t08 Vic (WW2)

Information here researched by Gavin Marriott with the help of his colleagues of The International Military Music Society. It is being published in a book he is writing. If you intend to use it, please contact author.

Victor Charles HOWES died in WW2. Vic was born in Timaru 28th July 1922 and brought up on the Te Ngawai farm. He went to Timaru Boys High School by train from Albury. After school he worked as a clerical cadet at the Tax Dept in Wellington.

Aged nearly 19, during WW2 in 1941, he enlisted in the RNZAF as a Gunner.

Unit: 75 Squadron (N.Z.)
Served on: Stirling I
Aircraft Serial: R9290
Code: AA-X
Base: Newmarket, Suffolk. This RAF station was actually a grass-strip on Newmarket’s Rowley Mile Racecourse. This is near the border with Cambridgeshire. The grass strip is still used by light aircraft today.
Fellow Crew: (Panel numbers refer to Runnymede Memorial)
1. Pilot Sgt Alfred Edward Lewis RAAF (AUS412458) aged 25
Promoted to Fl/Sgt retrospectively from 2-10-1942.
Panel 193. Son of Herbert & Mabel Jane Lewis, of “Kyarra”, Coolamon, NSW.
2. Navigator Sgt Henry George Corin RNZAF (NZ417269) aged 35.
Panel 199. Son of George Corin & Harriet Mary Corin (nee Stanton), of Caroll St, Te Kuiti. Trained at No. 1 Air Observers School, Malton, Ontario, Canada.
Born 22-10-1908. Educated at Parnell & Pongoroa Schools where he was actively
interested in football & cricket.
3. Air Bomber F/O Charles John Bickham RAF (49977) aged ?. Panel 123.
4. Wireless Operator/Gunner Sgt Frederick Arthur Moulton RAF (1292879) aged 23.
Panel 160. Son of Anselm & Daisy Jane Hilda Moulton, of Tonbridge, Kent.
5. Flight Engineer Sgt Andrew Graham RAF (1369996) aged ?. Panel 151.
6. Mid Upper Gunner Sgt John Herbert Whitehart RAF-VR (964185) aged 23.
Panel 169. Son of Arthur & Harriet Whitehart, of Ipswich, Suffolk.
7. Rear Gunner Sgt Victor Charles Howes RNZAF (NZ413418) aged 20.
Panel 199. Son of VR & D Howes, of Albury, South Canterbury. Born 28-7-1922.
Also commemorated on the TeNgawai, Albury & Fairlie War Memorials in the Mackenzie District NZ.

Crew’s Death: All crew were shot down at 0023hrs 29th April 1943 with the aircraft exploding on impact to the sea 3 minutes later.
Bombing Mission: Part of a huge 207 aircraft force on a “Gardening” (Mine laying) operation. A total of 593 mines were laid off Heligoland, in the river Elbe and in the Great and Little Belts of Denmark.
Low cloud base forced the aircraft to fly very low over the German and Danish coasts to establish their position thus making them easy targets for the German flak and attacks from Luftwaffe night fighters.
Although this was the largest mine laying operation in one night of the whole WW2, it came at a price. A total of 22 aircrafts was lost. (75 Squadron lost 4 aircraft alone, with a total of 28 crew members killed) – 9 aircraft were lost by the night fighters and the remainder from the flak. This was the heaviest loss of aircraft while minelaying in the war, but the number of mines laid was the highest in one night.
From “The Bomber Command War Diaries” by Middlebrook and Everitt”

R9290 last Mission: On Wednesday 28th April 1943 at 2041hrs, this aircraft took off from Newmarket, Suffolk on a “Gardening” (Mine laying) operation (in the code named Radish area) of the Baltic Sea between the islands of Fehmarn Germany & Lolland Denmark.
R9290 was hit by marine flak when flying very low at 300 meters (1,000ft). The aircraft is understood to have been hit in the left inboard engine and also along the fuselage. The aircraft crashed into the sea some 300 meters off shore and exploded on impact at 0026hrs.
Proof of Death: On the next morning the beach over a 6 kilometer stretch was found to be littered with debris from an aircraft (75 Sqn (NZ) RAF coded AA-X) as well as human remains. No piece of human remains bigger that a hand. As there were quite a few dogs in the area, Danish shore Police hurriedly collected the remains and buried them on the beach in several holes. These were not marked.
On 11th May Mr Jens Hylstofte of Nakskov found a pair of boots containing parts of legs. These boots were marked “1292879 Moulton”. The marking was sent to the police and was after the war handed over to the RAF.
Location of Death: Langelandsbælt, near Vesternæs, Lolland, Denmark

