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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.
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110 Squadron Crest
06.05.1941 No 110 Squadron Blenheim IV R3600 Fl/Lt. Edward N. Steel

Operation: Anti-Shipping

Date: 06th May 1941 (Tuesday)

Unit: No. 110 Squadron

Type: Blenheim IV

Serial: R3600 (1)

Code: VE-?

Base: RAF Wattisham, Suffolk, England

Location: North Sea off Dutch coast

Pilot: Fl/Lt. ’Teddy’ Edward Nation Steel 40955 RAF Age 24. Missing - believed killed

Obs: Fl/Sgt. Ronald Albert Freestone 759027 RAFVR Age ? Missing - believed killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Joseph Dennis Bramhall 747958 RAFVR Age ? Injured (2) (3)


Taking off at 11:15 hrs from RAF Wattisham in Suffolk on an anti-shipping operations.

They located a convoy, which included 3 destroyers and during the attack came under intense anti aircraft fire from as far out as 3 miles. During that attack which proved unsuccessful R3600 was hit and fell into the North Sea although it was not actually seen to come down (110 Squadron casualty report dated 08th April 1941). Relative advised Aircrew Remembered that they had transmitted a message stating that they were on their return journey - then they were lost!

Sadly no trace could be found of the pilot and Observer but the body of Sgt. Bramhall was later washed up on the German coast.

R3600 being armed with 250 lb HE bombs and SBCs (small bomb containers) of 416 incendiaries at Wattisham in June 1940. Probably a posed shot as the Squadron mascot can be seen on top of the Blenheim.

(1) This aircraft had flown at least 48 operations - a huge amount for this type of aircraft.

(2) His cousin Sgt. Ronald Bramhall 1053576 RAFVR was also lost on the 16th November 1941. Flying with 149 Squadron Wellington Ic R1627. (Archive report on that can be read here)

(3) According to the great New Zealand researcher Errol Martyn - he has found evidence that the International Red Cross reported that Sgt. Bramhall died later in the Marine Hospital, Wilhelmshaven. Quoted the source a letter from RNZAF HQ, London, dated 23rd July 1948. Since confirmed by a relative!

Burial details:

Fl/Lt. ’Teddy’ Edward Nation Steel. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 29. Born on the 28th December 1916 in Wellington City, the son of John William (1880 - 1961) and Maud Muriel Steel (née Nation 1884 - 1965), of Wellington, New Zealand. A New Zealander who came over to Great Britain to join the RAF prior to outbreak of war. A very experienced pilot with 608 flying hours logged. Thought to be on his 14th operation.

Fl/Sgt. Ronald Albert Freestone. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 36. No further details - are you able to assist?

Sgt. Joseph Dennis Bramhall. Sage War Cemetery. Grave 8.A.2. No further details - are you able to assist?

Researched for Barbara Martin - cousin on Sgt. Bramhall and dedicated to the relatives of this crew. Many thanks to Errol Martyn, researcher and author of ‘For Your Tomorrow’. Thanks also to the RAF Commands Forum. Other sources indicated below.

KTY - 12.11.2016

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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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