On June 1, 1943, Flight 777, the BOAC DC-3 commercial airliner Howard was aboard, was shot down by the German Luftwaffe over the Bay of Biscay, the portion of the Atlantic Ocean immediately north of Spain and immediately west of France. There were 17 persons on board, 13 passengers and 4 crewmen. None survived.
The doomed airliner, named Ibis (after the water bird venerated by the ancient Egyptians), had departed from Lisbon that Tuesday at 9:35 a.m., local time, heading for England on a regularly scheduled daytime flight. Three hours later, at 12:54 p.m., with the Ibis flying over water and the Spanish peninsula 200 miles behind, the airplane's wireless operator suddenly broke radio silence and tapped out a chilling message in code: "From G-AGBB [Ibis's call sign] ... I am followed by unidentified aircraft ... I am attacked by enemy aircraft ..." No more signals were received from the airliner, and no trace of its occupants or wreckage was ever found.