German’s Report: At 0008hrs an aircraft was seen going down in flames & at 0025hrs an aircraft was seen to explode in the air over Langelandsbælt west of Vesternæs. Both claims were credited to Marine flak.
From the Kriegstagesbuch Admiral Dänemark:
“KTB Marbef. 29.4.43:
Erzielte Abschüsse:
0008hrs 1 Maschine im Raum Nyborg
0023hrs1 Maschine im Raum Kappel
Report from Kappel (M.A.A.508) at 04:15:
At 00:08 A enemy aircraft (Stirling) flew over the flak position from 1-5 in 300 m altitude. It was fired at with 2-2 cm Madsen and M.G 08. It was hit in the right hand inboard engine. It started burning and it was seen to crash into the sea in direction 7. Distance 4 km. The enemy answered the fire but did no damage. Ammunition used: 100 rounds of 2 cm (Red) and 123 rounds of machine gun ammo.
At 00:23 Return flight by an enemy Stirling aircraft from direction 6-10. Altitude 300 meters. When opening fire it was hit in the left hand inboard engine and in the fuselage. The searchlight followed the target for three minutes. The aircraft crashed in the sea about 300 meters off shore. It exploded when it hit the water. One dead person and wreckage was retrieved from the sea. Ammunition used: 60 rounds of 2 cm (Red) and 60 rounds mg ammo.
The Abschüsse report from Luftgaukommando XI states that the dead person was from the aircraft that crashed at 00:08. As the flyer was later identified as belonging to Stirling BF467 it must be assumed that the Stirling that crashed at 00:23 was R9290.
The flak unit that claimed the aircrafts was Lei. Flakzug “Kappel” that belonged to 8./M.A.A. 5

Airman: e777797.htm Surname: Howes Init: V C Rank: Sgt Service: RNZAF Sqdn: 075
P_link: p460.htm Plane: STI R9290 Operation: Minelaying Crash_site: SW of Lolland
Crash_d: d280443 Buried_d: e777 C_link: e777.htm At_Next: NO KNOWN
Sergeant Victor Charles Howes, 20 år, var søn af V. R. og Dolina Howes, Albury, South Canterbury, New Zealand.
Hans navn er på Panel 199 på the Runnymede Memorial blandt mere end 20.000 navne på flyvere, der ikke har en kendt grav. (Kilde: CWGC)
Den 29. april 1943 styrtede STI R9290 i havet omkring her nær Vesternæs. Flyvehistorisk Tidsskrift skriver:
“28.-29. april 1943 (kl. 0035) Langelands Bælt nær Vesternæs Stirling Mk. I R9290 (AA-X)
75 BS, 3 BG, Newmarket, Suffolk (Minering: Vestlige del af Fehmarn Bælt (omkring her)) 7 MIA.
Muligvis skudt ned i området, men ingen spor efter fly eller besætning.” (FT 86-88-10) Se Minelægningsområder.

Sergeant Victor Charles Howes, 20, was the son of V. R. and Dolina Howes, of Albury, South Canterbury, New Zealand.
He is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, Panel 199, among more than 20,000 airmen who have no known grave. (Source: CWGC)
On 29 April 1943 STI R9290 crashed into the sea about here near Vesternæs. (Danish) Aviation Historical Review writes:
“28 – 29 april 1943 (00.35 hours) The Langelands Bælt near Vesternæs. Stirling Mk I W7513 (AA-G)
75 BS, 3 BG, Newmarket, Suffolk. (Minelaying: The western part of the Fehmarn Belt (about here)) 7 MIA.
Possibly shot down in the area, but the plane and the crew disappeared without a trace.” (FT 86-88-10)