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Van den Bok, Ralph

Date of birth:
1907 (London, Great Britain)
Date of death:
January 1st, 1973 (Whiteparish/Wiltshire, Great Britain)
Nationality:
British (1801-present, Kingdom)

Biography

Servicenumber 83004, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.

Ralph van den Bok joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserves as Wireless Operator and Air Gunner in 1940 and served with No. 408 Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force. During 1942-1943 he was trained to be a pilot and joined No. 214 Squadron, Royal Air Force at Oulton from June 1944. He flew 30 operational sorties with No. 408 Squadron and 18 with No. 214 Squadron.

Promotions:
26th July 1940: Acting Pilot Officer;
26th August 1940: Pilot Officer on probation;
26th July 1941: Pilot Officer (war subs.);
26th August 1941: Flying Officer (war subs.);
26th August 1942: Flight Lieutenant (war subs.);
1st May 1947: Flight Lieutenant (seniority 1st January 1943).

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Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Flying Officer
Unit:
No. 408 (Goose) Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force
Awarded on:
August 4th, 1942
Action:
Citation:
"This officer has participated in bumerous sorties against heavily defended targets, including attacks on Mannheim, Duisburg, Huls, Bremen, Kiel and Hamburg. He was the wireless operator/air-gunner of a Hampden aircraft which participated in a low- level attack on the Scharnhorst during the battleship's escape from Brest.
The aircraft was extensively damaged, including the wireless equipment, by the battleship's defensive. Skilfully effecting repairs, F/0 . Van den Bok re-established communication with his base, thus rendering valuable assistance in the safe return of his aircraft."
Details:
Published in The London Gazette dated 4th August 1942.
Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Flight Lieutenant
Unit:
No. 408 (Goose) Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force
Awarded on:
November 24th, 1942
Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
Action:
Citation:
"In August, 1942, Flight Lieutenant Van den Bok and Flight Lieutenant Fisher were wireless operator/air gunner and navigator respectively of an aircraft detailed to attack Saarbrucken. On the return flight the bomber was attacked by enemy aircraft, sustaining much damage. Flight Lieutenant Van den Bok, who was wounded in the leg by a piece of shrapnel, and Flight Lieutenant Fisher displayed outstanding courage, determination and fortitude. Both have completed many sorties and have invariably displayed similar qualities."
Details:
Second DFC received as a bar to be worn on the ribbon of the first DFC.
Published in The London Gazette dated 24th November 1942.

During this action, Van den Bok and Fisher flew in a Handley Page Hampden, piloted by Wing Commander Twigg, commanding officer of No. 408 Squadron. On the return flight, they were attacked by a Junkers Ju 88 piloted by the German Ace Hauptmann Wilhelm Herget. Wing Commander Twigg was killed during this action.
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Acting Squadron Leader
Unit:
No. 214 Squadron, Royal Air Force
Awarded on:
October 26th, 1945
Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
Action:
Citation:
" This officer has a distinguished record of operational flying. His enthusiasm for operational flying was not diminished by his experiences in evading capture after being shot down by anti-aircraft fire (sic) whilst over occupied Belgium (sic) during his first tour of duty. Since the award of a bar to the DFC,Sqdn/Ldr Van Den Bok has flown on many sorties , against strongly defended targets in Germany, including Berlin. He is an excellent Captain of Aircraft and Flight Commander, who has at all times set an inspiring example by his enthusiasm, courage, and devotion to duty. "
Details:
Third DFC received as a bar to be worn on the ribbon of the first DFC.
Published in The London Gazette dated 26th October 1945.
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Details:
With "FRANCE AND GERMANY" clasp.
Air Crew Europe Star

Sources

  • Photo 1: Roger Mills
  • Photo: Roger Mills
  • - Log Book of Flying Officer John Tudor Mills RAFVR, regular member of Van Den Bok's crew 1944-45
    - Family records
    - The London Gazette, Issue 34932, dated 27th August 1940
    - The London Gazette, Issue 35208, dated 4th July 1941
    - The London Gazette, Issue 35260, dated 29th August 1941
    - Second Supplement to The London Gazette of 31st July 1942, Issue 35654, dated 4th August 1942
    - Third Supplement to The London Gazette of 13th October 1942, Issue 35747, dated 16th October 1942
    - Second Supplement to The London Gazette of 20th November 1942, Issue 35795, dated 24th November 1942
    - Fourth Supplement to The London Gazette of 23rd October 1945, Issue 37324, dated 26th October 1945
    - Second Supplement to The London Gazette of 10th October 1947, Issue 38095, dated 14th October 1947
    - "Flight" magazine dated 27/ 12/ 1945
    - Dix Noonan Webb