F/S Alfred "Fred" Hurteau, a 24 year old Air Gunner from Bluffton Alberta was one of the crew of Sgt. W. H. Buckwell's Halifax on the night of May 13-14th 1943.
Their mission was a new target for the squadron, Bochum.
It was to be a costly raid for Moose squadron. Two Halifax aircrews were not to return that night. It would also be the third consecutive mission with losses of two
F/S Hurteau skills as a gunner would be put to use on this night. In the report given by one of the surviving crew members, has he remembered it given years after the events. All was going well for the crew until they were hit by flak almost directly over the target area, then they were attacked by an enemy fighter.
In a second report by another of the crew's survivors, the events were given differently. In his remembrance of the night they had made it almost to the coast doing a number of evasive actions along the way when the aircraft went into a dive after being hit in the starboard wing. The attack by an enemy night fighter had damaged the starboard wing and resulted in a fire breaking out both on the wing and one of the wings two engines. The fire was being fed by the fuel pump forcing the high octane fuel to the engine and spraying along the wings surface. The Pilot called for the starboard petrol cocks to be turned off, in an attempt to help stop the spreading fire. This was accomplished by the Flight Engineer, Sgt. Walkertine.
Sgt. Buckwell the pilot had the escape hatches opened and gave the orders to bail out, control of JD113 was beginning to become lost, fire was spreading. It was the only thing that could be done the aircraft was lost, it was time to save his crew.
At this point the Halifax was again attacked by another enemy aircraft. Sgt. Hurteau and Rear Gunner Sgt. Bovaird would have been the aircrafts only protection at this time. Although it remains unknown to all if either of the gunners were still alive. (The report also give a confusing view of which gunner was in the Middle turret and who was in the rear turret. The report mentions that Sgt. Bovaird was in the Mid-Upper position. ORB shows Bovaird as Rear Gunner on all operations, so this would indicate that it was Sgt.Hurteau in the Mid-Upper gun position and not Sgt.Bovaird)
F/E Sgt. Walkertine were killed in the attacks, most likely the second pass of the fighter. Since it is mentioned that he was helping Buckwell with the engine fire prior to the second attack. It is not clear what direction the second attack came from and if Fred Hurteau was able to fight off the attack.
The difference in the two recollections of that night gives an indication of how chaotic and intense the scene was being played out and yet still each man did his duty to the end.
F/S Alfred Hurteau was unable to escape the aircraft and rests in Protestant Churchyard, Dalen, Drenthe, Netherlands.