Winter service dress trousers : Flight Lieutenant T E W Howes, RAAF, 70 Squadron RAF

Accession Number REL34348
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Uniform
Physical description Cotton, Metal, Plastic, Wool barathea
Maker Leon Fonstein
Place made Egypt: Cairo
Date made c 1942
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

RAAF blue officer's winter service dress wool barathea trousers with a pair of front pleats. The trousers have a concealed four button fly, with an additional pair of buttons to fasten the waist. A further inner tab on the waist fastens with a brown plastic button, while an outer tab fastens on the proper right waist with a metal hook and slide (hook missing). A further tab is sewn to each side of the waist , allowing the fit to be adjusted by means of two buttons sewn on ot the waistband. There are three pairs of plastic buttons sewn around the inner cotton waistband for the attachment of braces. The waistband and fly are lined with plain weave cotton roughly hand dyed a khaki colour. There are pockets in each side seam and on the right rear. There is also a coin pocket on the right front waistband. Each pocket bag is of coarse weave white cotton. The inside proper right pocket bag is marked in purple indelible pencil 'Howes'.

History / Summary

Related to the service of 404900 Thomas Edward White Howes. Employed by Qantas Airways, Brisbane before the war, he enlisted in the RAAF on 6 December 1940 aged 18. He trained in Australia and in Canada as part of the Empire Air Training Scheme (EATS). After training he embarked for the United Kingdom, where he completed his training as a navigator, flying in Wellington bombers in January 1942.

Howes was commissioned as a Flying Officer on 15 March and was assigned to 70 (Wellington) Squadron, RAF in the Middle East later that month. The squadron was equipped with Vickers Wellingtons based at Qotafiyah, Egypt. His first mission on 28 April was against German supply shipping anchored at Benghazi. With targets ranging from shipping and airfields to road convoys and supply dumps, Howes flew 13 night missions through May and June 1942.

The squadron moved northwest of Cairo in the wake of the allied retreat. He later transferred to 104 (Wellington) Squadron, RAF and having flown 44 operational missions, it appears that Howes took on a navigator training role with 203 Group.

He was promoted to Flight Lieutenant in September 1943 before moving to RAF Aquir in Palestine, (south of Tel-Aviv). On 6 May 1944 Howes embarked for Australia, arriving on 4 June. He was transferred to the RAAF Reserve on 16 March 1945, enabling him to rejoin Qantas. He remained with the RAAF Reserve until at least the late 1950s. During the Vietnam War, he served as a navigator on the Qantas ‘Skippy’ troop flights to and from Vietnam.