The Wartime Memories Project - The Second World War

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site you agree to accept cookies.

If you enjoy this site

please consider making a donation.


    Add Stories & Photos



    Airfields of WW2

    Allied Forces

    British Army

    Royal Air Force

    Royal Navy

    Axis Forces

    Home Front

    Prisoners of War

    Secrets of WWII

    Ships of WWII

    Women at War

    Those Who Served


    The Great War


    How to add Memories

    Add Your Memories

    TWMP on Facebook

    Can you Answer?

    Printable Form

    Children's Bookshop


    Your Family History


    Contact us





British Newspaper Archive

Find My Past - UK, IE & AU

World War 2 Two II WW2 WWII

Those who Served

Allied Forces - Browse by Surname.

A       B       C       D       E       F       G       H       I       J       K       L       M       N       O       P       Q       R       S       T       U       V       W       X       Y       Z      

Axis Forces - Browse by Surname.

A       B       C       D       E       F       G       H       I       J       K       L       M       N       O       P       Q       R       S       T       U       V       W       X       Y       Z      

Billy Vale .     Home Guard Feltwell Btn.

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.

Gi Sld David Van Altena .     Dutch Army   from Holland)

POW Camp Fukuoka 17 in Japan

Cadet Cato Van Ardenne .     Dutch Army   from Holland)

POW Camp Fukuoka 17 in Japan

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.

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 Walrus

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 1945

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.

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?

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.

FO John Victor Van Tighem DFC.     Royal Canadian Air Force 428 Ghost Squadren   from Strathmore AB)

F/O Reginaif van Toen .     Royal Air Force 10 OTU

Mil Mstr Petrus Theodorus VanBeek .     Dutch Navy   from Holland)

POW Camp Fukuoka 17 in Japan

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 Action

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.

F/O Hendrik Jan VanDerBerg .     Royal Air Force No. 320 (Netherlands) Squadron RAF   from Holland)

(d.27th  January 1943)

On 27th January 1943 the Hudson EW919 of 320 squadron was lost on a mission off the Dutch Coast.

Crew Members were:

  • F/O Hendrik Jan Van Der Berg - Missing in Action
  • Sgt. Christiaan Lodewijk Kost - Missing in Action
  • Sgt. Tonnis Jakob Gast - Missing in Action
  • Cpl. Jopy Henky Cloesmeijer - Missing in Action

F/Lt. Cornelis Johannes VanDerGraaff .     Royal Air Force No. 320 (Netherlands) Squadron RAF   from Holland)

(d.26 June 1942)

On 26th June 1942 a Hudson T9435 'Balikpapan' of 320 squadron was lost on 1,000 bomber raid to Bremen

The crew were:

  • F/Lt. Cornelis Johannes Van Der Graaff - Killed in Action, buried at Hamburg-Ohldorf
  • Lt. Willem Mattijsen - Killed in Action, buried at Hamburg-Ohldorf
  • Cpl. Johannes But - Killed in Action, Buried at Loenen
  • Ac1 Johan Berend Bolte - Killed in Action, Buried at Hamburg-Ohldorf

Gerrit VanDerWolf .     Royal Air Force No. 320 (Netherlands) Squadron RAF   from Holland)

On 12th June 1944 a RAF plane, a Mitchell FR191 of 320 squadron, ditched in the sea at 21:02 hrs (GMT). All were rescued by a torpedo boat.

Crew members were:

  • Off. Gerrit Van Der Wolf
  • F/O Jan Willem Arriens
  • Cpl. A.J. De Haan
  • Sgt. T. Van Dijk

Lt. M.R. VanKooy .     Royal Air Force No. 320 (Netherlands) Squadron RAF   from Holland)

(d.25th February 1941)

Hudson T9364 'Ypenburg' of 320 Squadron crashed immediately after t/o from Carew Cheriton.

The crew were:

  • Lt. M.R. Van Kooy - Killed and buried at Carew Pembrokeshire
  • Sgt. J. Brugman - survived
  • Sgt. J. Michels - Killed buried at Carew, Pembrokeshire
  • Stoker F. Overdijk - Killed, buried at Carew, Pembrokeshire
  • Cpl. C.J.I. Rademaker - Killed, buried at Carew, Pembrokeshire

F/O George Alexander VanLeeuwen .     Royal Air Force No. 320 (Netherlands) Squadron RAF   from Holland)

(d.26th July 1944)

On 26th July 1944 a RAF aircraft, a Mitchell FR185 NO-Z of 320 squadron, was hit by flak at 20:03 hrs (GMT) and crashed south of Dreux, France.

Crew Members were:

  • F/O George Alexander Van Leeuwen - KIA -grave Grebbeberg 8-24
  • Sgt Felix Hendrik Bloemgarten - KIA - grave Grebbeberg 8-25
  • Sgt Bernard Dirk Meijer - KIA - grave Grebbeberg 8-26
  • Cpl Wilhelmus Hubertus Willems - KIA - grave Grebbeberg 8-27/ul>

Sgt. Christiaan Anthon Eppe VanOtterloo .     Royal Air Force No. 320 (Netherlands) Squadron RAF   from Holland)

(d.23rd November 1941)

On 23rd November 1941 Van Otterloo piloted the Hudson T9396 'Vliegende Hollander' of 320 squadron. He was mortally wounded by 20 mm granate.

