Nowell, Gareth Leofric

Date of birth:
August 16th, 1912 (Handforth/Cheshire, Great Britain)
Service number:
740099
Nationality:
British (1801-present, Kingdom)

Biography

Failing to enroll in the RAFVR without parental permission, Gareth Nowell persevered and joined the service in 1936 as a fighter pilot. Called up in 1939 he joined No. 87 Squadron and was sent to France. During the German Blitzkrieg Nowell scored heavily in aerial combats, receiving a DFM and a bar. After a well deserved rest in England he was posted to No. 32 Squadron and shot down a ME109 on the 23th May, 1940 but he was downed by several others and was wounded in the right arm, and ankle, baling out of his blazing Hurricane over France, suffering severe burns. Luckily he was evacuated from Dunkirk back to England and was admitted in hospital close to death for some time, before beginning a long and slow recovery, receiving extensive treatment.
He did not resume service until late 1941 in a fighter control role on Biggin Hill. Once again he had to battle to be allowed to fly. In June 1943 however he managed to be posted to No. 124 Squadron in a combat position, claiming victories over a Me109 and a Fw190. In March 1944 he was posted to No. 616 Squadron and ended the war as an instructor in an Operational Training Unit now having been credited with 16 aerial victories. By the end of the war a medical board now assessed him as remaining medically unfit for flying due to his now permanent wounds after which he left the service in October 1945 on disability pension. He was involved in a number of business ventures and jobs until his retirement in 1977. He privately published his memoires called 'Resurgam'.

Do you have more information about this person? Inform us!

Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Sergeant
Unit:
No. 87 (United Provinces) Squadron, Royal Air Force
Awarded on:
May 31st, 1940
Action:
Citation:
"This pilot recently shot down four, and possibly seven, German aircraft. He has displayed a high standard of courage and devotion to duty. One morning he attacked two enemy aircraft and brought both down.
His own aircraft received many hits but he successfully brought it back to the aerodrome. On the afternoon of the next day, with six other aircraft of his squadron, he engaged more than 40 enemy aircraft. He showed conspicuous gallantry and dash in driving off the enemy single seaters and shot down two enemy aircraft. His own engine was hit and he was forced down. Showing great coolness, he landed carefully and avoided injuries to personnel."
Details:
LG 34860/3254
Distinguished Flying Medal (DFM)
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Sergeant
Awarded on:
June 4th, 1940
Action:
Citation:
"Sergeant Nowell has continued to shoot down enemy aircraft with excellent initiative and leadership. He brought down twelve enemy aircraft in one week. This is the highest individual total of which -there is record in his group."
Details:
Second DFM awarded as a bar for on the ribbon of the first DFM.
LG 34864/3353
Distinguished Flying Medal (DFM)

Sources