 5th March 2011.

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