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RAF Oulton in the Second World War 1939-1945 - The Wartime Memories Project -

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- RAF Oulton during the Second World War -

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World War 2 Two II WW2 WWII

RAF Oulton

3rd April 1941 Move back to ops.

22nd Apr 1941 Aircraft Lost

25th May 1941 18 Squadron Blenheim lost

9th Jun 1941 18 Squadron Blenheim lost

6th Dec 1942 88 Squadron Boston lost

April 1943 Low level raids

24th Sept 1943 Conversion

25th May 1944 214 Squadron Fortress lost

21st Feb 1945 223 Squadron Liberator lost

25th Feb 1945 214 Squadron Fortress lost

25th Feb 1945 214 Squadron Fortress lost

8th Mar 1945 214 Squadron Fortress lost

21st Mar 1945 214 Squadron Fortress lost

26th Aug 1944 214 Squadron Fortress lost

15th Mar 1945 214 Squadron Fortress lost

If you can provide any additional information, please add it here.

Those known to have served at

RAF Oulton

during the Second World War 1939-1945.

The names on this list have been submitted by relatives, friends, neighbours and others who wish to remember them, if you have any names to add or any recollections or photos of those listed, please Add a Name to this List

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Sqdn Ldr Ralph Van Den Bok DFC & 2Bar. 214 squadron

I am most interested in Squadron Leader Ralph Van Den Bok, DFC & 2Bar. RAFVR, as my father, Flying Officer John Tudor Mills (Wop/AG), flew on Ops with him in Boeing B17 F & G aircraft of 214 Sqdn, based at RAF Oulton, Norfolk, part of 100 group, during 1944/45. Records of the squadron's activities are somewhat sparse, in view of what they did (ECM etc). I have been quite unable to determine S/Ldr Van Den Bok's nationality, although I suspect that he might have been Canadian,as he was awarded his first DFC in 1942, as a Flying Officer, whilst operating with 408 (Goose) Squadron, RCAF (although he himself was RAFVR). From bits and pieces that I have managed to unearth, I gather that he was shot down by Flak at some point and escaped through Belgium, but I don't know the details. 3 DFC's is quite an achievement, he was awarded one of them for "Devotion to operational flying", or words to that effect. I would really like to find out more about him.

Roger Mills

A/Sqd.Ldr. Ralph Van Den Bok DFC. "B" Flight (CO) No. 214 (FMS) Sqdn

Further to my researches into the service career of this interesting and remarkable man, with whom my father flew a number of missions or "Ops" in 1944/45,I now have something approaching a proper "story".

Ralph Van Den Bok was born in London, in about 1907, of a Dutch father and Australian mother. After school, he attended Dulwich College, and by the outbreak of WW2, was working at the London Stock Exchange. In 1940,he applied to join the RAFVR, and was granted a commission as a Pilot Officer on Probation (July,1940). After training as a Wireless Operator/Air Gunner, Ralph joined No.408 (Goose) Squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Force, with whom he flew 30 Operations as a "Wireless Air Gunner ", to use RCAF parlance.

In August 1941, Ralph was "Gazetted" as a Flying Officer, and continued to serve with No.408 Sqdn, rising to become a leader , and so always flying with the Squadron Commanding Officer, Wing Commander John D Twigg, RCAF. In the summer of 1942, following a brave but unsuccessful attack on the German cruiser "Scharnhorst", and having exhibited outstanding devotion to operational flying, Ralph was awarded his first DFC (Gazetted August 1942, at which time he was also Gazetted as a Flight Lieutenant).

Within a few weeks, however, Ralph's aircraft, a Handley-Page Hampden, was shot down over Belgium, returning from a mission to bomb Saarbrucken, by Luftwaffe night-fighter "Ace" Hauptmann Wilhelm Herget in a JU 88. The pilot Wing Commander Twigg and the rear gunner, Flt/Lt Maitland DFC were killed, but Ralph and Flt/Lt Gordon Clayton Fisher, RCAF, baled out and after contacting Belgian esacape organisations , in Ralph's case "Comete" ,they returned to the UK. Ralph was then awarded a second DFC, Gazetted November 1942.

