Leslie Howard Pilot Officer 77sqn. RAF(VR) RAF Elvington

As a teacher, I often try to squeeze in a little bit of modern history. I feel it’s important that the younger generations know and understand what sacrifices were made during both the First and Second World Wars (not to mention the many others) so that they realise lives are lost and that war is not a game of ‘Call Of Duty’.

To my surprise one of the girls brought in some papers and explained how it was a relation of hers on her mother’s side, but she knew nothing about him. The gauntlet was thrown, eager to know more, I took copies of the relevant documents and brought them home.

After some considerable searching I came up with some interesting facts about this man.

His name was Leslie Howard (s/n: 168652), he was originally a policeman, and came from the Sheffield area (Birklands Road). He was married to ‘Gladys’ and on joining the RAF was posted to 77 Squadron who were based Elvington at the time of his death. He was a sergeant and received training on Wellington bombers. After promotion, he became and Pilot Officer and flew Halifax (V) bombers from Elvington with 77 Sqn, RAF(VR).

On the night of 20th /21st December 1943, he was on a mission to bomb Frankfurt. With him on board were: Sgt. E Dickman, F/sgt. C. Quine (DFM), F/Sgt. J. Waterston, Sgt. N.H.C. Short, Sgt. W.C. Wight and Sgt. A.P.H. Restarick. His Halifax, S/N LL121, “KN-G” was attacked by what is believed to be by either JU88 or B110 of 8./NJG3 night fighter squadron, piloted by, again not confirmed, Oblt. Paul Zorner, from Hintermellingen, near Frankfurt.

The aircraft was severely damaged and crashed. Both P.O. Howard and Sgt. E.W.Dickman were killed, whilst the others survived being taken prisoners of war.

Sgt. Dickman was buried in Runnymeade, whilst P.O. Howard was buried in the cemetery at Hintermellingen. His remains are now in the Hanover War Cemetery, block 16, row A, number 18.

I informed the father of the young child who was more than interested as they knew little of him. He told me that the family on the mother’s side, still resided in the Yorkshire area and were visiting in the next week or two. He would pass this information on.

I shall continue digging, to find more and confirm the details I’ve already found, but you get a real sense of achievement and satisfaction to know that a little bit of history has been uncovered for this family.

If you know of, or have any further information about this operation or crews, I would love to hear from you.


Do you recognise anyone in these photos? Particularly the bottom left.


The telegram sent to Mrs Howard.


Leslie Howard’s grave is 16.A.18 to the top of the diagram (created by the War Graves Commision).



6 thoughts on “Leslie Howard Pilot Officer 77sqn. RAF(VR) RAF Elvington

  1. I enjoyed reading the information on P.O. Howard. My father’s cousin was F. Sgt John Waterston, and his research has led me to this site. I would like to point out that from my information, there is no known grave for Sgt.Dickman and that he is remembered on the Runnymeade memorial. All other members of the crew were taken as POW’s. I know John passed away in 2002.

    I have enjoyed you site and posts. Not only did I grow up in England with a large connection to the RAF, ATC, and lived in my early years (1955 to 62) just behind Rochester Airport in the Davis Estate. We moved to Canada, and I eventually flew Twin Otters in the Canadian north, so have a strong appreciation for many aspects of aviation from military to civil.
    Regards from Canada

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow thank you so much for commenting and adding the correction Peter. It was truly a pleasure to investigate this young man for the family. The grandfather of the young girl came to our school and thanked me in person for what I had done for him. He was truly grateful for it and it gave me such pleasure to know. I will pass on your comments, I am sure it will please the family to know that relatives are still alive across the water. If you find any more details please do let me know. Thank you again it was great to hear from you.


  2. I find it interesting that a girl brought the information to you. As time goes by, I have begun to believe that women are more interested in what happened than men. I can’t sustain that thought with data, but it seems like women recognize the sacrifices of these men while men ignore them. I am sure this comment may raise hackles, but it is simply my observation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s an interesting point. Strangely enough, another mum, asked me if I could find out about her grandfather. Caught after two weeks and put into a concentration camp for the duration. Understandably Refused to talk about his experiences and has now sadly departed. She told me he was six stone in weight and fed ‘baby’ food to build him up again. This may add weight to your argument.

      Liked by 1 person

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