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The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. I E Howitt


Isaac Edward Howitt was born in Grantham, Lincolnshire on 24th December 1911 and educated at King Edwards Grammar School there.

He went on to study engineering and had progressed to building engines for Rolls-Royce when he was offered a direct entry to the RAF pilot training scheme in 1936. He commenced training at 7 EFTS Desford on 17th October 1936, going on to 3 FTS Grantham for the period 7th January - 5th August 1937.

He joined 'A' Flight of 41 Squadron, operating the Hawker Fury, as a Sergeant Pilot on 8th August. He was still serving with 41 Squadron in 1940.


Above image courtesy of and © Brian Howitt.


On 11th September Howitt was bounced by Me109s in Spitfire Ia N3059 over Dungeness and a cannon shell damaged the oil cooler, causing the engine to sieze. He was able to force-land back at Hornchurch.

He was sent on an instructors course at CFS Upavon on 16th December 1940 and served at flying schools in the UK until commissioned on 15th October 1941.

He embarked on the HMT Pasteur on 20th November and sailed for Canada, where he instructed at 33 SFTS, Caron, Saskatchewan until 27th November 1943.

Howitt took a Airspeed Oxford Refresher Course at 32 SFTS, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan from 28th November 1943 till 5th January 1944. He had a further posting to 31 PDC Moncton before returning to the UK on the HMT Ile de France, arriving on 27th January 1944.

After further instructing postings he embarked for India to serve with 1334 Squadron, operating the Dakota. He returned to the UK on 9th October 1945 to be released from the RAF later that month.

Howitt emigrated to Canada on the RMS Aquatania in April 1949 and was subsequently employed by the Austin Motor Comapny in Toronto.

He retired in 1983 and died there in August 2004.


Additional research courtesy of 'Blood, Sweat and Courage; 41 Squadron RAF 1939-42'
(Steve Brew 2001, Fonthill Media).

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