New Accession: Moheddeen Abdul Ghias Howsan Papers
A recent addition to the John Oxley Library are the Moheddeen Abdul Ghias (Bob) Howsan Papers. This collection was donated by the President of the Queensland Muslim Historical Society, Janeth Deen, and consists of papers relating to Bob Howsan, a young Queenslander who served in the Second World War as a pilot with the Royal Canadian Air Force. Flight Sergeant Howsan lost his life when the plane he was piloting was shot down in France on 1st April 1942. All but one of the crew were killed. Before the plane crashed Sergeant Howsan steered the stricken aircraft away from the French village of Marly-le-Roe, near Versailles, to avoid any civilian casualties. In 1994 the citizens of Marly-le-Roe unveiled a memorial honouring the fallen airmen for their bravery.
Moheddeen Abdul Ghias Howsan (known as Bob) was born in 1920, the eldest son of Mr and Mrs F.M. Howsan of Mt. Gravatt, Brisbane, and the grandson of the first Muslim to settle in the Mt. Gravatt area. The family were originally from Afghanistan. He was educated at Buranda Boys' School and the Brisbane Boys' Grammar School. After the outbreak of World War Two he joined the Royal Australian Air Force in February 1940 and left Australia in April 1941 for training in Canada, before going to England as a member of 405 Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force.
The collection consists of correspondence from the Australian and British governments to Bob Howsan's family regarding his death, photographs of his grave in Versailles Cemetery in France, newspaper and journal articles and a certificate from the Air Raid Wardens' Organisation of Queensland. Also included in the collection are two publications; "Instructions on Method of Attack by Air Firing and Air Bombing", R.A.A.F. Publications No. 56, February 1939, and the book "Foundations of Victory: Focus Your Outlook" by Lord Davies. The latter is inscribed by Lord Davies "To my Australian friend".