Pathfinder, ‘Kriegie” and Gumboot Governor: an engaging memoir


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.

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