WW2 Lost At Sea: Manchester NH’s S/Sgt Roland A Metivier (1919-1943)

Photograph of Gerald R. Helmich recognition plaque, located in Manchester NH at the corners of Second and West Hancock Streets. Copyright of Martin Miccio for the City of Manchester, and used here with permission.

Photograph 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 Metivier, high school graduation photograph, Central High (Class of 1936A). Photograph courtesy of his nephew, Ray Bouchard. Used with his permission.

Roland Metivier, high school graduation photograph, Central High (Class of 1936A). Photograph courtesy of his nephew, Ray Bouchard. Used with his permission.

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, graduating in the Class of 1936A from Central High School.  His high school yearbook states that completed the commercial course, and that his nicknames were “Rollie,” and “Shortie.”  His class quote was “Small of Stature, Great of mind.”  On 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.

=====PARTIAL GENEALOGY OF Roland A. Metivier=====

Nicolas Francois Metivier & Marguerite de Chambour of France
Jean Francois Metivier & Marie Simone Balard Latour of France and Quebec, Canada
Jacques Metivier & Marie Théotiste Mignier Lagacé
Jean Marie Metivier & Marguerite Gaudreau
Pierre Metivier & Sophie Morin
Joseph Metivier & Thersile/Tharsile Houle
[I have not verified the above line]

Alfred Metivier, son of Joseph & Thersile (Houle) Metivier b. May 1866 Canada, and died 7 May 1928 at Manchester NH; m. 1883 at St-Léonard-d`Aston, Québec to Eugenie/Vergenie/Virginie Bergeron, daughter of Narhent & Louise (Pellerin) Bergeron. She b. May 1867 in Canada.  Removed to Manchester NH by about 1887.
1900 US Census > NH > Hillsborough > Manchester > 62 McGregor Street
Metivier Alfred Head W M May 1866 34 married 14 yrs C-F C-F C-F cotton weaver
Metivier, Vergenie wife W F May 1867 33 married 14 yrs 4 ch 3 living C-F C-F C-F
Metivier, Henri son W M June 1887 12 single Can C-F C-F
Metivier, Arthur son WM Jan 1893 7 single NH Can Can
Metivier Rosana daught W F Jan 1895 5 single NH C-F C-F
1910 US Census > NH > Hillsborough Co. > Manchester
Alfred Metevier 47 Canada
Virginia Metevier 48 Canada F W m1x 24 yrs 4 children 3 living Can Can Can
Arthur Metevier 18 NH cotton mill
Rose Metevier 15 NH cotton mill
Children of Alfred & Eugenie/Vergenie (Bergeron) Metivier:
1. child, died young
2. child, died young
3. +Joseph Henri Metivier, b. 2 July 1887 in Manchester NH
4. Arthur Metivier, b. Jan 1893; d. 15 Sep 1946 in Goffstown NH
5. Mary Rosanna “Rosana” “Rose” Metivier, b Jan 1895; m. 22 June 1920 in Manchester NH to George Alphonse Gagnon, son of Alphonse & Leocadie (Gravel) Gagnon.

Joseph Henry/Henri Metivier, son of Alfred & Vergenie/Eugenie (Bergeron) Metivier, b. 2 July 1887 in Manchester NH (per his WW1 Registation card).  He married 25 Nov 1907 in Manchester NH to Aurora Yvonne Laliberte, daughter of Lucien & Hermione/Hermine (Collins) Laliberte. She was born 17 July 1887 in Manchester NH and died 17 Feb 1937 in Manchester NH. Henry registered for both the WW1 and WW2 drafts.
1940 US Census > NH > Hillsborough > Manchester > 381 Shasta Street
Metivier, Henry Head M W 52 widow NH stitcher shoe factory
Metivier Roland son M W 21 single NH separator shoe factory
Metivier Rina dau F W 19 single NH fancy stitcher shoe factory
Metivier, Richard son M W 14 single NH
Metivier, Maurice son M W 13 single NH
Bouchard, Robert son in law M W 29 M NH edge trimmer shoe factory
Bouchard, Violette dau F W 27 M NH
Bouchard Donald grandson M W 2 single NH
Bouchard, Roland grandson M W 1/12 single NH
Children of Henry/Henri & Aurore (Laliberte) Metivier:
1. Joseph Roland Metivier, b. March 1909, d. 3 Oct 1909, age 6 months 24 days in Manchester NH of gastroenteritis
2. daughter Metivier, b 25 November 1909, premature birth, lived one hour
3. Armand Joseph Metivier, b. 23 Sep 1911 Manchester NH; d. 23 Sep 1935 in Manchester NH, age 24 yrs 7 mos 25 days, single
4. Violette Metivier, b. abt 1913 NH; she m. 27 June 1936 in Manchester NH to Robert Bouchard, son of Octave & Emilia (Martel) Bouchard.
5. Fernand Lucien Metivier, b. abt 1917 NH; m. 24 June 1939 in Manchester NH to Lorraine Goulet, dau of Leodore & Leda (Gagne) Goulet
6. Roland Metivier, b. 18 March 1919 ***
7. Rina Pauline Metivier, b. abt 1921 NH; m. 27 Sep 1941 in Manchester NH to Henry Alfred Croteau, son of Edmond & Florida (Richard) Croteau
8. Richard Robert Metivier, b. abt 1926 NH; m. 27 Aug 1946 in Manchester NH to Rachel Rita Bourque, dau of Adrien & Blanche (Labrie) Bourque
9. Maurice Metivier, b. abt 1927 NH
10. Norman J. Bte Metivier, b. 15 Sep 1928, d. 16 Sep 1928, 1 day old in Manchester NH


Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress [type of airplane in which Roland Metivier was lost]

World War II Today — The Flying Fortress

Editors Note: If you are a family member or know of the family of Roland Metivier, I would like to add his photograph, or more personal information here.  I would appreciate your contacting me or leaving a comment to this post.

[Editor’s Note: This article is one of several I have written at the request of Don Pinard, Department of Public Works, Chief of Parks, Recreation and Cemetery Division, City of Manchester, New Hampshire.  It is a volunteer project (on my part) to better record and share the stories of the men memorialized by the city’s “Military Squares.”  All the information specifically within the body of this project is shared copyright free with the City of Manchester and its representatives, with the exception of photographs provided by family or friends who still retain whatever rights conveyed to them by law.]

This entry was posted in History, Military of New Hampshire, Military Squares, New Hampshire Men and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to WW2 Lost At Sea: Manchester NH’s S/Sgt Roland A Metivier (1919-1943)

  1. Pingback: Manchester New Hampshire’s Military Squares and other Memorials | Cow Hampshire

Leave a Reply