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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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10 squadron crest
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 Squadron

Type: Halifax II

Serial: W1044

Code: ZA-D

Base: RAF Leeming, North Yorkshire

Location: Hemnefjorden, 40 miles west of Trondheim, Norway

Pilot: F/O. Neil Ralph Blunden NZ/403419 RNZAF Age 26. Missing - believed killed

2nd Pilot: P/O. Geoffrey Cyril Day 102112 RAFVR Age 28. Killed

Nav: Sgt. William Benjamin Eastwood 1175893 RAFVR Age 25. Missing - believed killed

Flt/Eng: Sgt. Reginald George Arthur Richards 575840 RAF Age ? Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Kenneth Coverdale May 1007103 RAFVR Age 19. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Harold Ralph Franklin R/68080 RCAF Age 28. Missing - believed killed (1)

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Arthur Reginald Henman R/69157 RCAF Age 26. Missing - believed killed


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.

Above left: F/O. Neil Ralph Blunden - 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 (née 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.

Photo of Arthur Reginald Henman – "Reggie" Henman RCAF of Sudbury, ON. From photo belonging to FLt. Richard Norwood Speer, RCAF. Copied and reproduced from Veteran Affairs Canada - Canadian Virtual War memorial website

(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
CHB 26.02.2020 F/S Henman photograph added and link to Commemorative Feature

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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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