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Peter Sidney Sturdgess

b. 1925 | Royal Air Force

Peter Sturdgess RAF portrait from circa 1946


Peter Sturdgess was born in 1925 in Northampton, the son of a dentist. Peter joined the Air Training Corps whilst at grammar school in Northampton, developing a passion for aviation. Volunteering for service in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (RAFVR) in November 1943, he planned to become a pilot. After a period of waiting, Peter was called up and instructed to report for basic training. Wearing the white flash forage cap which designated for aircrew training. He was then posted to various RAF stations to undertake various courses, none of which took him anywhere near an aircraft!

With the war drawing to close in Europe and with hostilities continuing with Japan, Peter was issued with topical clothing for overseas posting and duly embarked on the SS Mauritania, one of the largest troop ships of WW2. Arriving in Bombay, he found himself as an Aircraftsman 2nd Class (AC2) in Far East Command. There he was taught to drive and how to waterproof a range of RAF vehicles. After a short period in India Peter was posted to Ceylon where amongst other duties he learned how to look after elephants. With Japan’s surrender in August 1945, Peter spent over a year in Ceylon before being shipped back to the UK in December 1946 and was eventually demobbed from the RAF in May 1947. However, he remained as a member of the RAFVR for many years after demob.

Moving to Harlech, Peter and his wife Rowena ran a restaurant for four years before becoming the owners of The Old Bell in Shifnal. Close to RAF Cosford, Peter was invited to join the Cosford flying club and learned to pilot both gliders and single-engined aircraft. Peter quickly became an instructor and eventually became the Chief Flying Instructor at Cosford. Also a keen sailor

Peter and Rowena moved with their family to Fishguard in 1980. Shortly after moving in, Peter was invited to become the CFI for the glider club at RAF Templeton, following which he transferred to the Black Mountain glider club in Talgarth, Powys. Peter also owned his own wartime Auster aircraft. Around the Millennium, Peter finally stopped flying but carried on sailing for many years. Today, Peter and Rowena continue to live in Lower Town, Fishguard.

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