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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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12 crest
06/07th July 1941 12 Squadron Wellington II W5360 Sq/Ldr. Baird

Operation: Brest

Date: 06/07th July 1941 (Sunday/Monday)

Unit: No. 12 Squadron (motto: Leads the Field). 1 Group

Type: Wellington II

Serial: W5360

Code: PH-U

Base: RAF Binbrook, Lincolnshire

Location: Quevres Farm near Guilers, France

Pilot: Sq/Ldr. Andrew George Gordon Baird 37031 RAF Age 25. Killed

Pilot 2: Sgt. Charles Hepburn Robson NZ/401290 RNZAF Age 24. Killed

Obs: F/O. William Francis Ward 22154 RAFVR Age 35. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Thomas Oakley Burgess DFM 551290 RAF Age 21. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Kenneth Charles Amy 902859 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Air/Gnr: F/O. Stanley Page Watkins 77968 RAFVR Age 34. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Taking off at 23:25 hrs to bomb the battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau then sheltering in Brest harbour.

129 aircraft taking part with 4 not returning home.

Shot down by a Brest based Luftwaffe flak unit 100 and crashed near Quevres Farm, Guilers with the loss of all the crew.

Burial details:

Sq/Ldr. Andrew George Gordon Baird. Guilers Churchyard. Collective grave. On leaving the RGS, he joined the RAF where he served for 7 years, 5 of which were in India. Son of Douglas William Gordon Baird and of Lucy Wilson Baird, of Fernhill Heath, Worcestershire. Grave inscription: 'Always In My Thoughts'.

Sgt. Charles Hepburn Robson. Guilers Churchyard. Collective grave. Born on the 18th June 1917 at Feilding. Worked as a clerk in his fathers business at Feilding. Served in the territorial army for a year before enlisting in the RNZAF on the 07th May 1940 at LevinAwarded his pilots badge on the 21st September 1940 and promoted to sergeant on the 22nd November 1940Embarked for England on the 05th December 1940. Joined 12 squadron from 21 Operational Training Unit on the 21st June 1940. Son of Charles William Hepburn (served in the New Zealand Army Expeditionary Force during WW1 - passed away 18th May 1963. and Christina Robson((nee McConachie), of Feilding, Auckland, New Zealand. A total of 263 flying hours logged and on his 05th operational sortie.

F/O. William Francis Ward. Guilers Churchyard. Collective grave. Son of William and Mary Ward and husband of Denise Marcelle Ward, of Les Ormes, St. Yvoine, Puy-de-Dome, France.

Sgt. Thomas Oakley Burgess DFM. Guilers Churchyard. Collective grave. Son of Thomas Henry and Bertha Emily Burgess, of Mitcham, Surrey. Grave inscription: 'A Departure To Make Reunion Dearer. Mum And Dad'.

DFM Citation 21st June 1940:

'On 19th May 1940, L.A.C. Burgess was Wireless Operator/Air Gunner in Battle L5536 PH-A of which Pilot Officer J.J. McElligott (1) was pilot and 580646 Sergeant B.C. Long (2) was Observer. The aim on this mission was to bomb troops de-bussed in the area Mont Cormet – Neuf Chatel – Chateau Porcein – Ecly – Germaincourt – Fraillcourt. At 11.10 hours, the pilot had just dropped his bombs on the village of St. Fergeaux and was turning for home when the Battle was attacked by six Me.109’s about four miles South West of Ighel. They were engaged by the rear gunner and the Air Observer opened fire on three of them with the third gun as they passed underneath the Battle. The Me.109’s made further attacks and the rear gunner continued to engage them. By this time, the pilot had been severely wounded in the right shoulder and arm and the port tank was on fire, but he managed to bring the aircraft down about six miles South West of Juniville, an area occupied by the French. L.A.C. Burgess, who was admitted to hospital with shrapnel wounds, told Sergeant Long, the Air Observer, that he was sure he had shot down one Me.109. The crew were cared for by Lieutenant Cambourne of the 7th Demi Brigade, Cuirassee. Sergeant Long was interviewed late by a French Colonel at Neuf Lize who told him that it was certain that one Me.109 had been brought down and that he thought a second had crashed some distance away. This evidence has been confirmed through the French Mission. The pilot of the aircraft died of the wounds received in this action but the Air Observer was unhurt. It is considered that L.A.C. Burgess showed a great courage in sticking to his gun, though probably already wounded, and skill in disposing of one, and possibly two, of the enemy in the face of such superior odds'.

Fl/Sgt. Kenneth Charles Amy. Guilers Churchyard. Collective grave. Son of William G. Amy and Emily J. Amy, of St. Helier, Jersey, Channel Islands. Grave inscription: 'At The Going Down Of The Sun And In The Morning We Will Remember Him'.

F/O. Stanley Page Watkins. Guilers Churchyard. Collective grave. Son of James Watkins and Frances E. Watkins, of Copnor, Hampshire. Grave inscription: 'He Believed In England And Live His Life So That All Men Could Be Free'.

(1) 24 year old, P/O. James Joseph (Jimmy) Mcelligott 40630 RAF died of his injuries on the 19th May 1940.

(2) 23 year old Sgt. Brian Conway Long 580616 RAF was killed with all crew when their Battle L5568 was accidentally shot down by a Blenheim of 29 Squadron on the 01st August 1940.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to Godon Forrest 'In dedication to a future world', Mitcham History Notes, Jenifer Lemaire and to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, AWMM, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 06-05-2021

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Acknowledgements
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', 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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