Richard “Dick” West was born on 1-MAR 1923 in Lima Ohio.  His father was Harold McDonald West(1897–1945) and his mother was Elaine Alta Ruck (1899–1985).  He married Guylyn Martha Bogard on July 26, 1942, in Amarillo, Texas.

2nd LT Richard R. West served with the U.S. Army AAAF in WWII and was killed in action.  West was the Co-Pilot of B17F 42-30800 “Cock of the Walk” 452nd Bomb Group. The B-17 took a direct flak hit in the open bomb bay doors just after bombs away Killing Pilot 2nd LT Jake Colvin and Richard West instantly. The plane crashed near Luther factory at Bienrode, four miles north of Brunswick, Germany.

From The Greenville News in South Carolina dated Friday, 22-JUN 1945:

From Lieutenant Allen E. Johnson who was the navigator of the B-17 who had just arrived at his home in Philadelphia saying he was killed on that date over Brunswick, Germany.  Johnson stated, “that the crew of ten had just finished dropping their bomb load over Brunswick when flak from a German anti-aircraft gun came in the open door of the fortress from which the bombs were release and exploded terrifically.  He wrote that he looked forward in the fortress and saw the pilot, Lieutenant Colvin and co-pilot Lieutenant Dick West slumped over in their seats dead.  The fortress then burst into flames.” Lieutenant Johnson and five other members of the crew parachuted safely to the ground and were recently liberated as prisoners of war of the German government. 

List of Crew:

  • P Colvin, Jake S. 2nd Lt. 0-460094 KIA
  • CP West, Richard R. 2nd Lt. 0-755813 KIA
  • N Johnson, Allen E. 2nd Lt. 0-692318 EUS
  • B Glass, M. R. Jr. 2nd Lt. 0-682572 EUS
  • TT Rottler, Raymond W. Sgt. 33239371 RMD
  • R Ross, Allen L. Sgt. 18217120 EUS
  • RT Soari, Andrew A. Sgt. 33518425 KIA
  • RWG Mack, William H. S/Sgt. 39106581 EUS
  • LWG Clayton, John W. Sgt. 14049867 KIA
  • TG Justice, Grady C. Sgt. 18214461 EUS

Second Lieutenant Richard R West was first buried at the Ardennes War Cemetery in Belgium Plot D Row 6 Grave 132.  He was later returned home for reburial in Maple Grove Cemetery in Bluffton, Ohio.

Please contact the St. Charles County Veterans Museum Oral History project at sccvetsmuseum@gmail.com or call 636-294-2657 for more information and lets’ talk. We want to hear from you because we know…Every Veteran has a story.