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  • DPW Rowan-Robinson
  • WWII medals - C Rowan-Robinson

OWs' Medals

Medals Awarded Posthumously (1940)


Derrick Robinson, later Rowan-Robinson, was a pupil at Warwick School from 1933 to 1935.  He had the unfortunate distinction of being the first Hampden bomber pilot to be shot down over the North Sea in April 1940 by an enemy night fighter.  He had flown out, with seven other aircraft, to lay mines around Kiel.  Only five returned, and Derrick’s body was never recovered.  He was 22 years old when he died.

The Flying Officer’s medals, awarded posthumously, are still in the box in which they were sent to his parents, together with the note pictured:



The Under-Secretary of State for Air presents his compliments and by Command of the Air Council has the honour to transmit the enclosed Awards granted for service in the war of 1939-45.  The Council share your sorrow that Flying Officer D. P. W. Rowan-Robinson (39173) in respect of whose service these awards are granted did not live to receive them.

The medals are, from left to right:

The Defence Medal (for service in areas subjected to enemy air attack).

1939-45 Star (awarded to aircrew after two months’ active service).

War Medal 1939-45 (awarded to all full-time members of the armed forces).

Atlantic Star (awarded to aircrew after two months operational duties over the North Sea).

DFC and Bar (The Rowan-Robinson Medals, 1949)

Cecil Robinson, later Rowan-Robinson, was a pupil of the school from 1930 to 1932.  His illustrious 13-year career in the RAF ultimately provided the school with its most decorated war hero.  The Wing Commander was unfortunately killed when his Vampire jet crashed into a ploughed field near Marlborough, Wiltshire in December, 1949. The cause of the accident is still something of a mystery. Cecil had been awarded three of the medals, the Gallantry Medals, personally by King George VI in November 1945.  Cecil was only 35 years old when he died, and there is a plaque recording his death quite near the chapel, which describes how his surviving brother, Major C. R. K. Rowan-Robinson MC, was planting a tree nearby at the precise moment of the air crash.

The three Gallantry Medals, two of them on the top left, are:

  1. DSO and bar.  The Distinguished Service Order is second only to the Victoria Cross in rarity and prestige, and Cecil earned it twice.
  2. DFC, the Distinguished Flying Cross.  This is awarded for acts of bravery in the air in war-time.
  3. The Dutch Flying Cross, at bottom right, awarded for acts of initiative, courage and perseverance.

The General Service Medal (with a clip marked Palestine) is next to the DFC, the Aircrew Europe Star is on the bottom left, the Africa Star is next to it on the bottom row, and finally the War Medal With Oak Leaf is last but one on the right of the bottom row.   The oak leaf means that the holder was mentioned in Dispatches for conspicuous actions of gallantry.

  1. DPW Rowan-Robinson
  2. WWII medals - C Rowan-Robinson