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The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. J Lowe


Joseph Lowe was born on 11th February 1920. He joined the RAF in June 1937 as an Aircrafthand. He later remustered as an Airman u/t Air Gunner and he was serving with 236 Squadron, operating Blenheims at Middle Wallop, by June 1940.


Air Gunners of 236 Squadron

(Back): Sgt WR Burns (NZ), Sgt RI McChesney (NZ), Sgt CWD Brown, Sgt J Lowe, Sgt GG Green, unknown ‘Jock’

(Front): Sgt A Spiers, Sgt JE Goldsmith, Sgt HDB Elsdon


On 31st August he was involved in a car accident and was admitted to Newquay and District Hospital in Cornwall with injuries to his face. The scars from this incident caused him to be transferred on 22nd October to the Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead, where he underwent five operations and became a member of the Guinea Pig Club.

He was awarded the DFM (gazetted 22nd February 1942) as a Flight Sergeant with 218 Squadron, operating in Stirlings from Downham Market, Norfolk.

The 'Yorkshire Post', on 23rd September 1942, reported:

The DFM is awarded to Flight Sergeant Joseph Lowe of 218 Squadron, who was born at Castleford and whose home is in Leeds. As an air gunner, Flight Sergeant Lowe has completed a large number of sorties in Blenheim and Stirling aircraft. During these operations he has been engaged in combat on no fewer than eight occasions. On one occasion, while patrolling near Cherbourg in a formation of three Blenheims, two Messerschmitt 109s were shot down as a result of the combined efforts of the three air gunners. On another occasion, during an attack on Koln [Cologne], Flight Sergeant Lowe's accurate shooting drove off enemy aircraft which attempted to attack. He was a moulder before enlisting in June 1937.

Lowe was commissioned in 1945. On 18th May 1948 he was involved as a passenger in the railway disaster at Wath-upon-Dearne,Yorkshire, in which an express from St. Pancras in London to Bradford left the rails, leading to the deaths of eight people, including the train driver, with 56 injured. The main cause of the accident was determined to be distortion of the rails caused by hot weather. Lowe received newspaper praise for his efforts to comfort fellow survivors.

He left the RAF in 1950, but rejoined in 1953 as a Sergeant. He participated in Guinea Pig Club events and enjoyed the comradeship offered by the Club.

Joe Lowe died on 8th October 1973 while serving at RAF Sealand and is buried in the churchyard of St Deiniol, Hawarden.




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