Michael Rowan, Peter Eccelston & John AtkinsonPrint Page Print this page

Photographs supplied by Heather Saunders

The plaque commemorates Michael Rowan and Peter Eccelston, members of the Royal Australian Air Force, and John Atkinson from the Royal Navy who lost their lives by drowning in April 1952.

Rowan and Eccelston other members of No. 2 Airfield Construction Squadron tried to rescue Atkinson and four men from the Royal Navy, Royal Marines and Royal Engineers.

As part of the cargo on TAA's Skymaster to Perth recently was a bronze plaque addressed to the Commanding Officer, No. 2 Air-field Construction Squadron, Cocos Island. The plaque will be affixed to a memorial erected by members of No. 2 Airfield Construction Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force, in memory of two members of the Squadron and an Able Seaman of the Royal Navy who lost their lives by drowning just near Cocos Island on Sunday, 6th April, 1952. The plaque is in memory of the heroic attempt by these two air men to rescue members of a Royal Navy party who were in danger of drowning. 
Centralian Advocate (Alice Springs, NT),  22 August 1952.

The Surf Life-Saving Association of Australia will honour R.A.A.F. men who took part in sea rescue attempts at Cocos Island last year, at a dinner on November 7. The men went to the rescue of five English servicemen who were in extreme danger of being drowned in rough seas on April 6, 1952. Cpl. R. M. Stewart, of Wilston, Brisbane (now stationed at Amberley) will receive the association's Meritorious Award in silver. He has already been awarded the George Medal. Sgt. J. D. Kelly, of Mosman Park, Perth (now stationed at Williamtown) will receive the association's Certificate of Merit. He was previously awarded the B.E.M. Certificates of Merit will be handed to the parents of two R.A.A.F men who lost their lives in the rescue, L.A.C. P. J. Eccleston, of Temora (N.S.W.) and L.A.C. M. P. Rowan, of Bondi Junction.
Mercury (Hobart),  29 October 1953.


Address:Sydney Highway & Clunies-Ross Avenue, West Island, Administration Centre, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, 6799
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -12.188333
Long: 96.829511
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:People
Actual Event Start Date:06-April-1952
Actual Event End Date:06-April-1952


Approx. Monument Dedication Date:1952
Front Inscription

Erected By Members Of 
No.2 Airfield Construction Squadron 
Royal Australian Air Force
In Memory Of 

Michael Paul Rowan      Leading Aircraftman R.A.A.F.
Peter James Eccelston  Aircraftman R.A.A.F.

John Emery Atkinson    Able Seaman R.N.

The airmen lost their lives in an heroic attempt by members of 2 A. C. S. to rescue Atkinson and four members of Royal Navy, Royal Marines and Royal Engineers who were in danger of drowning beyond the reef off this point on Sunday 6 April 1952.

Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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