Lowden, George Henry Crawford

Lowden, George Henry Crawford (George)

Sub-Lieutenant (A)

HMS Venerable, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve

Killed in an aircraft accident on Friday 20 April 1945 (aged 22)

No known grave

Commemorated:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Lee-on-Solent Memorial, Hampshire, England (Bay 6 Panel 4)

Bangor and District War Memorial

Bangor Central Hall

Bangor Grammar School

BIOGRAPHY

George Henry Crawford Lowden was born on 12 April 1923 and he was the elder son of George and Jeanette Lowden (nee Parker) of 8 First Avenue, Baylands in Bangor.  George Lowden Senior (a stationer and merchant with premises at 19/21 Main Street, Bangor) had previously been married to Catherine (Kate) Neely.  George Lowden and Kate Neely were married on 10 April 1893 in Newtownards Registrar’s Office and they had two children:

Frederick George (born 31 August 1896)

Kathleen May (born 1900)

Kate Lowden (nee Neely) died at 19 Main Street, Bangor on 24 May 1921 (aged 60).

George Lowden Senior was a founder member of the Brethren Assembly in Bangor and he and Jeanette Parker were married on 27 February 1922 in Mourne Street Gospel Hall, Belfast.  They had two children:

George Henry Crawford (born 12 April 1923)

Noel (born 13 June 1926)

George Lowden Senior, who was born on 31 July 1868, was 64 when he died on 8 April 1933 and he was buried in the Lowden family grave in Bangor Abbey Graveyard (his name is not inscribed on the headstone).

George Henry Crawford Lowden was educated at Bangor Public Elementary School and at Bangor Grammar School from 1935 until 1939.  He played rugby for the school and excelled at long distance running.  The Headmaster described him as ‘a boy of robust and manly character who left his mark upon the School’.  George’s ambition from a young age was to go to sea.  He joined the Royal Navy on 6 November 1940 (No. R220731) as a Radio Cadet and undertook training as a wireless operator in Belfast Wireless College.  In his papers it was recorded that he was 5 feet 7 inches tall with blue eyes, brown hair, a fresh complexion, and no distinguishing marks.  He served aboard HMS Eaglet (6 November 1940 to 30 November 1940); HMS Mooltan (1 December 1940 to 29 January 1941); HMS Kirriemoor (30 January 1941 to 12 February 1941); HMS Mersey (13 February 1941 to 9 March 1941) and HMS Aurania (10 March 1941 to 16 March 1942).

George Lowden transferred to the Fleet Air Arm on 25 February 1942 (No. FX91871) and had training in England, Canada, and the USA.  After receiving his commission, he was engaged in ferrying aircraft in the USA.  He served with HMS Daedalus (RNAS Lee-on-Solent, 6 April 1942 to 19 April 1942); HMS St. Vincent, Gosport (20 April 1942 to 4 April 1943); HMS Saker (732 Squadron, Brunswick, Maine, USA, 5 April 1943 to 21 June 1944); HMS Saker (Ferry Squadron, Roosevelt Field, USA, 22 June 1944 to 9 January 1945); HMS Gannet, Northern Ireland (1851 Squadron, 10 January 1945 to 27 January 1945) and HMS Venerable (1851 Squadron, 28 January 1945 to 20 April 1945).  HMS Venerable was a Colossus-class aircraft carrier.

The death of Sub-Lieutenant George Henry Crawford Lowden as the result of an aircraft accident was reported in the 28 April 1945 edition of the County Down Spectator under the headline Bangor Officer Missing, Presumed Killed.  On 20 April 1945 he was flying a Chance Vought FG-1D Corsair IV aircraft (KD583) which stalled and crashed into the sea as he was coming in to land on HMS Venerable off the coast of Malta.  His body was never recovered.  It was his brother Noel Lowden who received the news by telephone about George’s death and it was Noel who told his mother.  Noel was studying at Stranmillis Teacher Training College and his mother was visiting him at the time he received the news.

Sub-Lieutenant George Henry Crawford Lowden was 22 when he was killed, and he is commemorated on the Lee-on-Solent Memorial in Hampshire; on Bangor and District War Memorial; in Bangor Central Hall and in Bangor Grammar School.

His mother Jeanette (born 20 April 1891) was one day short of her 83rd birthday when she died on 19 April 1974 and she was buried in Clandeboye Cemetery.