A BU graduate whose grandmother is thought to be the first Black woman to join what is now the Royal Air Force is proud to share his family history.
Brett Bader, who graduated with a degree in environmental protection in 1995, was recently interviewed as part of the BBC’s Festival of Remembrance to tell the story of his grandmother, Lillian Bader, who is recognised as a significant figure in Black British military history.
Lilian, whose father Marcus was a Barbadian migrant who served in the Royal Navy during World War One, was accepted as a Canteen Assistant at NAAFI, Catterick Camp, at the outbreak of World War Two. She was dismissed seven weeks later when it was discovered that her father was born outside the UK, but undeterred she temporarily found work as a Land Girl before joining the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force in 1941 and ultimately gaining promotion to Corporal and leading Aircraftwoman.
Brett said: “I’m incredibly proud of the service and contributions of my ancestors and pleased to be able to keep their stories alive. This connection with the armed forces has passed through to me, both in my work and in my spare time as I have been a Reservist with the British Army now for nearly 30 years.”
Brett is the Founder and Director of Lifeline Training, which specialises in delivering medical, scientific and adventurous hostile environment training to clients including those in the defence industry and military charities. In what Brett refers to as a “portfolio career”, he also works as a STEM ambassador, charity fundraiser and trustee.
He said: “While my degree didn’t lead me into a career in environmental protection, the scientific nature of my studies has served me well and I continue to champion careers in STEM. I am proud of my degree from Bournemouth and education has become a lifelong passion, particularly through my involvement with the Educators’ Trust as lead trustee for prison education.”
As a BU graduate from 1995, Brett was among the first cohorts to graduate from the higher education institution after it was awarded university status in 1992. This year, BU marks 30 years as a university.