Flight Lieutenant - Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserves - 454 Squadron - Service No. 117013
Leslie Norman Row was born on 2nd March 1918 in Gravesend, Kent. His father was Albert Edward Row, a River Pilot, and his mother was Florence Mabel (née Porter). Albert Rowe had worked on the River Thames since the age of 14. He served in the Merchant Navy in World War One, joining the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserves in World War Two – by 1943 he was a Lieutenant Commander. The previous school that Leslie attended was the Convent High School in Gravesend.
In 1926 Leslie Row joined The County School for Boys – now known as Gravesend Grammar School. The Head Master at that time was the Reverend Samuel Lister. The County School for Boys was located in Darnley Road, Gravesend close to the Railway Station (now the Victoria Centre for Education). In 1938 the School moved to brand new premises in Church Walk, Milton, Gravesend opposite to Milton Church.
The School’s Admission Register lists Leslie’s address as Rowland Lodge, 33 Parrock Road, Gravesend. Whilst at the School, Leslie was in Hill House, took part in the 1929 School production of a Merchant of Venice, was a Prefect in 1935-36 and played for the 1st XV Rugby team. Younger brother Colin (born 1922) also attended the School. He sadly died of meningitis at Guys Hospital in 1938.
In 1937 Leslie left the School and started work as a Probationary Inspector in the Engineering Department of the General Post Office. In 1941 he enlisted in the Royal Air Force, Service Number 117013, joining 454 Squadron as a Flight Lieutenant. Leslie’s father, Albert, met up with his son in Cairo a few months before Leslie was listed as missing.
On 3rd December 1943, Leslie Row’s plane came down during an operation over the Aegean Sea photographing the Greek coastline. After being attacked by enemy aircraft, it crashed into the sea near Antikythera. Three of the crew, including Leslie, were killed. Flight Lieutenant William Horsley survived and became a Prisoner of War. Leslie Row was 25 years old. He is remembered at the Alamein Memorial, Egypt.
There are links below to Newspaper Clippings and Photographs from the Gravesend Grammar School Archives.
Below are links to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website and a few other websites that might be of interest: