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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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101 Squadron Crest
03/04.05.1944 101 Squadron Lancaster III DV275 SR-X2 Fg.Off. Baker

Operation: Mailly-le-Camp

Date: 03/04th May 1944 (Wednesday/Thursday)

Unit: 101 Squadron

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: DV275

Code: SR-X2

Base: RAF Ludford Magna, Lincolnshire.

Location: South west of Poivers, France.

Pilot: Fg.Off. George Baker 157833 RAFVR Age? Killed (1)

Flt.Eng: Sgt. David Harry Cro 1627552 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Nav: Flt.Sgt. John Edwin Steward 1457149 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Air/Bmr: Flt.Sgt. Sydney Wilson Ainsworth 1338301 RAFVR Age ? Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: WO. Donald Hubert McNaught 413135 RAAF Age 24. Killed

Spec/Op: Fg.Off. George Alexander Blair 153893 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Air/Gnr: Flt.Sgt. Michael John Hackett 429948 RAAF Age 20. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Arthur John Ridgway 1624836 RAFVR Age 20. Killed (2)


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 Sqn Lancasters lost on this operation:

ME564 SR-Z Flown by Flt.Lt. John A. Keard killed along with 6 other crew, one being made PoW.
LM467 SR-J Flown by Fg.Off. Kenneth Muir killed with all 7 crew.
LM417 SE-A Flown by Plt.Off. 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, Fg.Off. Baker, was shot down earlier in the war. Flying 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)

Burial details:

Fg.Off. George Baker. Poivres Churchyard Grave 11. Of 54 Alvey Street, Walworth, London, England.

Sgt. David Harry Cro. Poivres Churchyard. Grave 3. Son of Harry and Lilian Cro, of Minster, Ramsgate, England.

Flt.Sgt. John Edwin Steward. Poivres Churchyard Coll. Grave 24-34. Son of John Edwin and Edna Steward, of Tettenhall, Staffordshire, England.

(Left) Flt.Sgt. Sydney Wilson Ainsworth. Poivres Churchyard Joint Grave 20-21. Born East Retford, Notts, England on the 28th 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 23rd July 1931, in Retford, Nottinghamshire, at the age of 40, and was buried there.

(Right: Courtesy Judy Pischke) WO. Donald Hubert McNaught. Poivres Churchyard. Grave 12. Born on the 21st November 1922 in Gladesville, NSW, Australia. 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.

(Left: Courtesy George Fettes) Fg.Off. George Alexander Blair. Poivres Churchyard. Grave 4. Inscription: "TO THE MEMORY OF OUR DEARLY BELOVED ONLY SON. HE DIED THAT WE MIGHT LIVE". Son of Alexander and Una M. Blair, brother to four sisters, two of whom were older than him, of Glasgow, Scotland.

Flt.Sgt. Michael John Hackett. Poivres Churchyard. Grave 13. Son of Francis Patrick and Mary Veronica Hackett, of 12 Seventh Street, Port Pirie, South Australia.

Sgt. Arthur John Ridgeway. Poivres 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. Thanks to George Fettes, nephew of Fg.Off. Blair, for the additional NoK information and for his photograph. Thanks to Judy Pischke for the photograph of WO McNaught and who hails for his home town.

RS 15.01.2020 - Addition of photograph for WO McNaught

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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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