LEST WE FORGET

Captain Richard Watson HOWARD MC

Service No: 2765
Born: North Sydney NSW, October 1895
Enlisted in the Army: 13 September 1915
Unit: No. 2 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps
Awarded the Military Cross (MC)
Died: Wounds (Prisoner of War), France, 22 March 1918, Aged 23 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: No further information
Place of Association: Hamilton NSW
Remembered: Arras Flying Services Memorial, Arras, Nord Pas de Calais, France
Remembered: Panel 188, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Captain Howard is an Australian Air Ace credited with eight victories.

Another patrol went out under R. W. Howard.  In a general engagement at 9,000 feet, Rackett (1) drove down an enemy scout north of St. Quentin, but the fight was remarkable chiefly for being the last fought by Howard (2), the gallant leader of the formation, who was shot down near Epehy and mortally wounded.

(1) Lieutenant Archie Roye Rackett flying SE5a aircraft B525; born Port Adelaide SA, 18 February 1896; Prisoner of War: 1 June 1918
(2) SE5a aircraft D212

Extract from Cutlack, F.M. (Frederic Morley) The Australian Flying Corps in the Western and Eastern Theatres of War 1914-8, Angus and Robertson Ltd Sydney, 1941 – Page 230

On 22 March while leading a patrol of five, operating at 15,000 feet (4500 metres) Captain Howard led the formation in a dive to attack two enemy two-seaters at 10,000 feet (3000 metres) when in turn they were attacked by thirty enemy fighters and Howard was shot down.

He was initially reported missing in action, but was later reported to have died of wounds received in the above engagement on the same date.  He was reported by the Germans to be buried in the military cemetery at Cambrai.  However, no trace of the grave could be found by the Australian War Graves Commission, and his name was included in the memorial to the missing erected at Villers-Bretonneux.

Extract from Garrisson, A.D.J. (Arthur Dean John) (O350) Australian Fighter Aces 1914-1953, Air Power Studies Centre Fairbairn ACT 2600, 1999 – Page 98

References:

Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record B2455, HOWARD R W 2765/CAPTAIN
National Archives UK RAF Casualty Book AIR 1/969 page 73, 138988

Bibliography:

Bennett, J. (John William) Highest Traditions: the history of No. 2 Squadron RAAF, Australian Government Publishing Service, 1995
Garrisson, A.D.J. (Arthur Dean John) (O350) Australian Fighter Aces 1914-1953, Air Power Studies Centre Fairbairn ACT 2600, 1999

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