16/17.05.1944 571 Squadron Mosquito XVI ML988 Fg.Off. Bernard E. Knight
Date: 16/17th May 1944 (Tuesday/Wednesday)
Unit: 571 Squadron
Type: Mosquito XVI
Base: RAF Oakington, Cambridgeshire.
Location: University farm, Girton, Cambridge.
Pilot: Fg.Off. Bernard Ellis Knight 126681 RAFVR Age 33. Killed
Nav: Flt.Lt. Alexander James Baldwin DFM 130729 RAFVR Age 22. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at 22:29 hrs. from RAF Oakington, Cambridgeshire. A force of 29 Mosquitoes attacking Berlin - all other aircraft returning safe.
On return to base the bomb doors opened in error as the crew joined circuit to land. This resulted in a sudden loss of height and the Mosquito crashed at 02:54 into trees at University farm, Girton and quite close to the airfield.
Note:This was the squadron’s first loss since forming at Downham Market on 7th April 1944 and moving two weeks later to Oakington. On 26th October 1996 at All Saints church, Longstanton in Cambridgeshire, a Memorial Plaque to the 26 airmen killed serving with 571 Squadron was unveiled at a dedication service.
Fg.Off. Bernard Ellis Knight. Cambridge City Cemetery. Grave 14708. Born on the 19th April 1911 the son of Stephen Stonham James and Amy Priscilla Knight, husband of Joyce Winifred Knight of Oxshott, Surrey, England.
Flt.Lt. Alexander James Baldwin DFM Wandsworth (Streatham) Cemetery. Block 17.Grave 261. Son of George and Nella Baldwin, husband of Betty Edith Baldwin of Erith, Kent, England. Grave inscription reads: ‘In Loves Garden Dearest We Are Always Together. Your Loving Wife And Pal, Betty.’
DFM awarded to No.1252087 Sgt Baldwin, whilst with 150 Sqn, gazetted 27th October 1942.
Researched by Aircrew Remembered, researcher and specialist genealogist Linda Ibrom for relatives of this crew. A great many thanks to Peter D. Knight who sent us the photo of the pilot and other details - June 2016. Also to Dan Morris, relative of the pilot who contacted us in February 2017. Thanks to Find-A-Grave website for use of grave photos. Updated by Aircrew Remembered (Nov 2020).