RAF veteran celebrates 100th birthday

Staff and residents at Leonard Cheshire’s Eden Square service in Urmston, Greater Manchester came together last Wednesday to celebrate the 100th birthday of a Second World War veteran who flew with Group Captain Leonard Cheshire.

Rowland Hill, who was 100 on Sunday 31 October, was a Wireless Operator on a Dakota Squadron which was based in India, engaged in dropping supplies to troops in Burma. 

Whilst on the squadron Rowland also flew George Formby around India and Burma on a morale boosting concert tour.

On his final flight at the squadron, the air-test of a Dakota, the co-pilot was Group Captain Leonard Cheshire.

Cheshire was both the youngest Group Captain in the RAF and most decorated Bomber Command pilot of the Second World War. After the war, he set-up Leonard Cheshire, the pan-disability charity.

Rowland Hill holding his medals on his birthday

To celebrate his birthday, Rowland and the residents drank tea and ate birthday cake, for an occasion that came just over a week before Remembrance Day (11 November). 

“Rowland told us all about his adventures, including his time with the charity’s founder,” says Service Manager at Eden Square, Kay Eagle. “He even brought in his old RAF logbook, medals, flying helmet and forage cap. We felt truly honoured that this gentleman took the time to visit us.”

Ruth Owen, CEO of Leonard Cheshire, commented:

“We were so happy that Rowland chose to visit us. He was able to share some personal stories about our organisation’s founder and namesake, providing a really interesting insight into some of the experiences Leonard Cheshire had during the war which led to the founding of the charity.”

You can support Leonard Cheshire this Remembrance Day by donating online.

Media enquiries

For further information, interviews and high-res images please contact Gwenyth Withers on gwenyth.withers@leonardcheshire.org.

For urgent requests out of hours please call: 07903 949 388.