Flight Sergeant Rowan Burgess Sterling, the son of Leslie Sterling and Delia Mabel Sterling (nee Burgess), was born at Warwick in Queensland on 8th July 1924. He was educated at the Toowoomba Preparatory School and later attended the Toowoomba Grammar School.
Flight Sergeant Rowan Sterling was a member of the crew of a No. 27 Operational Training Unit Royal Air Force Wellington Bomber BJ 904 that crashed west of Church Broughton Airfield, Derbyshire, England, on 19th June 1944 whilst carrying out a non-operational flight. Rowan Sterling and two other members of the crew were killed and three injured. He was buried in the Oxford (Botley) Cemetery in the United Kingdom at 1200 hours on 23rd June 1944..
His photo and the following report were published in the local newspaper:
Flight Sergeant Sterling. Official information has been received of the death of Flight Sergeant Rowan Sterling, the only child of Mr Les Sterling of Toowoomba, and the late Mrs Sterling. He was a member of the crew of a Wellington bomber which crashed in England on June 19. The young airman was born at Warwick on July 8, 1924, and received his education at the East Toowoomba State School, the Church of England School for Boys, and the Toowoomba Grammar School. He had a brilliant scholastic career at the Grammar School, securing six ‘A’ passes at the Public Junior examination and five ‘A’ passes in the Senior examination. He was a member of the Grammar School Magazine Committee and contributed articles to that publication. In his last year at the Grammar School he won the Eric Partridge senior essay prize. Flight Sergeant Sterling joined the R.A.A.F. on January 1, 1943, after leaving the Grammar School, and commenced his training at Kingaroy. He arrived in England by way of America at the end of November 1943.
Toowoomba Grammar School archive records show that he enrolled as a day student on 30th January 1939 and he left the School on 27th November 1942. His parent was shown as Mr Leslie Sterling of Toowoomba. He attended East State School, then the Church of England School for Boys before obtaining six As in the Junior public examination in nine subjects at Toowoomba Grammar School. He also received five As in the Senior Examination. At School he was on the Library and School Magazine Committees and won the Eric Partridge Senior Essay Prize in 1942 and a General Merit Prize. A Rowan Sterling memorial prize for Junior Science was awarded at the Toowoomba Grammar School in 1945.