17.08.1942 No. 401 Squadron Spitfire IX BR985 W/O.2. Rowthorn
Operation: Circus 204
Date: 17th August 1942 (Monday)
Unit: No. 401 Squadron (11 Group)
Type: Spitfire IX
Base: RAF Biggin Hill / RAF Lympne
Location: Lympne, Kent, England
Pilot: W/O 2. William Ellis Langdon Rowthorn R/68714 RCAF Age 20. Killed
We are extremely grateful to François Dutil (438 Squadron Archivist) for supplying photographs and information to Aircrew Remembered in October 2017. All photographs shown within this page are available to relatives at a higher resolution (as are most of those named within this page) - courtesy of François.
REASON FOR LOSS:
Although based at RAF Biggin Hill, the Squadron moved to RAF Lympne in preparation for the operation on Dieppe on the 14th August.
Escorting 18 x B17’s on an operation to bomb the railyards at Rouen/Sotteville - joining them at 17:15 hrs.
It is understood that W/O. Rowthorn was hit by a Fw190 over the English Channel, but managed to return to the area of the airfield, where he crash landed his Spitfire. A farmer and a policeman pulled him from the wreckage. Sadly, he died from injuries received two days later on Wednesday, August 19th .
Also lost from the Squadron 26 year old, P/O. Jack Kenneth Ferguson J/15276 RCAF flying Spitfire IX BS159 YO-F when hit by enemy fighters over the channel - neither the aircraft or the body of the pilot were recovered - he is commemorated on the Runnymede and Ottawa Memorial.
Sq/Ldr. K.L.B. Hudson flying Spitfire BS120 also hit, but managed to return to base - the aircraft suffered Cat B damage. (Beyond repair on site - repairable at a Maintenance Unit or at a contractors works)
W/O 2. William Ellis Langdon Rowthorn. Brookwood Military Cemetery. Grave 38.G.12. Born on the 07th July 1922, the son of John William and Doris Amy Burton Rowthorn, of Port Arthur, Ontario, Canada. Grave inscription reads: “Breathe On Me, Breath Of God So Shall I Never Die”.
P/O. Jack Kenneth Ferguson. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 100. Son of Kenneth Farquhar Ferguson and Roberta Scott Ferguson, of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to Francois Dutil and sources as quoted below: