Twenty one year old Howard William Traver was one of the youngest crew members aboard Short Stirling BF406 HA-E when it crashed attacking Hamburg on the night of February 3rd / 4th 1943.
The crew skippered by Sergeant Leslie Dodd RAF VR arrived on “B” Flight No.1651 Conversion Unit RAF Waterbeach on October 12th 1942 via No.14 Operational Training Unit based at Cottesmore. On completion of their conversion to the Short Stirling the crew were posted on Christmas Eve 1942 to No.218 Squadron based at RAF Downham Market arriving on December 28th. Leslie flew two 2nd pilot operations as was customary, the first was on January 8th 1943 when he joined the crew of Pilot Officer Cozens on a minelaying trip. This was followed on the 14th when he visited the French port of Lorient with Sergeant Cobb and crew, both operations were successful. The following night Howard was operational for the first time, the target was once again Lorient. Airborne at 18:05 hour the crew successfully bombed the port through a break in the cloud experiencing the ports formidable flak defences in the process. The crew finished off the month with two successful minelaying operations, the first on January 18th followed by a further sortie on the 27th. On February 3rd No.218 Squadron dispatched eight crews to Hamburg, it was a bad night for the squadron losing two crews, one of which was flown by Sergeant Leslie Dodd. It is believed that the crew were shot down by a night fighter near Deelen Airfield around 9km NNW of Arnhem. Sadly there were no survivors from the crew of Short Stirling BF406 HA-E.
Son of Walter C and Bertha J Traver of Inwood, Long Island, New York USA