|Object type||Last Post film|
Australian War Memorial
|Place made||Australia: Australian Capital Territory, Canberra, Campbell|
|Date made||21 November 2018|
Second World War, 1939-1945
Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
This item is licensed under CC BY-NC
|Copying Provisions||Copyright restrictions apply. Only personal, non-commercial, research and study use permitted. Permission of copyright holder required for any commercial use and/or reproduction.|
The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (424838) Flight Sergeant Kenneth Harold Rowley, No. 12 Squadron, Royal Air Force, Second World War.
The Last Post Ceremony is presented in the Commemorative area of the Australian War Memorial each day. The ceremony commemorates more than 102,000 Australians who have given their lives in war and other operations and whose names are recorded on the Roll of Honour. At each ceremony the story behind one of the names on the Roll of Honour is told. Hosted by Chris Widenbar, the story for this day was on (424838) Flight Sergeant Kenneth Harold Rowley, No. 12 Squadron, Royal Air Force, Second World War.Film order form
424838 Flight Sergeant Kenneth Harold Rowley, No. 12 Squadron, Royal Air Force
Killed in flying battle 23 October 1944
Story delivered 21 November 2018
Today we pay tribute to Flight Sergeant Kenneth Harold Rowley.
Born in Sydney on 31 March 1920, Kenneth Harold Rowley was the son of Henry and Jessie Rowley of the Sydney suburb of Campsie.
Growing up, young Kenneth Rowley attended Paddington Junior Technical School. Following his schooling he worked in various jobs, mostly as a labourer and factory hand. A keen sportsman, Rowley was particularly keen on boxing and served in the Militia, marching part time with the 60th Anti–Aircraft Search Light Company.
At the time of his enlistment in the Royal Australian Air Force on 9 October 1942, Rowley was unemployed, but had just enrolled at Campsie Continuation School.
Beginning training as an air gunner, he was not the most disciplined recruit and on more than one occasion got into strife for turning up late to duty or using insubordinate language to superiors. He once spent 50 days in detention following a district court martial for verbally abusing a superior.
But Rowley did finish his initial training in Australian, embarking for overseas service in Sydney on 13 October 1943.
As part of the Empire Air Training Scheme, he was one of almost 27,500 RAAF pilots, navigators, wireless operators, gunners, and engineers, who, throughout the course of the war, joined Royal Air Force squadrons or Australian squadrons based in Britain.
Arriving in Britain in November 1943, Rowley undertook further specialist training before he was posted to No. 12 Squadron, Royal Air Force in July 1944.
Part of RAF Bomber Command, No. 12 Squadron was equipped with four-engined Avro Lancaster heavy bombers.
After serving with the squadron for three months, on the night of the 23/24 October Rowley was taking part in a bombing raid on Essen, Germany, in a Lancaster that was shot down and crashed near the border between Germany and the Netherlands.
Rowley and all six of his crewmates were killed. They were fellow Australians: Warrant Officer John Phillip, Flight Sergeant Douglas Maclean, Flight Sergeant John Kelly, Flight Sergeant Arthur Llewellyn, Flight Sergeant Ian Fleming; and British crewmate, the flight engineer Sergeant Frank Niblett.
Their bodies were recovered from the crash site and buried side by side in the Winterswijk Cemetery in the Netherlands.
Kenneth Rowley was 24 years old.
His name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my left, among almost 40,000 Australians who died while serving in the Second World War.
This is but one of the many stories of service and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Flight Sergeant Kenneth Harold Rowley, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.
Historian, Military History Section
Video of The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (424838) Flight Sergeant Kenneth Harold Rowley, No. 12 Squadron, Royal Air Force, Second World War. (video)