Ralph was then accepted for training as a pilot,and was sent to Hagersville, Ontario, Canada,where he was awarded his wings, aged 38. Returning to Britain, he joined No. 12 OTU at Chipping Warden, where he "crewed up" with my father, then Flt/Sgt John Mills RAFVR, who became Ralph's Wireless Op/Air Gunner, they first flew together in Wellington bombers in June 1944.

After further training in Stirlings of 1657 Conversion Unit, they became "operational" with No.214 (Federated Malay States) Squadron, which flew Radio Counter-Measures (radio/radar jamming) sorties using Boeing B 17 "Flying Fortress" aircraft, from RAF Oulton in Norfolk.

In January 1945, Ralph was promoted to Acting Squadron Leader,and became Commanding Officer of "B" Flight of No.214 Squadron.By the end of hostilities,in May 1945, Ralph had flown a further 17 "Operations",and had exhibited such qualities of leadership and devotion to duty that he was awarded his third DFC ,in October (Gazetted November 1945). He remained in the RAF,in the rank of Flight Lt. for many years after the war, resigning his commission (as a Sqd/Ldr) in the Reserve in 1955. After flying a Proctor for a while with Standard Oil (ESSO), Ralph was, sadly, badly hurt in the Lewisham Rail Disaster of 1957, losing a leg to gangrene. He died in Salisbury in 1976.

I am deeply indebted to Adrian Van Den Bok, in Australia,for all the information he has provided about the life of his admirable and inspirational father, without whose skill and professionalism I would not be here today to write this tribute.

Roger Vaughan Mills

F/Lt. Angus Graham Fyfe 108 Squadron

On 12 May 1942 Wellington 1C bomber HF 829 of 108 RAF squadron took off from Nancekuke airfield at Portreath, bound for Gibraltar and eventually for Egypt. On board was a crew of six as follows:
  • Sgt. S E Alcock (English) pilot
  • Sgt. W. Robinson (N.Z.) second pilot
  • Sgt. C. Hill (Canada) navigator
  • Sgt. S. Pratt (N.Z.) bomb-aimer/rear gunner
  • Sgt. J.A. Peacock (English) front gunner
  • Sgt. A.G. Fyfe (N.Z.) wireless operator
Over the Bay of Biscay the pilot reported that the port boost had gone and immediately the observer set course for Portreath, then the intercom was useless, and after they had done another 40 miles the starboard boost went useless. From this moment the plane flew at a 100 ft above the water and the air-speed dropped to 75 m.p.h. The plane passed Bishop’s Rock and the captain circled the aircraft around the Mount and then to Portreath.

The captain was afraid to jettison the petrol due to the instability of the aircraft, he could not make the plane rise and when the approach was made the down-draught from the cliff at Portreath pulled the aircraft down, the front wheels luckily caught the wall at the top of the cliff and the plane burst into flames. All the crew came out through the astrodome, Graham Fyfe minus one flying boot and his false teeth. Jim Peacock had previously turned his (gun) turret to starboard and came out with his parachute. (time was approx. 11.45 a.m.) After crawling away from the aircraft they only went about 50 yards and then the plane exploded and ammunition was flying all around.

Much of the above information came from Jim Peacock in a letter dated September 1978. The hole in the wall at Portreath was still there when we visited in May 2006.

My father joined the RNZAF on 15 March, 1940, and left for Britain on 14 September 1940. His original log-book was lost in the crash at Portreath, so I am a bit hazy about exact dates of his early service, although I know that he served with 18 Squadron in Oulton, Norfolk prior to leaving for Egypt.

The crew left Lyneham for Gibraltar on 29 May 1942 in Wellington Mark 1c, No DV607, and arrived at Kilo 17 in Egypt via Malta on 2 June, 1942. Pilot was Sgt. Alcock, although for most of Graham Fyfe's time in Kabrit his pilot was Sgt Brooks. His last flight was on 20 October 1942, and total operational hours with the squadron are recorded as 256.15 Most of the flights were over North Africa, except for one over Crete. I have a copy of his logbook from May 1942.

Ian Fyfe

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