BIRCH Angus Henry

Angus Henry BIRCH 1913 – 1941

1257344 Leading Aircraftman Angus Henry Birch, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve died 5 August 1941, aged 27 and is buried in Evenwood cemetery. [1]

Family Details

Angus Henry Birch was born 31 December 1913, the son of Charles and Emma Birch of Hounslow, Middlesex and brother to Frederick, Alfred and John.  In 1939, he worked as a “brush hand”.[2]  In 1940, he married Ada Hannah Young of Evenwood at Brentford, Middlesex.[3] In 1941, a daughter Valerie was born.[4]

Service Details

The service details of Leading Aircraftman A.H. Birch has not been researched.  He joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve and it is understood he met with a fatal accident whilst serving at Catterick Camp, North Yorkshire.

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve: Brief History

The RAFVR was formed in July 1936 to provide individuals to supplement the Auxiliary Air Force (AAF) which had been formed in 1925 by the local Territorial Associations. The AAF was organised on a squadron basis with local recruitment similar to the Territorial Army Regiments. Initially the RAFVR was composed of civilians recruited from the neighbourhoods of Reserve Flying Schools which were run by civilian contractors who largely employed members of the Reserve of Air Force Officers (RAFO) as instructors.  Recruits were confined to men of between 18 and 25 years of age who had been accepted for part time training as pilots, observers and wireless operators. The object was to provide a reserve of aircrew for use in the event of war. By September 1939, the RAFVR comprised 6,646 Pilots, 1,625 Observers and 1,946 Wireless Operators and the Air Ministry employed the RAFVR as the principal means for aircrew entry to serve with the RAF. A civilian volunteer on being accepted for aircrew training took an oath of allegiance (“attestation”) and was then inducted in to the RAFVR. Normally he returned to his civilian job for several months until he was called up for aircrew training.  By the end of 1941, more than half of Bomber Command aircrew were members of the RAFVR. Eventually of the RAF aircrew in the Command, probably more than 95% were serving members of the RAFVR.

Burial [5]

LAC Angus Henry Birch is buried at grave reference C/E Row 1 Plot 50, Evenwood Cemetery.  The inscription on his headstone reads:

Upright and good

In all his ways

Steadfast and true

To the end of his days

REFERENCES

[1] Commonwealth War Graves Commission

[2] 1939 England & Wales Register

[3] England & Wales Marriage Register Vol.3a p.961 1940Q2 Brentford

[4] England & Wales Birth Index 1916-2007 Vol.10a p.475 1941Q1 Durham Western

[5] CWGC