AR banner
search tips advanced search

Info LogoAdd to or correct this story with a few clicks.
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.


We seek additional information and photographs. Please contact us via the AddInfo button, or send us email from the Helpdesk.
76 Squadron Crest
03/04.04.1943 No. 76 Squadron Halifax II W7805 MP-M Sgt. John Howarth

Operation: Essen

Date: 03/04.04.1943 (Saturday/Sunday)

Unit: No. 76 Squadron

Type: Halifax II

Serial: W7805

Code: MP-M

Base: RAF Linton-on-Ouse, Yorkshire

Location: Hervest, Near Dorsten, Germany

Pilot: Sgt. John Kershaw Howarth 655475 RAF Age ? Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. William Charles Pitt 1192387 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Nav: Sgt. G.A. Egan RAFVR PoW No: 1010 Camp: L6 - Stalag Luft Heydekrug, Lithuania.

Air/Bmr: Sgt. J.W.S. Blakey RAFVR PoW No: 1000 Camp: 357 - Stalag Kopernikus, Poland.

W/Op/Air/Gnr: F/O. Percy William Digby 49686 R.A.F. Age 22. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Frederick George Williams 1304115 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. H.N. Richards RCAF PoW No: 1035 Camp: 357 - Stalag Kopernikus, Poland.

REASON FOR LOSS:

Taking off at 19:26 hrs from RAF Linton-on-Ouse, Yorkshire to bomb Essen. 225 Lancasters with 113 Halifaxes led by 10 ‘Oboe’ Mosquitoes. Bombing took place between 21:44 - 22:22 hrs on a cloudless night in moderate visibility.


Above: 76 Squadron Halifax W7805 at R.A.F. Linton-on-Ouse, Yorkshire (courtesy I.W.M.)

Aerial photographs of Essen - 1943 and 1945 (courtesy I.W.M.)

Reports state that the bombing was accurate with widespread damage to the city. 635 buildings were destroyed, a further 526 suffering serious damage. 118 people were killed, 88 civilians, 10 flak gunners, 2 railway workers, 2 policemen and 16 French workers with a further 458 people injured.

Bomber Command lost some 24 aircraft with 137 aircrew killed, 24 taken pow with 7 others injured either during the operation or on return.

It is thought probable that Halifax W7805 was hit by a flak unit with the aircraft coming down at Hervest, near Dorsten.

Left: Grave photo of Sgt. Freddie Williams (courtesy Christine Lockley)

Burial details:

Sgt. John Kershaw Howarth. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 17.C.5. Next of kin details currently not available - are you able to assist completion of these and any other information?

Sgt. William Charles Pitt. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 17.C.6. Next of kin details currently not available - are you able to assist completion of these and any other information?

F/O. Percy William Digby. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 17.C.4. Son of Frank and Florence Rose Digby, and stepson of Alice Louisa Digby, of Croydon, Surrey, England.

Sgt. Frederick George Williams. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 17.C.7. Son of Frederick and Annie Williams, of Chadwell Heath, Essex, England.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Christine Lockley for photograph of grave of Sgt. William a relative, Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vol's. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vol's. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Tom Kracker - 'Kracker Luftwaffe Archives'. Aircrew Remembered own Archives.

Acknowledgements: 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 and Fred Paradie - Paradie Archive (both on this site), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
Click any image to enlarge it
Links in this story were correct at the time of writing, but can change.
Please tell us via Helpdesk of any that no longer work.

Do you have more information or corrections to this story? Use our AddInfo facility

Readers Interested In Further Reading:
More personal histories and associated material
Show Research Material

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning we will remember them. - Laurence Binyon
All site material (except as noted elsewhere) is owned or managed by Aircrew Remembered and should not be used without prior permission.
© Aircrew Remembered 2012 - 2017
Last Modified: 07 June 2016, 07:18

Monitor Additions/Changes?Click to be informed of changes to this page. Create account for first monitor only, thereafter very fast. Click to close without creating monitor