Flight Sergeant Ralph Charles Sparrow, RCAF, R263518, Rear Gunner
Born 29th of May, 1925.
Ralph came from Winnipeg, Manitoba.
His father died when he was only six.
When he enlisted in the Air Force on the 1st of July 1943, aged only 18, it was against his mother’s wishes as she had already lost an older son in the war. Two of Ralph’s brothers served.
After initial training at No. 2 Manning Depot (2 MD), Brandon, Ralph began training as an Air Gunner at No. 4 Bombing and Gunnery School (4 B&GS), Fingal, Ontario, No. 1 Air Gunner Ground Training School (1 AGGTS), Quebec City and No. 3 Bombing and Gunnery School (3 B&GS), Macdonald, Manitoba.
He completed his training with a “commando” course at No. 4 Aircrew Graduate Training School (4 AGTS), Valleyfield, Quebec, designed to help airmen survive in the event of being shot down in enemy territory.
Ralph graduated as Air Gunner on the 11th of February 1944, earning an AG brevet and promoted to Sergeant. He was given two weeks’ Embarkation Leave from the 12th to the 25th of February.
He sailed to England by North Atlantic convoy, embarking in Halifax on the 30th of March and arriving in England on the 7th of April.
On the 8th of April Sgt Ralph Sparrow was posted to No 3 Personnel Reception Centre at Bournemouth for processing and to await a posting to an Operational Training Unit. Unlike the Pilots, Nav’s and W/ops arriving from Canada, Air Gunners did not undergo further Advanced Flying training in the UK; they went straight into operational training.
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ALSO: Ralph Sparrow post-war