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A Veteran's Voice: Ronald Holdsworth

Posted at 9:27 AM, Sep 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-14 12:29:24-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif (KERO) — Born in Yorkshire England, Ronald Holdsworth joined the British Royal Air Force at the age of 18 but didn't get his wings right away.

His military career took him across Africa and back again during World War II.

One of eight children, Ronald joined the war effort in 1940 enlisting in the RAF at 18 training as a flight mechanic.

When it was over, he was headed overseas.

The start of a training tour that took him across Africa and Madagascar.

After nearly two years, Holdsworth was assigned to the 158th Bomber Command.

Ronald was a tailgunner on board a Halifax bomber.

His plane was called the "Zed Zombie" with the first six flights were over France and Holland.

The final 26 were over Germany.

Unlike American planes that flew in large tight formations, The British bombers relied on evasive action to frustrate enemy fighters.

But Ronald never got the chance to collect any German planes.

"I never had to fire at enemy aircraft," said Holdsworth.

However, there were plenty of close calls on bombing runs.

The only time his plane was hit occurred on Christmas Eve in 1944 when the "zombie" was one of the three lead planes.

Ronald flew 32 missions with his last flight on Jan. 16th, 1945, just west of Berlin.

He met his wife, Margaret, in the service and they moved to the U.S. settling in Bakersfield in 1954.

The community helped Holdsworth celebrate his 100th birthday on Monday with a drive-by celebration in northwest Bakersfield.

Lots of people showed up to celebrate with Ron and his family.

He says this is his best birthday celebration yet and he's excited for the celebration to continue Tuesday.

Northwest Bakersfield helps World War II veteran celebrate 100th birthday