Flight Lieutenant Wilfred Guy BALDWIN

Service No: 412473
Born: Woodgreen, England, 6 June 1910
Enlisted in the RAAF: 19 July 1941 (at Sydney NSW)
Unit: No. 466 Squadron, RAF Station Leconfield, Yorkshire
Died: Air Operations (No. 466 Squadron Halifax aircraft HZ278), Germany, 20 January 1944, Aged 33 Years
Buried: Becklingen War Cemetery, Soltau, Niedersachsen, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Ernest James Baldwin and Bessie Baldwin; husband of Margery Lillian Baldwin, of Bexley, New South Wales, Australia
Roll of Honour: Bexley NSW
Remembered: Panel 110, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Date: 21-22 January 1944
Target: Berlin
Total Force: Dispatched – 769, Attacking – 697
RAAF Force: No. 460 Dispatched – 20, Attacking – 18; No. 463 Dispatched – 11, Attacking – 11; No. 466 Dispatched – 18, Attacking – 16; No. 467 Dispatched – 15, Attacking – 14
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 2,401
Total Aircraft Lost: 35
RAAF Aircraft Lost: No. 460 – 1; No. 466 – 1

On 20th-21st January the Halifax bombers joined the Lancasters in an attempt to swamp German counter-measures. Three spoof raids on Kiel, Hanover, and Dusseldorf were disregarded by the enemy controllers, who again concentrated on infiltrating their fighters into the bomber stream as soon as it crossed the coast. Four Australian crews were in combat before reaching Berlin but all escaped undamaged because of well coordinated crew tactics. Gun defences were only moderately active at Berlin but three Halifaxes of No. 466 were hit during the early part of the raid. More fighters were waiting over Berlin where, with searchlights illuminating a layer of cloud at 12,000 feet, the bombers could be effectively seen in silhouette. There were three more combats with Me-109s and FW-190s which attempted to attack from a blind spot underneath the bombers. This was often successful against unwary crews and also caused general nervousness which in some cases spoiled the accuracy of bombing. The sky markers spread in a line running east to west, and crews of Nos. 460 and 466 claimed that by H2S checks they lay to the east of Berlin. The Lancasters of No. 5 Group still lacked H2S (radar) and Wing Commander Kingsford-Smith (1) of No. 463 bombed one group of sky markers only to see another cascade of target indicators go down five miles distant. Many fires were seen but there was far too much cloud for any accurate assessment, although there was general agreement that this was the most successful raid since 29th-30th December 1943.

(1) Wing Commander Rollo Kingsford-Smith DSO DFC (381) Discharged from the RAAF: 27 April 1949

Extracts from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Against Germany and Italy 1939-1943, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1954 – Pages 643, 644

Halifax HX278 took off from RAF Leconfield at 1641 hours on the night of 20/21st January 1944 to bomb Berlin. Post war it was established that the aircraft was shot down by a night fighter and crashed at Weitsche which is a village about 20 kms north of Salzwedel, Germany. All the crew members had been killed.

The crew members of HX278 were:

Flight Lieutenant Wilfred Guy Baldwin (412473) (Pilot)
Flying Officer William Lindsay Clemo (408796) (Second Pilot)
Sergeant John McMaster Fleming (1568942) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Flight Sergeant John Thomas Gilchrist (1213210) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Warrant James Patrick Morrow (1251048) (RAFVR) (Navigator)
Warrant Officer Keith Edward Rimington (408595) (Mid Upper Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Frederick Rushworth (654193) (RAF) (Rear Gunner)
Pilot Officer Michael Robert Sparrow (160507) (RAFVR) (Bomb Aimer)

No. 460 Squadron lost Lancaster JB139 (Flight Sergeant Arnold John Lynch (410355) (Pilot)) on 20 January 1944.

No. 463 Squadron Lancaster DV274 lost crew member Sergeant Bertie Frederick Turner (525573) (RAFVR) (Mid Upper Gunner) on 21 January 1944.


Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records (RAAF Casualty Information compiled by Alan Storr (409804))
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/5/406

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