Pathfinder, ‘Kriegie” and Gumboot Governor
The Adventurous Life of Sir James Rowland AC, KBE, DFC, AFC
By Peter Yule and Sir James Rowland
Published by Big Sky Publishing
RRP $34.99 in paperback | ISBN: 9781922387400
It is thanks to James Rowland’s daughter that this memoir has seen the light of day. Rowland wrote the majority of it following his lung cancer diagnosis – he died in 1999.
Peter Yule, fortunately, has been able to successfully take over the story telling and give us a highly readable account of an extraordinary man’s life.
Aged just 22, Rowland became a Lancaster pilot in the elite Pathfinder force via the Empire Air Training Scheme. He was awarded the DFC.
Later he was taken prisoner following a collision with a Canadian aircraft over Germany.
And so began his decades-long association with military aviation.
Back in Australia, having completed tertiary studies, he joined the RAAF, eventually rising to become Chief of the Air Staff in 1975, via a career as a test pilot.
On retirement he was appointed Governor of New South Wales and later sat on a number of boards, including chairing the Aerospace Foundation, set up to run the Avalon Air Show.
He was universally respected and admired.
Who knew he was a cousin of Australia’s great literary icon Judith Wright?
VERDICT: This and other intriguing and little-known facts emerge in this book that many readers, especially those who worked alongside Jim Rowland, will find fascinating. I certainly did.