Auction: 18002 - Orders, Decorations and Medals
A rare and interesting set of Flying Log Books appertaining to Flight Lieutenant J. E. Rowe, Royal Air Force, formerly Royal Canadian Air Force, who qualified as an air gunner and wireless operator in Lancaster and Wellington bombers in the latter stages of the Second World War and then went on to enjoy a long and distinguished career as Air Electronics Officer in Victors at the height of the Cold War
R.C.A.F. Flying Log Book for Aircrew other than Pilot, 20 September 1943 to 31 October 1955; and R.A.F. Aircrew Flying Log Books (Form 1767 types), covering the periods 3 November 1955 to 31 May 1962 and 4 June 1962 to 1 October 1964; Bundeswehr Luftwaffe Log Books for Radar Operators, 22 March 1966 to 2 February 1969 and 2 March 1969 to 20 April 1970; together with R.A.F. Fighter Controller's Log Book (Form 4553 type), opened 8 March 1966, detailing the qualification of Rowe as an Interception and Fighter Controller, and noting the destruction of Log Book 4 by fire at R.A.F. Neatishead on 16 February 1966, generally in good condition (Lot)
James Ernest Rowe was born in Melbourne, Australia, and trained in air operations at No. 3 Wireless School, Winnipeg, Canada, from September 1943 to April 1944, specialising as an air gunner. He then transferred to No. 9 Advanced Flying Unit at Llandwrog, Wales, where he spent the remainder of 1944 on navigational exercises on Ansons, completing an advanced wireless transmission course on 2 February 1945, following 146 hours of lectures and 74.5 hours practical experience. In March and April Rowe completed a dry dinghy and parachute drill in Wellingtons and continued to gain considerable experience as W./Op. in bombers, conducting cross country and fighter affiliation sorties on a regular basis. Posted to 1654 Conversion Unit at Wigsley, he saw out the final stages of the war familiarising with Lancasters.
Returning to flying duties at North Luffenham, Rutland, as part of 240 O.C.U. in February 1950, Rowe conducted regular supply dropping exercises as Signaller aboard a Valetta; the R.A.F. recognised the need to train aircrew in parachute supply drops and familiarise them with the Valetta which took over from the Douglas Dakota as the workhorse of R.A.F. Transport Command. Rowe is noted at assessment as 'a keen and interested student who will make good improvements when more experienced.'
In September 1950 Lowe began a tour of the Middle East and North Africa, regularly flying between Khartoum, Asmara, Nicosia, El Adem and Aqaba. He converted to the Vickers Varsity and continued gaining instruction in signalling, before returning home in October 1955. Posted to No. 2, A.S.S. Swanton Morley, Norfolk, Rowe qualified Category 'A' Air Signaller in November 1957, and was transferred to 232 O.C.U. at R.A.F. Gaydon in August 1958. It was here that he gained his high altitude decompression certificate and began familiarisation with the Vickers Valiant high altitude bomber, a lynch-pin of the V bomber nuclear force.
The Valiant was part of an entirely new class of bombers for the R.A.F., the crew of five were selected from experienced aircrew with first pilots requiring 1,750 flying hours as an aircraft Captain and A.E.O.'s having to be recommended for posting by Commanding Officers; it was an honour to be chosen to fly what was at the time the R.A.F.'s most expensive aeroplane, for excluding apparatus, a Valiant cost around £333,333 to build plus £55,000 to train a pilot up to V-Bomber standard. There was an old joke with the Valiant crews that because of the strict criteria in selection of the crews, both air and ground, that you had to have at least a thousand flying hours to pull the chocks away! By December 1958, Rowe, now serving as A.E.O. with No. 90 Squadron, had amassed nearly 2000 hours.
In 1959 Rowe began a series of Cold War training exercises and air testing. An engine failed aboard his Valiant on 7 October, but he returned to base unharmed. In the early 1960s he continued with regular training flights, visiting Luqa, El Adem, Akrotiri and Nairobi, before returning to base at Honington and Lyneham. In 1963 he was posted to No. 15 Squadron based at R.A.F. Cottesmore and gained experience of the Handley Page Victor 1A; his log book shows regular low level flights.
From March 1966 to April 1970 he was posted to Auenhausen where he was involved in regular surveillance flights over West Germany in the F-102 Delta Dagger and English Electric Lightning. His log book records dozens of supersonic flights and training exercises on radar, together with regular observational flights at the height of the tensions between the East and West.
Flight Lieutenant Rowe retired at his own request in 1974, following over 30 years of service. His log books record 2634.5 flying hours by day and 762 hours at night, total flying time 3396.5 hours.
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£300 to £400