Tributes paid to the legendary Roy Bowles, “a pioneer in our industry”

The legendary Roy Bowles OBE, founder and chairman of Colnbrook-based air cargo specialist Roy Bowles Transport, died last month after a short illness at the age of 84.

Roy Bowles: "a legend in the industry, old school"

Roy Bowles: “a legend in the industry, old school”

Stephen Bowles has spoken of the “love and respect” felt for his father, who passed away 2 weeks ago, while tributes have been pouring in.

Roy was being treated in hospital for a chest infection which developed into pneumonia. “He was sharp ‘til the end,” Stephen said, “and I was by his side.”

On its website the company said:

“It is with the deepest regret that we have to announce that the death of our founder and life Chairman, Roy Bowles, after a short illness on 22nd Jan 2015. He was 84. His wife Mary, his children Julie and Stephen, his 3 granddaughters and his 3 great grandsons are devastated by the news.”

Roy Bowles was one of the pioneers of air freight haulage when he started moving cargo from Heathrow airport in his car in 1954. He sold the business in 1970 but got the name of the family firm back and started up again in 1975, running 250 vehicles at the company’s peak from its base in Galleymead Road, Colnbrook.

He officially retired in 1997 but Stephen said he still saw the management accounts and got involved in any major contract negotiations. “He was a fantastic sounding board,” he added.

This week his son Stephen described him as a ‘true pioneer of aviation in the air cargo sector of Heathrow’, saying:

His operational innovations and willingness to adapt to the specific need of aviation led to the way air cargo is moved today.

“Whether meeting royalty, government ministers, top airline executives, high court judges or lorry drivers he talked to them with the same easy going knowledgeable manner. He was loved and respected by all that he

That sentiment is borne out by the tributes paid to Roy on the company’s Facebook page where he was referred to as “a pioneer in our industry”, “a true gentleman”, “inspirational” and “one of the original LHR family”.


The company has been run by Stephen and his sister Julie since Roy’s retirement.

Roy Bowles was a magistrate, a former chairman of the Road Haulage Association, and a prominent member of the Ascot Rotary Club and a recipient of an OBE.

The funeral will  be held on February 17 at 2pm at St Michael and All Angels Church, Sunninghill. The very close family will attend a private cremation in the morning. In the afternoon there will be a Service of Thanksgiving.  Those attending should email or ring the office on 0753 688600 if you are going to attend the service.  Condolences can also be left via the above email address or on the company Facebook page.

The family have asked that you do not wear black if it can be helped, “just wear whatever makes you feel comfortable and warm, but be colourful”.

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