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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 W1043 ZA-F Sq/Ldr. Webster DFC

Operation: Tirpitz

Date: 30/31st March 1942 (Monday/Tuesday)

Unit: No. 10 Squadron (4 Group)

Type: Halifax II

Serial: W1043

Code: ZA-F

Base: RAF Lossiemouth, Scotland

Location: Hemnfjorden, Norway

Pilot: Sq/Ldr. Frederick David Webster DFC. 43127 RAF Age 29. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Eric Archibald Hall 1200462 RAFVR Age 30. Missing believed killed

Nav: Fl/Sgt. Harold Sydney Wheatley 567428 RAF Age 24. Missing believed killed

Air/Bmr: Fl/Lt. Aubrey Charles Stevens-Fox 60772 RAFVR Age ? Missing believed killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Arnold Hague 948242 RAFVR Age ? Missing believed killed

Air/Gnr: P/O. Samuel Robert Leney 104588 RAFVR Age 22. Missing believed killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Walter Hall 1102753 RAFVR Age 27. Missing believed killed


Taking off at 18:46 hrs together with 34 others aircraft to attack the Tirpitz that was moored at Fættenfjord in Norway.

Some 6 aircraft failed to return also lost on this operation from 10 Squadron:

Halifax II W1044 ZA-D Flown by 26 year old, P/O. Neil Ralph Blunden NZ/403149 RNZAF - missing believed killed with all 7 crew.

35 Squadron lost 3 crews:

Halifax II R9438 Flown by Fl/Sgt. Joseph Bryan Bushby 1057442 RAFVR - all 7 crew killed or missing.
Halifax II R9496 Flown by Fl/Sgt. William Bruce Archibald 533809 RAF - all 7 crew killed or missing.
Halifax II W1015 Flown by Fl/Sgt. George Henry Steinhauer R/70825 RCAF - all 7 crew killed or missing.

76 Squadron also lost a crew:

Halifax II R9453 Flown by Sq/Ldr. Arthur Patrick Burdett 78272 RAFVR - all 7 crew killed or missing.

Most crews were unable to locate the huge Battleship as the crew had moored it next to a cliff making an air attack unlikely for the south-west. They also cut down trees to camouflage the pride of the Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine and created clouds of artificial fog created using water and chlorosulfuric acid.

Additional anti-aircraft batteries were installed around the fjord, as were anti-torpedo nets and heavy booms in the entrance to the anchorage. Life for the crew of Tirpitz was very monotonous during the deployment to Norway. Frequent fuel shortages curtailed training and kept the battleship and her escorts moored behind their protective netting. The crew was primarily occupied with maintaining the ship and continuously manning antiaircraft defences. Sports activities were organised to keep the crew occupied and physically fit. (courtesy Wikipedia)

The Tirpitz survived this and many other attack until it was finally sunk on the 12th November 1944 when bombed by 32 Lancasters - over 1,000 of her crew were lost with some 200 others surviving.

Burial details:

Sq/Ldr. Frederick David Webster DFC. Trondheim Cemetery (Stavne) Grave: A IV British. K.4. Son of Frederick and Rose Webster and husband of Gertrude Mary Webster, of Hucknall, Nottinghamshire, England.

Sgt. Eric Archibald Hall. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 84. Son of Walter and Sarah Hall, of Farnborough, Hampshire and husband of Florence Ethel Hall, of Farnborough, England.

Fl/Sgt. Harold Sydney Wheatley. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 76. Son of Ivy S. Wheatley, of Dovercourt, Essex, England.

Fl/Lt. Aubrey Charles Stevens-Fox. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 66. No further details, are you able to assist?

Sgt. Arnold Hague. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 84. No further details, are you able to assist?

P/O. Samuel Robert Leney. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 70. Son of Samuel George and Winifred Anne Leney, of Mitcham, Surrey, England.

Sgt. Walter Hall. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 84. Son of Walter and Jane Hales Hall, of East Denton, Northumberland, England.

Above: 2nd from left P/O. Samuel Robert Leney and on his left P/O. Clement Longden.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to sources as quoted. also to Richard Longden for some of the photographs. His father, Fl/Lt. Clement Longden 971461 RAFVR (22nd September 1919 - 25th April 2009) was a friend and trained with P/O. Samuel Robert Leney.

KTY - 16.05.2018

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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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