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 war as a POW. After completing his aeronautical engineering degree, he rejoined the RAAF in 1947 as an engineer test pilot. In 1972 Rowland became head of RAAF engineering and in 1975 he was the first and only engineer to be appointed Chief of the Air Staff. After his retirement from the RAAF, he served as Governor of New South Wales from 1981 to 1989. Knighted in 1977, Rowland died in 1999.