Wellingtons over the Med

by Richard Stowers

A Kiwi bomber pilot’s story from the Mediterranean

NZ415793 Flying Officer Robert Ernest Stowers DFM

Bob Stowers, at the age of just 21, was Wellington bomber pilot with 70 RAF

Squadron in the Mediterranean theatre during 1943. While with the squadron

Bob flew 42 operations against heavily defended ports, railways, airfields

and troop concentrations in North Africa and Italy.

For his bravery and devotion to duty, Bob was awarded the Distinguished

Flying Medal (DFM).

A full and accurate description is given of each operation, as well as

airfield life in the North African desert.

Stuck in the desert with little to no contact with Britain, the airmen of

Bob's squadron had to overcome the belief they were fighting a “forgotten

war.” The lack of coverage the Mediterranean theatre received in British

media, which included the BBC news and the London dailies – as opposed to

what Bomber Command received – caused many of the crews to feel that they

were in a backwater. Even today many historians consider the Mediterranean

theatre a lesser campaign.

Wellingtons over the Med is authored by Bob Stowers' son Richard, of

Hamilton, New Zealand. In his own words: “When I was a boy I found an old

leather suitcase tucked in the rafters of the woolshed. It took me a while

to realise the significance of the contents, but I established that my dad

had been a bomber pilot in the war. To me he instantly became a real hero in

a real war.

“No combat role in the war was easy. Dad witnessed death at 10,000 feet and

on the ground. He knew the emotions of combat and the toll it took on the

human soul. Like any other bomber pilot, he felt happiness and relief when

he sighted his home airfield after returning from combat.

“Dad never talked much about his war experiences. There were bits here and

there. But the war certainly defined him. Throughout his life he was known

as a quiet, loving and modest man. Many believed he was a perfect gentleman..

One would struggle to think he was once a bomber pilot.”

Recommendation for the Distinguished Flying Medal [with 70 RAF Squadron]:

“This N.C.O. has carried out a most successful tour of operations comprising

41 night sorties amounting to 250.35 hours flying during which time he

continually displayed a most praiseworthy determination, cool courage and

devotion to duty in the face of the enemy. During the Tunisian campaign, he

carried out a number of highly successful attacks on the enemy’s heavily

defended landing grounds and on the troops and transport concentrated in the

battle area. During these attacks, often in adverse weather conditions, he

showed great determination in seeking out, illuminating and bombing targets

allotted to him. Throughout the Sicilian campaign which included attacks on

the heavily defended ports of Messina, Palermo and Catania and during the

blitzing of the Italian ports, railways communications and aerodromes, he

showed the same undaunted spirit and cool courage, pressing home his attacks

with great determination, no matter how stiff the opposition was from the

enemy defences. From the very beginning of his tour, this N.C.O. has set a

high standard and proved himself to be a steady and excellent operational

Captain. I have no hesitation in recommending that his courage and devotion

to duty be recognised by the award of the Distinguished Flying Medal


An attractive book with 144 landscape pages plus laminated soft cover (244mm

x 210mm). The book has over 110 excellent photographs – most of them

previously unpublished, plus two maps.

Wellingtons over the Med is a must for any Second World War air combat buff..

Go to: