View Full Version : Hudson V9199 Crash Far East April 1943

29th December 2008, 18:18
I am trying to find out what happened to Sgt Kenneth Howarth 1126460 RAFVR. He was a Pilot. I have a large amount of memorabilia that belonged to him. It includeds his war medals, diaries, letters and an excellent photo album. I believe he was a Hudson pilot in the Far East (India) at the time of his death at the age of 22.

During a google search using the aircraft number 'AM949' this site came up. He mentions this aircraft in his diary on the 12 April 1943.

'I was at the drome all day but there was nothing going. My new machine is AM949......'

This is the last entry in his diary - 12 April 1943.

The CWGC states the date of death as 19 April 1943. I am fairly sure the following two Flt Sgts died at the same time as him. David Alexander McCluney and Walter Percy Whorlow. They are in the next two grave plots however their date of deaths are stated as 20 April 1943.

The reason for the new machine is that he had to bale out of the previous one after running out of fuel.

Can anybody shed any light??

29th December 2008, 18:51
From the Air Britain Serials AA-AZ, AM949 was a Hudson III but it survived until 15.3.44.when it flew into a hill whilst dropping supplies with 357 Sqn. The Sqn wasn't formed until 1944 and prior to that the a/c was with 1444 Flt. Does this unit crop up in Howarth's notes?
If you are right about the other 2 personnel then the single day difference could be explained by their surviving any accident when Howarth was killed, but then succumbing to injuries the following day.

Dave Smith
29th December 2008, 19:47
1444 Flight was a ferry training unit, ie it trained crews in long distance flying and fuel conservation (you'll know all about this Mr a1bus!) The crews normally flew the particular aircraft they would eventually ferry overseas and they were thus able to establish its fuel consumption at different cruise settings. 1444's nominal base was RAF Lyneham but it was redesignated 'B' Flight No 301 Ferry Training Unit on 1.11.42. I assume that Sgt Howarth would have been posted to a squadron on reaching India. Shouldn't be too difficult to trace the aircraft from the Air-Britain serials books but I don't have time at the moment to make a trawl through my copies. There are lots of people much more knowledgeable than I am on the forum so watch this space.

Dave Smith
29th December 2008, 20:27
Had time to find Hudson V9199 of Air Landing School, India which crashed on the firing ranges at Peshawar on 19 April 43. ALS was based at Chaklala for training paratroops and supply dropping personnel. This could be the one but obviously requires further checking.

29th December 2008, 21:29
Dave, I think you have cracked it!!!!

I have been going through the photo album and was trying to decipher the registrations.

His 'kite' as he refers in the album was aircraft E and the registration started (from what I could make out) V91 -- .

He started off on 1444 flt because in amongst all the material is a secret document authorising him to take aircraft FH337 from Gibralter to Egypt signed by OC 1444 Flt and dated 26 Apr 42.

However in his letters (I have not read them all) he talks about applying for an operational role. There are a number of parachuting pictures in the album.

Now it appears that three people were killed in the crash but one of the letters I think is from someone called F/Sgt Whetstone 931710 he was in 14th B.G.H. Bareilly, India. He was either in the crash or is talking about someone who survived and was terribly injured. It is dated 8/10/43 so sometime after the event. It is difficult to decipher as many of the words are underlined. Would be interested to know exactly who was on board.

Finally there is a telegram to his parents

regret to inform you..... sustained slight injuries during air operations on 22 March 1943.

This is the aircraft he baled out of when they ran out of fuel. I believe he was 'operational' at this stage. His diary makes interesting reading because he ended up in a river!

Any ideas what aircraft this was??

Really enjoying this!

Dave Smith
30th December 2008, 10:25
The other Hudson must have been V9164, again of ALS India. It was abandoned when lost near Jessore on 22 March 43.

According to A-B, FH337 was with 1444 Flt then with No 1 Overseas Aircraft Despatch Unit. It was written off after bouncing on landing and striking a wing on the ground at RAF Kemble on 9.6.42. Looks like it never got to Egypt. Extremely unlikely that it flew there then came back to the UK later on. Remember that the ferry route to Egypt in 1942 followed the west African coast then across Nigeria and up through Sudan. The Med was a war zone of course.

