Victor S Lowden DSC, businessman and war hero; born September 13, 1923, died June 13, 1998

Victor Lowden, who was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for gallantry after leading the last air attack against the Japanese during the second world war, has died aged 74. His war record is remarkable enough, but he followed it with a highly successful business career.

On the day the Japanese surrendered in August 1945, Lowden, a sub-lieutenant in the Fleet Air Arm, led a flight of seven Seafire fighters and six Avenger bombers on a raid on Tokyo bay.

The Japanese put up a fierce resistance and more than a dozen enemy fighters intercepted Lowden's command. In the ensuing dog-fight the Japanese lost 10 planes for the loss of only one Avenger.

Lowden and his men emerged from the last aerial combat of the war largely unscathed but disaster was only narrowly averted when, on their return

to HMS Indefatigable, they

were fired on by an American squadron.

Frantic radio messages finally got through to the Americans and when he returned to his carrier, Victor learned that peace had been declared and that he had almost been killed by his own side just 20 minutes before the end of the war.

Lowden's parents, James and Jean, learned of his DSC while still captive in a Japanese prisoner of war camp in Thailand. They were thrilled to learn that their son was still alive but kept quiet about their association with him for fear of reprisals.

Lowden's family enjoyed a comfortable existence in Siam, as it was then, where his father was a successful accountant. The Japanese invaded while Lowden was being educated in Britain. After leaving Strath-

allan school in Perthshire, he went to St John's College in Cambridge where he took an honours degree in economics, accelerated over two years to allow him to join up with the Fleet Air Arm.

His mother Jean was a redoubtable woman who, in anticipation of arrest by the Japanese, hid the family silver in the ornamental lake of their home. When her captors arrived to seize the Scots couple, she calmly asked if they might be allowed to finish their game of table tennis.

On demobilisation, Lowden returned to Scotland and became a graduate trainee at Low and Bonar, the Dundee-based textile and electronics group. In the early part of his career he was involved in exporting and developing subsidiaries in Africa.

He eventually rose to become the chief executive of the company's textile division with responsibility for all UK and overseas textile units.

A former chairman of the Dundee Jute and Linen Merchants' Association, he retired from Low and Bonar in 1980.

Lowden enjoyed an active retirement and served as chairman of the Ninewells Body Scanner appeal which raised a significant sum to purchase the hospital's first body scanner.

A sports enthusiast, he was a founder of the Forthill Sports Club, of which he became president, and was a keen golfer.

He enjoyed a long association with Panmure Rugby club and was a past captain of Blairgowrie Golf Club.

He enjoyed his role as a grandfather and is remembered for his brilliance as a scholar and his generosity to others.

In latter years he did not enjoy good health but never complained, and was admitted to Ninewells Hospital shortly before his death.

He is survived by his wife Helen, his children Graham and Carole, and three grandchildren.