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Aircraftman 1st Class Jack Bowser

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aircraftman 1st class jack bowserjack bowser during his service at betchtonjack bowser and doris bowser on their wedding dayl r eric vickers jack bowser seated ralph hallet arthur  walter baldwin standingbetchton decoy airfield roll calldean hill farm newcastle road betchtonannotation made by jack bowser on the back of photograph of dean hill farm newcastle road betchton

AC1 Bowser was the last surviving member of the four-strong RAF crew who manned the Betchton decoy airfield.

Born in Leeds, he was posted to RAF Cranage in 1941. In early 1942 he was transferred from Cranage to the decoy airfield and remained there until July 1943 when he was posted to the middle east. By that time, the threat from German bomber command was seen as having passed, and the decoy airfield was no longer required.

Like many before and since, he quickly formed an affection for the Cheshire countryside and returned to live in Sandbach after the war.

Jack retained strong views of his time at Cranage and Betchton. In 2003, he was interviewed by the Sandbach Chronicle about his opposition to planning permission being given to Scottish Power to build a £70 million power plant on the site of the Cranage airfield. He voiced the concern that the young generation would begin to lose sight of what his generation fought for if old airfields and military sites were not preserved or, at least, commemorated in some way.

The interview also contained a few personal reminiscences, including the occasional sighting of a German Luftwaffe aircraft landing at Cranage. No cause for alarm – the aircraft had been captured and was being used in an aircraft recognition course. He also mentioned the reason why he joined the air force (he didn't fancy the idea of the army, and chronic seasickness emphatically ruled out the navy) and the impossibility of walking into the Three Greyhounds at Allostock and not finding it "full of Yanks".

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