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

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 28. 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.

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)

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)

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. Born 23rd September 1914, he was the son of Richard and Rose May (née Lusby) Neal of Poplar, London, England. Married Dorothy W. M. Mackenzie at Romford in the December 1938 Qtr. There were no children from this union.

F/O. Edward Basil Ruto. Rheinberg War Cemetery Grave 2.F.14. Born 18th June 1917 in Kansas City, Missouri, USA. Youngest son of Italian immigrants Oscar Pasquale and Adelina (née Bernodo) Ruto of Kansas City, Missouri, USA. He had two older brothers, Fred, 30, who served in the US Army and Charles, 41. He also had an older sister, Evelyn. He excelled in school graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Missouri University in June 1939. While attending university he was also employed as an accountant by the Armacost Automobile Company in Kansas City. He had registered for the US Draft on 16 October 1940 but grew tired of waiting for the US to enter the war. On 11 August 1941, he was examined by a physician employed by the Clayton Knight Committee who had set up shop in a room at the President Hotel in Kansas City and passed with flying colours. He then made his way to Ottawa and enlisted in the RCAF on 16 August 1941.

Fl/Sgt. William Heyer Bowden. Rheinberg War Cemetery Grave 2.F.15. Born 25 August 1922 in Ormstown, Quebec, he was the son of bank manager, Ivan Heyer and Rhoda Geraldine (née McCaig) Heyer of Sutton, Quebec, 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.

Right: Fl/Sgt. Lawrence David McEwen (courtesy Dave Champion)

(left) Sgt. Oliver John Haralson. Rheinberg War Cemetery Grave 2.F.19. Born in 1913, Erickson, Manitoba. Son to Claus and Emma Haralson from Erickson, Manitoba, Canada. (courtesy Wendy Picklyk)

Right: Sgt. Oliver John Haralson (courtesy Dave Champion)

Thanks to Wendy Picklyk (née Haralson) the great niece of Sgt. Haralson for his NoK details and grave image.

Haralson Lake West of Southern Indian Lake, Manitoba was named after Sgt. Oliver John Haralson in 1984.

Researched for relatives / friends of the crew. For further details our thanks to Dave Champion for comprehensive crew details and photographs.

RS 27.10.2018 - Update to Sgt Haralson NoK details and grave marker.

KTY 26.05.2019 - Crew information details added.

RW 10.07.2019 - Photo of Edward Ruto added

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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, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Stan D. Bishop, John A. Hey MBE, Gerrie Franken and Maco Cillessen - Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces, Vols 1-6, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiton - Nachtjagd Combat Archives, Vols 1-13. Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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