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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
419 Squadron, RCAF Halifax II JD113 VR:Z Flt Sgt. Walter H.S Buckwell

Operation: Bochum, Germany

Date: 13th/14th May 1943 (Thursday/Friday)

Unit: 419 (Moose) Squadron, RCAF

Type: Halifax II

Serial: JD113

Code: VR:Z

Base: RAF Middleton St. George, Co. Durham

Location: Dalen (Drenthe), Netherlands

Pilot: Flt Sgt. Walter Herbert Secretan 'Walt' Buckwell R120100 RCAF Age 22. KiA

Flt Eng: Sgt. Frederick William Walkerdine R63806 RCAF Age 24. KiA

Nav: Sgt. Russel William Lowry R131239 RCAF PoW No. 1332 * (1)

Bomb Aimer: Sgt. William Matheson Reid R105405 RCAF PoW No. 1268 Camp **

WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. William James Nathaniel Duggan R88090 RCAF PoW No. 259865 *** (2)

Air Gnr (Mid Upp): Flt Sgt. Alfred Eugene Hurteau R149121 RCAF Age 24. KiA

Air Gnr (Rear) Flt Sgt. Walter Le Roy Bovaird R113737 RCAF Age 21. KiA (3)

* Stalag Luft 3, Sagan-Silesia, Germany, now Żagań in Poland. (Moved to Nuremberg-Langwasser, Bavaria).

** Stalag Luft 6, Heydekrug, Memelland (now Šilutė in Lithuania).

*** Stalag 4b Mühlberg, Sachsen, Germany.

Update 19th December 2022. A memorial plaque is planned for the 14th of May 2023. Further details will follow as soon as we hear further from the Dutch organiser.

Left to right: Flt Sgt. Buckwell, Sgt. Walkerdine, Flt Sgt. Hurteau, Flt Sgt. Bovaird, Sgt. Duggan, Sgt. Reid (courtesy Michel Beckers, William Duggan, Ben van Rooijen.)

Left: Flt Sgt. Alfred Eugene Hurteau (courtesy Susan J. Hurteau) and right from his service file


Took off at 23:57 hrs. from RAF Middleton St. George on only their sixth mission for a raid on Bochum. One of the PoWs visited the family of Flt Sgt. Buckwell and related to them that the aircraft had troubles with their engines which caused them fall back by about 15 minutes to arrive late over the target between the 1st and 2nd wave of bombers in the stream. Returning after the operation when at 18000 feet the aircraft was attacked by a night fighter near Dalen 14km South West of Emmen, Holland.

JD113 was claimed by Hptm. Herbert Lütje, his 27th Abschuss which was the fifth of six Abschüsse that night, from 8./NJG1, over Dalen, 19 km east of Hoogeveen at 5.200 m at 02:45 hrs.

Hptm Lütje was the first Nachjagd Luftwaffe pilot to claim 6 victories during the 13th/14th May 1943 Plzen and Bochum raids and was awarded the Ritterkreuz two weeks later, and appointed Kommandore of IV./NJG6 in Rumania. He ended the war with 48 Abschüsse to his credit (Nachtjagd Combat Archive (1 January - 22 June) 1943 Part 1 - Theo Boiten).

Born on the 30th January 1918 at Abbesbüttel/Gifhorn, Germany. At the end of war he was taken prisoner and released in June 1945. He passed away on the 18th January 1967 aged just 48.

(1) Sgt. Lowry was granted a commission and promoted to J13812 Plt Off. whilst he was a PoW. He hailed from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

(2) Sgt. Duggan escaped from the area, but was later captured near Paris in July 1943.

(3) Research submitted to the Aircrew Remembered by the "Lest We Forget" initiative of Belleisle Regional High School, Springfield, New Brunswick.

Walter LeRoy Bovaird was born on the 8th 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 RCAF. 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.

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 Flt Sgt (air gunner) in the 419 Squadron of the RCAF 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, Wg Cdr. 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 aircraft. 415 men were either killed or taken to a PoW 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 14th May 1943. Walter’s next of kin was his mother, Alice May Bovaird.

Burial Details

The crew graves at Dalen Protestant Churchyard (courtesy Rob Kreukniet)

Flt Sgt. Walter Herbert Secretan Buckwell. Dalen Protestant Churchyard. Plot 1N. Row 7. Grave 167. Grave inscription: 'ABSENT FROM THE BODY, PRESENT WITH THE LORD'. Born on the 11th November 1921 in Macleod, Alberta. Son of Edward Leighton Buckwell and Ivy J. Buckwell (née Maunsell - died 1973, age 84) of Macleod, Alberta, Canada.

He was the youngest of four children a sister (Ruth), and two brothers, (Maunsell also known as Buck or Maunse) and Leighton). Walt was pre-deceased by his father, who passed away in 1936 while in Europe for dedication of the Vimy Ridge Memorial

Sgt. Frederick William Walkerdine. Dalen Protestant Churchyard. Plot 1N. Row 7. Grave 166. Grave inscription: 'WHILE HE SLEEPS A PEACEFUL SLEEP HIS MEMORY WE SHALL ALWAYS KEEP'. Born on the 26th October 1918 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Son of Frederick William and May Mary (née Burns) Walkerdine of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Flt Sgt. Alfred Eugene Hurteau. Dalen Protestant Churchyard. Plot 1N. Row 7. Grave 168. Grave inscription: 'IN MEMORY OF A LOVED ONE WHO GAVE HIS LIFE FOR HIS COUNTRY'. Born on the 26th August 1918 in Bluffton, Alberta. Son of Avila (died 1971, age 84) and Tophida Hurteau (née Colombe - died 1988, age 94) of Bluffton, Alberta, Canada.

He was promoted to Flt Sgt. with effect 9th April 1943

Flt Sgt. Walter Le Roy Bovaird. Dalen Protestant Churchyard. Plot 1N. Row 7. Grave 165. Grave inscription: 'PSALM 23. I WALK THRU' THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH, I WILL FEAR NO EVIL.' Born on the 8th August 1921 in Hampton Village, New Brunswick. Son of Ernest (died 1952, age 70) and Alice Bovaird (née Earl - died 1963, age 80) 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 Flt Sgt. Hurteau. Thanks to Shannon Bovaird (Courtesy of the Lest We Forget initiative of Belleisle Regional High School, Springfield, New Brunswick) Michel Beckers for crew photographs. Thanks to William Buckwell Duggan, son of Sgt. Duggan for his information.. Also to David Champion for further information - March 2016. Thanks to Edward King for the information regarding his uncle Flt Sgt. Buckwell. (Nov 2021). Addition of image for Sgt Reid (Dec 2022). Thanks to Ben van Rooijen for the corrections (Feb 2023).

Other sources as shown below.

RS 27.02.2023 - Corrections and updates

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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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