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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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15 Squadron Crest
12.05.1940 No. 15 Squadron L8847 F/O. Thomas G. Bassett

Operation: Bridges/roads

Date: 12th May 1940 (Sunday)

Unit: No. 15 Squadron (2 Group)

Type: Blenheim IV

Serial: L8847

Code: LS-?

Base: RAF Alconbury, Huntingdonshire

Location: Gemeente, Borgharen, Belgium

Pilot: F/O. Thomas George Bassett 40781 RAF Age 22. Killed

Obs: Sgt. Neville Craig Middlemass 580461 RAF Age 26. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: LAC. William Timothy Cavanagh 542287 RAF Age 22. Killed


Taking off from RAF Alconbury in Huntingdonshire at 07:50 hrs to attack the bridges at Maastricht to slow down the rapidly advancing German army. Targets had to include housing in order to block roads, but the operation was a disaster for the Squadron losing some 6 aircraft.

The others:

Blenheim IV P6914 Flown by 27 year old, Sgt. Hubert Ronald Hall 564340 RAF from Suffolk, England - killed with all of his 2 other crew.
Blenheim IV P6911 Flown by 25 year old, F/O. Albert Edward Oakley 36132 RAF from NSW, Australia - killed with all of his 2 other crew.
Blenheim IV N6151 Flown by Sgt. F.R. Pepper 565103 RAF taken PoW with all of his 2 other crew.
Blenheim IV L8849 Flown by F/O. Peter Norman Douglass 39933 RAF - killed with his observer, air gunner taken PoW.
Blenheim IV P6912 Flown by 25 year old, P/O. Claude Randolph Frankish 40616 RAF from Wellington, New Zealand - killed with all of his 2 other crew.

Thought to have been shot down by Flak or Luftwaffe fighters at about 09:16 hrs.

Burial details:

F/O. Thomas George Bassett. Maastricht General Cemetery. Row 3. Joint grave 142-143. Born on the 12th October 1917, the son of John Leonard and Lena Bassett, of Te Kopuru, Auckland, New Zealand. Grave inscription reads: "His Duty Nobly Done. He Died For His Country, New Zealand". 475 flying hours logged and thought to have been on his 6 operational sortie.

Sgt. Neville Craig Middlemass. Maastricht General Cemetery. Row 3. Grave 141. Son of John and Doris Middlemass, of Sheffield, England. Grave inscription reads: "His Name Lives For Ever In The Book Of Remembrance".

LAC. William Timothy Cavanagh. Maastricht General Cemetery. Row 3. Joint grave 142-143. Son of Timothy and Annie Cavanagh. Grave inscription reads: "Until The Day Break And The Shadows Flee Away".

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to the research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland War Memorial Museum, Weekly News of New Zealand, other sources as quoted below: Des Philippet for grave photographs.

KTY - 25.11.2017

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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', Stan D. Bishop, John A. Hey MBE, Gerrie Franken and Maco Cillessen - Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces, Vols 1-6, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiton - Nachtjagd Combat Archives, Vols 1-13. 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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