15.06.41 No. 110 (Hyderabad) Squadron Blenheim IV V6375 VE- ? F/Sgt. Arthur Edwin Guesford
Date: 15 June 1941 (Sunday)
Unit: No. 110 (Hyderabad) Squadron. Motto: "Nec timeo nec sperno" ("I neither fear nor despise)
Badge: Issuant from an astral crown, a demi-tiger. The demi-tiger was the crest of the Nizam of Hyderabad who presented the squadron with its original service aircraft in 1918 and on the outbreak of the Second World War contributed towards the cost of three squadrons.
Type: Blenheim IV
Base: RAF Manston, Kent
Location: North Sea
Pilot: F/Sgt. Arthur Edwin Guesford 745814 RAFVR Age 23 - Killed (1)
Observer: Sgt. Clifford Frank Shearn 935434 RAFVR Age 21 - Killed (2)
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Leslie Percy Charles Rolfe 755505 RAFVR Age 21 - Killed (3)
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REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off from RAF Manston, Kent at 18:30 hours on an anti-shipping operation over the North Sea. Attacked and shot down by a Messerschmitt Bf109E piloted by Ofw. Kurt Barein of 1./JG1 (See Biography 4 below) Blenheim V6375 crashed into the North Sea at 19:47 hours approximately 60km west of Alkmaar, Holland.
Two months later on 15 August the body of F/Sgt. A.E. Guesford was found on the beach at the Danish Island of Rømø and was buried the following day in Kirkeby Churchyard on the island. Ten days later on 25 August the body of Sgt. L.P.C. Rolfe was also washed ashore on Rømø Island and the following day he was also buried in Kirkeby Churchyard. The Parish Minister Rasmus Jørgensen and Marine Pfarrer (Padre) Müller from Sylt officiated at both graveside ceremonies. The body of Sgt. C.F. Shearn was not recovered.
Scale: 1" = 100 miles
Blenheim Mark IVs running up their engines. Courtesy IWM
(1) Fl/Sgt. Arthur Edwin Guesford was born in 1918 at Hackney, Middlesex, the son of Charles Guesford and Doris G. Guesford nee Cray. He had two brothers : Charles H.J. Guesford (1916-2010) and Ernest Frank Guesford (1921-1992).
In 1940 he married Patricia Irene Collins at Southend on Sea and lived at Bicknare, Essex.
(2) Sgt. Clifford Frank Shearn was born at Pontypridd, Glamorganshire, Wales in 1918 the son of Frank J.Shearn an Insurance Manager and Elsie L. Shearn nee Seymour later of West Bridgeford, Nottinghamshire. He entered Nottingham High School at the age of 13 in 1931 and left in 1933. (Details courtesy of Nottingham High School Archives).
He married Ruby R. Southern at Basford, Nottingham in 1939 and their son David C.S. Shearn was born at Nottingham in 1941. Clifford Frank Shearn is commemorated on the Nottingham High School War Memorial
(3) Sgt.Leslie Percy Charles Rolfe was born at Swindon, Wiltshire in 1919 the son of Charles Rolfe and Alice Rolfe nee Penny
Photograph courtesy Pat Goddard
(4) Ofw. Kurt Barein was born 2 March 1914. Blenheim V6375 was his only known victory. He was killed in action on 11 April 1944 during aerial combat with a P-51 near Braunsweigg and was buried at Hankesbuettal, Grave No. 11. He was awarded the Iron Cross 2nd Class and the Fighter Operational Clasp.
Kirkeby Churchyard, Rømø Island, Denmark - Courtesy Pat Goddard
Fl/Sgt. Arthur Edwin Guesford - Buried at Kirkeby Churchyard, Rømø Island, Denmark - Grave No. 263
Rest in peace
God knows best
On earth there is strife
In heaven rest
Sgt. Clifford Frank Shearn - No known grave - Commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial Panel 52
Sgt. Leslie Percy Charles Rolfe - Buried at Kirkeby Churchyard, Rømø Island, Denmark - Grave No. 265
Photographs of headstones courtesy of Pat Goddard
Researched by Aircrew Remembered researcher Roy Wilcock for Nottingham High School and all relatives and friends of the members of this crew - January 2016
Our thanks to Pat Goddard for providing the photographs of Sgt. Leslie Rolfe and the headstones and to Alby Anderson for providing the photograph and details of the wedding of F/Sgt. Arthur Guesford.
With thanks also to the sources quoted below.