David Bowen

Also known as: Eric.

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Wg Cdr David ‘Eric’ Bowen, 89, died at home on 17 April 2013.

He is survived by his wife Merle of 65 years, son Ian and daughters Frances, Carole and Gail as well as many loving grandchildren, one of whom sums up our feelings perfectly...

“A tribute to an RAF hero, with a melodic Welsh voice, a poet, a card sharp, magician, tea connoisseur (marks out of 10), with lightning fast wit, and brutal honesty, surrounded by women - the patience to cope with 3 daughters and 7 granddaughters... always a joke and a smile to the end. For me you'll always be the greatest Welshman there ever was. The absolute best. No pain now, just peace. Fly free. Love you forever xxx”

He was a very moral man, a wonderful example to all, always knowing the right thing to do as evidenced by his joining the war effort at his earliest opportunity. Following the war, he committed his life to the Air Force in service of his country never complaining as his duties often took him away from the family he loved so much.

He spoke little about his experiences and we are now left with just a scrap of paper on which he has written a tantalising synopsis of his career:

RAF Service History

October 1941 – June 1944: Training

May 1943: Navigator
Queen’s University Air Squadron Belfast

A.C.R.C London and Brighton

Grading Course Northampton

Holding Unit Manchester

West Kirby

Durban, South Africa

East London, South Africa

Grahamstown, South Africa

Cape Town, (troop ships England to South Africa and return)


Operational Training Unit West Freugh, Scotland

Heavy Conversion Unit Tilstock

June 1944 – April 1946: 190 Squadron (Stirling)

November 1944: Commissioned
Operations: France, Holland, Belgium, Norway, Denmark, Germany (from Fairford and Dunmow)
V.E. Day 8 May 1945
V.J. Day 15 August 1945
Then 297 Squadron (Halifax) for a few months after the end of the war – Tarrant Rushton
April 1946: Staff Navigator’s Course – Shawbury
July 1946: Station Navigation Officer – Netheravon
November 1946: Navigation and Meteorology Instructor – Heaney, Southern Rhodesia
May 1948: Demobilised in Bulawayo. Re-joined in 1949 and returned to the UK
September 1949: Officer’s Re-entrant Course – Spitalgate
October 1949: Navigation and Meteorology Instructor – Digby and Jurby, Isle of Man
August 1950: Lecture Technique Course at Feltwell – returned to Jurby.
April 1952: Station Navigation Officer, Flying Wing Adjutant, Search and Rescue and Accident Prevention Officer – Jever (Germany). See http://www.rafjever.org/122pic066.htm
June 1954: Permanent commission
December 1954: Fighter Control duties at Bawdsey, after training at Middle Wallop
January 1956: Training for atomic bomb tests (Task Force Buffalo, Maralinga, South Australia) at Martlesham, Boscombe Down then Woomera
May 1956: Atomic bomb tests
November 1956: Fighter control duties at Wartling
January 1958: Hydrogen bomb tests – Christmas Island (Task Force Grapple) – via New York, San Francisco and Hawaii
July 1958: Returned to Wartling
October 1958: Duty Controller at Air Defence Operations Centre, H.Q. Fighter Command – Bentley Priory
April 1961: Advisor to Imperial Iranian Air Force (Teheran) – Tabriz and Meshed (Mashhad)
July 1963: Squadron Commander and Squadron Leader operations – Trimmingham and Neatishead
May 1965: Control and Reporting Communications Officer – H.Q. Allied Forces Central Europe (Fontainebleu, France & Brunssum, Holland)
May 1968: Squadron Leader Operations – Boulmer
September 1968: Wing Commander Operations - Fylingdales
September 1971: Wing Commander Ground Environment Operations – H.Q. Strike Command, High Wycombe.
April 1973: Retired.

Added by: Gail Bowen-Huggett on 25th April 2013.


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Picture of David Bowen.
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Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund
67 Portland Place, London W1B 1AR
0800 169 2942
Registered Charity No. 1081009