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Harold Norman Howes

Harold Norman Howes

Male Abt 1916 - 1940  (~ 24 years)

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  • Name Harold Norman Howes  [1
    Harold Norman Howes
    Harold Norman Howes
    Born Abt Feb 1916  Medway RD, Kent Find all individuals with events at this location  [2
    Gender Male 
    Honour 1940 
    Distinguished Flying Medal (DFM) 
    Service 1940 
    Pilot, Sergeant, 85 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve 
    Service No. 1940  [1
    740896 
    Death Abt Nov 1940  Strood RD, Kent Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    Age: 24y 
    Name Harold N Howes  [2, 3
    Died 22 Dec 1940  Kent Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    • age 24
    Buried Abt 27 Dec 1940  St Margaret, Rainham, Kent Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • Row 43, Grave H
    Notes 
    • Following is the text from an exhibit at Shoreham Aircraft Museum, Shoreham, Kent (with thanks to Bob Cumberbatch of the Cumberbatch One-Name Study for transcribing it for us)

      HAWKER HURRICANE
      85 Squadron RAF Gravesend
      Sunday 22nd December 1940
      Sergeant Pilot Harold Norman Howes
      Harold Howes of Gillingham in Kent, was with 85 Squadron during the Battle of France. On 20th May 1940, he was credited with the destruction of four Dornier Do17 ‘Flying Pencil’ bombers and damaged a fifth. He was shot down the same day by a Messerschmitt Me100 in Hurricane P2555 and crash-landed near Abbeville without injury. He later returned with the squadron back to England after the British withdrawal from France.
      On 18th August, Sergeant Howes destroyed two Me100 heavy-fighters and damaged a Do17. During the remainder of the month he scored several more successes against the Luftwaffe, before being poste to 605 Squadron at RAF Croydon in mid-September where he achieved further aerial victories. His success was recognised with the award of a Distinguished Flying Medal in October 1940.
      “During the period of intensive operations in France, Sergeant Howes destroyed four enemy aircraft. In August, 1940, he took part in attacks against large enemy formations. He personally destroyed two Messerschmitt 100’s and one Dornier 215, and severely damaged several others. Sergeant Howes has proved himself a brave and determined pilot.”
      In combat with Messerschmitt Me109’s on 1st December, he was shot down in Hurricane V6844 and made a forced-landing at RAF Gravesend without being injured. The following week Sgt Howes was posted back to 85 Squadron, but on 22nd December he apparently lost control of his aircraft and fatally crashed at Cuxton to the south-west of Rochester. He was aged 24 and laid to rest near his hometown in the churchyard of St. Margaret’s at Rainham.
      Sergeant Pilot Harold Howes proved to be an ‘ace’ pilot credited with 11 and 1 shared destroyed enemy aircraft with 2 probably destroyed and a further 5 damaged.
      The Shoreham Aircraft Museum investigated the crash-site at Forge Lane in Cuxton during 1991 and found relics seen displayed here. The Museum thanks Mr William Pye for affording the opportunity to excavate on his land.

      1940
      Qty
      [German] Plane
      Flying
      No.
      Where
      Sqn
      20 May
      4
      Do17s (a)
      Hurricane I
      NW Abbeville
      85 Sqn

      Do17 Damaged



      18 Aug
      2
      Bf110s

      E River Crouch


      Do17 Damaged



      26 Aug
      ?
      Do17

      Maidstone

      31 Aug
      Do17 Probable

      Biggin Hill area

      1 Sep
      Bf109E Damaged

      Biggin Hill


      Do17

      S Tunbridge Wells

      15 Sep
      Do17

      N2589
      15m E Dungeness
      605 Sqn

      Do17 Probable


      Thames Estuary

      12 Oct
      Bf109E

      V7540
      Dungeness Point

      1 Nov
      Bf109E Damaged

      P3583
      Eastchurch Area

      2 Nov
      Bf109E Damaged

      P5186
      Beachy Head area

      10 Nov
      Bf109E

      Thames Estuary

      15 Nov
      Bf109E

      V6844
      Isle of Sheppey

      TOTAL: 11 and 1 shared destroyed, 2 probables, 5 damaged
    • We are grateful to Tim Howes for finding this reference from the following website: http://www.cuxtonpc.kentparishes.gov.uk/UserFiles/file/Noticeboard1206 .pdf

      The 22 December 1940 entry in the Operations Record Book (RAF Form 540) for RAF Squadron 85 Gravesend reads;
      N/F. tests and local flying totalling 5 hrs, 50 mins. Sgt HOWES took-off at 17.45 hours on night patrol. The weather became bad and he was recalled. Hes (sic) failed to return and crashed at CUXFORD (sic) being killed instantaneously. The cause of the accident is obscure. It is thought he was either hit by A.A. fire or it was due to icing up. He is a great loss to the Squadron.

      Sgt HOWES was part of the RAF contingent of the British Expeditionary Force in France at the start of World War II and took part in the Battle of Britain becoming and Ace and being awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal.

      His citation in the London Gazette 25 October 1940 reads;
      740896 Sergeant Harold Norman HOWES, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. During the period of intensive operations in France, Sergeant Howes destroyed four enemy aircraft. In August, 1940, he took part in attacks against large enemy formations. He personally destroyed two Messerschmitt 110's and one Dornier 215, and severely damaged several others. Sergeant Howes has proved himself a brave and determined Pilot.
      Sgt Howes is buried with his Parents, Walter Charles and Louisa Clara Howes in the cemetery at St Margarets Church, Rainham, Kent. His grave is marked by a War Graves Commission Headstone.


    Person ID I62290  ONS
    Last Modified 2 Nov 2014 

    Father Walter Charles Howes,   b. Abt Jul 1873, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Abt Aug 1920, Medway RD, Kent Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 47 years) 
    Mother Louisa Clara Croucher,   b. Abt 1871, St Ann's, London Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married Abt Feb 1894  Medway RD, Kent Find all individuals with events at this location  [4
    Married 19 Feb 1894  Holy Trinity, Old Brompton, Kent Find all individuals with events at this location  [5
    Witness 19 Feb 1894  [5
    Hermann William Ascott 
    Witness 19 Feb 1894  [5
    Janet Maud Cuffley 
    Family ID F1903  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - Abt Feb 1916 - Medway RD, Kent Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDeath - Age: 24y - Abt Nov 1940 - Strood RD, Kent Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 22 Dec 1940 - Kent Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 
    Pin Legend  : Address       : Location       : City/Town       : County/Shire       : State/Province       : Country       : Not Set

  • Sources 
    1. [S611] Commonwealth War Graves Commission website, www.cwgc.org.

    2. [S476] BMD register (England & Wales) - births - multiple sources.
      available online from various sources

    3. [S480] BMD register (England & Wales) - deaths - multiple sources.

    4. [S475] BMD register (England & Wales) - marriages - multiple sources.

    5. [S64] Parish Register - marriages.