LEST WE FORGET
Flight Lieutenant Roderick Russell Herbert BOWES DFC
Service No: 407543
Born: Windsor VIC, 22 January 1916
Enlisted in the RAAF: 9 November 1940 (at Adelaide SA)
Unit: No. 79 Squadron (RAF), Ramu
Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), 4 May 1943 (Citation Title: No. 79 Squadron (RAF))
Died: Air Operations (No. 79 Squadron Hurricane aircraft BN880), Bay of Bengal, 21 May 1943, Aged 27 Years
Buried: Location Unknown
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Stanley Edgar and Ellen Jane Bowes, of Springfield, South Australia.
Roll of Honour: Adelaide SA
Remembered: Column 429, Singapore Memorial, Singapore
Remembered: Panel 119, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: World War II Honour Roll, National War Memorial of SA, North Terrace, Adelaide
DFC Citation: This officer has completed a very large number of sorties, invariably displaying skill and leadership of a high order. On one occasion he led a formation which attacked and destroyed three launches at Kyaukpyu. On another occasion during an engagement against a number of enemy aircraft Flying Officer Bowes shot down two of them. This officer, who is a skilful and determined pilot, has destroyed four enemy aircraft.
On 21 May 1943, Bowes flying Hurricane BN880 of No. 79 (Madras Presidency) Squadron was leading a flight of six aircraft which were scrambled from Hay in India to intercept a raid coming up from the south. Interception was made and the ensuing combat took place over the aerodrome. After the combat and the expenditure of ammunition, the six aircraft took evasive action to ground level. It is assumed that the pilot ran into another formation of enemy fighters which was carrying out a sweep down the coast from the north.
The scene of the crash was Kalarmarchars on Maiskhal Island in the Bay of Bengal. Bowes aircraft was shot down and he was originally reported as missing. His body was subsequently located and buried in the RAF cemetery at Ramu. In 1950, the Imperial War Graves Commission advised that it appeared that when the Army authorities concentrated the burials from Ramu to Chittagong cemetery, due to the rampant nature of the jungle in the area it was not possible to locate Flight Lieutenant Bowes’ grave. He is recorded as missing with no known grave.
Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records (RAAF Casualty Information compiled by Alan Storr (409804))
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 163/24/276