"Wandering By Night"
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R.C.A.F Poster - Click For Source

In Memory of John J. BlanchfieldFlying Officer 112892, 410 Squadron R.C.A.F

Service Personnel Information

Information Recorded During Enlistment

Name:John James Blanchfield

Date of Birth:March 13, 1917

Service Regimental Number: R112892

Rank: Flying Officer (ACE)

Height/Weight: 5' 8" / 136 lbs

Colour of Eyes: Blue
Colour of Hair: Brown
Marital Status: Not Married
Religion: Roman Catholic
Address In Manitoba: 819 Somerset Avenue, Winnipeg
Address In Ontario: 276 Albert Street, Kingston
Next of Kin (Relationship): Mrs. Agnes Perkins (Grandmother)
Date of Enlistment: July 7, 1941
City and Province of Enlistment: Toronto, Ontario


Military Service Record
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Blanchfield in Book of Remembrance - Click for source

Information Recorded After Death
Age (At Death): 26
Force: Air Force
Unit: 410 (R.C.A.F) Squadron
Nick Name: Blanch
Service Number: 112892
Honours and Awards: Airforce Cross
Photograph: Pending
Marital Status: Married (25/6/1941)
Next of Kin (Relationship): Edith Isabel Grant (Spouse)
Date of Death: November 26, 1943 (21:50)
Country of Burial: England
Cemetery: Canadian Extension, R.A.F Cemetery
Grave Reference: Grave 9, Row A, Plot 32
Location: Brockwood, Surrey, England
Book of Remembrance: World War 2, 1943, 137

Essay

Introduction Pending

Personal Life

Blanchfield was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba on March 13, 1917. While in Winnipeg he lived on 819 Somerset Avenue (appendix 1.1). Growing up John attended General Steele where he graduated primary school. He was then accepted into St. Paul’s, however his time there was only half lived. Only finishing at a grade 10 level, it appears that Blanchfield was not one to enjoy school, with a poor academic record and “not being able to matriculate” (School Record), John did not return to St. Paul’s for grade 11. John’s parents, Joseph Michael Blanchfield (father) and Helen Margret Perkins (mother), were listed as his guardians when he entered St. Paul’s. However, from the time of his acceptance into St. Paul’s, and the following eight years, (1931-1939), a course of tragic events would eventually take the lives of his parents (Winnipeg Evening Tribune, “Obituary”). Blanchfield would work as a clerk in many stores in the time between his school life and his enlistment but other than that his life was very limited. With the death of his parents, being a drop out at 17, and a new move to Ontario (appendix 1.2), Blanchfield most likely saw his only future through the army. Perhaps he thought enlisting would give him a chance at a new beginning, a new life and assumably the most important, a new sense of family.
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Hamilton Spectator Newspaper Clipping - Click for source

Blanchfield's only claim to fame was a mention in the Hamilton Spectator, the paper listed his names with fellow men in combat. Printed one year before his death, April 24, 1942.

Military Career

After being enlisted, Blanchfield would become a flying officer for the Royal Canadian Airforce. Blanchfield flew a Mark II De Havilland DH-98 Mosquito, a twin engine, two person bomber plane, that could be modified to become a fighter and was renowned for its success an night flying and photoreconnaissance (appendix 2.1). The Mosquito II could fly at 380 mph and was capable of holding four 500 lbs bombs (Trueman, Chris “Mosquito”). Blanchfield or "Blanch" as he would become named, flew for No. 410 “Cougar” Squadron. The squadron was the third night fighter for the R.C.A.F and their motto was NOCTIVAGA or “Wandering by night”, the emblem (appendix 2.2) is significant for the cougar is a nocturnal predator and the moon also represents the squadron’s nighttime success. Blanchfield died in a training exercise when he crashed into another plane (See “Death” sub-article). Though John died before seeing combat, his squadron had a very eventful career after his passing. In June 1944, the squadron joined with the 2nd Tactical Air force, and they had the distinction of being the top-scoring night-fighter unit in 2nd TAF in the period between D-Day and VE-Day. A total of 75 3/4 victories had been claimed by the end of the war (Canadian Wings, “410 Squadron”).

