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Those who Served
Leonard Valance .
Leonard Valance is commemorated on the WW2 Roll of Honour Plaque in the entrance of Jarrow Town Hall.Vin Mullen
Billy Vale . Home Guard Feltwell Btn.
Thomas Henry "Val" Valentine . Royal Air Force from Oxenhilme, Kendal)
Thomas Henry Valentine was called up in early 1941, having been waiting on deferred service since late 1940, and joined the RAF as Wireless Operator ACl, No. 1517358.
After initial training he was sent to Egypt and was involved in the push through to Libya. Before long he returned to Egypt whence he was sent to Palestine for further training ready for the assault on the Greek islands as part of an Advanced Landing Ground Party. At the end of September 1943 he was flown to the island of Kos in a Dakota.
Sadly the invasion of Rhodes did not go according to plan and the Allies were unable to establish air supremacy over the area, with the result that the Germans counter attacked on 5th October, 1943. Kos is a very small island and (as my father put it) with "nowhere to run" the allied forces were largely captured within the week. They were held for a short time in the castle on Kos whilst awaiting transport to the mainland of Greece, where they were marched to Athens. Here my father temporarily lost contact with many of his comrades due to sickness and being confined to a series of hospitals.
Next followed a 14 day train journey to the Dulag Luft interrogation centre for RAF personnel, and finally the arrival at Stalag IVB in December 1943. His prisoner number was 263514.Marcus Valentine
Cpl. Arie van . Dutch ArmyS B Flynn
Gerard Henri Marie Van . Dutch Army MW 2eKl from Holland)
Sgt. Hendrik Van . Royal Dutch Marines from Holland)
Cpl. Willem Van . Dutch Army from Holland)
S B Flynn
A/Sqd.Ldr. Ralph Van Den Bok DFC.. Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve "B" Flight (CO) No. 214 (FMS) Sqdn from East Horsley, Surrey)
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
Gi Sld David Van Altena . Dutch Army from Holland)
POW Camp Fukuoka 17 in Japansflynn
Cadet Cato Van Ardenne . Dutch Army from Holland)
POW Camp Fukuoka 17 in Japansflynn
A. E. Van Den Bogaert . Royal Air Force 320 (Netherlands) Squadron from Holland)
(d.11th Jan 1943)
A E Van Den Bogeart, a Dutch national, served in the Royal Air Force with 320 (Netherlands) Squadron during WW2.
On the 11th January 1943 Hudson '863' of 320 Squadron was lost on a training flight over the Irish Sea.
It's crew members were:
- Off. A.E. Van Den Bogaert - Missing in Action.
- Off. F. Schut - Missing in Action.
- Cpl. B. Corporaal - Missing in Action.
- A.F. Post - Missing in Action.S Flynn
Sqdn Ldr Ralph Van Den Bok DFC & 2Bar.. RAFVR 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
Van Den Burg . Royal Air Force No. 320 (Netherlands) Squadron RAF from Holland)
On 9th August 1944 a RAF plane, a Mitchell FR143 NO-S of 320 squadron, ditched at sea at 11:44 hrs (GMT)
Crew Members were:
- Van Den Burg
- C.A.G. Pieters - WIA
- Sgt. Wams
- Sgt. Hoffman
All were saved by ASR WalrusS Flynn
Sqd.Ldr Pieter Robert Marie van der Heijden . Royal Air Force 541 Squadron from Holland)
My Uncle, Squadron Leader Pieter Robert Marie van der Heijden was stationed at RAF Benson with the 541 Sqadron from 28/7/1940 until he was killed on a photo rec mission off the coast of Holland, year unknown. I would very much like to hear from anyone who knew my Uncle Pieter and any details of his fateful mission. I understand he had the reputation of being somewhat of a "maverick" amongst his conteporaires and was shot down whilst flying a mosquito on recon, as a result of low flying over his homeland.
Also anyone who may have known his younger brother, Johanus or "Johnnie" who was killed after the war, when his plane blew up during radar testing in July 1945J.P.M. van der Heijden
P. van Der Watt . from New Zealand)
J. Van Dijke . Royal air Force 320 Squadron (Netherlands) from Holland)
On 25th October 1943 a plane, a Mitchell FR166 of 320 squadron was hit by flak nr. Brest. It was ditched at sea at 14:47 hrs (GMT) at 49'40 N - 04'30 W.
