P/O Higham is first noted in the Operations Record Book on March 3rd. 1942. On this date he took one of his
ten operations or perhaps more as a 2nd Pilot on operations over enemy territory.
During the first four months
from February to April 419 Squadron flew with two pilots on each Wellington.
For P/O Higham the last operation as 2nd. Pilot was on March 23 1942.
It was not until May 29th 1942 when P/O Higham and his crew took part in their first operation together.
From this date until September 1st. 1942 the crew flew operations on Wellington X3404 for most of their sorties.
( X3404 may be an error as I could not find any Wellington X3404 in the Manufacturing lists)
Then for the last operations and completing their Tour on Wellington BJ604 VR-A .
Then just a few days after returning from this sortie they were back in Canada doing a different type of tour.
One that took them across Canada.
The Crew Listed on ORB pages
P/O John Brock Higham - Pilot
Sgt. S.C. "Siggy" Lee -Navigator/ Bomb Aimer
Sgt. Karl Sveinson -Wireless Operator
Sgt. Arthur "Art" Loach - Wag
F/Sgt. Earnie Burnett - Air Gunner
Picking the Crew
When I asked how he picked his crew, John Higham replied he had no access to the records of the men.
You just choose someone you liked.
Siggy Lee and John got along with each other from the start. Siggy was the oldest of the crew at 28,
described by Higham as a quiet and methodical man. Earnie Burnett who had been a fireman in civilian
life was cocky, outspoken man who liked beer and Higham thought he would make a great rear gunner.
"And he did not disappoint".
Karl Sveinson was from Saskatchewan and his good looks and likeable personality made him fit in well
with the others. And he also attracted the girls. Art Loach was a qualified Bomb Aimer and good gunner
who just happened to be younger at 18 than Higham. So
now P/O Higham was not the youngest in the crew. Art Loach fit in well with this young crew.
"Miraculously it worked with the help of some beer and an occasional invite to the Sergeant's mess where
all the action was."
Mr. Higham still remembers two of the ground crew who looked after his VR-A. Fitter John Scott and
Rigger Bill Brooks.
A Group Photo
In the group photo shown above Sgt. Burnett is not included, he may have been RAF, instead the group photo
shows F/S Morrison who was an Air Gunner on S/L Wolfe's crew. Since the ORB shows no initials or Service
Numbers for Sgt. Burnett, so this is just a guess.
Post War Years
John Higham continued on with his career as a Pilot and was with Air Canada for 41 years. And in June of 2016
he attended the Moose Squadron 75th Anniversary in Kamloops British Columbia.
Our Thanks to CWO Francois Dutil for sending the original copies of this edited photos.
The photos add greatly to the effort to preserve the history of 419 Squadron.