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The Airmen's Stories - P/O R H McGowan


Robert Henry McGowan of Aigburth, Liverpool was born on 2nd March 1916, the son of William Fergus McGowan (1875-1920) and Janet Agnes McGowan (nee Leask 1879-1948).

His father served in the Lancashire Fortress Company, Royal Engineers in WW1.

He joined 611 Squadron before the war as an Aircrafthand. He later remustered as an Airman u/t Pilot and began flying training.

He was called to full-time service on 24th August 1939 and completed his training at 2 FTS Brize Norton.

He married Joan Cartwright in July 1940 in Liverpool.

He was then commissioned and posted back to 611 Squadron on 10th August 1940 but then went to 7 OTU Hawarden to convert to Spitfires.

McGowan was posted to 92 Squadron at Biggin Hill on 6th September. 611 Squadron wanted him back but his posting was confirmed on the 12th.

Two days later McGowan was shot down by Me109's, he baled out, wounded, and was admitted to Faversham Cottage Hospital. His Spitfire crashed at Sole Street House, near Faversham

McGowan was transferred to the RAF Hospital Halton and went on to the RAF Convalescent Centre at Torquay on 11th October 1940.

He rejoined 92 Squadron on 25th November and was posted the next day to 15 FTS Lossiemouth. From there he went to CFS on 22nd March 1941 for an instructor's course.

He subsequently served as an instructor at Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada.

By late 1944 he had returned to the UK and was serving as a Flight Lieutenant with 189 Squadron, a Lancaster bomber unit stationed at Fulbeck. McGowan was killed on 22nd December 1944 piloting Lancaster PB289 CA-B on a sortie to Politz. The aircraft was lost without trace.

Also lost were:

F/O WH Witherden
Sgt. KSM Miller
Sgt. DE Rodda
Sgt. ANE Holland
Sgt. LG Blatchford
Sgt. GE Barsby

McGowan was 28 and is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, panel 202.


Above image courtesy of Dean Sumner.


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