30/31st March 1942 No. 10 Squadron Halifax II W1044 ZA-D F/O. Blunden
Date: 30/31st March 1942 (Monday/Tuesday)
Unit: No. 10 Squadron
Type: Halifax II
Base: RAF Leeming, North Yorkshire
Location: Hemnefjorden, 40 miles west of Trondheim, Norway
Pilot: F/O. Neil Ralph Blunden NZ/403419 RNZAF Age 26. Missing - believed killed
2nd Pilot: P/O. Geoffrey Cyril Day 102112 RAFVR Age 28. Killed
Nav: Sgt. William Benjamin Eastwood 1175893 RAFVR Age 25. Missing - believed killed
Flt/Eng: Sgt. Reginald George Arthur Richards 575840 RAF Age ? Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Kenneth Coverdale May 1007103 RAFVR Age 19. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Harold Ralph Franklin R/68080 RCAF Age 28. Missing - believed killed (1)
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Arthur Reginald Henman R/69157 RCAF Age 26. Missing - believed killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
On 30th March 1942, the crew of Halifax W1044 ZA-D from 10 Squadron took off at 18:51 hrs from RAF Lossiemouth on the North East Coast of Scotland to participate in an attack on the German Battleship Tirpitz which was moored at the time in Fættenfjord in Norway.
The 10 Squadron Operation Records Book for this date state that the aircraft failed to return and no contact was made after it took off from the advanced base.
Above left: F/O. Neil Ralph Blunden - Newspaper reports regarding the bravery of Fl/Sgt. Harold Franklin (courtesy Ian Raven, of The Elgin Military Museum)
Further research has found that W1044 ZA-D flown by Pilot Officer Blunden and crew crashed in the water somewhere in the Hemnefjord area, 40 miles west of Trondheim. The bodies of P/O. Day, Sgt. Richards and Sgt. May were recovered from the water in the days immediately after the crash. They were buried on 4th April in the graveyard at Heim.
F/O. Neil Ralph Blunden. Runnymede Memorial, Panel 114. Son of Arthur Reginald Blunden and of Nora Tressillian Blunden (née Shand), of Greymouth, Westland, New Zealand.
P/O. Geoffrey Cyril Day. Trondheim (Stavne) Cemetery, Grave A IV British B.13. Son of Mr. and Mrs. C.W. Day. No further details.
Sgt. Reginald George Arthur Richards. Trondheim (Stavne) Cemetery, Grave A IV British B.14. No further details.
Sgt. William Benjamin Eastwood. Runnymede Memorial, Panel 82. Husband of Margaret Beatrice Eastwood, of Stamford Hill, London, England.
Sgt. Kenneth Coverdale May Trondheim (Stavne) Cemetery, Grave A IV British B.112. Son of William and Lilian May, of Newcastle-on-Tyne, England.
Fl/Sgt. Harold Ralph Franklin. Runnymede Memorial, Panel 104. Son of Stuart Foster Franklin and Jennie Leella Franklin, of Stratford, Ontario, Canada, husband of Moya Franklin.
Fl/Sgt. Arthur Reginald Henman. Runnymede Memorial, Panel 104. Son of Arthur Reginald Henman, and of Agnes Bernadette Henman, of Sudbury, Ontario, Canada.
Photo of Arthur Reginald Henman – "Reggie" Henman RCAF of Sudbury, ON. From photo belonging to FLt. Richard Norwood Speer, RCAF. Copied and reproduced from Veteran Affairs Canada - Canadian Virtual War memorial website
(1) Franklin Lake in northern Ontario is named after Fl/Sgt. Franklin.
Researched by Aircrew Remembered, researcher and R.C.A.F. specialist Colin Bamford for relatives of this crew. With thanks to Ian Raven, Executive Director of The Elgin Military Museum, St. Thomas, Ontario, for his assistance in the preparation of this article.