In Memoriam  - Robert Howard                                                                            Home


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Arthur Ernest Abbott

William John Berrill

Peter (F.C.) Causebrook

Harold Cheaseman

Gordon Roy Coe

Jack Dunkley

Gordon George Elderton

Peter Gifford Felce

Frederick Furr

Harold Philip Gardiner

Anthony Robert Gillitt

Ronald Douglas Hales

Norman Leonard Hornsey

Robert Howard

Edwin Hudson John Arthur Paul Loake

Richard Saxby Mutimer

Raymond Reginald Norman Raymond George Osborne Brian Terence Peck
Colin Roderick Penness Douglas Arthur Prigmore John Harry Sharp Norman Perkins Sharpe
Robert Troath Died after Korean War: Raymond-Kimber Leslie Walters

For a brief insight on Robert's school career click here

ROBERT RALPH ELDSDEN HOWARD, born 12.12.1922, entered the School in September 1934.  He was a King’s Scout in the Finedon Troop.  He was a member of the 1st XV and in 1939 he obtained an Oxford School Certificate.  In December 1939, he left School to join the Civil Service, but war prevented his taking the Entrance Examination, and he joined the Office Staff of the L.M.S.  Railway at Kettering. 

In February 1942 he joined the R.A.F.  He became Sgt. Navigator and was posted to North Africa.  In August 1943, he was reported missing from operations over Italy. 

He was the son of Mr. and Mrs.W. Howard, 19 Orchard Road, Finedon.  'In Memoriam' book



Discovering information on  Robert was difficult  initially because his name on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission site was hyphenated as Robert Ralph Eldsden-Howard.  And, secondly, because, after I had identified the squadron he belonged to, I found it had a fragmented existence:  it was split, combined with another and then one ‘splinter’ was ‘reformed’ in North Africa.   My first good fortune was finding that Robert’s death and squadron number were given on the web site:








Howard Robert  R,E



142 Sqdn





The second and much greater good fortune was  supplied by Chris Pointing, a contact I made whilst searching for information on Peter Felce.  I mentioned to him the problems I was having with Robert Howard and Norman Hornsey, he immediately responded with the following email:



 As soon as I saw the name Robert Ralph Eldsden Howard I recognised it as being a name very similar to a Warrant Officer serving at Lichfield in 1944 and killed by a US Army service vehicle on the Derby -Uttoxeter Road on 25th April 1944. This is in fact Joseph Elsdon-Howard (married to a girl from Canada) and buried at Wellingborough (Finedon) Cemetery and the brother of Robert Ralph Elsdon-Howard who died on the 5th August 1943 when his Wellington bomber of 142 Sqdn based at Kairouan in Tunisia was lost at sea on an operation to bomb Cap Pelero (Messina). No trace of the crew (have their details if needed) were found and they are remembered on the Malta Memorial.

 Double barrelled names are notorious for causing researchers problems.

 I would be very interested in what Joseph did in the RAF should you know of any relatives.

 Do you want me to find out any more on Norman Hornsey ?


If you have information on Jack Elsdon Howard please email me:


Robert  was posted to number 142 squadron based at Grimsby, which was equipped with Wellingtons.  Night bombing operations began on 15 April 1941, and continued for the next two years.  Thirteen crews and ground staff from the squadron were posted to Blida North Africa in December.  ).  In the following month the aircraft remaining in the UK merged with No.150 Squadron to form No.166 Squadron.  The squadron was reformed in January and posted to Algeria to carry out attacks on enemy bases in North Africa, Sicily and Italy in support of the Operation Torch Invasion.

In June 1943 it and squadron 150 became the two RAF Squadrons attached to the US North West African Airforce and joined the strategic bomber squadrons of 205 Group at Kairouan, Tunisia to become the RAF night bombing force in the Mediterranean Theatre.  . The two Squadrons were known as known as “Cuty” and “Jane” - a play on their fuselage squadron markings JN for 150 and QT for 142.

