Topic: Ian Stretton Lowman (1918-2002)

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Ian Lowman (NZ413204/132420) was a Second World War Spitfire fighter pilot with the RNZAF, RAF and RCAF. He was entitled to the 1939-45 Star, Aircrew Europe Medal, Defence Medal, Africa Star, Italy Star, War Medal 1939-45 and NZ War Service Medal. The medals were never issued. The following text comes from an unknown publication, perhaps a Presbyterian source.

Portrait of Ian LowmanAs a keenly private follower of his Presbyterian faith it came as no surprise to the family of Ian Lowman that he bequeathed the majority of his estate to Presbyterian Support Northern. Ian Lowman lived a life of adventure that included flying a Spitfire during World War II and travelling to Antarctica in the later part of his life.

Born in 1918 to farming parents about 50 km from Te Kuiti, Mr Lowman decided at a fairly young age he was not cut out to become a farmer himself.

Their rural location meant Mr Lowman's primary school years were spent in a small one teacher school and his secondary school had to be completed through the Government Correspondence School, as well as assisting with milking on the family farm during the depression of the thirties.

On matriculating (achieving university entrance) and being granted a Higher Leaving Certificate Mr Lowman took up a Government cadetship in the air force aircrew in Wellington in 1937, which also allowed him to attend university.

In early May 1941, with World War II in full swing, Mr Lowman received instruction to report to the Initial Training Wing at Levin for his initial six week instruction. He then went to Canada to further his flight training before being sent on to Britain in early 1942. While not involved in any active service during the war Mr Lowman served for more than two years in a number of Mediterranean countries.

During this time he kept his strong Christian belief visiting various churches wherever he was posted.

Mr Lowman's sister-in-law Norma Lowman says Ian strongly considered going into the Ministry after the war. She says Ian's father was of Anglican faith and his mother of Presbyterian faith and the family was very much a Christian family. ‘His faith was very central to his life but also a very private thing,' says Mrs Lowman.

After the war Mr Lowman worked in various government departments until his retirement. At one point he was even involved in writing reports and speeches for a New Zealand Prime Minister.


Mr Lowman never married and Mrs Lowman (his sister-in-law), says he always remained a very private person.  ‘Throughout his life he remained very involved in the church both in Wellington and in his retirement in Tauranga.'

It was during the later years of his life that Mr Lowman took to international travelling again. Mr Lowman visited every continent in the world at some stage during his life.

His decision to visit Antarctica by cruise ship well into his retirement was met with some scepticism, as a result of his age, noted Mr Lowman in his logbook of the trip. However the trip appeared to be a real adventure, heightened by Sir Edmund Hillary (inadvertently) being a travelling companion. When Mr Lowman died in 2002 he donated the majority of his estate to Presbyterian Support Northern.

The Ian Lowman legacy is a significant gift of kindness. Through this generosity, his love of life and adventure will be extended to many children and their families. It is a gift that will be used to further the work of Presbyterian Support Northern in making profound and lasting differences in people's lives. 


To read about his wartime experiences click here (eBook version here)

To download a copy of his flight log book, click here

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Ian Stretton Lowman (1918-2002)

Year:1918 and 2002
First Names:Ian Stretton
Last Name:Lowman
Date of Birth:28/04/1918
Date of death:11/09/2002
Place of burial:Pyes Pa Tauranga (R.S.A. section, Row 2 No 368)
Military Service:RNZAF Spitfire Pilot