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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
12.06.1943 No. 419 Squadron Halifax II JD143 VR-A F/O. W.J. Boyce

Operation: Düsseldorf

Date: 11/12th June 1943 (Friday/Saturday)

Unit: No. 419 Squadron

Type: Halifax II

Serial: JD143

Code: VR-A

Base: RAF Middleton St. George, County Durham

Location: 7 km west of Xanten, Germany

Pilot: F/O. William John Boyce J/12480 RCAF Age 26. Killed

Pilot 2: W/O 1. Herbert Andrew Tripp R/68179 RCAF Age 24. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. D.N. Stewart 974746 RAFVR PoW No: 21 Camp: Stalag Kopernikus - 357

Nav: F/O. D.I. Black 124923 RAFVR PoW No: 1488 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan - L3

Air/Bmr: F/O. C.L. Buck 127101 RAFVR PoW No: 1611 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan - L3 (1)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Douglas Edward Cyril Chambers 1330903 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. R.M. Hall R/105379 RCAF PoW No: 156 Camp: Stalag Luft Heydekrug - L6

Air/Gnr: Sgt. John Douglas Gray R/141114 RCAF Age 22. PoW No: 10 Camp: Stalag Luft Heydekrug - L6


Taking off from RAF Middleton St. George in County Durham at 22:40 hrs joining a total of 782 other aircraft from various squadrons to bomb Düsseldorf.

Although initial marking was spot on for the first wave a backup marker Mosquito dropped target indicators 14 miles (23 km) off target to the north-east, with the effect that part of the bombing fell there. 130 acres (0.53 km2) of Düsseldorf claimed as destroyed.

There are reports that the Halifax was hit by flak after making its bombing run. Other reports (Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vol's. 1 and 2’) state that it was intercepted and shot down by the Luftwaffe night fighter ace Hptm. Manfred Meurer (2) of 3./NJG1, his 40th claim of the war. 7 km west of Xanten at 01:55 hrs. Both agree the area of the loss.

(1) F/O. C.L. Buck was a friend of the family of Timothy Croft who kindly contacted us in September 2017 - sending many photographs.

Above: CL Buck first on left, front row - St Andrews golf club steps

(2) Hptm. Manfred Meurer went on to claim a total of 63 night abschüsse before he was killed with his Funker Ofw. Gerhard Scheibe flying a Heinkel 219 A-O G9+BB during a collision with a Lancaster on the 21/22nd January 1944 over Magdeburg. (shown left - courtesy Kracker archives) Further details information found here.

Burial details:

Some of the crew originally buried at at Buderick Parish Cemetery, Kreis Moers, Germany.

F/O. William John Boyce. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Grave 3.A.11. Son of William John and Charlotte Ann Boyce, of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (B.Sc. - University of British Columbia).

W/O 1. Herbert Andrew Tripp. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 4.F.15. Born on the 20th November 1918, the son of Agnes Tripp. Understood to be from London, Ontario, Canada.

Sgt. Douglas Edward Cyril Chambers. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 1.G.7. Next of kin details not available, are you able to assist? Understood to be from Brighton, Sussex, England.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Timothy Croft family friend of F/O. C.L. Buck - Des Philippet, Fred and Wouter van Dijken for grave photographs (at Find-A-Grave), other sources as shown below.

KTY - 11.09.2017

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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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