The Rowland Family have a history of serving their country, the reason such a strong esprit de corps persists at the firm.
Director, Tony Rowland’s Great Grandfather was Admiral Reed, the captain of the last sailing warship in the British Royal Navy. During his illustrious career, Reed mapped the China Sea.
Throughout the generations, the Rowland Brothers continued to serve their country.
Clarence Arthur Nelson Rowland (Arthur)
Arthur joined the Royal Army Medical Corps in 1939 when war broke out. He was sent to the Middle East and saw service in El Alamein in 1942. He was demobbed in 1945.
James William Rowland (Jim)
Jim joined in 1942 also into the Royal Army Medical Corps. Jim took part in the D-Day landings in 1944 and was also demobbed in 1945.
Anthony Rowland (Tony)
Director of Rowland Brothers
Tony completed his national service in the Royal Army Ordnance Corps. He joined on 21st March 1957 and was demobbed on 19th March 1959. Tony was a Lance Corporal, Camp Carpenter and a Regimental Drill Instructor.
Our Staff Who Have Served
Rowland Brothers are proud to be part of the Armed Forces covenant and were the first funeral directors in the country to do so, pledging our ongoing support to British servicemen and the community.
Driver & Bearer
Ex-Royal Green jackets, Royal Corps of Transport, London ambulance service, paramedic and air ambulance.
Ex-Royal Military Police
Business Development Manager
Ex-Royal Air Force Regiment
Ex-Royal Regiment Fusiliers
Funeral Director and Area Manager
Walter – Royal Artillery
Walter was as an ex-serviceman who was a member of the Royal Artillery. We were told it was a social services funeral. AND he only had two friends. With the help of Veterans we sent him off on his final march in honor. There were two standard bearers from the Royal British Legion and 7 Bikers from the Royal British Legion Riders; they paged the hearse into the Crematorium. They stated “We heard there was a lone soldier’s funeral with no friends or family. We are his family.”
Ronald – Royal Marine
Ronald, a world war two Royal Marine veteran. He was sent into action in Norway at the start of the war and returned with many of his comrades dead or injured. He was then sent to Scotland to become one of the first Royal Marine commandos.
Charles – Royal Air Force
Charles served in the Second World War as a blacksmith in the Royal Air Force working on aircraft repairs. He started at Pembroke in Wales working on flying boats and witnessed a very heavy bombing raid from the Germans causing mass casualties. He was then posted to RAF Kenley and Biggin Hill to work on Hurricanes and Spitfires. Due to the escalation of the battle of Britain he also was witness to friends and colleagues being killed in the German raids. Understandably He did not talk too much about his wartime experience with his family. At the funeral the RAF standard was paraded and the cadets of the Air Training Corps from 97 Squadron formed a guard of honour.
This is a letter from the family – Words cannot express what you organised for dad’s funeral meant to me, family and friends yesterday. You certainly did him proud, I could almost hear him saying “what did you go to all this trouble for?” but secretly loving every moment of it.
Clive – Royal Fusiliers
A veteran of The Royal Fusiliers. This was a social services funeral and at the funeral only 6 people were in attendance. There were three Standard Bearers from the Royal British Legion. In their own words when I thanked them “It’s no more than they deserve mate you know we will attend if we can and that’s 99% off the time”. And “All ex-service men & women surely deserved a fitting & honourable send off when they make the final journey”.
Colin – Royal Artillery
Colin was a veteran of the Royal Artillery 20th Field regiment and was also a veteran of the Korean War. Colin was in his National Service when he went to Korea so he was one of the unlucky ones who went to war many of the others spent their two or three years in the UK peeling potatoes and painting grass green. Colin used to be the standard bearer for the Korean War veterans association but handed the standard back when the association folded as most of the members had passed. He was invited to Korea by the South Korean Government to be honoured and be given thanks for what they did. He was presented with three medals. There were 4 standard bearers at his funeral. 2 from the Royal British Legion, his regiment standard from the Royal Artillery and the Korea War Association Standard was brought out of retirement. Both this and the Artillery standard were carried by Korea Veterans. There were two more veterans marching behind the standards.
The whole of the Military Preparation College of Training came out and performed a guard of honour for Colin.
At the end of the service before the family left the chapel. The Royal Artillery standard bearer stood in the middle, standard in hand, and said, in a clear and loud military voice “once a gunner always a gunner”.
