Flying Officer W H McDowell KIA

Flying Officer Walter Harry McDowell, Navigator.

 

F/O McDowell was born October 14 1916, He studied at the Liverpool Institute from 1928 to 1935.

He enlisted in the Army April 13 1937. serving for 4 years afterwhich he transferred to the RAF.

He was commissioned on the 19th of May 1942.

His initial aircrew training was in South Africa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                    1st left front row.

 

 

 

 

Below: 2nd from left front row.

 

On completing his Heavy Bomber Conversion Unit training in early 1943 he was posted to 61 Squadron at R.A.F. Syerston.

His first operation was a long night trip to Milan City on February 14/15 1943.

On the night of the 16/17 February 1943; an operation to Lorient, he navigated the aircraft of Wing Commander William M. Penman, Commanding Officer of 61 Squadron.

This was the first of 11 operations he completed with Wg Cdr Penman.

 

On October the night of 22/23 October 1943; a sortie to KASSEL, his 25 operation, he failed to return.

The final crew of ED630 was:

Pilot F/Sgt J.S.Whitecross.

Flight engineer F/O C.F.Smith.

Navigator F/O W.H.McDowell. Captain.

Bomb aimer P/O R.H.Lucas.

Wireless operator P/O V.J.Chorley.

Air gunner 1. P/O S.R.Hughes.

Air gunner 2. P/O.L.Healey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Picture of F/O McDowell's grave in Hanover War Cemetery.

 

Below. 2007 Reunion.

Front row. Patricia with close friends Susan and David Jellett.

Susan is the daughter of Wing Commander W.M.Penman DFC AFC, who was himself killed whilst taking part in a bombing operation to KASSEL 3/4 October 1943.

Here is one of her favourite poems:

POEM TO A WAR BABY.

He has not seen you, he

Who gave you your mortality,

And you so small, how could you guess

His courage and his loveliness?

Yet in my quiet mind I pray

He passed you on the darkling way

His death, your birth, so much the same....

And holding you, breathed once your name.

 

Pat sitting at navigator's seat in Lancaster at East Kirkby Aviation Heritage Centre.

During March 1944 Flying Officer McDowell's wife had a daughter, they called her Patricia. Later Mrs McDowell remarried. Patricia grew up not knowing her father, however, when she was 7 her mother and stepfather revealed to her that in actual fact her real dad had been an R.A.F aircrew officer who had been killed during WW11. Patricia has spent a lifetime trying to get to know as much as possible about her father. She is a member of the Association and attends all reunions to honour his memory.