The Great Atlantic Air Race
Percival A.E. Rowe, known as " Percy " Rowe ( January 15th, 1922 - March 7th, 2006 ), was born a twin in London ( England ), but his twin brother did not survive childbirth. " Percy " Rowe grew up in Egham ( Surrey, England ), famed for its propinquity to where the Magna Carta was signed. As a boy, he worked as a caddie at one of England's poshest golf courses, carrying clubs for toffs of the era. It turned him off the game ; he never played a day in his life, buying into Mark Twain's contention that it was " a good walk, spoiled. "
Although his father was a frequently unemployed stoker / fishmonger / fire warden / bookie, " Percy " Rowe was able to get a schoolarship to go to the private Strode School ( Strode's College, Egham ). He then worked for a short while as an accountant ( and would later put it to use, claiming to never spend more than two hours a year doing his taxes ).
Fascinated with flight, he volunteered for the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve ( R.A.F.V.R. ). he then was sent to Canada ( his first trip overseas ) as part of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan ( B.C.A.T.P. ), where he was trained and graduated as a Navigator. Over there, he met a young women named Muriel M. Antill ( his future wife ) on date at the Winnipeg Canoe Club ( Manitoba ). Returning to Great Britain, " Percy " Rowe completed his training, and was posted to a Squadron equipped with Douglas C - 47 Dakotas ( Transport Command ). He spent most of his war towing gliders full of paratroopers, spies and returning Resistance fighters into France and Germany. He flew as part of the Normandy invasion and the subsequent liberation of the Netherlands. At the end of the war, " Percy " Rowe held the rank of Flying Officer.
Following V.E. Day, Muriel M. Antill sailed on the first peacetime sailing of the Queen Mary. " Percy " and Muriel's wedding was solemnized in St. Mary's church ( Ealing, London, England ) on September 15th, 1945. Reverend Ronald arthur, cousin of the bride, officiated. Their honeymoon took place in Devon and Cornwall ( England ). The couple lived for a while in Leicester ( Leicestershire, England ), before moving to Canada.
" Percy " Rowe spent several years at the Winnipeg Tribune before joining the Toronto Telegram in 1955. At the " Tely ", he worked his way up the newsroom chain to become Assistant Managing Editor before being appointed Travel Editor ( 1969 ). " Percy " Rowe, fluent in French and Spanish, globe - hopped with ease for two years before the " Tely " folded in 1971. He then joined fellow " Tely " employees at the new Toronto Sun.
Between flights, he found the time to collect awards and write books on travel, history and wine. " Percy " Rowe was never reluctant to change hats while on travel assignments. During a press trip to Ireland ( 1981 ), the " Bobby " Sands ( Robert Gerard Sands, 1954 - 1981 ) hunger strike exploded. The I.R.A. prisoner was starving himself to death. " Percy " Rowe jumped off of the press travel junket and provided the Sun with two consecutive days of " Bobby " Sands news spreads.
When " Percy " Rowe retired in 1986, the newsroom missed his presence and his travel tales, but he continued writing freelance travel articles for the Sun and other publications. " Percy " Rowe died of pneumonia in Mississauga ( Ontario, Canada ), at the age of 84.
( sources : twitter.com/AshleyroweWKBW, Wikipedia, www.newspapers.com. www.ancestry.co.uk, torontosunfamily.blogspot.com )