Des – Home Guard, Reconnaissance Regiment, Phantoms
At the outbreak of WW2 Des lied about his age and joined the Home Guard at 13 years old. He became a Sergeant by 15 and was mentioned in dispatches for rescuing people from a bombed building. When he was old enough he joined the Reconnaissance Regiment who were tasked to go to the front line and report back troop movements and advances. He joined the Phantoms which were a top secret unit who operate behind enemy lines. David Niven was also a Phantom. They drop behind enemy lines usually one phantom and one SAS operative. His friend was due to be dropped into France however he became ill, so they sent Des at 17 years old as he was the only one trained. Rules state you have to be at least 18 to go on active service. Hitler sent out a directive that, if any German soldier captured a British soldier with a P (Phantom) on his shoulder. Do not take prisoner. Execute immediately, this was due to their skills of escape and evasion and the knowledge they would have of Axis troops. He was dropped behind Caen before D-day to report on enemy troops. After the landings he witnessed a troop of Canadian soldiers from his observation post being wiped out by friendly fire from American fighter aeroplanes. He carried out two further drops into Belgium and Arnhem. He finished the war on duty at the West German border. To top his heroic career in the war for the first time Des had the honour to lead the parade on Armistice Day on Whitehall in 2015 from the front. There were only five of the phantoms left. Now there are only four, as of May 2016.
Fred – Royal Engineers Bomb Disposal
Fred had been assigned to the Royal Engineers and for his national service where many were cooks or stores man and some were posted overseas into war zones. Fred was Bomb Disposal. It was a very dangerous job indeed. He was based in Liverpool.
During the Second World War when the American bombers returned to England after bombing Germany, if they still had bombs on board them they were not allowed to land with them for safety reasons so they were jettisoned into the Mersey. Fred’s job was to dredge the bombs up and disarm them. He was a very lucky man to have survived his army career. Fred never claimed his National Service Medal one was sourced in a presentation box from a local dealer so he could have it displayed on his coffin. This is now with Fred’s family.
Raymond – Wiltshire Regiment
Raymond was 3 months short of reaching 101 years old when he passed away.
Raymond “Razor” was in the army before the outbreak of World War 2 and he was in India in the Wiltshire Regiment. Upon the outbreak of war, he was sent to Belgium and was part of the British Expeditionary Force, tasked with stopping the Germans. As we all know this went wrong and he was one of the 350,000 soldiers evacuated from the beaches at Dunkirk. Razors next action as far as we know was on D Day in France. D Day plus a few days he found himself in a two-man trench with his comrade and they had liberated a couple of bottles of beer from a farm house. They drank them and fell asleep. They were woken up with boots running over their trench and a short while later running back. It was a German attack which was stopped and driven back by the British. Razor ended up in Africa and was separated with his fighting buddy for days. They were out of water and out of food. In military terms, “on their chin straps”. They agreed they would hand themselves in to the first patrol that came across them, German or British they didn’t care, they were on their last legs. A truck came into view, instincts took over and they dived into a ditch. When the truck came closer it had written on the front. “Next stop Croydon”. And out of the cab, a man shouted “Razor!” he was a friend from Croydon before the war. Razor had also saved a soldier from another country in the Allied forces and carried him on his back to an aid station. This soldier, later in life, when Razor was in his 90’s tracked him down to say thank you. Razor had a broken leg during the war and a friend hitch hiked to see him in hospital and sneaked him out in a wheel chair to the pub. After quite a few beers they returned in trouble as a search party was out looking for him. Razor was also captured by the Germans but he managed to escape. We do not know too much of this but in his personal items there were three sets of dog tags which the Germans issued to American prisoners of war. He was bayoneted twice once in the side and once in his arm. He had shrapnel in his body and eventually lost eye at the end of the war in combat. His grandson asked, “him how many Germans had he killed?” he replied. “They were pretty good with their bayonets so I had to use mine and my rifle, so quite a few.”
His coffin was carried by the next generation of the Armed Forces, learners from The Military Preparation College of Training.
Stephen – Royal Engineers
Stephen served in the Royal Engineers from 04/07/1951 as career soldier and he served in the Korean War and Japan. Stephen was demobbed 01/01/1957. After he left the regular Army he was a reservist and was called up to serve again during the Suez Crisis in 1959. He finally left the reserves in 03/07/67 and served a total of 16 years. He was responsible for destroying allied fortifications and installations when the conflicts were over so they could not be utilized against the allied occupation forces. Stephen was also an Army Boxing Champion his campaign medals and boxing medals were displayed on his coffin.