30th December 2008, 14:54
thanks Dave,

this is his entry for 24 March

'We took off at 11am with S/L Fielder for an operation to N.Burma, we had a fighter escort, everything was fine. On our way back from Agartala we ran out of petrol and had to bale out. I dropped in a river and swam about a mile to the bank. I could'nt find my crew. I was given water by the natives and some dry Indian clothing and locked in a hut. I later discovered my crew. Jack Ellis, Eric Clarke and Wally Haigh(?) were over the river. Thurs 25 March I put my wet clothes back on and at about 6am got in a boat which one of the natives had got for me. I was told I was in the district of Barisal. I sailed down the river for 5 hours and eventually reached Bagherat where I was handed over to the district magistrate who gave me Indian Food and tea. I met my crew here. At 6pm we left Bagherat for Calcutta via Kulna(?), we had to cross the river by steam ferry. Fri 26 March We slept all the way to Calcutta and arrived about 7am. We went direct to our billets and had breakfast, we had nothing but green cocnuts for days. Later I went to the M.O. to get my leg fixed, I had caught it in the rigging lines on the way down (lucky he landed in a river!!!) We also went to draw some kit which had been lost. .... Sat 27 We had a very quiet day today resting. F/LT Ponsford and Jim came down with another machine..

March 29 We were up early to go to the airfield this morning as we are going back to Chaklala. We took off in AM936 with Churchills crew at about 0945 and landed at Ambala about 4. The next day they get to Chaklala about 1pm. S/L Moore saw him along with his CO before they were given 5 days leave.

The dates don't quite tie up Dave 22 MAR VS 24 MAR any thoughts?

Dave Smith
30th December 2008, 15:40
It is possibly an error in the A-B RAF serial number register but that could be because the original records were wrong. I think we can assume that the diary date is accurate. Traumatic events rendered in very matter-of-fact terms!

I don't have the revised second edition of the V and W serials book. Can someone who does please check the entry for any changes, please?

irene mulley
4th May 2021, 17:46
My father, wireless operator Sgt Eric George Clarke 952163, baled out with Sgt Howarth's crew from V9164 on a flight from Agartala to Dum Dum on 24/03/1943. They had been flying together since 03/07/42.
On 19/04/43 Sgt Clarke was on a flight from Chaklala to Peshawar with Sgt Howarth in Hudson V9199, which crashed on a firing range. I have my father's log book and pictures of the crash in the family album. Sgt Clarke was the sole survivor of the crash, suffering burns and losing the top of his skull. He spent nearly three years in various hospitals in India, South Africa and the UK. During this time a metal plate was inserted in his skull and he underwent plastic surgery. I should be most grateful to see the letter mentioned, concerning the survivor, which I believe must be him. After his discharge he re-enlisted in the RAF and he was killed on 03/11/49 in a mid-air collision between Lancaster TW908 and a Mosquito off the Isle of Wight. There were no survivors. He was 27 and I was two years old when he died. I should appreciate any information which might help me know more about his experience in the RAF.
I note that this is an old thread and hope I am not too late.

9th December 2021, 00:43
A quick update to all those following this thread.

The collection of memorabilia that the original poster a1rbus (http://www.rafcommands.com/forum/member.php?1144-a1rbus) mentioned in 2008 has found its way to me. This is the first time I am holding the material of a deceased airman, and the collection is overwhelming (both in terms of scope and emotions) for me to say the least.

A photo album, an album of negatives , dozens and dozens of letters, a framed photo with original RAF wings, another framed photo , a CWGC booklet, official grave photo, his original medal issue box with slip and two medals, a bible , a handbook a souvenir of the 1937 coronation,. a bit overwhelming for sure.

He appeared to have written letters every week or so and it paints a very poignant picture of him right to his last days.

For irene

I should be most grateful to see the letter mentioned, concerning the survivor, which I believe must be him

If and when I locate this letter, i will make a copy of the same.

EDIT: The Letter (Six Pages of it) can be found here http://www.rafcommands.com/galleries/SEAC/1126460-Kenneth-HOWARTH/ the writing is hard to decipher

