William (Bill) Gorton

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William Frederick Gorton, known to all as Bill Gorton, was born in Birmingham on 11 March 1920 to William Henry and Hilda Agnes Gorton (nee McKenzie). He lived his early life, and went to school in, the Holloway Head area of Birmingham and, encouraged by his father, regularly went to observe the trains at nearby New Street Station. He later descibed the station as "always full of smoke and very dingy"! Just before the outbreak of the War the family moved to the Catshill area of Bromsgrove, where Bill's father became landlord of the Plough and Harrow Inn (which is still in existence today).
Bill joined the RAF and trained as an Engineer before undertaking aircrew training on Stirling and Lancaster bombers. Gaining the rank of Flight Sergeant he was posted to 57 Squadron at East Kirkby in the Autumn of 1944. He flew as Flight Engineer, primarily on Lancaster G George, for a full tour until the early spring of 1945. His log records many occasions when his Lancaster was attacked by German night fighters and targetted by anti-aircraft guns. But he survived all of this and moved to 630 Squadron, still at East Kirkby, for the last few weeks of the War. His final tally is thought to have been 38 bombing sorties, all in Lancasters.
He was delighted when East Kirkby aerodrome became the site of a Museum in later years.
Whilst in the RAF Bill met his future wife Dorothy at the Tower Ballroom in Blackpool. They were married in September 1946 at Frodsham Church in Cheshire and remained together for the next 63 years.
Bill's father passed away in 1948 and he and Dorothy moved to the house in Bromsgrove they continued to occupy until his death in January 2010.
Bill specialised as a highly-skilled toolmaker for various manufacturers but latterly in the automotive sector, retiring from British Leyland in 1982.
His main hobbies after retirement were gardening, DIY and railway modelling. In the latter case he concentrated on making models of the pre-war steam engines he remembered from his trips as a boy to New Street Station. These were always a perfect miniature replica of the real thing, the product of a challege he enjoyed in crafting each model and seeing the finished product.
Bill also had a great appreciation of classical music, with the radio of hi-fi generally tuned to Radio 3 or Classic FM and playing while he did his railway modelling or DIY. His favouite was the Pastoral Sympnony by Beethoven.
His passing away at the age of 89 leaves a void amongst his family, in particular his wife Dorothy, to whom he was so committed, and son David.

Added by: David Gorton on 21st April 2010.


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Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund
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0800 169 2942
Registered Charity No. 1081009