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The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. R White


Robert White was born on 31st January 1922 and enlisted in the RAF as a Boy Entrant on 22nd May 1938. He chose to be trained as a wireless operator and was posted to No. 1 Electrical and Wireless School at Cranwell. He signed on for a nine-year engagement on his eighteenth birthday, 31st January 1940.

He completed his training on 24th May 1940 and volunteered for aircrew duties. White was posted on flight maintenance to 5 OTU Aston Down but on 29th June he went to 9 B&GS Penrhos for a gunnery course.

He was reclassified WOp/AG on 20th July, promoted to Sergeant and posted to No. 1 (Coastal) OTU Silloth.

White joined 235 Squadron at Bircham Newton on 16th September. His flight, 'B', was posted to RAF Aldergrove on 19th November where it combined with a flight from 236 Squadron to reform 272 Squadron on the 21st. He flew his first sortie with 272 on 24th November.

The squadron converted to Beaufighters in May 1941 and White and all other WOp/AGs were posted to other squadrons.

He joined 407 (RCAF) Squadron at Thorney Island on the 21st and he operated in Hudsons until 6th March 1942, when he was posted to 279 (ASR) Squadron at Bircham Newton.

On 29th June 1942 White was grounded and returned to being a wireless operator. He served at HQ Signals Aldermaston until 5th May 1943 and then at HQ RAF Chigwell until 7th July 1944, when he was posted to 5763 Mobile Signals Unit at Kumbhirgram in Burma. The unit was disbanded in Rangoon in March 1946 and after a spell in Saigon White was repatriated to the UK on 1st August.

He was released from the RAF when his engagement was up on 31st January 1949, nine years from his eighteenth birthday.

White died in May 1995 in Gateshead.


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