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Archive Report: Allied Forces

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arthur howarth
27.10.1942 No. 10 O.T.U. Whitley V Z6959 Sgt. Howarth loss

Operation: Anti-Submarine Patrol

Date: 27th October 1942 (Tuesday)

Unit: No. 10 O.T.U.

Type: Whitley V

Serial: Z6959

Base: R.A.F. St. Eval, Cornwall / Abingdon

Location: 1 mile east of St. Erme, Cornwall

Pilot: Sgt. (Vic) Arthur Vincent Howarth 1215278 R.A.F.V.R. Age ? Killed

Obs: Sgt. Gerald Bagshaw 1383102 R.A.F.V.R. Age 30. Survived (1)

Obs: Sgt. Leslie Harris 1335461 R.A.F.V.R. Age 26. Survived (2)

Air/Gnr: Not known as yet. Survived

Air/Gnr: Not known as yet. Survived

(If anyone can provide further information on this crew, we would be grateful)


Due to lack of aircraft within Coastal Command this unit amongst others were sent on detachment to assist with their anti-submarine patrols. These detachments remained with Coastal Command from 4th August 1942 until 23rd July 1943.

Took off at 17.20 hrs on anti-submarine patrol.

During the patrol the crew became concerned as to the high oil consumption and the pilot decided to return to St. Eval. Shortly after this a fire broke out and although the blaze was put out, problems increased when one of the engines suffered a bearing failure, a connecting rod broke through the crankcase.

The pilot continued flying the aircraft and on reaching the coast ordered the crew to bail out.

Sgt. Howarth, after all the crew had left the aircraft, decided to try and force land the Whitley, but sadly he lost control and the aircraft crashed at 19.20 hrs killing him. The remainder of the crew all survived. Sgt. Leslie Harris fractured his ankle during the landing. Being treated at the Atlantic hospital, Newquay for his injury he also returned to service. (see below)


              Understood to be the crew of this aircraft (courtesy Leslie Harris)


             Airfield and Memorial to crews lost at R.A.F. St Eval, Cornwall

(1) Sgt. Gerald Bagshaw returned to operations very quickly. Sadly, just a month later on Monday, 30th November 1942, he was lost piloting a Whitley V AD691 on an anti submarine patrol. All 6 crew missing.

(2) Sgt. Leslie Harris also returned to operations. He was killed during an operation to Cologne, whilst flying with 76 Squadron on Halifax V DK137 MP-R. Shot down by a night fighter with all the crew of 7 killed. "Link"


Above left: Leslie on right with colleague, whilst serving with the railways - a protected service. 
(He had no need to volunteer for the R.A.F.V.R!) Also shown is the cover of the book. "Link"

Burial details:

Sgt. Arthur Vincent Howarth. Birmingham (Witton) Cemetery. Sec 93. Grave 53978

No further details.

(1) Sgt. Gerald Bagshaw. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 77. Son of Alfred E. and Edith Bagshaw, husband of Joan Bagshaw, of East Barnet, Hertfordshire, England.


             Sgt. Leslie Harris (courtesy of his son, see credits)

(2) Sgt. Leslie Harris. Heverlee War Cemetery. Collective Grave 6.D.1-20. Son of William and Dorothea Irene Grace Harris, husband of Mary Sarah Monica Harris, of Milton Regis, Sittingbourne, Kent, England.

The son of Sgt Harris wrote a book on his fathers life. "From Railway to Runway". We understand that copies are still available from here "Link" 

Researched for the son of Fl/Sgt. Leslie Harris and dedicated to all relatives of the crew. With thanks to information supplied by Leslie Harris - "From Railway to Runway", Bill Chorley - "Bomber Command Losses Vol. 7", Commonwealth Graves Commission.

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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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