Bertie was born on the 26th February 1897. He was the son of Arthur and Sarah (née Rowland) and born while the family lived in Station Alley. These were a group of cottages that were on the site of what is now Keebles Garage and next to the original site of Bramford Station. This station burnt down on 1st August 1911 and the cottages were badly damaged causing the family to move to Sproughton Road (now Fitzgerald Road).

Bert recorded some of his recollections of his early life – excerpts of which can be heard here.