207 SQUADRON ROYAL AIR FORCE HISTORY
Crew of Lancaster EM-V DV361,
Brigstock, nr. Oundle, Peterborough
On 22nd December 1943 Lancaster DV361 set off on a cross country test flight, piloted by P/O GA Baker. There was an engine fire which could not be extinguished and the crew were ordered to bale out. Sadly, three of the crew were killed.
They are commemorated by this striking memorial, close to the crash site on the Duke of Gloucester's estate. It was erected with the permission of the Duke and by the effort of members of the community.
It was unveiled on September 16th 1998 by Sqn Ldr John Mitchell DFC, who was Signals Leader on 207 Sqn at RAF Spilsby at the time of the crash. The BBMF Lancaster, Hurricane and a Spitfire did a fly past.
Those of the crew who survived this crash were later killed in action. The three who were killed are named on the steel plaque:
F/Sgt Cecil Ryall, WOp/AG, RAAF
Sgt Thomas Higgins, Rear Gunner, RAF(VR)
Sgt George O'Neill, Mid Upper Gunner, RAF(VR)
DV361 was the usual aircraft of Bill Baker's crew, as can be seen from his logbook page below.
On the night of 18/19 November 1943, during a raid on Berlin, they collided with Lancaster WS-Z, ED871 P/O Frank Lees, from 9 Sqn at Bardney.
DV361 suffered severe damage to the nose and port propellors. Baker's bomb aimer, F/Sgt Jim Shimield, fell to his death when the forward escape hatch was lost.
Ironically, the crew of the 9 Squadron Lanc that night included Alec Cordon from 207 Squadron. Sgt LN Harris, their Rear Gunner, was killed and the rest of the WS-Z crew baled out and became POWs.
Bill Baker flew his crippled DV361 back to Spilsby on three engines, suffering severe frostbite. He was awarded an immediate DFC. The aircraft was repaired at Spilsby.
The extensive damage to DV361 is evident from these photos taken at Spilsby.
Bill Baker's widow, Jeanne, who was an MT Driver on the Squadron 1943-45, bequeathed some of his memorabilia to the Squadron at Linton on Ouse when she died:
Bill Baker's medals - DFC - 39-45 Star - Aircrew Europe Star 1939-44 - Defenc Medal 1939-45
War Medal 1939-45
the reverse of Bill Baker's DFC
Bill Baker's logbook
Nov 19 Lancaster DV361 V Self Crew Operations as detailed - Berlin
Member Paul Knight with the wreath he laid at the memorial, Remembrance Sunday, 11 Nov 2007: Knight
page last updated 27 Nov 2007