A Wellington being loaded with torpedoes:


The RAF Squadrons did the night bombing on targets in Tunisia, Italy, Sicily and Sardinia. Twenty-one operations by one crew involved dropping 4,000lb. block-busters between April and August 1943.   Source


One such raid was against Ploesti is described at length and includes the following  

Thirteen of 330 wing's original twenty aircraft completed their attacks. These crews also thought the green TI's were dropped late. Ten bombed on the green TI's, two by dead-reckoning, and one visually. Wellington "Z" of 150 Squadron dropped a 4000 pound bomb which exploded at 2304 hours in the adjacent railway yards causing a violent explosion. A fire was started and oily black smoke rose to 7000 feet. Altogether the wing dropped two 4000 pound and a mix of 500 and 250 pound bombs for a total of over 23 tons plus 300,000 nickels from 13,500 to 16,800 feet. Three 500 pound bombs were hung-up and brought back to base.


The Squadrons bombing accuracy drew an official message from Major General ‘Jimmy’ Doolittle late in 1943. ‘The work in the theatre of 142 and 150 Squadrons of 330 Wing has been outstanding. The phenomenally high operational rate and efficiency of the Wimpeys contributed materially to the success of the campaign. I am proud to have been associated with this fine organisation.





PHYSICAL TRAINING.  Summer  1936 School Magazine

Finally came the Aeroplane Squadron with twenty boys in formation. Those taking part were as follows :-  The boys highlighted all died in ww2

Upton Crompton Dunkley   2b Bower
Crawley Millward J. Jessop Hughes
Frisby Eales R. Allen  P. R. Day
Mather Berrill (not the Berrill who died) Howard   3A R. F. Osborn
Harvey Hudson  3B George Newman
Holt Ford Duncan Sharp    3A
Fillingham Dannatt Pope J. W. Day
  Sanford   Ward  


No. 142 Squadron

Badge: A winged sphinx. The badge commemorates the squadron's association with Egypt.
Authority: King George VI, June 1937.

142 Squadron withdrew to England in June 1940, and by the end of the year was converting to Wellingtons prior to engaging in the strategic night-bombing offensive.

In December 1942, No. 142 Squadron moved to Blida  in North Africa and subsequently took part in the Tunisian, Sicilian and Italian campaigns.

26 November 1941-7 June 1942: Grimsby
7 June-7 July 1942: Thruxton
7 July-19 December 1942: Grimsby
  19 December 1942: Detachment to Blida
19 December 1942-27 January 1943: Kirmington
27 January-5 May 1943: Entire squadron to Blida
5-26 May 1943: Fontaine Chaude
26 May-15 November 1943: Kairouan
15 November-16 December 1943: Oudna

WWII Aircraft:

Fairey Battle : Mar 1938-Nov 1940

Vickers Wellington II, III, IV and X : Nov 1940-Oct 1944

de Havilland Mosquito B.XXV : Oct 1944 onwards

Code Letters:

In WW2 its Battles and Wellingtons were coded "QT" and its Mosquitos "4H".


Night bombing operations began on 15 April 1941, and continued for the next two years. In  December 1942 thirteen "tropicalised" Wellingtons & crews and ground crew, were sent to North Africa (Blida).  In the following month the aircraft remaining in the UK merged with No.150 Squadron to form No.166 Squadron, and the detachment in North Africa was brought up to squadron strength.

The squadron remained in the Mediterranean until October 1944, carrying out night attacks on Axis targets in North Africa, Sicily and Italy. The squadron moved to southern Italy in December 1943, and its range expanded to include the Balkans. This incarnation of the squadron was disbanded on 5 October 1944.

Squadron Codes: KB, QT, 4H

Group and Duty
November 1940-January 1943: Night bomber squadron
December 1942-December 1943: Night bomber, North Africa
December 1943-October 1944: Bomber squadron, Italy
October 1944-September 1945: Night bomber Mosquito squadron, UK


Vickers Wellington Mk VIII

Vickers Wellington GR Mk VIII Torpedo Bomber

The GR Mk VIII was a naval version of the Mk IC. It was produced in three distinct variants of its own.  Most numerous was the torpedo bomber version. 271 of these








United Kingdom




Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

Unit Text:

142 Sqdn.



Date of Death:


Service No:


Additional information:

Son of William and Ivy Elsie Elsdon-Howard, of Finedon, Northamptonshire. His brother Joseph also died on service.

Casualty Type:

Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference:

Panel 8, Column 2.