Poole, Dorset born centre half Tommy Rowe began his football career with Parkstone Institute in 1932 and joined Poole in 1933, from where he joined First Division Portsmouth, making his Football League debut at Blackburn Rovers on Christmas Day 1934. A fringe player initially, making only 6 appearances in his first three seasons at Fratton Park, he broke into the first team in September 1937 and was a regular until the outbreak of the Second World War, most notably he was part of Portsmouth’s victorious 1939 FA Cup winning side that beat Wolverhampton Wanderers 4-1 at Wembley. However his career was effectively ended by the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939, having made 92 appearances for Pompey.
At the outbreak of the War Rowe initially volunteered for the City of Portsmouth Police. He later joined the RAF and trained as a bomber pilot. He flew an incredible 39 successful bombing missions over Germany. During this time he rose to the position of Squadron Leader and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC). On his 40th bombing mission Rowe’s aircraft was shot down over Germany and he spent the last two years of the War as a Prisoner of War. When peace returned to Europe Rowe continued to serve with the RAF Volunteer Reserve, finally relinquishing his commission in August 1958. Meantime he joined Ayr United in 1945 where he finished his football career.
When Rowe died on 9th May 2006, aged 92, he was the last surviving member of Pompey’s Cup winning side.