Rowan, Arthur Wilson (No. 1104087)

Rowan, Arthur Wilson (Wilson)


No. 1104087, 83 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

Killed in action on Tuesday 2 September 1941 (aged 19)


Texel (Den Burgh) Cemetery, Netherlands (Plot K Row 4 Grave 95)


Commonwealth War Graves Commission

West Hartlepool Grammar School Old Boys Association Memorial Plaque


Arthur Wilson Rowan (known as Wilson by his family and Paddy by his friends in England) was born on 15 February 1922 in Holywood when his parents were living at 3 Hibernia Street, and he was the only son of John and Mary Rowan (nee McClelland) who were married on 30 July 1921 in Holywood Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Philip & St James).  John Rowan, a clerk from 10 Shore Street Holywood was a son of Hugh Rowan, a steamship agent.   Mary McClelland from 1 Hibernia Street, Holywood was a daughter of Samuel McClelland, a gardener.  The vicar who performed the ceremony was the Rev Charles C Manning who had been an Army Chaplain during the FWW.

John Rowan was a Civil Servant working in the Ministry of Pensions in Northern Ireland before he was transferred to England.  At the time of Arthur Wilson Rowan’s death, his parents were living at 10 Kingsley Road, Forest Gate, London, Essex.

Arthur Wilson Rowan attended the Church School in Holywood, the Harding Memorial School in Belfast, and the West Hartlepool Secondary School.  Whilst in Belfast he took a keen interest in scouting, being a member of a Willowfield troop.  A keen sportsman, he was active at school in rugby, cricket, boxing, and athletics.  He matriculated in 1938 and entered the Civil Service where he was employed by the Air Ministry up to August 1940, at which time he volunteered for flying duties.

Sergeant Arthur Wilson Rowan (No. 1104087) served with 83 Squadron in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve and on 2 September 1941 he was Navigator aboard a Handley Page Hampden Mark 1 aircraft (X3144) which took off on an operation over Borkum Island, Germany.  The plane never returned to base at RAF Scrampton and he was posted as missing in action.

The plane crashed at Kornwerderzand, Sudwest Fryslan Municipality, Friesland, Netherlands, killing all four crew members and his was one of the two bodies recovered.  His body was found and buried within two weeks of his death, but his family did not know this until some 18 months later.  His mother had written many letters to the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and Royal Air Force (RAF) seeking information about him after he was posted missing in action.

Sergeant Arthur Wilson Rowan was buried in Texel (Den Burgh) War Cemetery, Noord-Holland, Netherlands, and there is an inscription on his CWGC headstone: