George Pennie was the son of Edward and Mary Pennie, of Montgomery, and in 1911 they were living at Rock House, Arthur Street, Montgomery. Edward is described in that census as a shoeing and jobbing smith, and at that time they have two children, a daughter (Emily) aged 2, and a son (Edward) aged 1. We know they went on to have three more sons, of whom George was the second youngest. The family was relatively well off, in that they had three resident servants, although one of these is also a blacksmith.
George Pennie, as a member of the Voluntary reserve had joined up at the outset of war and served on RAF bases across the UK. His job was one of the more difficult, serving as part of the RAF’s airfield ambulance crews, tasked with dealing with crashed and returning damaged aircraft. Returning aircraft often had wounded men on board and part of George’s role would be to enter the aircraft to attempt to rescue and save those wounded men. In addition to trying to save wounded airmen who had returned to their own airfield, George would be part of a crew who had to attend to crash sites around their airfields as the critically damaged planes failed to make it back to base.
The picture shows an RAF ambulance of the period. The role could be compared with that of a skilled paramedic nowadays but with none of the high tech equipment we take for granted. His was a harrowing but vitally important role in saving lives. Leading Aircraftman George Pennie died on the 1st of May 1945, one month before the end of the war, at the age of 33. His grave is in Montgomery churchyard, and his family placed the following inscription on his gravestone:
We often look at your photo You smile and seem to say Grieve not I am only sleeping We will meet again some day.