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Pathfinder, ‘Kriegie’ and Gumboot Governor

The Adventurous Life of Sir James Rowland AC, KBE, DFC, AFC

(1 customer review)
Authors: Peter Yule, Sir James Rowland
Aviation, Military History
153mm x 234mm

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A descendant of early pioneers of New South Wales, James Rowland combined a thirst for adventure with a strong sense of duty. Aged just 22, he became a Lancaster pilot in the elite Pathfinder force, flying 34 missions over occupied Europe and being awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. In January 1945, he was the only survivor of a collision with a Canadian aircraft over Germany. After narrowly escaping being shot as a spy, he spent the rest of the war as a POW.

Returning to the RAAF in 1947, Rowland was a test pilot during the early years of the supersonic era, and played a leading role in the Mirage procurement. His leadership qualities and technical expertise saw him become head of RAAF engineering in 1972, and, in a controversial appointment, Chief of the Air Staff in 1975, the first and still the only engineer to head the RAAF.

In 1981, Rowland was appointed Governor of New South Wales, a position he held with distinction for eight years.
A brilliant pilot and aeronautical engineer, who combined a strong commitment to duty with a great sense of fun, Rowland has a well-earned place among the great leaders of the RAAF Short biog.

Peter Yule

Peter Yule

Peter Yule is a research fellow in the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies at the University of Melbourne. He has written widely on Australian military and economic and medical history with his books including histories of the Collins Class submarine project, Australian National Airways and the Australian economy in the First World War and […]

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Sir James Rowland

Sir James Rowland

Sir James Rowland was born in 1922, and enlisted in the RAAF early in 1942, becoming a Lancaster pilot in the elite Pathfinder Squadron. On his 34th operation over occupied Europe in January 1945, he was the sole survivor of a collision with a Canadian aircraft over Hanau, near Frankfurt, spending the rest of the […]

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1 review for Pathfinder, ‘Kriegie’ and Gumboot Governor

  1. Sir James Rowland led a remarkable and adventurous life. This semi-autobiography details his early years in regional NSW, distinguished career in the RAAF between 1942-1979, serving as Governor of NSW between 1981-1989, appointed Chancellor of the University of Sydney from 1990-1991 and holding other key public service positions until his death in May 1999. Sir James flew with Bomber Command as a Pathfinder in World War II, was taken prisoner by the Germans until the end of the war, later receiving a Distinguished Flying Cross for his service. He led trial programs for many of the Air Force’s early aircraft including the Meteor, Vampire, Canberra and Sabre. As a test pilot during the early years of supersonic flight, he saw introduction of the Mirage fighter. He rose to the rank of Air Marshal, leading the RAAF as Chief of Air Staff from 1975 until his retirement – the first engineering officer to do so. Awarded Companion of the Order of Australia, Knighted, Order of the British Empire and National Medal for long and diligent service to the community. An in-depth and inspirational account of a distinguished leader and prominent figure in Australian history. Highly recommended read.

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