Sergeant James David Garrow, the son of Peter Garrow and Helena Ester Garrow, was born at Dalby in Queensland on 4th September 1920. He was educated at the Dalby State School where he passed the Scholarship examination and later attended the Toowoomba Grammar School during the years 1936/1937 where he obtained the Junior Public Certificate. Whilst a student at the Toowoomba Grammar School he served in the school cadet unit. He served for one year in the Citizens Military Forces as a Lewis Gunner with the 61st Battalion Queensland Cameron Highlanders. He applied for aircrew training in the Royal Australian Air Force on 2nd January 1940. He was enrolled in the Reserve of the R.A.A.F. on 13th May 1940 after swearing an oath of affirmation. At the age of 20 years he was enlisted into the Citizen Air Force of the R.A.A.F. on 13th September 1940 at No. 3 Recruiting Centre in Brisbane after giving an undertaking that he would serve for the duration of the war and an additional twelve months. He was allotted the service number of 404529. At the time of his enlistment he was employed as a Clerk in his brother’s dry cleaning establishment in Brisbane. His physical description at the time of his enlistment was that he was 5 feet 4 inches in height and weighed 124 pounds. He had a dark complexion, brown eyes and brown hair. He stated that he was of the Presbyterian religion. He gave his next of kin as his brother, Mr A.H. Garrow, c/- Garrows, Queen Street, Brisbane.
Sergeant James Garrow joined No. 2 Initial Training School at Bradfield Park, Sydney, New South Wales on 16th September 1940 where potential aircrew learnt the basics of Air Force life. After completing his course of training he joined No. 2 Embarkation Depot at Bradfield Park in Sydney on 7th December 1940 to prepare for further training overseas in Canada under the Empire Training Scheme. He embarked by sea transport for overseas service on attachment to the Canadian Air Force from Sydney on 28th December 1940. After his arrival in Canada he joined No. 2 Air Observer School at Edmonton in Alberta on 23rd January 1941 where he was instructed in basic navigation techniques on Avro Anson aircraft. He then proceeded to No. 2 Bombing & Gunnery School at Mossbank in Saskatchewan on 13th April 1941 where he received instruction in the techniques of bomb aiming and aerial machine gunnery. He joined No. 1 Air Navigation School at Rivers in Manitoba on 26th May 1941 and was promoted to the rank of Temporary Sergeant.
Sergeant James Garrow left No. 1 (M) Depot at Toronto in Ontario, Canada on 29th June 1941 and embarked for England on attachment to the Royal Air Force. He disembarked from the ship in England on 28th July 1941 and on the following day he joined No. 3 Personnel Despatch and Reception Centre at Bournemouth. He was transferred to No. 22 Operational Training Unit at Royal Air Force Station Wellesbourne Mountford on 4th August 1941 where training for bomber crews was conducted using Vickers Wellington aircraft. He joined No. 405 (Royal Canadian Air Force) Squadron at Royal Air Force Station Pocklington on 28th October 1941 for operational duty.
Sergeant James Garrow was the Air Observer (Navigator) and crew member of a 405 Squadron Wellington Bomber W.5589 that crashed at Strensall in Yorkshire, England, at 1015 hours on 5th January 1942 resulting in the death of all five crew members. At the time of his death James Garrow was 21 years of age. The aircraft crashed whilst attempting to make a forced landing necessitated by engine trouble. His funeral was held at 1430 hours on 7th January 1942 at the Barmby-On-The-Moor (St. Catherine) Churchyard, Yorkshire, England. His widowed mother, Mrs H.E. Garrow, c/- D. Garrow, Commonwealth Bank, Stanthorpe was advised of his death on 9th January 1942. A Court of Inquiry into the circumstances of the accident involving Wellington Aircraft W5589 which resulted in the death of Sergeant Garrow was held and the cause of the accident, in the opinion of the Court, was due to the port engine catching fire in the air, necessitating a forced landing. The aircraft crashed on landing due to bad visibility caused by a snow storm or due to damage by fire to the aircraft rendering it uncontrollable.
Sergeant James Garrow’s name is commemorated on panel No. 133 at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and locally on the Toowoomba Grammar School WW2 Honour Board.
The following newspaper report was published in the Warwick Daily News on Wednesday 14th January 1942:
Brisbane, Tuesday. – The British Air Board has advised that Sergeant James David Garrow, of Brisbane, was killed in an air accident in England on January 5. He was the youngest son of the late Mr Peter Garrow, former Mayor of Dalby. He is survived by his mother, Mrs Helen Garrow, of Ascot, Brisbane, and two brothers, Messsrs Alexander Garrow, of Brisbane, and Donald Garrow, of Stanthorpe. Sergeant Garrow attended the Toowoomba Boys’ Grammar School and joined the Royal Australian Air Force in October 1940. After completing his training in Canada where he graduated as an Air Observer, he was sent to England last year and was on service with Bomber Command.
Toowoomba Grammar School archive records show that he enrolled as a boarder on 29th January 1936 and that he left the School on 3rd December 1937. His parent was shown as Mrs H.E. Garrow, Dalby.
The following was published in the Toowoomba Grammar School Magazine in June 1942:
Sergeant Pilot J.D. (Jim) Garrow was a boarder at the School in 1936-37. After passing the Junior, he went to Brisbane to seek his future in business. He was killed in an aircraft accident early in December last, at the age of 21. His was a happy nature, and many were his friends at school.