Offered is an exhaustively researched and truly touching Second War ‘1944’ ‘Killed In Action’ Lancaster Pilot’s D.F.C. group of four to Flight Lieutenant T.W. Rowland, 101 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, who flew in 29 operational sorties, including the epic Peenemunde Raid, 17.8.1943, and To Berlin and Back 7 Times. He was ‘Killed in Action’ on 14.1.1944, on an ‘A.B.C.’ mission to Braunschweig, Germany. The group includes the following:
a) Distinguished Flying Cross, G.VI.R., reverse officially dated ‘1944’ and additionally engraved in upright sans-serif capitals ‘F/Lieut. T.W. Rowland’.
b) 1939-1945 Star
c) Atlantic Star, with ‘AIR CREW EUROPE’ bar
d) War Medal
Medals are display court mounted
Paperwork & Research
– Royal Air Force Pilot’s Flying Log Book (24.2.1943-14.1.1944), stamped ‘Death Presumed. Central Depository Aug 1946 Royal Air Force’
– 101 Squadron Wall Plaque
– Named Enclosure slip for campaign awards
– Holy Bible, Active Service Edition, inside cover inscribed ‘Thomas Wilson Rowland For Xmas 1941. From Mother.’
A comprehensive Scrap Book compiled by the family including:
– Telegram to Rowland’s wife, informing her that he is ‘Missing in Action’; letter to same effect from Air Ministry Casualty Branch, dated 23.1.1944
– Letter to recipient’s wife from Commanding Officer, 101 Squadron, dated 16.1.1944
– A number of Air Ministry letters referring to effects and pay; newspaper cuttings and photographs from various stages of his family life and career
– Newspaper article showing death notice & son wearing the D.F.C. which was awarded posthumously
– Photographs of all the crew of the ill fated flight, 1980’S visit to the crash site, including witnesses to the crash, guest houses and memorials visited
– Another Scrap Book compiled by the wife of Rowland’s Navigator (D. Higgs) for the raid on which they were both killed, chronicling her visit in 1986 to the aircraft crash site just outside the village of Lautenthal, Germany
– A signed and dedicated copies of Special Operations No. 101 Squadron, by Raymond Alexander, in which there is a chapter dedicated to the recipient’s wife, called ‘The Widow of Ludford Magna’
D.F.C. London Gazette 11.2.1944 A/FL. Thomas Rowland (127942), R.A.F.V.R., 101 Squadron
The Recommendation states: ‘Flight Lieutenant Rowland has completed 24 very successful sorties with this Squadron on Lancaster aircraft. They have covered a wide variety of targets including 4 attacks on Berlin.
This officer possesses coolness and always displays exceptional fearlessness in the face of danger, while his complete confidence in his aircraft and crew are an inspiration to all concerned.
At all times cheerful and disdainful of all forms of enemy opposition he carried out his attacks with a tenacity of purpose worthy of high praise.
It is recommended that this officer’s fine record be recognised by an award of the D.F.C.’
Remarks By Station Commander: ‘Flight Lieutenant Rowland, throughout his first operational tour has displayed a keeness and determination to complete his allotted tasks which are worthy of high praise. His consistency and reliability has been equalled only by his skilful airmanship and have set a magnificent example not only to his crew who hold him in high esteem but indeed to the whole Squadron.
I regard the fine record achieved by Flight Lieutenant Rowland which has included sorties to many heavily defended targets in Germany is deserving of recognition by the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross.
