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The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. P A Rowell


Peter Archibald Rowell was born in Littleport, Cambridge on 27th September 1919 and attended St. Georges School and Cambridge Technical College.



After leaving he was employed by the Air Ministry Works Department. In August 1938 Rowell joined the RAFVR at Cambridge as an Airman u/t Pilot and began his weekend flying at 22 E&RFTS Cambridge.



He was called up at the outbreak of war and in November 1939 went to 14 FTS Kinloss for No. 4 Course, running from 20th November 1939 to 11th May 1940. With the course completed he joined 249 Squadron at Church Fenton on 16th May.

Flying from Boscombe Down one day in August, Rowell claimed a Me110 destroyed.

On 1st September he claimed a He111 destroyed. On the 3rd, on a patrol over Dover, Rowell's Hurricane, V6635, was hit in the engine and rear fuselage, probably by anti-aircraft fire. He got back to North Weald but the aircraft was on fire in the circuit.

Rowell made a crash-landing on the aerodrome and was pulled clear by an unknown Sergeant-Observer of 25 Squadron, with burns to legs, metal splinters in the back and with face badly injured after smashing into his gunsight.

Rowell returned to flying in March 1941 and was engaged on development and testing for the rest of the war.

Commissioned from Warrant Officer in January 1942, Rowell did development testing at Boscombe Down, test flying of repaired aircraft with Maintenance Command, tested new production Spitfires at Castle Bromwich and new Typhoons at Brockworth.

Rowell flew 137 different types of aircraft.

He was awarded a permament commission in 1946, the Kings Commendation for Valuable Service in the Air in June 1946 and the AFC (gazetted 1st January 1947).

Rowell retired on 1st April 1950 as a Flight Lieutenant.

He died on 26th April 2001 in Cambridge.


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