George R. Howsam

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George Roberts Howsam
Born 29 January 1895
Reach, Ontario, Canada
Died 16 April 1988 (aged 93)
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Allegiance George V[1]
Service/branch Royal Flying Corps, Royal Air Force, Royal Canadian Air Force
Years of service 1917–1945
Rank Captain (later Air Vice Marshal)
Unit No. 43 Squadron RAF, No. 70 Squadron RAF
Awards Order of the British Empire, Military Cross
Other work Air Vice Marshal in Royal Canadian Air Force

Air Vice Marshal George Roberts Howsam MC (29 January 1895 –16 April 1988) was a Canadian First World War flying ace, officially credited with 13 victories,[2] who continued his military career with such success he became an Air Vice Marshal.[3]

Early life and service[edit]

George Roberts Howsam's parents were George and Ida Cutting Howsam. The younger George Howsam joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force right out of high school,[4] on 23 March 1916. He gave his home address as Rural Route 4, Port Perry, Ontario. He is described as being a Methodist, five feet six inches tall, blue eyed, with fair complexion.[5] He served successively with the 116th (Ontario County) Battalion, CEF and the 182nd (Ontario County) Battalion, CEF. He transferred to the Royal Flying Corps in Spring 1917, while he was still in Canada; he trained at Deseronto and Camp Borden.[4]

World War I aerial service[edit]

Howsam joined 70 Squadron in Autumn 1917 as a Sopwith Camel pilot. He barely made the 1917 scoring lists, destroying an Albatros two-seater over Zarren, Belgium on 28 December 1917 for his first win. He repeated on 19 January 1918, sending the Albatros down out of control at Moorslede, Belgium. Three days later, he flew three sorties, and scored every time. He destroyed an Albatros D.V at 1245; his next sortie set an observation plane aflame at 1315; on his last sortie, he and Captain Frank Granger Quigley cooperated in flaming one Albatros D.V and putting another down out of control. A victory apiece on the 24th and 25th, and Howsam ended January 1918 with eight wins. Another followed on 27 February. Howsam won a Military Cross, awarded 4 March. Within a week, he downed three more planes. On 24 March, he was wounded in action and withdrawn to Home Establishment. He would return to the front as a Flight Commander in 43 Squadron in October. Flying a Sopwith Snipe, he set a Fokker D.VII afire on 30 October to cap his career as an ace. His final total was eight German planes destroyed and five driven down out of control.[3]

Post World War I[edit]

Howsam did not return to Canada until May 1921. He attended the RAF Staff College in 1930. During World War II, he served as Director of Training for the RCAF. He retired in 1945.[4]

Text of citations[edit]

Military Cross[edit]

T./2nd Lt. George Robert Howsam, Gen. List and R.F.C. For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in aerial combats. He has destroyed five enemy machines and driven down others out of control, showing splendid courage and initiative on all occasions.[2][6]


  • Above the Trenches: A Complete Record of the Fighter Aces and Units of the British Empire Air Forces 1915-1920 Christopher F. Shores, Norman L. R. Franks, Russell Guest. Grub Street, 1990. ISBN 0-948817-19-4, ISBN 978-0-948817-19-9.


  1. ^ Canadian airmen were required to complete an Attestation Paper in which they declared an oath of allegiance to King George the Fifth and agreed to serve in any arm of the service for the duration of the war between Great Britain and Germany.
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^ a b Above the Trenches: A Complete Record of the Fighter Aces and Units of the British Empire Air Forces 1915-1920. p. 201. 
  4. ^ a b c Retrieved on 18 June 2010.
  5. ^ Retrieved on 18 June 2010.
  6. ^ (Supplement to the London Gazette, 16 August 1918) contains text of citation. Retrieved on 18 June 2010.


"WWI Aces of Canada". Retrieved 2008-06-14.