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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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426 Squadron Crest
09/10.03.1943 No. 426 Squadron Wellington III X3284 OW-X P/O. Baker

Operation: Gardening

Date: 09/10th March 1943 (Tuesday/Wednesday)

Unit: No. 426 Squadron ‘Thunderbird Squadron’ (motto: “On wings of fire”)

Type: Wellington III

Serial: X3284

Code: OW-X

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)


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.

Burial details:

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.

KTY 21.09.2017

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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', Stan D. Bishop, John A. Hey MBE, Gerrie Franken and Maco Cillessen - Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces, Vols 1-6, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiton - Nachtjagd Combat Archives, Vols 1-13. 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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