19 November 1940
After a short operational break, the three bombing squadrons of Aden are responsible for carrying out a series of intensive attacks on Assab during 19 and 20 November. No.8 and No.11 (RAF) Squadron start when three planes, of each unit, take off between 21h45 and 23h45 the day before to target various buildings in the early hours of 19 November. Visibility is however very bad according to the crews and all the bombs miss their targets. Three other aircraft, from No. 8 (RAF) Squadron, return to Assab between 06h15 and 12h30 against the harbour. They are followed in the afternoon by two Bristol Blenheim from No.11 (RAF) Squadron and another from No.39 (RAF) Squadron, between 12h15 and 17h10 . In total : twelve sorties.
The No.45 (RAF) Squadron is active on this day when the Bristol Blenheim  I piloted by Squadron Leader Ray (Flight Sergeant Hodden and Fletcher) is intercepted by two Fiat CR.42 of 412a Squadriglia CT above Keren. If the British aircraft managed to return to Wadi Gazouza airfield, it bore the marks of numerous impacts in the fuselage and the cockpit. The Squadron Leader Ray is slightly injured in the face. Unfortunately we have no details about the Italian side, the 412a Squadriglia seeming to claim no victory.
In Aden, No. 203 (RAF) Squadron is responsible for protecting the maritime convoy B.N.8. It is in this context that the Bristol Blenheim L9458 crashes at sea, near the ships, at 13h10. All crew members: Pilot Officer Ronald O. Stock Givan, Sergeant Francis H. Banfield and Leading Aircraftman William R. Blackburn are killed instantly. No radio communication preceded this dramatic event and it is difficult to determine the exact cause, the documentation being limited. Perhaps a possible loss of control due to cloud cover.
Documents and letters addressed to the mother of Sergeant Francis H. Banfield, No.203 (RAF) Squadron, following his death on duty on 19 November 1940. Born on 1 March 1920 in Southwick (West Sussex, England), he had joined the RAF in August 1939. Promoted to Sergeant in January 1940, he appeared to join No.203 (RAF) Squadron in August 1940. Collection : Alistair Taylor.
 No.8 (RAF) Squadron : Operations Record Book (Form 540 and Form 541). Kew : TNA, AIR 27/114 ; No.11 (RAF) Squadron : Operations Record Book (Form 540 and Form 541). Kew : TNA, AIR 27/157 ; No.39 (RAF) Squadron : Operations Record Book (Form 540 and Form 541). Kew : TNA, AIR 27/407.
 Unfortunately, the rare archives relating to No.45 (RAF) Squadron never mention the identification of aircraft employed on missions.
 No.45 (RAF) Squadron : Operations Record Book (Form 540 and Form 541). Kew : TNA, AIR 27/455 ; SHORES, Christopher ; RICCI, Corrado. Dust Clouds in the Middle East – The Air War for East Africa, Iraq, Syria, Iran and Madagascar, 1940 – 1942. London : Grub Street, 2010 (Reprinted). p. 78 ; CANWELL, Diane ; SUTHERLAND, Jon. Air War East Africa (1940 – 1941). The RAF versus the Italian Air Force. Barnsley : Pen and Sword Aviation, 2009. p. 77.
 No.203 (RAF) Squadron : Operations Record Book (Form 540 and Form 541). Kew : TNA, AIR 27/1198.
The exhibits attached to this post were very interesting. They provide a view of how the death of an airman in this theater was handled.