Arthur Joplin Obituary, Death – We have learned with regret that Flying Officer Arthur Joplin, the last surviving wartime pilot from the illustrious 617 Squadron, has passed away. His passing leaves us with a deep sense of loss. Our hearts go out to his family during this difficult time. 1923 marked the year of Arthur William Joplin’s birth in New Zealand. As a youth, he enjoyed building model airplanes and had a strong desire to one day fly. He had intended to attend college, but the war prevented him from doing so, and he enlisted in the Royal New Zealand Air Force as a volunteer in May of 1942, when he was 18 years old.
Arthur was commissioned after finishing among the top ten pilots in his course. He was one of just two novices sent to 617 Squadron, which was given the task of hitting some of the most difficult and important targets with the new “earthquake” bombs: the 12,000-pound Tallboy and the 22,000-pound Grand Slam. Arthur finished among the top ten pilots in his course and was commissioned.
His plane was one of 207 bombers that targeted the synthetic oil plant at Politz, which was located near Stettin at the time but is now in Poland. Stettin was located in eastern Germany at the time. Additionally, he participated in the attack that was meant to sink the battleship, Tirpitz.
There is a link linked below that provides additional information about his service in Bomber Command with 617 Squadron. It is an interesting read and talks of one who was so brave at such a young age, similar to the stories of many others.