13/14.05.1943 419 Squadron Halifax II JD113 VR-Z Fl/Sgt. Walter H.S. Buckwell
Operation: Bochum, Germany
Date: 13/14th May 1943 (Thursday/Friday)
Unit: No. 419 Squadron
Type: Halifax II
Base: RAF Middleton St. George, Co. Durham
Location: Dalen (Overijssel), Netherlands
Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Walter Herbert Secretan Buckwell R/120100 RCAF Age 22. Killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Frederick William Walkerdine R/63806 RCAF Age 24. Killed
Nav: Sgt. Russel William Lowry J/13812 RCAF PoW No. 1332 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria (L3)
Air/Bmr: Sgt. Sgt. William Matheson Reid R/105405 RCAF PoW No. 1268 Camp: Stalag Luft Barth Vogelsang (L1?)
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. William James Nathaniel Duggan R/88090 RCAF PoW No. 259865 Camp: Stalag Mühlberg-Elbe (4B) (1)
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Alfred Eugene Hurteau R/149121 RCAF Age 24. Killed
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Walter Le Roy Bovaird R/113737 RCAF Age 21. Killed (2)
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off at 23:57 hrs. from RAF Middleton St. George for a raid on Bochum. Returning after the operation when at 18.000 feet the aircraft was attacked by a night fighter (Hptm Herbert Lutje, III./NJG1) and crashed at 03:30 hrs near Dalen 14km South West of Emmen, Holland
(1) Escaped from the area, but later captured near Paris in July 1943. From New Glasgow. NS. Aircrew Remembered have since been contacted by his son (William Buckwell Duggan - March 2106) We are hoping that he is sending further information.
(2) Personal information: Research submitted to the Aircrew Remembered by the "Lest We Forget" initiative of Belleisle Regional High School, Springfield, New Brunswick.
Notes: Sgt. William Matheson Reid - from Wrightville, Quebec, Canada.
Sgt. Russel William Lowry - from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
Left: Fl/Sgt. Alfred Eugene Hurteau (courtesy Susan J. Hurteau - see notes below)
Walter LeRoy Bovaird was born on 8 August, 1921 in Hampton Village, Kings County, New Brunswick. He was born to Alice and Ernest Bovaird. Walter came from a family who belonged to the Baptist faith. While young and unmarried, he worked doing woodworking for two years and then moved onto a salesman position for a year.
He enjoyed woodworking, hockey, swimming, baseball, and softball. He completed grade ten in New Brunswick. Walter was in good physical condition and was single when he enlisted in the army in Moncton, New Brunswick on 7 July, 1941. He was 19 years old, 6 feet tall, and he weighed 150 pounds. He was quiet yet modest and somewhat immature for his age.
He was confident, organised and had been suspected to make a good student. Walter was keen to fly and had experience with Lewis and Vickers machine guns. At enlistment, he had been recommended for Wireless Operator or an Air-Gunner. Also during enlistment they found out that Walter had defective colour vision.
Military movements: Before enlistment Walter had some previous training and experience that would serve him well in the Royal Canadian Air Force. He had been in Cadet Corps and had gone to two summer camps with the 8th Princess Louise Hussars. He had been with the Hussars in Hampton, New Brunswick for two months for training and then discharged to take an aero-engine course.
Left to right: Fl/Sgt. Buckwell, Sgt. Walkerdine, Fl/Sgt. Hurteau, Fl/Sgt. Bovaird (courtesy Michel Beckers)
Between 21 July, 1941 and 13 September, 1942 Walter had trained in various places to get himself ready for combat. He was involved in training in Halifax, Montreal, Trenton, and Quebec. On 24 July, 1942 Walter went overseas. He received an Air-Gunners Badge on 14 August, 1942. He ended up a flight sergeant (air gunner) in the 419 Squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Force just as they had recommended in the very beginning of Walter’s journey.
The emblem on the 419 Squadron’s badge was a moose in the attack mode. The title/nickname of the squadron was “Moose” which came from the nickname of the squadron’s first commander, W/C John “Moose” Fulton of Kamloops B.C. The squadron’s motto was Moosa Aswayita. It stood for “beware of the moose”. In total, the squadron had 25,386 operational flying hours, 8613 non-operational flying hours and they had dropped 13,417 tons of bombs.
The final days: Within the time span of January, 1943 to March 1944, the 419 Squadron was involved in over 200 sorties involving 2400 crewing operations. This resulted in losing 59 aircraft. That’s a rate of one in every 40 aircrafts. 415 men were either killed or taken to a Prisoner of War camp during those 15 months, averaging 4 crews a month. The average crew survival rate was between 2 and 3 months when about 20 missions would be flown.
Sadly, it was during these 14 months that Walter LeRoy Bovaird was pronounced missing after air operations while overseas. He had just two years of service. He was presumed dead for official purposes on 14 May 1943. Walter’s next of kin was his mother, Alice May Bovaird.
The crew graves at Dalen Protestant Churchyard (courtesy Rob Kreukniet)
Fl/Sgt. Walter Herbert Secretan Buckwell. Dalen Protestant Churchyard. Plot 1N. Row 7. Grave 167. Son of Edward Leighton Buckwell and Ivy J. Buckwell of Macleod, Alberta, Canada
Sgt. Frederick William Walkerdine. Dalen Protestant Churchyard. Plot 1N. Row 7. Grave 166. Son of Fred W. and May M. Walkerdine of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Fl/Sgt. Alfred Eugene Hurteau. Dalen Protestant Churchyard. Plot 1N. Row 7. Grave 168. Son of Avila and Tophida Hurteau of Bluffton, Alberta, Canada
Fl/Sgt. Walter Le Roy Bovaird. Dalen Protestant Churchyard. Plot 1N. Row 7. Grave 165. Son of Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Bovaird of Hampton Village, King’s Co. New Brunswick, Canada
Researched by Aircrew Remembered, researcher and specialist genealogist Kate Tame for relatives of this crew. With thanks to Susan J. Hurteau, niece of Fl/Sgt. Hurteau. Acknowledgments: Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Shannon Bovaird (Courtesy of the Lest We Forget initiative of Belleisle Regional High School, Springfield, New Brunswick) Michel Beckers for crew photographs. William Buckwell Duggan, son of Sgt. Duggan. Also to David Champion for further information - March 2016.