Death

Cut down at the age of 26, Blanchfield died on November 26, 1943 at approximately 21:50. During a practice run with the Mosquito IIF DD669, Blanchfields craft collided with a Mosquito IIF DZ259, causing both aircraft to crash. In a detailed report to Blanchfield's wife, the commanding officer of No. 410 at the time, G.H. Elms says "[Blanchfield] and his navigator, F/O Cox of Toronto had taken off on an operational patrol on the evening of 26th November. They were returning about ten o'clock when they undertook a practice interception with another aircraft of this squadron. On the completion of the exercise two aircraft collided. Both pilot's were in radio communication with the ground and said they were bailing out. the crew of the other aircraft made a successful parachute descent but unfortunately, something must have happened to prevent your husband and his navigator from getting free. Consequently they were instantly killed" (Military Record). In another article, the diagnosis of the accident states: "[The pilot] under Easthill control, was given vectors to intersect target aircraft. [The plane] closed rapidly, contact was obtained and, due to overshooting badly, struck the port wing of the target aircraft. Pilot of aircraft reported by radio transmission that the crew were bailing out, no further radio transmission heard and aircraft crashed." Blanchfield and Cox were determined to be killed on impact.


Grave Reference

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Blanchfield's headstone in the R.A.F Cemetery in Brookwood, Surrey - Click for source

Name of Cemetery: Royal Airforce Cemetery, Brockwood
Grave Reference: Grave 9, Row A, Plot 32 (appendix 4.1)
Addition Comments on Grave about John: Son of Joseph and Helen Blanchfield; husband of Edith Isabel Blanchfield, of South Kensington, London.
In-Text Appendix
Appendix 1.1

View Larger Map
Blanchfield's Map Address in Manitoba

Appendix 1.2

Blanchfield's Map Address in Ontario

Appendix 2.1
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Click picture for source

A Variation of the De Havilland Mosquito, the plane that Blanchfield would operate

Appendix 2.2
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Click picture for source

The 410 "Cougar" Squadron Emblem

Appendix 4.1
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Click picture for source

Cemetery Plan

Additional information/links

The following is a video from a U.S newsreel describing the type of plane Blanchfield would have occupied


The following is a detailed record of the movements and recorded combat of the 410 Squadron:
http://www.manitobamilitaryaviationmuseum.com/PDF/410squadron.pdf

For information on Insignia go to page 2-117
http://www.cmp-cpm.forces.gc.ca/dhh-dhp/his/ol-lo/vol-tom-4/doc/ofs-eao.pdf

Bibliography

Canadian Wings. “410 Squadron.” History and Heritage of Canada’s Air Force. Aeroware Designs, 2010. Web. 26 Apr. 2012. <http://www.canadianwings.com/‌Squadrons/‌squadronDetail.php?No.-410-Squadron-69>. This site was very helpful for the basics of the squadron. Also the listing of the variations of planes was useful for determining the technological timeline of the squad.

Forces.gc.ca. “Volume 4: Operational Flying Squadrons.” National Defence and the Canadian Forces. N.p., 4 Feb. 2009. Web. 25 Apr. 2012. <http://www.cmp-cpm.forces.gc.ca/‌dhh-dhp/‌his/‌ol-lo/‌vol-tom-4/‌2663-eng.asp>. This site was helpful as a starter on the squadron and the information about the insignia and motto.

Manitoba Military Aviation Museum. “History of 410 Squadron.” Manitoba Military Aviation Museum. Air Historian, n.d. Web. 26 Apr. 2012. <http://www.manitobamilitaryaviationmuseum.com/‌PDF/‌410squadron.pdf>. This website was helpful for the operations of the squadron and had detailed description of combat they faced. The charts were also helpful. The website gave a positive balance of detailed description and exact numbers.

Trueman, Chris. “The Mosquito.” History Learning SIte. N.p., 2012. Web. 26 Apr. 2012. <http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/‌mosquito.htm>. This site was helpful for information on the mosquito but did not give much into specifics.

Winchester, Jim. “De Havilland DH.98 Mosquito.” WWII Vehicles. N.p., 2010. Web. 26 Apr. 2012. <http://www.wwiivehicles.com/‌unitedkingdom/‌aircraft/‌bomber/‌de-havilland-dh-98-mosquito.asp>. This website was used for its pictures of various aircrafts, I found a great picture for my appendix of the Mosquito II. However, this site was lacking credible information.

Winnipeg Evening Tribune. “Obituary.” Winnipeg Tribune 29 May 1939, Evening ed.: 15. Manitobia. Web. 25 Apr. 2012. <http://manitobia.ca/‌content/‌en/‌newspapers/‌WPT/‌1939/‌05/‌29/‌articles/‌240.xml/‌iarchives?query=blanchfield%2BAND%2Bdoctype%3Anewspapers>. This page was used to find out information on Blanchfield’s mother. I originally thought it would be about my vet but actually was an obituary for his mom. It was helpful in that I discovered Mr. Blanchfield died before she did and therefore gives a good timeline of their life.
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Archival Reference

The following document is a collection of detailed military records created for Blanchfield himself, the red highlight marks are important sections used in this wiki.