415 Squadron  Association

Bomber Command Clasp ~ 2018

Arnold Blenkhorn was born in Amherst Nova Scotia, on 18 July 1921.  After completing his studies at the Agricultural College in Truro Nova Scotia, he joined the RCAF in late 1942.  Following almost two years of training in various parts of Canada, he qualified as a wireless radioman and gunner.  He arrived in England on 28 June 1944 and trained on Wellington bombers with a crew consisting of Pilot Alvin Huffman, Bomb Aimer Frankie Hale, Gunners Ken Clayton and Sammy French and Navigator Hector Madis. The crew converted to Halifax VIIs and joined 415 Squadron at East Moor in February 1945.  At that point Flight Engineer Milford Lavers, who was a second cousin of Arnold’s, was added to the crew.   By the time the crew arrived at East Moor, the Squadron was fully manned, and since the war was winding down the requirement for bombing missions was on the decline.  

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415 WWII Veterans Arnold Blenkhorn and Jim Main are greeted by then CO LCol Jeff Davis


Huffman Crew in front of York Minster (3rd from the right)

On the 31st of March 1977, Crew 4 commanded by Captain Guy Chenard was tasked on a Search and Rescue (SAR) Mission.  The Spanish fishing vessel “Dianterio” operating 350 miles east of St John’s had reported a fire on board.  The Pirates were holding two hour alert and Argus 10737 was the ready aircraft.  Mission planning and departure were completed in a timely fashion and the transit to the search area was routine.  As the aircraft entered the operating area, the crew initiated standard operating procedures for a SAR and within a short time the vessel was located.  By the time the crew had arrived the fire had been contained and there was no further risk to the vessel and its crew.  The Dianterio sailed for St John’s and the crew was re-assigned a routine operational patrol.  Later it would be learned that the crew’s quarters had been completely destroyed and five men had died in the blaze.ARTICLE


A veteran Swordfish, Flying Officer Arnold Blenkhorn passed away on 26 January 2021 at his residence in Athol, Nova Scotia.  He was 99 years of age.


Never the less, the available crews were still eager to get into the air and conduct the seven to eight hour operational missions.  As a result, the Huffman crew flew six operational missions before the Squadron was de-activated.  Arnold returned to Amherst, Nova Scotia in January 1945.

Soon after returning from the war, he married Catherine, his wife of over 70 years, and together they took over her family dairy farm.  He also served as the Marsh Lands Supervisor, maintaining dykes in Cumberland County for close to 30 years.  When it arrived retirement suited him.  He sang with the Barbershop Quartet, the Travelers, and his church choir.  He enjoyed hockey, playing from a young man well into his 60's. He started curling in his retirement, and curled for over 30 years. 

Over the years Arnold remained in close contact with all of his crew mates.  He attended Squadron reunions and was always eager to learn how the Squadron was being employed.  He was a proud member of the 415 Squadron Association and readily engaged the young men and women of today’s Air Force.  He enjoyed the company and the stories shared with fellow Swordfish.  Arnold ensured that he was present at the most recent reunions held in 2011 and 2016.  He also made it known that he wished to attend the Squadron’s 80th Anniversary, which will be celebrated later this year.  Arnold was the last living member of the Huffman Crew and one of the very few Swordfish left from his era.

A very friendly and jovial gentleman, Arnold always had a ready smile.  He will be fondly remembered by those who were fortunate enough to meet him.   Internment will take place in the Southampton Cemetery in the spring.  He was predeceased by his wife Catherine. To learn more about Arnold and other World War II veterans of 415 Squadron please view the 415 Squadron Association website at www.415sqn.com   

Huffman Crew in front of a Halifax Bomber (upper row middle)

Arnold at Swordfish display 2011 Reunion


415 Sqn    CP140