http://www.rafcommands.com/galleries/var/thumbs/SEAC/1126460-Kenneth-HOWARTH/1943-10-08-CondolenceLetter01.jpg?m=1639112768 (http://www.rafcommands.com/galleries/SEAC/1126460-Kenneth-HOWARTH/1943-10-08-CondolenceLetter01) 1943-10-08-CondolenceLetter01 (http://www.rafcommands.com/galleries/SEAC/1126460-Kenneth-HOWARTH/1943-10-08-CondolenceLetter01) http://www.rafcommands.com/galleries/var/thumbs/SEAC/1126460-Kenneth-HOWARTH/1943-10-08-CondolenceLetter02.jpg?m=1639112768 (http://www.rafcommands.com/galleries/SEAC/1126460-Kenneth-HOWARTH/1943-10-08-CondolenceLetter02)1943-10-08-CondolenceLetter02 (http://www.rafcommands.com/galleries/SEAC/1126460-Kenneth-HOWARTH/1943-10-08-CondolenceLetter02) http://www.rafcommands.com/galleries/var/thumbs/SEAC/1126460-Kenneth-HOWARTH/1943-10-08-CondolenceLetter03.jpg?m=1639112768 (http://www.rafcommands.com/galleries/SEAC/1126460-Kenneth-HOWARTH/1943-10-08-CondolenceLetter03) 1943-10-08-CondolenceLetter03 (http://www.rafcommands.com/galleries/SEAC/1126460-Kenneth-HOWARTH/1943-10-08-CondolenceLetter03) http://www.rafcommands.com/galleries/var/thumbs/SEAC/1126460-Kenneth-HOWARTH/1943-10-08-CondolenceLetter04.jpg?m=1639112769 (http://www.rafcommands.com/galleries/SEAC/1126460-Kenneth-HOWARTH/1943-10-08-CondolenceLetter04) 1943-10-08-CondolenceLetter04 (http://www.rafcommands.com/galleries/SEAC/1126460-Kenneth-HOWARTH/1943-10-08-CondolenceLetter04) http://www.rafcommands.com/galleries/var/thumbs/SEAC/1126460-Kenneth-HOWARTH/1943-10-08-CondolenceLetter05.jpg?m=1639112768 (http://www.rafcommands.com/galleries/SEAC/1126460-Kenneth-HOWARTH/1943-10-08-CondolenceLetter05) 1943-10-08-CondolenceLetter05 (http://www.rafcommands.com/galleries/SEAC/1126460-Kenneth-HOWARTH/1943-10-08-CondolenceLetter05) http://www.rafcommands.com/galleries/var/thumbs/SEAC/1126460-Kenneth-HOWARTH/1943-10-08-CondolenceLetter06.jpg?m=1639112770 (http://www.rafcommands.com/galleries/SEAC/1126460-Kenneth-HOWARTH/1943-10-08-CondolenceLetter06)1943-10-08-CondolenceLetter06 (http://www.rafcommands.com/galleries/SEAC/1126460-Kenneth-HOWARTH/1943-10-08-CondolenceLetter06)

http://www.rafcommands.com/galleries/var/thumbs/SEAC/1126460-Kenneth-HOWARTH/1943HOWARTH1126460.jpg?m=1639112769 (http://www.rafcommands.com/galleries/SEAC/1126460-Kenneth-HOWARTH/1943HOWARTH1126460)
1943HOWARTH1126460 (http://www.rafcommands.com/galleries/SEAC/1126460-Kenneth-HOWARTH/1943HOWARTH1126460)

14th December 2021, 02:17
I have been corresponding with Irene Mulley directly and between us we have arrived at the following

The above letter was written by Mrs. Whetstone, mother of Flt Sgt Timothy Whetstone 931710 (AIR78)

Greendown, Yawl, Uplyme, Lyme Regis, Dorset. 8/10/43

Dear Mrs Howarth,

Your letter was given to us by the Lyme Regis T C and may I say, to start with, how sorry we were to hear that your boy was among those killed in the A/c crash. Tim himself only heard of his death last month and from ? ? ? to do so as he is partially? housebound? due to the terrible head injuries that he received, he was on the "danger list" for 3 months and has only just come off the "serious" list - he says he will be sent home a cripple - we really know nothing of the crash - how or where. Tim thinks there were three people killed but is not even sure of that. Tim thought so much of your boy. Did you know that the crew applied for him after the first crash near Gloucester - I believe that he was in hospital at the time - that their wish was granted I believe is quite exceptional - I think you would be more satisfied if you wrote to Tim, should he be sent home soon I will get you his letters. (Tim) was very upset as the people at the BGH had told him that the rest of the crew were safe. I suppose Tim himself was in too dangerous a condition to be told the truth. Now Tim can remember nothing of the crash at all and is himself coming? round ? to find out what happened, I should know at once. We tried to get in contact with our elder boy also RAF India, But neither me nor The Air Ministry have been able to locate him so had to conclude that he had been moved secretly and no cables-signals or letters are reaching him. Very ? ? ? ? as we hoped to get a full account from him. Please forgive this very ? a letter and if you have any information we should very much like to have it - ? ? With all sympathy from one mother to another.
Yours sincerely,
Mrs? Whetstone

F/Sgt Whetstone 931710 14th BGH. Bareilly India

24th February 2022, 01:58
Apologies for this rather late update to the thread. Irene had sent me several photos related to this incident a few months ago. I am updating this thread with them.

First up - the wreckage of Hudson V9199 after its crash on the range. The gunner Sgt Eric Clarke, Irene's father was found seriously injured in the turret that can be seen in the bottom photo.


This is Eric George Clarke 952163 - before his accident.

http://www.rafcommands.com/galleries/var/resizes/SEAC/1126460-Kenneth-HOWARTH/Sgt%20Eric%20Clarke%20Before%20Crash.jpg?m=1645667 724

Top photo below shows him after recovery from the injuries sustained in the crash.

http://www.rafcommands.com/galleries/var/resizes/SEAC/1126460-Kenneth-HOWARTH/Sgt%20Eric%20Clarke%20after%20India%20crash_%20Pic %20below%2C%20sixth%20from%20left.jpg?m=1645667725