Crew members were:
- J. Van Dijke - Captured by the Germans and became a POW
- H.A. Kaufman - Captured by the Germans and became a POW
- C. Schot - Captured by the Germans and became a POW
- C.J. Bank - Missing in Action.S Flynn
Sgt Carolus Ludovicus "Charles" van Heugten . Royal Air Force 320 Sqd. from Netherlands)
(d.22nd Nov 1942)
Carlus Ludovicus van Heugten was my wife's uncle. He was from a family of military pilots. His brother Fons was a military pilot in The Netherlands before the war and emigrated to Australia afterwards. His brother Willem, my father in law, got his training in the Netherlands in 1923 at 17 year of age from the first military instructor here, Versteegh. He later on moved to former East Indies (now Indonesia) to serve with the N.I. Navy Airforce. At the Japanese attack he moved to Australia via Broome and from there to the USA to join as flight instructor the Royal Netherlands Military Flying School in Jackson, Mississippi. He ended his carreer as airline pilot with KLM.Jan Kamp
Sgt. Carolus Ludovicus Gerardus Van Heugten . Royal Air Force 320 Squadron (Netherlands) from Holland)
(d.21st Nov 1942)
On 21st November 1942 the Hudson EW903 of 320 Squadron was lost off the Dutch Coast.
The crew members were:
- Sgt. Carolus Ludovicus Gerardus Van Heugten - Missing in Action
- Sgt. Laurens Abraham Hoogteiling - Missing in Action
- Lac Jacob De Ligt - Missing in Action
- Lac Jan Adrianus Den Ouden - Missing in ActionS Flynn
Pilot Officer Johannes Henricus Josephus Van Loon . Royal Air Force 320 Squadron (Netherlands) from Holland)
(d.9th Nov 1942)
On 9th November 1942 a Hudson EW912 of 320 squadron failed to return from anti-shipping-patrol and was lost at sea.
The crew members were:
- P/O J.H.J. Van Loon - Missing in Action
- P/O Richard De Boer - Missing in Action
- Lac Hindrik Jongman BEM - Missing in Action
- Lac Johan Frederik Mijsberg - Missing in ActionS Flynn
Johannes Antonius "Joop" van Lunenburg . Dutch Army (d.24th Jan 1944)
Around 1999 I learned from an aunt that I was named after my uncle Joop, Johannes Antonius van Lunenburg as I have same initials. Until then uncle Joop has never been mentioned by neither his four brothers nor his two sisters. Before my mother died at the age of 92 she gave me a picture and an "in memoriam" of Uncle Joop. but no further story and from my side I asked no further questions. Surfing around the internet for my last name I came at the Institute of Genealogie in Holland and to my surprise I found a death certificate of my uncle made in Chech and German language more or less confirming what was on the "in memoriam" and the cause of death, blood poissoned because of etc. It also states that he was a Dutch soldier and in a firm handwriting there is STALAG XIA. In my opinion Stalag means POW camp but how does a dutch soldier get there and why has nobody ever talked about him. I have my thoughts but is it possible to get a story straight?
Jos van Lunenburg
Leroy "Bud" Van Natta . US Army 634th AAA AW Battalion 106th Inf Division
My father, Leroy (Bud) Van Natta was captured during the battle of the bulge and sent to Stalag 4B, where he spent the remainder of the war. He was in the 634th AAA AW Battalion attached to the 106TH. He mentioned that they used to smuggle in cirgarettes into the camp in the sleeves of there coats. Once he mentioned that an SS Officers' son approached the fence and asked a prisoner for some gum and when the prisoner did not have any the Kid told the guards to shoot the prisoner which they did. If anyone remembers my Dad please let me know.Leroy Van Natta
FO John Victor Van Tighem DFC. Royal Canadian Air Force 428 Ghost Squadren from Strathmore AB)
Bernie Van Tighem
F/O Reginaif van Toen . Royal Air Force 10 OTUSimon Moriaty
Fus. Antonius J. Van-der-Donk . Dutch ArmyS B Flynn
Mil Mstr Petrus Theodorus VanBeek . Dutch Navy from Holland)
POW Camp Fukuoka 17 in Japansbflynn
Brig. Marinus VanBerkel . Dutch Army from Holland)
S B Flynn
Mil/Sgt. Meijer Emil vanDaalen . Dutch Army
Sgt. W. Vandalli . RAF 300 Sqd.
Sgt. Arnold Lambert Marie VanDenBroek . Royal Air Force No. 320 (Netherlands) Squadron RAF from Holland)
(d.29th May 1942)
On 29th May 1942 a Hudson V9122 'Wageningen' of 320 Squadron was hit by flak and exploded mid-air nr. Terschelling Island.
The crew were:
- Sgt. A.L.M. Van Den Broek - Missing in Action
- Maj. Pieter Buynink - Missing in Action
- Lac Hiddo Lukas Emmens - Missing in Action
- Lac Marius Versluis - Missing in Actionsflynn
R. A. VanDenBron . Royal Air Force No. 320 (Netherlands) Squadron RAF from Holland)
(d.29th March 1943)
On 29th March 1943 there was a collison mid-air between two training-aircraft (Air Gunnery School) At Morpeth.
Crew Members were:
- R.A. Van Den Bron - KIA
- A.W. Van Egmond - KIA
- D.J. Kooij - KIA
- B.E. Van Opdprp - KIA
- F. Van Westenbrugge - KIA
All were buried at Morpeth Churchyard in Northumberland.sflynn
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