Flight Lieutenant Thomas Wilson Rowland, D.F.C., served with the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve during the Second War; the early stages of which are related by his wife in Raymond Alexander’s book Special Operations No. 101 Squadron, ‘My husband and I were married on 1st June 1938. He was the Village Postman [Cuddington]… We had our first child in September 1939, and as things turned out, he was my only son. My husband volunteered for service in 1940 and did his initial training at Blackpool. We used to watch him drilling on the Front at Blackpool, then after his training he went to Grantham. After various postings, however, he was sent to America to gain his wings and I remember his letters telling me of how well they were treated [included in lot], and invited to all the houses in Florida…. Eventually my husband was on his way home from America… He was a proud man with his wings in place, and so were we. He looked smart in his uniform as an officer, and all thought how well he had done even though he had acquired just an ordinary village school education, no scholarship to help him along; he had got by on his own merits. Whilst completing his further training he flew over our little village in a Wellington Bomber finding his way from Lincoln to Cuddington. He came right low over the bungalow where we lived causing all the neighbours to come out waving their tea towels. They knew it was Tom Rowland by the way he was flying up and down the road to his mother’s place which was about a mile away from us, then he would turn and come back over us before soaring away to base.
Rowland carried out Pilot training at No.5 F.T.S. Clewiston, Florida, at the end of 1942. He returned to the UK and was posted for additional training at No.30 O.T.U., Hixon. After time spent at No.27 O.T.U. and 1656 Conversion Unit he was posted for operational flying as a Pilot to 101 Squadron (Lancasters), Ludford Magna, June 1943. He flew on 29 operational sorties with the squadron, including: La Rochelle; Cologne; Gelsenkirchen; Turin; Essen, 25.7.1943, ‘Caught By Two Cones of Searchlights Over Duisberg. Held 4 Mins.’ (Log Book refers); Mannheim (3); Milan (2); Peenemunde, 17.8.1943, he flew one of 20 of the squadron’s Lancasters that took part in the epic raid, and despite heavy night-fighter defence all the aircraft got back; Nurburg; Berlin (7); Munich; Hanover (2); Bochum, 29.9.1943, ‘Returned On Three Engines. Diverted To Lindholme’ (Ibid); Kassel; Stuttgart; Modane; and Leipzig. In October 1943 the squadron’s aircraft had been fitted with A.B.C. jamming equipment, ‘this apparatus, which searched out and then jammed enemy R/T frequencies, was vital to the “Battle of the Ether”, and a specially-trained German speaking operator accompanied the crew. The special Lancasters – they were readily distinguishable from normal aircraft by their two large dorsal masts – carried a normal bomb load less the weight of the operator and the A.B.C. apparatus…. like many other highly ingenious radio counter-measures devices, it was, of course, top secret.’ (Bomber Squadrons of the R.A.F. and Their Aircraft, P.J.R. Moyes, refers) At the start of December 1943 Rowland had been recommended for the D.F.C., something that his family was not to find out until much later, and he did not live to receive, ‘In December 1943, he came on what was to be his last leave. Because he had to go back to base for Christmas, we made our Christmas then with him. We had as happy time as we could, never dreaming of that fateful day of 15th January 1944. The first thing to arrive was the dreaded telegram. His relatives and I were beside ourselves with shock and grief but we kept on hoping. The waiting continued, on and on it went interrupted by official letters saying that as soon as they heard something they would let us know. I received many letters of sympathy; one in particular, from his former Head Post Master [included with the lot] said he hoped the dark clouds would soon pass and bring my brave smiling husband back to me, but it was not to be. However, we kept on hoping and waiting until we received notification that he had been awarded the DFC – more tears and heart-break. My husband’s mother and I went to Buckingham Palace to receive the decoration from the late King George. It was a very moving and proud moment. Back home the waiting and hoping recommenced and continued day after day, week after week.’ (Special Operations No. 101 Squadron, R. Alexander refers)
On the 14/15.1.1944 Rowland piloted Lancaster III LM367 SR-C for a sortie to Braunschweig, ‘T/O Ludford Magna on A.B.C. duties. Outbound shot down by a night-fighter, crashing into (or near) a slate quarry at Lautenthal, 10km SW of Goslar.’ (Royal Air Force Bomber Command Losses of the Second World War, W.R. Chorley refers) The crew of eight (including the specialist operator) were all killed. Rowland is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.
This group is one of the most extensively researched and documented of it’s kind I have seen for many years. The amount of paperwork that was compiled by Mrs. Rowland and presented in this lot covers over 40 years. If you are looking to acquire an honest group to a KIA pilot with FULL research, then look no further.