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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.

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13/14.05.1943. No 419 Squadron Halifax II DT672 VR-D Sgt. Adams crew loss

Operation: Bochum

Date: 13/14th May 1943 (Thursday/Friday)

Unit: No. 419 Squadron (RCAF)

Type: Halifax II

Serial: DT672

Code: VR-D ("Donald Duck")

Base: RAF Middleton St. George, County Durham.

Location: North East Geldern, Germany.

Pilot: Sgt. George Adams 1078804 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Frederick Stefhen Neal 985412 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Air/Bmr: F/O. Edward Basil Ruto J/14738 RCAF Age 21. Killed (1)

Air/Bmr 2: Fl/Sgt. William Heyer Bowden R/135010 RCAF Age 20. Killed (2)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Edwin Kurring 1128371 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Lawrence David McEwen R/120920 RCAF Age 24. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Oliver John Haralson R/131571 RCAF Age 20. Killed


Took off at 23.44 hrs from RAF Middleton St. George, County Durham to join a further 441 aircraft made up with 135 Halifaxes, 104 Wellingtons, 95 Stirlings and 10 Mosquitoes.

The raid did start well but the bombers were drawn away by decoy markers made by the Germans. It is reported that 394 buildings were destroyed a further 716 seriously damaged with 302 people killed on the ground.

29 allied aircraft were lost on this raid with total crew killed; 102. PoW; 54. Just a single Crew member evading capture.

Two aircraft from 419 Squadron RCAF were lost on this operation. The other, Halifax JD113 VR-Z flown by Fl/Sgt. Walter H.S. Buckwell RCAF lost 4 crew members killed with the remaining 3 made pow's.

Halifax DT672 was shot down by the Luftwaffe ace Oblt. Manfred Meurer (3) of 3./NJG1 with combat taking place north east of Geldern at 6.200 mts. Time of attack: 02.31 hrs.


              Sgt. George Adams - pictured during training. Right: The office of Sgt. Haralson (courtesy Michael Webster)


                            Wreckage of Halifax DT672 - showing 30 missions, also the "Donald Duck". (courtesy Steve Heppenstall)


(1) This was the first operation for F/O. Edward Basil Ruto from Missouri, USA.

(2) His brother, Fl/Sgt. Donald Ivan Bowden also killed. On the 20th February 1944, whilst serving with 408 squadron on an operation to Leipzig. Lancaster LL719 EQ-V flown by F/O. Gordon W.M. Richter RCAF killed with 6 other members of his crew. (5 from RCAF and 2 from RAFVR)


Friends of Sgt George Adams taken at Moody Fields, Valdosta, U.S.A. Do you recognise any of the above? Relatives would like to hear from you further if you do. (courtesy Michael Webster)


                        Moody Fields, Valdosta, USA 1943


(3) This was the 25th claim by Oblt. Manfred Meurer who went on to have a total of 63 kills before he lost his life on the 21/22nd January 1944, when he was killed with his fellow crew member, Ofw. Gerhard Scheibe during a collision with a Lancaster 20 km east of Magdeburg.


                Original grave marker and today (courtesy Michael Webster)

Left: Rheinberg War Cemetery today(courtesy Robert Brunning)

We would appreciate contact from other relatives of this crew

Burial details:

Originally buried at the city cemetery Munchen Gladbach then re-interned at Rheinberg.

Sgt. George Adams. Rheinberg War Cemetery Grave 2.F.13. Son of John Head Adams and Caroline Isabel Adams, of Selby, Yorkshire, England.

Sgt. Frederick Stefhen Neal. Rheinberg War Cemetery Grave 2.F.16. NoK details currently not available - are you able to assist completion of these and any other information?

F/O. Edward Basil Ruto. Rheinberg War Cemetery Grave 2.F.14. From Kansas City, Missouri, USA.

Fl/Sgt. William Heyer Bowden. Rheinberg War Cemetery Grave 2.F.15. From Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Sgt. Edwin Kurring. Rheinberg War Cemetery Grave 2.F.17. Son of Albert and Mary Anne Sophie Kurring, of Hull, England.

Fl/Sgt. Lawrence David McEwen. Rheinberg War Cemetery Grave 2.F.18. Son of Cyrus A. McEwen and Edith McEwen, husband of Irene McEwen, of Saskatoon. Saskatchewan. Canada.

Sgt. Oliver John Haralson. Rheinberg War Cemetery Grave 2.F.19. From Erickson, Manitoba, Canada. NoK details currently not available - are you able to assist completion of these and any other information?

Researched for Michael Webster - nephew of Sgt. George Adams and for relatives / friends of the crew. Acknowledgments: With thanks to the following: Les Allison and Harry Haywood - "They Shall Grow Not Old", Bill Chorley - "Bomber Command Losses Vol. 4", Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - "Nightfighter War Diaries Vol's. 1 and  2",  Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt "Bomber Command War Diaries", Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Acknowledgements: Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives and Fred Paradie - Paradie Archive (both on this site), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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