Flying Officer Bert Charles HOWARD

Service No: 423536
Born: Newtown NSW, 5 November 1921
Enlisted in the RAAF: 14 July 1942
Unit: No. 463 Squadron, RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations: (No. 463 Squadron Lancaster aircraft NE133), Germany, 4 November 1944, Aged 22 Years
Buried: Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Kleve, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Albert and Elizabeth Howard, of Earlwood, New South Wales, Australia
Roll of Honour: Earlwood NSW
Remembered: Panel 109, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Bomber Command showed more interest in the proposal to attack the heavily used internal waterway system of Germany, especially the Dortmund-Ems canal which linked with the Mitteland canal to provide a direct passage from the Ruhr to central and eastern Germany. The Dortmund-Ems canal had already been breached on 23rd-24th September but had been repaired when, on 4th-5th November, Nos. 463 and 467 each dispatched 12 Lancasters in a force of 168 to bomb the canal near Ladbergen. Enemy fighters were active and Flying Officer George (1) of No. 467 had his Lancaster damaged and his bomb aimer blinded before reaching the target, but he bombed successfully only to suffer two more attacks from enemy fighters on the return flight. Photographic reconnaissance proved that a large breach had been made in the western (main) arm of the canal and that a large section of embankment of the eastern (by-pass) arm had also been destroyed. This attack rendered both arms impassable to traffic and thus created a complete blockage between the Ruhr and the North Sea and between the Ruhr and the Mitteland canal.

(1) Flying Officer Stanley Vernon George DFC (412944) was discharged from the RAAF on 26 April 1946.

Extract from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Over Europe 1944-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1963 – Pages 311-2

Lancaster NE133 took off from RAF Waddington at 1743 hours on the night of 4/5th November 1944 to bomb the Dortmund-Ems Canal at Ladbergen. The bomb load was 14 x 1000lb (pound) (450 kg) bombs. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. It was later established that the aircraft crashed about 3 kms north east of Recke. All the crew members were killed.

The crew members of NE133 were:

Flight Sergeant Reginald Harold Battye (442415) (Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Arthur David Fryer (430750) (Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Ronald Norman Hall (432181) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Flying Officer Bert Charles Howard (423536) (Bomb Aimer)
Sergeant Robert William Jones (1694037) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Warrant Officer Allan Richard MacKenzie (423797) (Navigator)
Flying Officer Kevin William Reilly (424799) (Pilot)


Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records (RAAF Casualty Information compiled by Alan Storr (409804))
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/18/517