Distinguished Flying Medal, GVI, 658412 F/Sgt F.P. Lowther, 357 S.O.E. Squadron, R.A.F.
An outstanding ‘Special Duties’ service D.F.M. for the South East Asian Theatre, described as “He has been engaged on operations of a special nature involving low flying at night over difficult and treacherous country.”
Announced in the London Gazette, 2nd October 1945, page 4858, his recommendation:
“Frank Percy Lowther, 65812 Flight Sergeant, No. 357 Squadron
Sorties: 28, Flying Hours 310.15, Navigator
Flight Sergeant Lowther has completed his first tour of operations and, as First Navigator, has carried out 28 sorties. He has been engaged on operations of a special nature involving low flying at night over difficult and treacherous country. He has proved himself capable of most accurate navigation, often in weather which made the use of astro impossible for long periods and, in spite of this, he has nearly always succeeded in reaching his target and successfully completing the mission. he has at all times shown great keenness for operations and he has proved himself to be a very able and reliable Navigator
Dated, 23rd May 1945”
Remarks by his Station Commander:
“Flight Sergeant Lowther has proved himself a very capable Navigator while flying on special duty operations. By his work, he has been largely responsible for the successful completion of these operations, many of which have been of a very considerable length. He has done some excellent work in this theatre of operations and I very strongly recommend him indeed for the award of the Distinguished Flying Medal.”
Frank Percy Lowther was born on 16th October 1914 in Lewisham, Kent, to Eva Violet Plowman & Ernest George J. Lowther.
He was Journalist by trade before joining the Army.
He first attested for service with the Royal Artillery during 1938, with service number 1544385, then transferred to the Royal Air Force during the war on 21st July 1941.
He died in Surrey aged 67 on 11th March 1982.
Announcement of D.F.M. in the Uxbridge & W. Drayton Gazette, 19th October 1945:
“Flt-Sgt Frank Percy Lowther, R.A.F., whose home is at Pinner, has been awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal. He was a Journalist before enlisting in 1941 and is now a Navigator. he was completed a tour of operation duty during which he has been mainly engaged on operations involving low flying at night over difficult and treacherous country. He has proved to be a capable and skilful navigator, whose efficiency and courage have largely contributed to the successful completion of many missions.”
The logs of the squadron covering this period are available at the National Archives, but have been compiled by R.G. Quirk, at www.rquirk.com.
The logs of 357 Operations in South East Asia provide an insight into the jobs he was doing showing full details of 8 operations during 1944 & 17 operations in 1945.
He flew a large number of operations crewed with Pilot William George Petley, R.A.A.F, who was also awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross in the L.G. 22nd June 1945.
Here are a few examples:
1st December 1944, in Liberator MK VI, with a crew of 8 men they were on “Polka 15 Duty”
“This operation was succesful, the target area Vinh. The weather was good and A/C arrived over the target at 2355 hrs, a reception was found waiting. In four runs 4 containers and 2 packages were dropped, the containers hung up and were jettisoned over the target, after leaving the are A/C flew due west for deception purposes and set cour for base at 0039 hrs.
Dropping supplies on 8th January 1945 in Liberator VI P, Crew of 9 for “Manual 3”, left Jessore at 2 am and returned at 7 am:
“This operation was successful. The a/c
arrived over the target in good weather at
0442 hours & found a very good reception:- a
"T" of fires & a flashing light. 12 containers
were dropped for "Manual 3" in the
Myohaung area in one run. All the chutes
opened correctly. A searchlight was sighted
approx. 3 miles from the DZ on the river bank
apparently searching the river surface. After
leaving the target area the a/c flew N & then
W. setting course for Base at 0512 hours. “
25th January 1945, dropping supplies and Parachutists for “Beacon” in Liberator VI “Q”, take off 11:32 pm, landing 6:25 am:
“The operation was successful. The a/c
arrived over the target at 2118 hrs where a
reception consisting of 3 bonfires & a torch
flashing "K" was awaiting them. At 2131 hrs
4 runs were made & 5 men & 7 containers
were dropped. All chutes on same being
observed to open & develop correctly. Aft
a/C left the target area 1 packet of nickels
were dripped on Alor Star. At 1508 hrs when
in posn. 1626N 9311E a large patch of
yellowish stain was seen on the water & also
some unidentified debris. The whole area
seem too big for an a/c to distribute itself
over. The information was passed on to
Group upon return.”
Flight dropping Agents & Packages into Jessore for “Bazaar 119” in Liberator VI “Q” on 28th March 1945, take off 18:55, landing 08:45 am:
“Successful. A/c was over target at
0058 hrs. & reception consisting of 3
fires only was seen, but flashing letter
'R' was seen so drop of 3 agents & 13
packages was made in 2 runs from
700'. The D.Z. is quite good & is
situated in an oval-shaped clearing
being approx. 500' A.S.L. All chutes
were seen to open. 12 packets of
leaflets were dropped from 3000' over
Namkam. 15 M.T. were seen in the
Heho area moving W & N.W.
17º40'30''N 104º05'30''E landing strip
sighted lying E/W across a road length
100' – 1500', surface apparently rolled
paddy. Weather good”