Rowland was the son of William Henry Dickson of Inverell NSW. At the age of twenty seven he enlisted at Rockhampton, Queensland, on 9 February 1918, stating he was a born at Tent Hill NSW and employed as a Labourer. He became a member of the Queensland Reinforcement 1 and left Australia on the ship RMS Osterley on 8 May 1918.
After arriving at Liverpool, England, on 10 July 1918, he was sent to the 41st Battalion at Forvant. At the beginning of October he transferred to the Machine Gun Corps at Parkhouse. Two weeks later Rowland became ill and was admitted to hospital with double pneumonia which claimed his life. Rowland was buried with full military honours at Tidworth Military Cemetery, North Tidworth, Wiltshire, England.