7. Squadron Leader Howard Lees

Two legends: Howard Lees with Jack Eggleston pictured in the JSOP Museum, 1996
Two legends: Howard Lees with Jack Eggleston
pictured in the JSOP Museum, 1996

1908 – 2006

Specialist in WW2 night photography with No.8 Group (Pathfinders)

Squadron Leader Howard Lees was the Photographic Officer to number 8PFF Group, the Pathfinders. He worked under the close attention of Air Vice Marshall Bennett, the founder of the Pathfinders of No 8 Group, developing the night camera systems and achieved great success with his innovations and expertise.  He also worked on the HS2 radar recording systems.  Donald Bennett had a reputation for being a hard taskmaster, but Howard Lees held him in great respect and became a close friend.  In order to assist in proving kills’ from bombers he developed a camera with two shutters, which enabled the target to be clearly seen after a raid. He also developed a means of photographing the screen of the H2S, the radar device.. He had always been interested in photography from an early age and frequently had articles published in photographic journals.

In an interview attributed to the Bedford Museum he recalled his work with AVM Donald Bennett:

“That man felt, in fact I’ve seen him almost in tears when we’ve had a very bad night, a lot of losses. He felt it personally and that was the true nature of the man. I was very proud to serve under him. He worked 24 hours a day; he never took any leave at all. We had to follow his example. I had seven days leave and that was sick leave alter a quinsy and I worked seven days a week, 14 hours -24 hours a day and we all did and we were proud to do for that man – that was a true man!”