The amazing RAF veteran who flew George Formby around Burma to entertain soldiers in World War II
Veteran Rowland Hill shared his war-time experiences on a visit to Leonard Cheshire in Manchester to celebrate his 100th birthday.
An RAF veteran visited a Manchester facility run by a disability charity founded by someone he flew alongside in World War Two to celebrate his 100th birthday.
Rowland Hill marked his centenary with a visit to Leonard Cheshire’s Eden Square service in Urmston.
Staff and residents came together to celebrate the amazing milestone birthday as well as hear about Mr Hill’s experiences on the front line for his country.
They also heard about how he fought in the war alongside Leonard Cheshire, who went on to found the disability charity.
Mr Hill’s wartime service
Mr Hill, who turned 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 during World War Two.
While on the squadron Rowland flew famous North West entertainer 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.
He was both the youngest Group Captain in the RAF and the most decorated Bomber Command pilot of the Second World War.
After the war, he set up Leonard Cheshire, the pan-disability charity.
How did Mr Hill celebrate his birthday?
To celebrate his birthday, Mr Hill and the residents at Eden Square drank tea and ate birthday cake.
Mr Hill also brought in some of the objects from his military service in the war which he still has to show the staff and residents.
The occasion happened on 4 November, just over a week before Remembrance Day on 11 November when the country halts for two minutes on the anniversary of the Armistice which ended World War One to remember those who have been killed in war.
What did the charity say about Mr Hill’s visit?
Service manager at Eden Square, Kay Eagle, said: “Rowland told us all about his adventures, including his time with the charity’s founder.
“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, said: “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.”