W.A. Van Rossum flew plane back and landed safely at Wick (N. Scotland).

Van Otterloo buried at Leuchars

Carl Frederick VanRooyen .     Royal Air Force   from Bulowayo, Rhodesia)

My father, Carl VanRooyen volunteered for the RAF from Rhodesia and was stationed at Holme-on-Spalding-Moor. He was a ground crew technician, repairing aircraft for bombing missions after they were damaged. My parents met at Sand Hill Farm where my Mom was born. Her name was Kathleen Smith. A pathfinder bomber crashed in one of the farms drainage dykes on take off due to engine failure. My father came to "mop up" and met and married my mom. Consequently my brother and I were born in Salisbury, Rhodesia after the war.

Sgt. Ernest vanTelle .     Australian Imperial Force 2/11th Battalion

This photo has the names written on the back - Back row - McDowell and Eton, Second row - Barlet, Michel, van Telle (dad), Wilkins and Johnson, First row - Henderson, Warren, Collison and Daly

My Dad, Ernest van Telle was a sergeant in the AIF 2/11th Battalion, captured on Crete. He was interned in Stalag 8B circa 28.10.41. He was later transfer to Stalag 357 on the 24th April 1944. Dad was a red head and "Bluey" is a nickname that was applied to red heads. (It's an Aussie thing). He has now moved into a home, in the moving process we discovered a number of photos taken at the POW camp. Can anyone put a name to any of the faces?

Lt. Peter vanVlerk .     South African Air Force 34 Squadron   from Durban, South Africa)

This item is the ID neck badge for a Prisoner of War of the Germans. Peter van Vlerk used to wear the POW ID around his neck - suspended from his uniform lanyard. The purpose of the perforations and the double set of numbers, is that in case of death it is broken in half and one side went to the Red Cross to advise family and the other half to German authorities. In this case you can clearly see his internment number - and that he was in Stalag 9C (1X9C) and POW number 53696. With so many of our chaps being taken prisoner there must be a large number around, however that being the case, I suspect once freed a large number of our chaps would have used these as Frisbees. There were different types, later in the war when the Germans were running short on metal, they even produced wooden ones.

At the time of his capture Peter van Vlerk was a Lieutenant with the South African Air Force - serving with the Squadron 34. They and one other Sq. were flying Liberators - an American Bomber that carried a crew of 8. They were flying ops into Hungary and were on their way to attack the Marshalling Yards at Zumbethly (spelling may need correction) When nearly over the target a German plane flying above them, illuminated flares above them. This was sufficient for ground anti-aircraft to hit them. Out of the 8 crew, all were killed – except Lt. van Vlerk - who was a gunner. He was badly wounded and was taken to hospital (another dodgy spelling - neither of us was sure ) at a place called Uburmarsfeld. When he had recovered sufficiently he was taken to Stalag 9C - which was at Zumbethly.

His medals are with his Grandchildren - which is where they should be. They didn't need his ID and WW2 Sam Browne cross belt - with date 1942 - and he wanted them to go to a collector, someone that could fully appreciate it. I wish more people were as sensible. It is now in my possession. I met him in Oct 2012 - he is now 93 years of age and living in sheltered housing in Durban South Africa. It was a pleasure to meet him and to listen to his WW2 experiences.

Cpl. Robert John VanWoerkom .     Royal Air Force No. 320 (Netherlands) Squadron RAF (d.26th October 1942)

On 26th October 1942 a Hudson N7302 320 squadron waslost on a training flight. It was on fire and fell into the Irish Sea.

Cpl. Robert John Van Woerkom - Missing in Action

The rest of the crew were safe and were rescued.

Sgt. Jan Van_Dijken .     Dutch Naval Air Service 320 Squadron   from Netherlands)

My Grandfather Jan Van Dijken was part of the 320 Squadron and in WW2 and was one of the three surviving casualties bombed down in the air raid 25 October 943 in Brest. He had been rescued by a French fishing boat but captured by the Germans as they reached the shore. It was 2 years until my grandmother (British), Beatrice Helen Van Dijken (Sullivan) was aware he had been alive in a German camp - in Colditz Castle, Liepzig, Germany. My uncle Jan (Jnr)Van Dijken was born at 2.30pm (first child born) on the day his father had been bombed and captured by the Germans. Sgt Henry Jean Boots (Dutch) 320 B Sqd (d 15/2/1944) also served in this squadron and was the best man at my Grandfather's wedding to Beatrice on 29/12/1941.

I am working through my family tree and trying to obtain any information, photos or links regarding the above important people and event in our lives.

