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Archive Report: Allied Forces

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30/31st March 1942 No. 10 Squadron Halifax II W1044 ZA-D F/O. Blunden

Operation: Tirpitz

Date: 30/31st March 1942 (Monday/Tuesday)

Unit:No. 10 R.A.F. Squadron

Type: Halifax II

Serial: W1044

Code: ZA-D

Base: R.A.F. Leeming, North Yorkshire.

Location: Hemnefjorden, 40 miles west of Trondheim, Norway

Pilot: F/O. Neil Ralph Blunden NZ/403419 R.N.Z.A.F. Age 26. Missing

2nd Pilot: P/O. Geoffrey Cyril Day 102112 R.A.F.V.R. Age 28. Killed

Nav: Sgt. William Benjamin Eastwood 1175893 R.A.F.V.R. Age 25. Missing

Flt/Eng: Sgt. Reginald George Arthur Richards 575840 R.A.F. Age ? Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Kenneth Coverdale May 1007103 R.A.F.V.R. Age 19. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Harold Ralph Franklin R/68080 R.C.A.F. Age 28. Missing (1)

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Arthur Reginald Henman R/69157 R.C.A.F. Age 26. Missing 

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.

                 

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.

Burial Details:

F/O. Neil Ralph Blunden. Runnymede Memorial, Panel 114. Son of Arthur Reginald Blunden and of Nora Tressillian Blunden (nee 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.

(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.

CHB 02.08.2011

Acknowledgements: Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives and Fred Paradie - Paradie Archive (both on this site), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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