Forage cap : Flight Lieutenant T E W Howes, RAAF, 70 Squadron RAF

Accession Number REL34353
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Headdress
Physical description Cotton, Oxidised brass, Velveteen, Wool barathea
Maker Burberrys
Place made United Kingdom: England, Greater London, London
Date made c 1942
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

RAAF blue wool barathea forage cap, lined in brown polished cotton twill, with a brown velveteen sweatband. The cap fastens at the front with two black plastic RAAF buttons. An oxidised brass officer's eagle and crown cap badge is attached to the proper left front of the cap. The inside left bears a yellow and cream woven manufacturer's label for Burberrys, which is marked twice in ink 'T.E.W. 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.