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Hedley Nevile (Bill) Fowler (1916–1944)

Hedley Fowler, c.1943

Hedley Fowler, c.1943

Imperial War Museums, CH 11864

One of the few Air Force officers to receive a military decoration, Squadron-Leader Hedley Neville Fowler, M.C. who was educated at St. Mark's College, Adelaide University, has been killed in England while acting as a test pilot in the RAF.

Squadron-Leader Fowler was awarded his Military Cross for operations veiled in secrecy until after the war. He was a fighter pilot in the battle for France when he was shot down in May, 1940.

He and the late Flying-Officer Leslie Redford Clisby, of Prospect, were inseparable companions at an air gunnery school in East Anglia, and became known as "The Diggers." Clisby, flying on a different part of the front, was shot down the same day as Fowler and was killed.

Fowler served in the Australian Militia in 1935 and the following year became an air cadet in the RAAF. In 1937 he was commissioned in the R.A.F., and reached his present rank last year.

Original publication

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Fowler, Hedley Nevile (Bill) (1916–1944)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 19 July 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Hedley Fowler, c.1943

Hedley Fowler, c.1943

Imperial War Museums, CH 11864

Life Summary [details]


8 June, 1916
London, Middlesex, England


26 March, 1944 (aged 27)
Dorset, England

Cause of Death

air crash

Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.

Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.

Military Service