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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 Blenheim IV P6912 LS-O P/O. Frankish

Operation: Maastricht - Bridges

Date: 12th May 1940 (Sunday)

Unit: No. 15 Squadron (2 Group)

Type: Blenheim MkIV

Serial: P6912

Code: LS-O

Base: RAF Alconbury, Huntingdonshire

Location: Kattevennen, Genk, Belgium

Pilot: P/O. Claude Randolph Frankish 40616 RAFVR Age 25. Killed

Obs: Sgt. Edwin George Roberts 563483 RAF Age 26. Killed

Air/Gnr: LAC. Ernest William Laurie Cooper 539921 RAF Age 20. 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 L8847 Flown by 22 year old, F/O. Thomas George Bassett 40781 RAF from Auckland, New Zealand - killed with all of his 2 other crew.

Thought to have been shot down by Flak at about 09:15 hrs.

Burial details:

Crew initially buried near Diepenbek - reinterred later at Leopoldsburg.

P/O. Claude Randolph Frankish. Leopoldsburg War Cemetery. Grave: VII.A.14. Son of Ernest Hay Frankish and Florence Mary Frankish, of Wanganui, Wellington, New Zealand and husband of Marjorie Frankish.

Sgt. Edwin George Roberts. Leopoldsburg War Cemetery. Grave: VII.A.13. Son of Edwin Frank and Florence Roberts, of Christchurch, Hampshire and husband of Eva Ellen Roberts. Grave inscription reads: “Until We Meet, Rest In Peace, My Son”

LAC. Ernest William Laurie Cooper. Leopoldsburg War Cemetery. Grave: VII.A.12. Son of William Laurie Cooper, and of Ethel May Cooper, of Bedminster Down, Bristol. Grave inscription reads: “The Sacrifice, May It Never Be Forgotten”.

Researched for Aircrew Remembered by Michel Beckers - October 2017. With thanks to Monique Krivitzki via Dirk Thielens for some of crash photos, Des Philippet for grave photos with remainder from the collection of Michel Beckers.

MB - 02.10.2017

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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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