Dutch war group wants to track down Romford hero

A Dutch historical group is trying to track down the relatives of a Romford man who served in the Second World War.

WO2GO, a Dutch abbreviation for Second World War on Goree-Overflakkee, is a heritage foundation which carries out historical research into events on the island, which is part of the Netherlands.

The group is searching for relatives of the crew of the Boston AL737, OM-U which crashed near the Netherlands on December 6, 1942.

The information will go on memorial plaques at the crash sites, towards educational material and a new history book about the crew.

They are hoping people in Havering can help provide information about Sergeant Ronald Arthur Barnes, who came from Romford.


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His wife was Sylvia Olive Barnes and parents were Frederick Charles and Nellie Louise Barnes.

Kees Stoutjesdijk, from the foundation, said: “Along with some information about who he was, it’s the human side we want to tell, not so much the military.

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“And if we could get in touch with relatives simply to let them know we will make sure that he is remembered, that’s the finishing part.”

The information will also be used for educational talks in schools.

Mr Stoutjesdijk added: “We are doing this to make sure those guys who were killed back then are not forgotten over here.

“We see that the youth are not interested in World War Two except in videogames. As we tell them in videogames it’s all excitement and you can reset your death 1,000 times.

“We try to tell them that the brave young men who flew the aircraft were not much older than they are which makes some impression.

“But to make more of an impression we need more photos and information. Mentioning a name is rather clinical, but showing a photo of the men helps a lot.”

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