Donald Bowes quit school and left his Winnipeg home to enlist in the RCAF. His
quiet and retiring manner was noticed during his assessment at the Initial Training School.
When the ITS testing was completed his selection for pilot training was approved. His hobby of hunting and firearms,
which as the photo shows had not changed during his RCAF career, along with his good work within his Flight
seemed to have helped to secure his pilot training.
Like many of the pilots whose records I have read the instructors came down heavy on him. His instructors at
Centralia mentioned that he had no outstanding faults but was "inclined to be lazy" something that maybe have been
because of his quick grasp of flying. His time at 1664 Conversion Unit also had negative comments
such as "Landings no hell" ..."Landings a little rough but safe"
Certainly none of these comments showed in F/O Bowes flying career with 419 Squadron. He had a determined attitude to getting the
job done. When his Lancaster lost an engine just after takeoff he did not turn back, but went ahead and continued
on to the target and completion of his mission.
He was captain of a crew who completed seventeen sorties two of which were marked by heavy attacks on the squadron's
Lancaster bombers by the new Me262 jet fighter.
On his final operation on March 31st. 1945 his aircraft and others in the gaggle were attacked by thirty
of these swift, heavily armed fighters. The gaggle had been delayed in arriving over the target and were
without any fighter escort when Bowes aircraft was attacked most likely twice by these jet fighters.
His aircraft had lost the intercom during the first attack and other damage must have occurred, for Bowes
signalled for the crew to bail out. As the Bomb Aimer and Flight Engineer were attempting to evacuate the
aircraft from the forward escape hatch, the whole nose section was blown off. Leaving the front of the
Lancaster missing from Bowes seat on forward.
There are no details of what occurred after that, three of the crew managed to escape before the aircraft
F/O Bowes was not among them.
F/O Donald Bowes was 21 years old.