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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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Bomber Command Crest
21/22.04.1945 No. 163 Squadron Mosquito KB529 NK-W Sq/Ldr. William G. Baker

Operation: Kiel

Date: 21st/22nd April 1945 (Saturday/Sunday)

Unit:: 163 Squadron

Type: Mosquito XXV

Serial: KB529.

Code: NK-W

Base: RAF Wyton, Cambridgeshire

Location: Target Area - Kiel.

Pilot: Sq/Ldr. William George Baker 51161 RAF PoW - No further details.

Navigator: F/O. Austin Arthur Hawthorne J/40463 RCAF Age 22. Killed.


Took-off from Wyton at 21:37 hrs. Presumed crashed in the target area, after being hit by flak.

Report submitted by Sq/Ldr. William George Baker during his post war interrogation:

”When aircraft was hit, the nose and starboard wing were blown off and I was knocked out. When I regained consciousness, F/O. Hawthorne was not in the aircraft, and so I baled out. I was captured four days later, and the German interrogator (in an endeavour to obtain information) informed me that the body of F/O. Hawthorne, had been found near Kiel.

F/O. Hawthorne was lying in the nose compartment of the aircraft when we were hit. The German Major at Dulag Luft 33 is the only source of information I have ever had concerning F/O. Hawthorne. My own conclusions are, that F/O. Hawthorne was killed when aircraft was hit. He was not wearing his chute at the time."

Note: Sq/Ldr. William George Baker - Promoted to Fl/Lt. 18th July 1949.

163 Squadron Mosquito KB529

Also on this day:

Guy Liddell, the former deputy director general MI5, includes in his diaries a Joint Intelligence Committee paper detailing Hitler's final days.During a conference on April 22nd, 1945, Hitler gave a speech to his assembled generals and Heinrich Himmler, his minister of the interior.The report states: "Hitler came in at 08.30 a completely broken man. Only a few army officers were with him. Himmler urged Hitler to leave Berlin."Suddenly, Hitler began to make one of his characteristic speeches. 'Everyone has lied to me, everyone has deceived me, no one has told me the truth. 'The armed forces have lied to me and now the SS has left me in the lurch. The German people has not fought heroically. It deserves to perish. It is not I who have lost the war, but the German people'."The report continues: "Then his face turned purple, his twitching left arm became quiet, and he could not put his left foot on the ground properly."Throughout that night he suffered from a nervous collapse and kept on raving that he would meet his end in Berlin." This of course he did on the afternoon of the 30th April 1945, shooting himself in the right temple, his wife Eva Braun had died from swallowing poison.

Burial details:

F/O. Austin Arthur Hawthorne. Kiel War Cemetery. Plot1. Row F. Grave 19. From Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada. Son to Mrs E. Hawthorne of Medicine Hat.

Left: Kiel War Cemetery.

Researched for relatives of this crew. With thanks to Hugh Halliday of the RAF Commands Forum for some of this information. Other sources as quoted below.

RS 06.09.2018 - Update to F/O. Hawthorne's NoK details

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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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