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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
18/19.04.1943 31 OTU Hudson V AM773 Fg Off. Jeffrey Howard-Bangs

Operation: Anti-submarine Patrol

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

Unit No: 31 Operational Training Unit (OTU)

Type: Hudson V

Serial: AM773

Code: Not known

Base: Debert, Canada

Location: Exact location not known

Pilot: Fg Off. Jeffrey Howard-Bangs 49980 RAF Age 20. MiA

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

WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. Arnold Longstaff 645930 RAF Age 23. KiA

WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. John Archibald Gillis R104470 RCAF Age 31 MiA

REASON FOR LOSS:

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, the bodies of Sgt. Burns and Sgt. Longstaff were washed up. Fg Off. Howard-Bangs and Sgt. Gillis remain Missing in Action (MiA).

Burial details:

Fg Off. 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.

Above Sgt. Longstaff Courtesy of John Longstaff

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 (née Lowes) Longstaff, of Fenham, Newcastle-on-Tyne, England.

Above: Sgt. Gillis from his Service Record

Sgt. John Archibald Gillis. Ottawa Memorial Panel 2. Column 5. Born on the 7th March 1912 in Beverly, Massachusetts, USA. Son of Simon and Catherine (née MacDonald) Gillis (His mother predeceased him) of Sydney, Nova Scotia. His brother Angus L. Gillis was listed as his Next of Kin.

Researched for Aircrew Remembered by Linda Ibrom (May 2017). With thanks to John Longstaff, brother of Arnold for photographs and information. Next of Kin details for Sgt Gillis updated by Aircrew Remembered (Nov 2022)

Other sources listed below:

RS 02.11.2022 - Update to NoK details for Sgt. Gillis

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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, 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', Stan D. Bishop, John A. Hey MBE, Gerrie Franken and Maco Cillessen - Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces, Vols 1-6, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiton - Nachtjagd Combat Archives, Vols 1-13. 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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