Howard, Lieutenant Richard Watson MC

No 2 Sqn AFC

Richard Howard came from North Sydney, where he was born on 9 October 1896, and was an Engineering Student when he joined the 7th Field Company Engineers in Sydney on 13 September 1915. He left Sydney on HMAT A23 Suffolk on 22 December. After service on the Western Front, he transferred to the AFC for pilot training in October 1916 and was commissioned after graduation in April 1917, after which he spent a month with No 57 Sqn RFC flying the DH 4 in France. On 10 June he was flying A2135, with Lt T E Godwin as observer, when it was wrecked on landing – but later restored and returned to the squadron. He returned to No 68 Sqn shortly afterwards, and went to France with the unit on 21 September; he flew DH 5 A9284 from England to Baizieux. He was credited with 8 victories, the first while flying DH 5 A9294:

A DFW C-type over Graincourt on 22 November (shared with Capt J M Child of No 84 Sqn RFC,
flying SE5a B562).
Further victories were credited in 1918 when he flew SE 5a D212:
an Albatros D.V over Carvin on 28 February;
an unidentified C-type over Henin-Lietard on 8 March (shared with Lt A L Paxton, in SE 5a C9496);
an Albatros D.V over Brebiers on 8 March;
an Albatros D.V north-east of La Bassee on 9 March
an Albatros D.V north-east of La Bassee on 9 March
an Albatros D.V over Pont—Vendin on 10 March; and
a Rumpler C-type over Habourdin on 18 March.

He was appointed as a Temporary Captain, and Flight Commander in February 1918, shortly after he was awarded the Military Cross; the citation was published in the Gazette of 5 July 1918: For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. Whilst separated from his patrol by a thick mist, he engaged a hostile two-seater, which he forced to land in our lines. On another occasion, though attacked at a height of 400 feet by an enemy two-seater, he manoeuvred, shot the observer, and caused the hostile machine to land, apparently in difficulties, but intact. He has consistently done excellent work at very low altitudes.

On 22 March, the second day of the great German Kaiserschlacht offensive, T/Capt Howard led a patrol of five SE 5as from Savy aerodrome towards Cambrai. They dived on two German twoseaters but were inturn attacked by some thirty German fighters. He was shot down near Vermond while flying SE 5a D212, and died of his wounds. A victory was credited to Ltn Hans Böhning of Jasta 79b, who claimed a “Camel”; it was the 6th of his eventual 17victories.

Lt R W Howard MC has no known grave and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial and the
Villers-Bretonneux Memorial, France and the Hamilton War Memorial.

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