Flight Sergeant William John HOWISS

Service No: 418842
Born: Horsham VIC, 28 August 1916
Enlisted in the RAAF:
Unit: No. 460 Squadron, RAF Binbrook, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations: (No. 460 Squadron Lancaster aircraft JB 742), Germany, 25 February 1944, Aged 27 Years
Buried: Durnbach War Cemetery, Bad Tolz, Bayern, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Stephen and Mary Howiss; husband of Margaret Jean Howiss, of East Brighton, Victoria, Australia.
Roll of Honour: Brighton VIC
Remembered: Panel 107, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Brother of Sergeant Gordon Stewart Howiss (400202) Killed on Air Operations: 26 January 1942

Date: 25-26 February 1944
Target: Augsburg
Total Force: Dispatched – 594, Attacking – 528
RAAF Force: No. 460 Dispatched – 17, Attacking – 15; No. 463 Dispatched – 13, Attacking – 12; No. 466 Dispatched – 9, Attacking – 8; No. 467 Dispatched – 12, Attacking – 12
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 1,726
Total Aircraft Lost: 21
RAAF Aircraft Lost: No. 460 – 1; No. 463 – 1; No. 467 – 1

Bomber Command achieved a very notable success at Augsburg on 25th-26th February. Again this raid followed immediately upon a heavy American daylight attack, and as at Schweinfurt the force was split into two halves. The RAAF Lancasters were in the first wave which flew southwards across France before turning east towards the target. Only a few fighters were encountered although many were airborne searching for the bomber stream. In cloudless weather the Australians were able to identify the river and other landmarks in relation to the Pathfinder flares and carefully dropped their incendiaries into the heart of the city. The second force including No. 466 met very few fighters which were presumably back at their bases refuelling at the critical time. From Saarbrucken the Halifaxes were guided by the tremendous fires raging in Augsburg and simply flew on to drop their loads into the heart of the conflagration and to secure excellent night photographs. Over 60 per cent of Augsburg was devastated in this one raid and nearly all the MAN factory complex (the largest single producer of marine diesel engines) was damaged. Almost as badly affected was the works of Martin Schmittner, manufacturers of aircraft components.

Extract from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Against Germany and Italy 1939-1943, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1954 – Pages 660-1

Lancaster JB742 took off from RAF Binbrook at 2129 hours on 25 February 1944 to bomb Augsburg, Germany. Bomb load 1 x 4000 lb (pound) (1,800 kg), 5 x 1000 lb (450 kg) bombs. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. Seventeen aircraft from the squadron took part in the raid.

The crew members of JB742 were:

Flight Sergeant William David Carlile (425120) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Peter William Bedford Gurdon (421861) (Bomb Aimer)
Flight Sergeant William John Howiss (418842) (Rear Gunner)
Pilot Officer Ronald Cecil Martin (420838) (Pilot)
Pilot Officer John Edward Strain (J/86763) (RCAF) (Navigator)
Sergeant Frederick Charles Willis (1204293) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Sergeant Frank Woodward (960435) (RAFVR) (Mid Upper Gunner)

No. 463 Squadron lost Lancaster DV274 (Pilot Officer Kevin Harold McKnight (415347) (Pilot)) on 25 February 1944.

No. 467 Squadron lost Lancaster LL746 (Pilot Officer Herbert Ronald Horton Stuchbury (415488) (Pilot)) on 26 February 1944.


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, 166/18/294

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