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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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214 Sqaudron crest
23/24.05.1943 No. 214 Squadron Stirling III BF478 BU-G P/O. John W. Evans

Operation: Dortmund

Date: 23/24th May 1943 (Sunday/Monday)

Unit: No. 214 Squadron

Type: Stirling III

Serial: BF478

Code: BU-G

Base: RAF Chedburgh, Suffolk.

Location: Wadden Sea some 10 k. East of Terschelling, Netherlands

Pilot: P/O. John Wesley Evans J/18037 RCAF Age 22. Missing

Fl/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

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/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.

Some of the crew of BF478. Sgt Ronald V. Street is shown on front right. Mr Ian Duffin, great nephew of Sgt Ager informed us that Sgt. Ager is front row, 2nd from left. This is from the collection of the sister of Ronald Street. (courtesy Nicky Davenport)

In December 2015, Victor Walker, nephew of Sgt. Victor Norman Walker recognised him as front row, 2nd from right.

Are you able to recognise and place names to any of the other crew? Mr. Ben Eustice feels that the West Indian chap, right, back row is F/O. Hugh Terence Etienne 129058 RAFVR - he was later '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.

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.

Stirling BF478 was shot down by Ofw. Karl-Heinz Scherfling (1) of 10.NJG1 over the North Sea some 10 km. East of Terschelling at 02:14 hrs. Combat taking place at 3,600 mtrs.

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 Fl/Sgt. John Joseph Egan from Victoria Park, Australia, killed with all 6 other crew members. Aircraft crashed at Unna, 15 km from Dortmund.

Left: Ofw. Karl-Heinz Scherfling of 10.NJG1 and crew (archives)

(1) This was the 10th abschüsse 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 Squadron flown by W/Cmd. Bromley OBE DFC. and Fl/Lt. Truscott DFC.

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 is possibly drowning, as the body had very little 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 (Vrredenhof) Cemetery, with insert grave of Sgt. Street. (courtesy Tom Bint)


Burial details:

P/O. 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.

Fl/Sgt. Harold Ward. Runnymede Memorial Panel 139. Son of Walter and Edith Lydia Ward, of Bircotes, Nottinghamshire, England.

Sgt. Ronald Victor Street. Schiermonnikoog (Vrredenhof) 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, Tom Bint from the 626 Squadron website, Ian Duffin - relative of Sgt Ager. Other sources as quoted below.

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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