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12.08.1941 No 82 Squadron Blenheim IV T2437 UX-Y P/O. Rolland
Date: 12th August 1941 (Tuesday)
Unit: No. 82 Squadron, 2 Group (Super omnia ubique - 'Over all things everywhere')
Type: Blenheim IV
Base: RAF Bodney, Watton, Norfolk
Location: Strijensas, Netherlands
Pilot: P/O. Graham Cooper Rolland 67674 RAFVR Age 18. Killed
Obs: P/O. Hugh Maxwell Clark 69469 RAFVR Age 24. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr/Obs: Sgt. Ernest Bainbridge 1113021 RAFVR Age 28. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at around 09:30 hrs to make a daylight attack on Köln-Quadrath to bomb a power station vital to the German war machine. 54 Blenheims taking part with 3 of them failing to return. The operation was classed as a success with 6.5 tons of high explosive accurately dropped on the target.
After leaving the formation they crossed back in the direction of the coast, just North of Haringvliet / Hollands Diep and were shot down by Flak guarding Moerdijk bridge at 12:10 local time.
At 18 years old it is thought that the pilot was one of the youngest (declared) from Bomber Command to be killed.
Memorial to the crew - November 2018
German funeral for the crew (courtesy Historische Vereniging Strijen)
The crew were originally buried in the Strijensas cemetery with full German military honours and then reinterred in 1946, but the year has not been confirmed.
P/O. Graham Cooper Rolland. Strijen Protestant Cemetery Grave 9. Born on the 19th August 1922 in Bolton, Lancashire, the son of William Rolland, M.D., and Phyllis Houghton Rolland (née Houghton), of Bromley Cross, Lancashire, England. Graham went to school in Scotland, at Loretto in Musselburgh, near to Edinburgh. He was a good scholar and a keen athlete. Played cricket, hockey and rugby football in the school teams. Intended to become a Chartered Accountant, but leaving school in 1940, like many of his class-mates, he felt the call to join the Royal Airforce. That he did and went through the various stages of training, being granted commissions ‘for the durations of hostilities’ as Pilot Officer on probation 25th May 1941 together with Hugh Clark. Their training was concluded at No. 13 Operational Training Unit on the Bristol Blenheim bombers. From here they were posted to No 82 Squadron on 5 August 1941.
P/O. Hugh Maxwell Clark. Strijen Protestant Cemetery Grave 10. Born on the 02nd September 1916 in Hong Kong, the son of Douglas Edward and Dorothy Clark, of Westwell, Ashford, Kent, England. Hugh moved to the UK with his mother, older brother and younger sister around 1921. Educated at Tonbridge School in Kent and at the University of Cambridge where at first he studied French and German, but then changed course to study English Literature. He graduated in 1938. It’s unknown when he joined the Royal Air Force. Training was concluded at No. 13 Operational Training Unit on the Bristol Blenheim bombers. Grave inscription reads: 'Death Be Not Proud'.
Sgt. Ernest Bainbridge. Strijen Protestant Cemetery Grave 11. Born on the 13th July 1913 at Shilton, County Durham, the son of Anthony and Jane Bainbridge (née Kipling) and husband of Elsie Bainbridge (née Lund), of Barnoldswick, Lancashire, England. The family moved house quite often as a result of Anthony’s work with the railroad. Ernest, who is described as modest and a gentleman became a ‘gentleman’s outfitter assistant’ and married Elsie in October 1940. It was also the year he joined the Royal Air Force. Grave inscription reads: 'I'll Walk Beside You'.
Researched by Henk Nootenboom for Aircrew Remembered - November 2018. Page dedicated to the relatives of this crew, also with thanks to sources indicated below:
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, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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