Gerald was born on the 12th December 1918 at Willaura, Victoria.
He enlisted on the 7th December 1940 and started with 123 Squadron RAF in the UK in January 1942 flying Supermarine Spitfires. When the Squadron was shipped to Egypt in April 1942, he was posted instead to 54 Squadron RAF, and then left with them for Australia in mid 1942. He left the Squadron in November 1942 at the end of his tour, and was posted to 452 Squadron for another tour in 1943. He completed that tour in December 1943, and never flew again in operations.
The photo, courtesy of AWM, was taken at Strauss in the Northern Territory in June 1943. Members of No. 452 Squadron completing office paperwork outdoors. Front: Pilot Officer Cowell; Flight Sergeant Harvey of Victoria and Flying Officer Bertie Watkins of Queensland. At the rear is Flying Officer Pollard.
The Aircraft Log for A58-108 contains the following information: Operational Loss when 10:30 hrs on the 28th June 1943, as Blue 4 of Blue Flight proceeded to climb north of Cape Gambier (Web master: This is on the southern tip of Tiwi Island, which is north of Darwin) to intercept enemy aircraft plot. The flight then turned on a reciprocal course when at 18,000 feet, the pilot noticed glycol smoke emitting from his starboard exhaust. He cut his switches and turned off his fuel supply and made a forced landing on the beach between Gun Point and Tree Point. The Pilot, F/O G.J. Cowell was not injured, and was picked up by Boat at 17:00hrs on the same day.
Updated Vince Conant
The Spitfire Association