454 and 459 RAAF Squadrons
Warrant Officer John ROWE
454 RAAF Squadron
Service No. 415359
Date of Birth: 8 Oct 1921
Place of Birth: Unknown
Date of Enlistment: 14 Sep 1941
Locality on Enlistment: GERALDTON
Place of Enlistment: Unknown
Rank: Warrant Officer
Date of Death: 27 Feb 1944 (KIA)
Posting on Death: 454 SQUADRON
Roll of Honour: GERALDTON WA
Flying Officer A.W. Dawe - (416940)
Warrant Officer J. Rowe - (415359)
Flight Sergeant J.A. Siebert - (416897)
Flight Sergeant R.D. Williams - (415370)
Martin Baltimore Mk IIIA (A-30) -- FA499
Arrived in the Middle East 21st September 1943
Missing on recce. ('recce' = Reconnaissance is the military term for the active gathering information about an enemy, or other conditions, by physical observation. It is part of combat intelligence.)
Believed ditched about 150nm SW of Cape Matapan – 27 Feb 44
“Alamein to the Alps” by Mark Lax -- (Pages 109-113 for more information.) - here is an excerpt:
“Five days after the Livenza attack (rocket firing Beaufighters of RAF 227 Sqdn. attacked the German vessel Livenza – 22.2.44 – sinking her) the Squadron suffered another loss. Flying Officer Arnold Dawe and crew flying FA499:U took off at 0730 hours to carry out a shipping recce along the coast of western Greece. No sightings were made, but at 1043 hours a distorted message was received which seemed to suggest they were in distress.
At 1206 hours, a strong bearing was plotted which indicated the aircraft was on course for base. From this time on, the aircraft giving the position about 100 miles from Benghazi. Shortly afterwards, all communication was lost and despite an extensive search, there was no sign of survivors.
A fuel tank and small pieces of wreckage were later found, and it was assumed the aircraft broke up on impact with the heavy seas present at the time. Officially, the aircraft was believed to have ditched about 150nm SW o Cape Matapan.
Also killed were Warrant Officer John Rowe, Flight Sergeant John Siebert and Flight Sergeant Bob Williams.
On the same day, the squadron had to write off another aircraft, FA468:R, but in this case, the crew escaped unhurt.”