When news happens, text LT and your photos and videos to 80360. Or contact us by email or phone.
Barnoldswick school honours its bomb hero
A BARNOLDSWICK high school is appealing for more information about a former pupil who was hailed a hero for his efforts to defuse a bomb in London in 1983.
West Craven High Technology College is recognising the achievements of past pupils as part of the school’s 70th anniversary celebrations this weekend.
And one former pupil in particular, Michael Rowlay, went on to become a famous bomb disposal expert.
His exploits were honoured by the Lord Mayor of London after he played a leading part in the defusing of a Second World War bomb that brought the capital to a standstill in 1983.
Mr Rowlay, who was 26 at the time, was called in when a 112lb bomb was dragged up from the River Thames.
Even after 40 years, the bomb was considered dangerous and capable of blowing up large parts of the centre of London.
Retired teacher Steve Brierley, who is a keen collector of military memorabilia, made the discovery when he recently bought a scrapbook about Michael Rowlay on Todmorden Market.
He said: “I found this table that had Royal Engineers manuals and the man running it had another bag full of stuff.
“In there was this scrapbook that caught my attention. It contained a lot of press cuttings about Mr Rowlay.
“He and Major Quinn were responsible for defusing this bomb that literally brought London to a halt in 1983.
“It’s a fascinating story in its own right and he was quite a celebrity for a while.”
Teacher Julie Grimshaw, organiser of West Craven’s 70th anniversary celebrations, said: "We’re very proud to be associated with Mr Rowlay, but it would be interesting to know more about what happened to him after that event.”
The Corps of Royal Engineers, Bomb Disposal – EOD, confirmed that Staff Sergeant Michael Rowlay died on December 1, 2010, at the age of 54.
Information and artefacts relating to his life as well as those of other pupils will be on display at West Craven this Saturday from 11am to 4pm.