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WW2 Casualty: Roland A Metivier (1919-1943)

Roland A. Metivier recognition plaquePhotograph of Roland A. Metivier recognition plaque, located in Manchester NH at the southwest corner of Willow and Baker Streets. Copyright of Martin Miccio for the City of Manchester, and used here with permission.

Military Squares were added by the City of Manchester, New Hampshire to honor its heroes from various wars. Several ordinances to create new squares were passed on 16 December 1947 and signed by Mayor Joseph T. Benoit. One in particular as follows: — “That the square located where Union Street, Willow Street, Shasta Street, and Baker Street intersects, be officially designated… as “Roland A. Metivier Square.” The sign reads: S/Sgt. ROLAND A. METIVIER, AAF. BORN MARCH 18, 1919. DIED JUNE 20, 1943. OVER NORTH ATLANTIC.

Roland A Metivier was born 18 March 1919 in Manchester, Hillsborough County, New Hampshire, sixth child of Henry/Henri & Aurore (Laliberte) Metivier. He grew up in the city, and in 1940 his family was living at 381 Shasta Street. Roland attended the local schools, and in 13 Jul 1942, when he enlisted for military service, he had finished four years of high school, and was working in a shoe shop’s lasting area as a stitch separator.

At some point before 1943, he was assigned to the US Army Air Force’s 563rd Bomber Squadron, 388th Bomber Group, and has been promoted to Staff Sergeant. The 563rd Bomb Squaron was one of four bomb squadrons of the 388th. It originally had nine crews that trained together and ferried to England in June 1943. Of those nine crews, one was lost in the ferry to England*, seven were shot down (six of those on the same mission) and only one survived to make 25 missions.

According to the Find-A-Grave biography of another member of the crew, Lieut Marvin F Kamholz, the following occurred [per this find-a-grave listing] : “S/Sgt. served as a gunner on a B-17 (#42-30229) named “Shooting Star.” After picking up new planes in the mid-west the crew eventually made their way to what is now known as the Buffalo Niagara International Airport, Buffalo, New York. During WW II this airport was a joint use airport USAAF and Civil. From Buffalo they flew to Newfoundland. The flight had been delayed an extra day due to a suspected break-in at the air field. They took off June 21st for Iceland. [NOTE: this differs from the June 20th date seen in other documents]. Instead of flying in a 3 plane formation they flew single file, take-offs about 3-10 minutes apart. Three planes, including this one never made it to Iceland. A year later, there was a finding of death. The crew appears on the tablets of the Missing at the East Coast Memorial, Manhattan, New York. Supposedly, there was a ‘thorough’ investigation and sabotage was suspected.”

Roland A. Metivier, along with the crew of 10, was declared “Missing In Action” in the “Line Of Duty” during the war. The official report indicates that the plane was lost between Gander, Newfoundland and Prestwick Scotland. In addition to Manchester New Hampshire’s recognition, his name is also inscribed on the East Coast Memorial at Battery Park in Manhattan, New York City. This memorial, completed in 1963 and dedicated by then President John F. Kennedy, commemorates those soldiers, sailors, marines, coast guardsmen, merchant marines and airmen who met their deaths in the service of their country in the western waters of the Atlantic Ocean during World War II.

Posted on 14 May, 2014 by Janice Brown