23/24.05.1943 214 Squadron Stirling III BF478 BU:G Plt.Off. John W. Evans
Date: 23/24th May 1943 (Sunday/Monday)
Unit: 214 Squadron
Type: Stirling III
Base: RAF Chedburgh, Suffolk.
Location: Wadden Sea some 10km East of Terschelling, Netherlands
Pilot: Plt.Off. John Wesley Evans J18037 RCAF Age 22. Missing
Flt.Eng: Sgt. Victor Norman Walker 1380192 RAFVR Age 23. Missing
Nav: Sgt. Zanwel Goldfinger 1330847 RAFVR Age 24. Missing
Air Bmr: Sgt. Roy Craven Child 968999 RAFVR Age 25. Missing
WOp/Air Gnr: Flt.Sgt. Harold Ward 1060035 RAFVR Age 20. Missing
Air Gnr: Sgt. Ronald Victor Street 1575811 RAFVR Age. 19. Killed
Air Gnr: Sgt. Ernest Douglas Ager 646478 RAF Age 23. Missing
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at 23:06 hrs from RAF Chedburgh, Suffolk. After a 9-day break in major operations, Bomber Command dispatched 826 aircraft to Dortmund – a record number of aircraft in a “non-1,000” raid so far in the war and the largest raid of the Battle of the Ruhr. The force comprised of 343 Lancasters, 199 Halifaxes, 151 Wellingtons, 120 Stirlings and 13 Mosquitoes. 38 aircraft – 18 Halifaxes, 8 Lancasters, 6 Stirlings, 6 Wellingtons – were lost.
Above; some of the crew of BF478. The photograph is from the collection of the sister of Ronald Street. (courtesy Nicky Davenport)
Front row Left to Right: Sgt. Ager, Unknown, Sgt. Walker, Sgt. Street. Rear Row left to Right: Unknown, Plt.Off. Evans, Fg.Off. Hugh Terence Etienne*
* Mr. Ben Eustice feels that this is Fg.Off. Hugh Terence Etienne 129058 RAFVR. He was later reported’ as missing' on an operation 5th March 1943. Flying with 214 Squadron Stirling BK662 BU:K on a raid to Essen when they were hit by flak, crashing into the North Sea.
Are you able to recognise and place names to any of the other crew?
Above Left: Plt.Off. Evans (From his Service Record), Centre & Right: Sgt. Walker (Courtesy of Victor Walker)
The Pathfinders marked the target accurately in clear weather conditions and the ensuing attack proceeded according to plan. It was a very successful raid. Many industrial premises were hit, particularly the large Hoesch steelworks, which ceased production.
Bombing took place between 01:03 hrs and 02:10 hrs. The operation caused devastation to the centre and outlying districts of the city. 2,000 buildings were destroyed, many of them industrial including the Hoesch steelworks. Casualties on the ground amounted to over 600 killed with a further 1,275 injured.
The force from Bomber Command was hit hard losing some '41 aircraft.' 189 aircrew were killed, 68 being made PoW.
214 Squadron lost two other aircraft during this operation:
Stirling III BF528 BU:L2 Flown by 21 year old Sgt. Jack Kenneth Wilkins from Auckland, New Zealand, killed with 1 other crew member, 5 taken PoW. Aircraft coming down at Munchen-Gladbach.
Stirling III MZ261 BU:T Flown by 25 year old Flt.Sgt. John Joseph Egan from Victoria Park, Australia, killed with all 6 other crew members. Aircraft crashed at Unna, 15 km from Dortmund.
Stirling BF478 was shot down by Ofw. Karl-Heinz Scherfling of 10./NJG1 over the North Sea some 10 km. East of Terschelling at 02:14 hrs. Combat taking place at 3,600 mtrs.
Left: Ofw. Karl-Heinz Scherfling of 10.NJG1 and crew (archives)
This was the 10th abschuss for the Luftwaffe ‘Ace’ Ofw. Scherfling. (see Kracker Archive on this site)
He was killed after 31 confirmed night kills when on the 20/21st July 1944 he crashed following an interception by a Mosquito NT113 from 169 Sqn flown by Wg.Cdr. Bromley OBE DFC. and Flt.Lt. Truscott DFC. Scherfling’s Bordschütze was also killed in the engagement, but his Bordfunker survived badly wounded.
Both of whom were also killed on the 6th September 1944 after their Mosquito VI PZ230 exploded in the air – details not yet researched.
Further information (confirmed) from Nicky Davenport is that the body of Sgt. Street was washed up on the 2nd June 1943 at 17:00 hrs. at Engelsman Plaat, between Schiermonnikoog and Ameland on the Dutch Frisian Islands. The cause of death was possibly drowning, as the body had few injuries apart from facial burns and a broken left leg. His burial took place on the 4th June 1943. This information comes from a letter from the Air Ministry dated 6th January 1944.
Left: Village sign at Chedburgh, Suffolk, England - base of 214 Squadron. Above: Schiermonnikoog (Vredenhof) Cemetery, with insert grave of Sgt. Street. (courtesy Tom Bint)
Plt.Off. John Wesley Evans. Runnymede Memorial Panel 175. Son of Alfred Ethelbert Evans and Minnie Evans, of Richlea, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Sgt. Victor Norman Walker. Runnymede Memorial Panel 168. Son of Charles William and Clara Walker, of Feltham, Middlesex, England.
Sgt. Zanwel Goldfinger. Runnymede Memorial Panel 150. Son of Chajim Leib Goldfinger and Dewora Goldfinger, of Haifa, Israel.
Sgt. Roy Craven Child. Runnymede Memorial Panel 145. Son of J. W. Edward and Beatrice Mary Child, husband of Irene Joan Child.
Flt.Sgt. Harold Ward. Runnymede Memorial Panel 139. Son of Walter and Edith Lydia Ward, of Bircotes, Nottinghamshire, England.
Sgt. Ronald Victor Street. Schiermonnikoog (Vredenhof) Cemetery. Grave 101. Son of Albert and Mary Ann Street, of Low Hill, Wolverhampton, England. Born on 24th April, 1923 in Wolverhampton, England.
Sgt. Ernest Douglas Ager. Runnymede Memorial Panel 140. Son of Alfred and Alice Ager of Reading, Berkshire, husband of Olive Margaret Ager, of Reading, Berkshire, England.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Nicky Davenport - relative of Sgt. Ronald Street, Victor Walker, nephew of Sgt. Victor Walker (Dec 2015 & Sep 2020), Tom Bint from the 626 Squadron website, Mr. Ian Duffin great nephew of Sgt Ager. Updated by Aircrew Remembered. (Sep 2020). Other sources as quoted below.