Lancelot Nelson Rowbotham, known as Nelson, was born in Ropsley in 1916, the only son of William Thomas Rowbotham a miller in Ropsley, Lincolnshire and Louisa Bates. He had 2 sisters, Margaret born 1919 and Dorothy born 1927. He was educated at King’s School, Grantham.
By 1939 the whole family had left Ropsley when his father retired and were living on Carter Avenue, Radcliffe on Trent and Nelson married Joan Mary Thompson in November 1940.
He enlisted early in the war and after aircrew training in Liverpool he was posted to 82 Squadron (Bleinheims) as a Sergeant, wireless operator and air gunner, Service number 936384. Initially 82 Squadron was concerned with targets in the English Channel where they suffered considerable losses of aircraft and crew.
A detachment was sent to Malta in May 1941, with the rest of the Squadron following in June. It flew against enemy shipping and ports into July, but extremely heavy losses lead to it being withdrawn back to the UK at the end of the month, being replaced by 110 Squadron.
It appears Nelson had only arrived in Malta on 18th June 1941, and on the 19th four Blenheims were sent to attack an enemy merchant ship, his aircraft was shot down over the sea with a loss of all the crew, Sergeant John Harrison, pilot, Sergeant Leslie Macdonald and Nelson. The crew were not found; he is Commemorated in Malta and Ropsley.