One of Banbury’s last remaining Second World War veterans Bertram ‘Bert’ Dowler, has died at the age of 94.
Born in Birmingham Bert volunteered for service in 1943, months before D-Day. Not yet 21, he became responsible for up to 20 men as a troop leader in the Royal Tank Regiment.
He saw active service throughout north-west Europe, liberating territory from Normandy to Eindhoven and capturing German scientists who went on to work for NASA.
Among the medals Bert was awarded during his military career was the Légion d’honneur, the highest French order of merit.
Bert moved to Banbury in the mid 1950s.
It was his military service that would define Bert and the rest of his life continuing, as he did for 55 years as chair of the Oxford Branch of the Royal Tank Regiment Association.
Away from service Bert took a career in sales working for brewers including Hunt Edmunds, Tuborg and Bass. In the 1960s he sold British Leyland cars at Hartwells lavishing attention to his customers.
Bert remained active in later years, turning on Banbury’s Christmas lights in 2017 and was an ever present fixture at the town’s Remembrance Service, laying a wreath in memory of fallen comrades.
Bert would also make a daily homage to The Whistling Kettle for a cup of coffee and a catch-up with friends.
He also retained his sense of humour saying recently: “The first 90 years were great, the rest were a bugger.”
He will be remembered by his many friends and is survived by sons Stuart and Nigel, grandchildren James, Matthew and Thomas and great-granddaughter Agnes.
A service will be held on Thursday, June 20 at St Mary’s Church at noon and all friends of Bert are welcome to commemorate and celebrate his life.
Bert was cared for by the doctors and nurses of the Horton General Hospital and his family request donations for the hospital’s Laburnum and Juniper Wards be directed via Humphris Funerals on Albert St.