Halifax, Further Reading

About This Aviation Painting and Flight Sargent J. Loban’s very remarkable story …

Halifax, Handley Page
Halifax, the loss of DK 170

This #painting measures 76 x 1.01 cm (30” x 40“)

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John Loban blamed the R.A.F. not the Germans for this loss and deaths of his friends.

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This Aviation Painting :

Mr. (formally flight sergeant) John Loban asked me to produce this painting when I met him after he had retired to Carlyon Bay, Cornwall.
John was the sole survivor from this Halifax.

This painting was created with the full co-operation of John Loban who among other things presented the me the artist, with the German radar and pilots reports which are so detailed they even included how many rounds the Me 110 G4 fired, copies of which I still have on file.

I researched further and built scale models of both aircraft as aides to perspective.

Regrettably the models were abandoned when I had to sell the family home and my studio following an unfortuante divorce.

John Loban commissioned this painting of his aircraft but did not wish this picture to be exhibited during his life time, a wish I, Gordon Frickers have respected.

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Flight Sargent J Loban’s very remarkable story…

John (navigator) and his crew trained in Canada for 2 years before this tragic flight.

John Loban blamed Royal Air Force orders to take no evasive action if attacked, to stay in the bomber stream, for this loss.

The RAF orders [later in the war changed] were ‘if attacked while in the main bomber stream do not take evasive action‘.

The risk was that by taking such action bombers would collide in mid air.

The result made bombers into sitting ducks.


To late for John Loban and his crew those orders were changed later in the war.



Obtt. P. Barte-uffz flying a Messerschmidt Me 110 G4 was radar directed to his victim.

We even have the names of all the people involved and how many rounds the Me 110 night fighter expended.

John said their rear gunner saw and fired at the Me 110 but not before the night fighter had hit and set the Halifax on fire.

The rear gunner did not live to learn he actually hit the Me 110; he did see it sheer off.


The doomed Halifax started its final dive, only John Loban got out alive.

He said that upon landing he buried his parachute then fell asleep in a ditch.

This was quite a common reaction to the shock of being shot down.

Later he was helped by French people but unfortunately the Germans were looking for him and the courageous French had little option but to give him up.


RAF Bomber Command suffered 60 % casualties.

Only 10 % of RAF Bomber Command crews who flew at the start of the war, lived to see it’s end.


Messerschmidt Me 110

was designed as a long range fighter was and found incapable of effectively combating the British Hurricane and Spitfire fighters so was withdrawn after heavy losses during the battle of Britain.


In a new role as a radar directed night fighter the Me 110 excelled.

There is a fine example of an Me 110 at the excellent Royal Air Force Museum  situated on the historic site of Hendon’s London Aerodrome in Colindale, North London, entrance free and that makes for a memorable day out.

Relentless bombing by Royal Air Force (RAF) Bomber Command mostly at night and by day, the USAF, provided German fighters with a wealth of targets and also did much to cripple the NAZI German war effort.

RAF Bomber Command’s aircraft at the beginning of World War 2 were inadequate, some types hopelessly inadequate.

This was due to a similar situation today as we face a growing threat from the East, Iran in particular, a dithering and general lack of political will from people who mistakenly thought the Germans could be appeased.

Only the twin engine Wellington could be described as modern.


British engineers had foreseen the problem even though the politicians had not.

Once the funds were released, British bombers rapidly improved.


The Handley Page Halifax :

The RAF’s second 4 engine heavy bomber and one of the most successful British #bomber aircraft.

The Halifax heavy bomber proved itself to be Britain’s No 2 heavy bomber, eclipsed only by the now legendary Avro Lancaster.



The young bomber crews who perished undoubtedly helped save many lives and shorten World War Two.

A terrible price those young men were willing to pay for diverting substantial NAZI resources away from front lines for defence while the RAF seriously damaged and disrupted the NAZI war effort.


John Loban commissioned this painting of his aircraft but did not wish this picture to be exhibited during his life time.


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Research sources:

The eye witness account from Mr. Loban.

“To see The dawn Breaking”, W.R. Chorley (76 Squadron Operations).

Combat report; Obtt. P.Barte-uffz, night fighter squadron 1

Ariel photographs of Belgium (artists own collection)

Royal Air Force Museum (thank you Mr. Bush)

Janes’ “All The World Aircraft 1943/4

“Flight” July 1943

Aircraft Movements card DK170

“Halifax, An Illustrated history of a Classic World

War II Bomber”, K.A. Merrick

Met Offices Dept, 07 H.Q. Bracknell

Models of the Halifax B111 and Messerschmidt Me 110 G4.

Mr. A. Frickers (Captain, retired) British Army trained firearms and an  explosives expert and my Father.

[This Gordon Frickers, art signature is on all my more recent paintings]