101 Squadron Lancaster III DV275 SR-X2 F/O. George Baker
Date: 03/04th May 1944 (Wednesday/Thursday)
Unit: No. 101 Squadron
Type: Lancaster III
Base: RAF Ludford Magna, Lincolnshire.
Location: South west of Poivers, France.
Pilot: F/O. George Baker 157833 RAFVR Age ? Killed (1)
Fl/Eng: Sgt. David Harry Cro 1627552 RAFVR Age 20. Killed
Nav: Fl/Sgt. John Edwin Steward 1457149 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Sydney Wilson Ainsworth 1338301 RAFVR Age ? Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: W/O. Donald Hubert McNaught AUS/413135 RAAF Age 24. Killed
Spec/Op: F/O. George Alexander Blair 153893 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Michael John Hackett AUS/429948 RAAF Age 20. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Arthur John Ridgway 1624836 RAFVR Age 20. Killed (2)
REASON FOR LOSS:
We would like to place an appeal on behalf of a relative for any photographs of this aircraft or the crew members.
Taking off late evening from RAF Ludford Magna, Lincolnshire to attack the German military bases (Panzer divisions) at Mailly-le-Camp along with 346 Lancasters and 14 Mosquitoes.
The operation was a success as far as the bombing was concerned with 114 barrack buildings destroyed, 47 transport sheds and some ammunition buildings in the camp destroyed, 192 vehicles, 37 tanks were also hit. 218 German soldiers were killed and a further 156 injured. 1,500 tons of bombs were dropped.
But, due to the delays in signalling the main force to come in and bomb, the Luftwaffe night fighters were waiting for them. 43 were lost this night - 177 aircrew killed, 18 being taken PoW and 31 evading capture.
DV275 was one of four 101 squadron Lancasters lost on this operation:
ME564 SR-Z Flown by Fl/Lt. John A. Keard killed along with 6 other crew, one being made PoW.
LM467 SR-J Flown by F/O. Kenneth Muir killed with all 7 crew.
LM417 SE-A Flown by P/O. Thomas J. Drew killed with 6 other crew members, one being taken PoW.
Lancaster DV275 crashed 1 km. south west of Poivres after being hit by flak based in the north west corner of the camp.
Memorial at Mailly-le-Camp to the many aircrews lost during this operation.
(1) The pilot, F/O. Baker, was shot down earlier in the war. Flying a Halifax II JD368 ZA-A on return to its base shot down by a night fighter with the aircraft crashing at Haulchin, Belgium. 1 crew member was killed, 1 taken PoW and the remainder evaded capture to return to England some four weeks later with the aid of the comet escape line.
(2) The brother of Arthur was sadly also killed during service. At Monte Casino on the 13th July 1944 James Richard Ridgway of the Royal Sussex Regiment. Age also just 20, buried at the Assisi Cemetery.
Poivers Churchyard with insert crew graves (courtesy Phillipe Monf)
F/O. George Baker. Poivers Churchyard Grave 11. Of 54 Alvey Street, Walworth, London, England.
Sgt. David Harry Cro. Poitiers Churchyard. Grave 3. Son of Harry and Lilian Cro, of Minster, Ramsgate, England.
Fl/Sgt. John Edwin Steward. Poivers Churchyard Coll. Grave 24-34. Son of John Edwin and Edna Steward, of Tettenhall, Staffordshire, England.
Fl/Sgt. Sydney Wilson Ainsworth. Poivers Churchyard Joint Grave 20-21. Born East Retford, Notts, England 28 October 1919. Son of Wesley Douglas Ainsworth and Charlotte Ada Wilson (née Wilson). Sisters Joan Mary (March 1921) Ada M (December 1924). Charlotte died on July 23, 1931, in Retford, Nottinghamshire, at the age of 40, and was buried there.
Left: Fl/Sgt. Sydney Wilson Ainsworth
W/O. Donald Hubert McNaught. Poitiers Churchyard. Grave 12. Son of Charles Douglas and Winifred Eva McNaught, of Tingha Road, Inverell, New South Wales, Australia. Also his girlfriend, Miss B. Taylor of 11 McNer Avenue, Kingsford, Sydney, Australia.
F/O. George Alexander Blair. Poitiers Churchyard. Grave 4. Son of Alexander and Una M. Blair, of Glasgow, Scotland.
Fl/Sgt. Michael John Hackett. Poitiers Churchyard. Grave 13. Son of Francis Patrick and Mary Veronica Hackett, of 12 Seventh Street, Port Pirie, South Australia.
Sgt. Arthur John Ridgeway. Poitiers Churchyard. Grave 9. Son of James Arthur and Muriel Ridgway, of Bexhill-on-Sea, Sussex, England.
Researched for James Nicholas Williams, relative of the rear gunner Sgt. Ridgway and dedicated to all the relatives of this crew. With information from various sources quoted below. Also thanks for additional details to David Champion - March 2016.