LEST WE FORGET

Flying Officer James Leonard HOWATSON

Service No: 435216
Born: Brisbane QLD, 19 September 1920
Enlisted in the RAAF: 1 April 1943
Unit: No. 547 Squadron (RAF), RAF Station Leuchars
Died: Air Operations: (No. 547 Squadron Liberator aircraft KK299), Kattegat area, 5 May 1945, Aged 24 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Frederick John and Eva Howatson, of Mount Gravatt, Queensland, Australia
Roll of Honour: Brisbane QLD
Remembered: Panel 283, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey UK
Remembered: Panel 124, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

At 0900 hours on 5 May 1945 Liberator KK299 Leuchars to carry out an anti-submarine patrol in the Kattegat area. The aircraft was due to return by 1920 hours, but by this time the crew of Liberator “G” of No. 86 Squadron RAF reported having seen another Liberator shot down in position 56.45N 001.52E at 1335 hours after having carried out 2 or 3 successful attacks on 2 or 3 surfaced U boats. It was later confirmed by the Captain of Liberator G that the aircraft he saw being shot down bore the markings ‘2V’ ‘E’, which were the markings being carried by KK299. One survivor was seen to be picked up by a lightship and appeared to be unhurt, but this subsequently turned out to be a German survivor. It was later established that two bodies were washed ashore and it was concluded that the other 9 missing crew members were lost at sea.

The crew members of KK299 were:

Flight Lieutenant Reginald James Allen (113901) (RAFVR) (Navigator/Bomb Aimer) Remains recovered
Warrant Officer Arthur John Dale (1167418) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator/Air) Remains recovered
Flight Sergeant William Anselm Devins (1387869) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator/Air)
Flight Lieutenant George William Hill (133628) (RAFVR) (Pilot)
Flying Officer James Leonard Howatson (435216) (Second Pilot)
Flight Sergeant Charles Ashton Keown (R/290316) (RCAF) (Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Robert James McLean (R/273645) (RCAF) (Air Gunner)
Pilot Officer Harold Parks (195949) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator/Air)
Sergeant Patrick Dominic Phelan (1895715) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Flying Officer Vincent Daniel Sweeney (J/44294) (RCAF) (Navigator/Bomb Aimer)
Sergeant Albert Edward Tyrer (1457562) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator/Air)

References:

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 Veterans’ Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/18/736

Bibliography:

Jay, Alwyn, Endurance; Coastal Command Liberator Operations 1941-5, Banner Books, Maryborough QLD, 4650, 1996