Henry Albert Bavister, 92, aircraft expert, `war bride'

July 10, 2004|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Henry Albert Bavister, a British "male war bride" who was an expert on World War II aircraft, died of heart disease July 2 at his daughter's Forest Hill home. The Dundalk resident was 92.

Born in Luton, England, he served as an aircraft engineer in the Royal Air Force during World War II. He received the Malta George Cross, among other decorations, for service that included postings in Malta, India, Palestine, Africa, Egypt and Italy.

While serving in the military, he came to Baltimore and was stationed at Harbor Field, now the Dundalk Marine Terminal. While at a streetcar stop, he met Gertrude "Trudy" Catherine Hartman, whom he married in 1947. She survives him.

After an assignment in Montreal, he returned permanently to Maryland and was classified as a war bride.

"My father met my mother through a mutual friend," said his daughter, Barbara Ann Bradford of Forest Hill. "The immigration quota regarding marriage during the war did not specify gender. My father returned to this country as a male war bride, not a bridegroom."

He retired in 1979 from Bethlehem Steel's Sparrows Point plant, where he was a maintenance worker, painter and cabinetmaker.

Often consulted for his knowledge of World War II aircraft, he spoke at the Dundalk-Patapsco Historical Society and the Glenn L. Martin Museum in Middle River.

His story is listed on the National Aviation and Space Exploration Wall of Honor at the Air and Space Museum in Washington.

He was a founding member of the American Air Museum in Duxford, England, and belonged to the Knights of Pythagoras, the Glenn L. Martin Museum, the Royal Air Force Association, the George Cross Island Association, the St. George's Society and the American Air Force Association.

Services were held Wednesday in Dundalk.

In addition to his wife and daughter, survivors include a brother, Robert Bavister, and two sisters, Beatrice Whiteley and Alice Davis, all of England; two grandchildren; and a great-grandson. His first wife and a son died during World War II.

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