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Local People in WW2: Bertram Fowler

A local man who joined the RAF... and came home with a wife and baby.

Bertram Fowler was born at Hyde Cottage, on Church Rd, Frampton Cotterell, in May 1914. (Hyde Cottage was where Conifer Close is now.)  His father served in the RAF in 1918, and Bertram grew up an only child, living with his parents, Ernest and Miriam, and Aunty Essie.









He joined the RAF soon after the war started and went away for training before being posted to Port Elizabeth, South Africa, where he spent the duration of the war.





























There he met a local girl, Stella, at a dance at the Feather Market Hall, married her and had a baby daughter, Valerie. They had so little money that Stella had a narrow brass curtain ring as a wedding ring – even after she had a gold ring in later life, she still kept the curtain ring in her jewellery box!

Stella’s family spoke English but her grandmother could only speak Afrikaans – and she wanted to meet the prospective bridegroom. Stella sent him in to see Ouma, telling him “just say, ‘Ja, Ouma!” He came out bemused. “I don’t know what I agreed to in there,” he said, “but it made her cackle with laughter!”

After the war Stella and Valerie travelled to Frampton Cotterell on the Strathaird with other war brides, arriving in July 1945. Ernest took the train to Southampton to meet her. Bertram followed later. It must have felt very strange to Stella, travelling across the world to live with parents in law she had never met! Letters from home would make her cry, so she would put little Valerie in her pushchair and walk to Cog Mill, and sit by the river to read them.

After Bertram was demobbed he went back to his job as an accountant at the Bristol Evening Post. The family moved from the tiny cottage to live in an abandoned Nissan hut on Rodway Common, and then to a new prefab on Park Avenue, Frampton Cotterell.

Bertram and Stella bought a new semi-detached home on Church Rd and moved in, in 1959. Bertram was a member of the Parish Council and very involved with the British Legion – we have pictures of him taking part in a parade to St Saviours Church and also parading before the King on Park Lane in London.














He was a kindly, quietly-spoken man, well known in the village and a regular visitor to the local pubs! He never learned to drive, but he did enjoy growing vegetables in his back garden. He retired from the Evening Post in 1979 and is pictured celebrating his father Ernest’s 100th birthday in 1978. Bertram passed away in 1982. His ashes are buried at Zion.

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Above: Ernest, Miriam and Bertram Fowler, in 1918.

Left, Aunty Essie, Bertram, Miriam and Miriam's neice, Doris Renner, outside Hyde Cottage, Church Rd, in around 1930.  Hyde Cottage stood where Conifer Close is now.

Right: 85 Squadron, "O" Flight, in June 1940.  Bertram is in the front row, second from right.

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