L/Cpl. Frank Ernest Varney .     British Army 10 Troop 11th Commando   from Nottingham)

My Dad, Frank Varney, served with 11th commando 10 troop in the raid to capture Rommel in November 1941, Operation Flipper. He also spent a period of time at a POW camp PG65 in Italy. I would love to hear from any of his mates.

Gnr. Herbert Varney .     British Army Royal Artillery

My Grandfather, Gunner Herbert Varney, was captured in June 1940 somewhere near Calais. He was transported to Stalag XXB where I think he spent the remainder of the war. I would be grateful if anyone has any information/ photographs which mention or show him. His POW number was 8406. Unfortunately my Grandfather passed away in June 1977, but my Grandmother is very interested in any mention of him.

Flying Officer A R Vaughan .     RCAF 582 Squadron

582 Squadron lost 5 aircraft on 23/12/44 whilst on operations to Cologne.

Lancaster PB523, took off from Little Stoughton at 10.29hrs. Crew were

  • F/Lt Peter Alfred Thomas, DFC, RAF 172593, killed, age 22.
  • F/Sgt Vivian George Hobbs, RAF 1816098, killed age 20
  • F/O W.E.Vaughan, RCAF, POW
  • F/Lt A.R.Whittaker, POW
  • W/O H.Fuller, POW
  • Sgt G.Fallon, POW
  • W/O2 Frederick William Campbell, RCAF J/94493, killed, age 29

    The Lancaster is believed to have crashed at Oppiter (Limburg), 4km SE of Bree in Belgium, though it is likely some of the crew baled out over Germany.

    F/O Hobbs lies in the Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, his death being attributed to a collapsed parachute canopy. F/L Thomas was originally buried at Oppiter but his grave is now at Heverlee War Cemetery, while WO2 Campbell RCAF, who was laid to rest alongside his skipper, has been taken to Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery, Holland. —From Bomber Command War Diaries - Martin Middlebrook & Chris Everitt

    Lancaster PB523 was one of 27 Lancasters and 3 Mosquitoes of 8 Group to attack the Gremberg railway yards. The raid went very badly. The force was split into 3 formations, each led by an Oboe-equipped Lancaster with an Oboe Mosquito as reserve leader. During the outward flight, 2 Lancasters of 35 Squadron collided over the French coast and their crews were all killed. On approaching the target, it was found that the cloud which had been forecast had cleared and it was decided to allow the bombers to break formation and bomb visually; this move was made because the formations would have been very vulnerable to Cologne's flak defences during the long, straight Oboe approach.

    Unfortunately the order to abandon the Oboe run did not reach the leading Lancaster, a 582 Squadron aircraft piloted by Squadron Leader R A M Palmer DFC (on loan from 109 Squadron), who continued on with his designated role, even though his aircraft was already damaged by flak. German fighters, who were being directed to intercept an American bomber force, also appeared and attacked. The bombs from Squadron Leader Palmer's aircraft were eventually released and hit the target but his plane went down out of control and only the tail gunner escaped, by parachute. Squadron Leader Palmer, on his 110th operation, was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross, the only Oboe VC of the war; his body is buried in the Rheinberg War Cemetery with the other men who died in the Lancaster.

    The formation suffered further losses when another Lancaster and a Mosquito were shot down by Flak ANF fighters and a further Lancaster was abandoned by its crew over Belgium. The losses were thus 6 aircraft out of the 30 dispatched.

    I am desperately searching for any information about Pilot Officer Frederick William Campbell, known as Teddy, of 582 Sqd RCAF, age 29, of Pembrooke, Nova Scotia who died in action December 23, 1944. He is my half-brother's father and we know nothing at all about him. My 70 year-old brother was adopted and never met or knew his Dad. Very sad circumstances. I am determined to search until I have answers. He died while serving his country and deserves to be recognized by his son for his bravery.

  • Next Page    Last Page    

    Can you help us to add to our records?

    The names and stories on this website have been submitted by their relatives and friends. If your relations are not listed please add their names so that others can read about them

    Did you or your relatives live through the Second World War? Do you have any photos, newspaper clippings, postcards or letters from that period? Have you researched the names on your local or war memorial? Were you or your relative evacuated? Did an air raid affect your area?

    If so please let us know.

    Help us to build a database of information on those who served both at home and abroad so that future generations may learn of their sacrifice.

    Celebrate your own Family History

    Celebrate by honouring members of your family who served in the Secomd World War both in the forces and at home. We love to hear about the soldiers, but also remember the many who served in support roles, nurses, doctors, land army, muntions workers etc.

    Please use our Family History resources to find out more about your relatives. Then please send in a short article, with a photo if possible, so that they can be remembered on these pages.

    The Wartime Memories Project is a non profit organisation run by volunteers.

    This website is paid for out of our own pockets and from donations made by visitors. The popularity of the site means that it is far exceeding available resources.

    If you are enjoying the site, please consider making a donation, however small to help with the costs of keeping the site running.

    Hosted by:

    The Wartime Memories Project Website

    is archived for preservation by the British Library

    Website © Copyright MCMXCIX - MMXIV
    - All Rights Reserved Hotel Deals