Rowland George, DSO, OBE
The award of the D.S.O. to Wing Commander Rowland George was announced in the Supplement to the London Gazette dated 26th May 1944, as follows:
Air Ministry, 26th May, 1944.
The KlNG has been graciously pleased to approve the following award:-
Distinguished Service Order.
Acting Wing Commander Rowland David George, O.B.E. (75777), Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.
Wing Commander George, the senior movements staff officer, was responsible for the smooth and efficient working of the supply system from the beaches to the airfields during the assault landings at Salerno. He landed with the first assault troops on the beaches in the early morning of 10th September 1943. Thereafter he was under fire, both on the beaches and whilst travelling between the various supply dumps and airfields, until the enemy had been forced to retreat sufficiently to allow the airfields to be occupied by units of the Tactical Air Force. Wing Commander George was wounded when his tented camp was hit by 2 bombs. He did not, however, allow this to interfere with his personal supervision of the work of unloading and distributing the urgently required supplies. Throughout the operation Wing Commander George displayed great gallantry and his example and coolness whilst under fire were an inspiration to those under his command and contributed largely to the success of the operation.
Rowland George had previously been awarded an O.B.E. (Officer of the Military Division of the Order of the British Empire) for his work at Bone, Algeria after the Operation TORCH landings in late 1942. As an Acting Squadron Leader, he commanded the R.A.F. unit responsible for R.A.F. supplies coming in through the harbour at Bone. The award of the O.B.E. was in recognition for his efforts in that operation when there was considerable harassment from the Luftwaffe.
In September 1944 it was announced that Acting Wing Commander Rowland David George D.S.O., O.B.E had been made Officer of the Legion of Merit by the United States of America in recognition of valuable services rendered in connection with the war.
Before the Second World War, Rowland George had been a successful oarsman and won a gold medal at the 1932 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. At the start of the War, George was 34 years old and was commissioned in the Equipment branch of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve as an Explosives specialist.
Rowland George was probably the only officer in the Equipment branch of the R.A.F. to have been decorated with the D.S.O. He died in 1997 aged 92.