Roy Gowthorpe

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Roy Gowthorpe (b. Newcastle, South Africa, 15/11/1895 – d. Tobruk, Libya, 21/06/1942) was an actor and soldier.


Royle William Gowthorpe may not have been a professional actor, but he played the part of Houghton, Simon Macquart’s innocent associate, in the 1923 film version of H. De Vere Stacpoole’s novel The Reef of Stars, directed by Joseph Albrecht. His father was a chemist in Newcastle in Natal and Royle was educated at Michaelhouse. By 1915 he was an officer in the Royal Irish Regiment in Great Britain. He saw action during World War I and in 1918 Captain Gowthorpe was singled out for "conspicuous gallantry and dashing leadership of a company". That same year he married Sybil Lynch, the daughter of Sir John Patrick Lynch of Dublin. Around 1921 Royle returned to South Africa without Sybil and it was shortly afterwards that he appeared in The Reef of Stars with Harvey Braban, Dick Cruikshanks and Molly Adair. Then we lose track of him, though early in 1932 he was employed on the Roan Antelope Copper Mine in Ndola in what was then Northern Rhodesia and his death notice records that in civilian life he was a weighbridge clerk at Hulett's Mill. In 1942, at the age of 47, Sergeant R.W. Gowthorpe went to serve in North Africa with the Umvoti Mounted Rifles. At first he was reported to be missing in action, but later it was established that he died while a prisoner-of-war. He is buried in the War Cemetery at Tobruk. (FO)

(Note: According to the National Archives of South Africa (NASA) he was survived by Sybil Lynch Gowthorpe, but according to the War Graves Photographic Project he was married to Hilda Gowthorpe.)


Le Roux, André I. & Fourie, Lilla – Filmverlede: geskiedenis van die Suid-Afrikaanse speelfilm

Pietermaritzburg Archives Repository

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