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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.
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RAF Crest No 31 Operational Training Unit Hudson AM773 F/O. Howard-Bangs

Operation: Anti-submarine Patrol

Date: 18/19th April 1943 (Sunday/Monday)

Unit: No. 31 Operational Training Unit

Type: Hudson

Serial: AM773

Code: Not known

Base: Debert, Canada

Location: Exact location not known

Pilot: F/O. Jeffrey Howard-Bangs 49980 RAF Age 20. Missing - believed killed

Obs: Sgt. Philip Maxwell Burns 421242 RAAF Age 19. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Arnold Longstaff 645930 RAF Age 23. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. John Archibald Gillis R/104470 RCAF Age ? Missing - believed killed


Hudson AM773 took off on an anti-submarine patrol. Nothing was heard from the aircraft and it failed to return to base.

Due to the very rocky terrain in the area many pilots decided to try and ditch in the sea, but the treacherous tides (listed as the highest in the world) and low water temperatures made this an extremely hazardous course of action. Very few successful ditching are recorded in the area.

After a period spanning several weeks, two of the crews bodies were washed up - the other two are recorded as missing.

Burial details:

F/O. Jeffrey Howard-Bangs. Ottawa Memorial Panel 2. Column 2. Son of Horace and Yolande Howard-Bangs, of Guildford, Surrey, England.

Sgt. Philip Maxwell Burns. Truro Cemetery (Terrace Hill), Nova Scotia. Plot 381. Grave 1. Born on the 20th November 1923 at Mosman New South Wales, the son of Arthur Mostyn Burns and Rita Winifred Burns, of Kogarah, New South Wales, Australia.

Sgt. Arnold Longstaff. Middleton Old Holy Trinity Cemetery, Nova Scotia. Sec.1. Grave 8. Born on the 13th October 1919 the son of John William and Edith Longstaff, of Fenham, Newcastle-on-Tyne, England.

Sgt. John Archibald Gillis. Ottawa Memorial Panel 2. Column 5. From Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada. No further information - are you able to assist?

Researched for Aircrew Remembered by Linda Ibrom - May 2017. With thanks to John Langstaff, brother of Arnold for photographs and information. For further details our thanks to the following sources:

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Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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Last Modified: 23 March 2021, 20:56

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