09/10.03.1943 No. 426 Squadron Wellington III X3284 OW-X P/O. Baker
Date: 09/10th March 1943 (Tuesday/Wednesday)
Unit: No. 426 Squadron ‘Thunderbird Squadron’ (motto: “On wings of fire”)
Type: Wellington III
Base: RAF Dishforth, Yorkshire
Location: North Sea off Denmark
Pilot: P/O. George Raymond Baker J/16767 RCAF Age 22. Missing - believed killed
Obs: Fl/Sgt. Dexter Brand Coons R/92573 RCAF Age 26. Missing - believed killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Max Zeavin R/111112 RCAF Age 23. Missing - believed killed (1)
W/Op/Air/Gnr: W/O.II. Lawrence Murphy R/76910 RCAF Age 23. Missing - believed killed
Air/Gnr: W/O.II. Donald Parker Mclachlan R/94736 RCAF Age 34. Missing - believed killed (2)
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Leo Joseph Baribeau R/149418 RCAF Age 25. Missing - believed killed (3)
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off from RAF Dishforth in Yorkshire at 18:32 hrs as part of a 62 aircraft operation to lay mines at area codenamed ’Forget-Me-nots’ and ’Nectarines’ (Kiel Canal and Frisian islands) See Gardening Operations.
Although the aircraft and crew are classe as missing without trace it is known that they were shot down by anti aircrews guns from the Esbjerg Units and probably crashed in the North Sea.
Having 'no known graves' the crew are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial in Surrey, England.
Some of this crew had earlier very lucky escapes. On the 21st January, again on a Gardening operation their Wellington Z1599 was hit several times by anti-aircraft fire but the pilot managed to nurse the aircraft back to the base at RAF Dishforth.
Then just a week before their loss, they were again hit by flak - in the same aircraft as lost on the 10th March. During an operation to Essen the Wellington was hit by ant-aircraft fire and suffered light damage, again the pilot nursed the aircraft home.
(1) Zeavin Lake east of Setting Lake, Manitoba was named after Fl/Sgt. Max Zeavin in 1972.
(2) McLachlan Lake, east of Livingstone Lake, Saskatchewan was named after W/O.II. Donald Parker Mclachlan.
(3) Baribeau Creek near Kimberley, British Columbia was named after Sgt. Leo Joseph Baribeau.
P/O. George Raymond Baker. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 175. Son of Victor Ray Baker and Jamesina Baker, of Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada.
Fl/Sgt. Dexter Brand Coons. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 181. Son of Franklin Raymond and Elizabeth Brand Coons, of Stavely, Alberta, Canada.
Fl/Sgt. Max Zeavin. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 186. Son of David Soloman Zeavin and Esther Zeavin, Graduate of the University of Manitoba, Canada.
W/O.II. Lawrence Murphy. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 180. Son of Daniel Phillip and Myra Madeline Murphy, of St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada.
W/O.II. Donald Parker Mclachlan. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 180. Son of Hugh D. and Susan Florence McLachlan and husband of Faye Margaret McLachlan, of Rumsey, Alberta, Canada.
Sgt. Leo Joseph Baribeau. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 186. Born on the 22nd January 1918, the son of Hormisdas Clovis Pierre and Julia Marie Eloise (née Germain), of Domremy, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Researched for Faith Mathews in order to prepare for commemorations at her local Cenotaph. Further details courtesy sources shown below.