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Thread: A W Baines DFM

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    Default A W Baines DFM

    I am trying to find out more about my fathers time in the RAF He was RAFVR with service number 1272142 and then 174238 when promoted to Flying Officer. I have found out that he was in of 1409 flight which was part of the Pathfinder Group and mostly based at RAF Wyton. He flew Mosquito's as the navigator/observer and his pilot was H J Izatt. He ditched in the North Sea in 1944 and would be interested to learn the name of the vessel that rescued him. I understand that he flew on "Special Ops" but am not sure whether PAMPA missions came under this heading. Also although part of 1409 flight, was he part of a squadron? I have a desig number "ML917" but don't know what this means.
    I do have a photo of pilot and navigator in front of their aircraft if it is of interest - just let me know where to post it.
    So I have a lot of questions and would be very pleased to learn anything that can help in my research.
    Michael Baines

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    I'm sure the "Met" men will be able to give more information, but i can tell you that ML917 was the serial number of the Mosquito of 1409 "Met" Flight, which was lost on 21/1/44 in the circumstances you describe, with your father on board.

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    Dave,

    If your father died at least 25 years ago you can obtain his service record by accessing this link https://www.gov.uk/guidance/requests...sonnel-records . I'm not sure how you stand if he died more recently, but I guess you will be advised as to the procedure.

    Your father flew with 1409 Meteorological Flight in 8 Group (Pathfinders) which formed at Oakington on 1 April 1943; its purpose was to fly high-level, deep penetration meteorological reconnaissance sorties over enemy territory. These often, but not always, were flown shortly before a Bomber Command operation started in order to provide up to date information about en route weather. The tracks flown were selected so as not to give a clue as to the night's targets. Although armed the aircraft's raison d'etre was to get weather details home quickly and safely, meaning the crews avoided trouble if at all possible.

    From November 1943 until early Jan 1944 1409 Met Flight was based at Bourn, moving to Wyton on 9 Jan 1944. It remained there until July 1945. The 'Special Ops/Duties' were almost certainly photo-reconnaissance sorties.

    The unit was never upgraded to squadron statues, but there is an Operations Record Book (ORB) covering 1 April 1943 until 31 May 1946. An ORB is essentially a unit's diary in which operations and other activities were recorded, together with crews names. The file reference is AIR28/867. I have a copy of a few pages covering 1-8 June 1944 (I was interested in D-day) but your father's name does not appear.

    I would very much like to see your photograph - mainly because I'm interested in the met equipment which should be visible on the aircraft's nose. If you left click on my nom de plume at the top of this post, my address is in the drop-down menu.

    Brian

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    Hello,

    The following might be of interest:

    BAINES, Alfred William. 1272142 Flight Sergeant.

    L.G. 19/5/1944. Sorties 27, Flying hours 105.35. Navigator. Air2/9339.

    During his tour of operational duty, Flight Sergeant Baines has proved himself a very reliable and courageous airman. His sorties include ten to Berlin as well as many others to such hotly defended targets as Hamburg, Hanover and the Ruhr Valley towns. On one occasion, when his aircraft had been involved in a collision, he navigated his pilot back from Munich despite the intense cold, and exposure caused by the aircraft's nose having been smashed in.

    20th January, 1944.

    Remarks by Station Commander.

    Flight Sergeant Baines has carried out 27 sorties over enemy territory. His skilful navigation has contributed largely to the success of these operations and merits the non-immediate award of the Distinguished Flying Medal.

    See:
    The Distinguished Flying Medal Register for the Second World War with Official Recommendation Details. Vol.I. A-J.
    Tavender,Ian.
    Forest Hill:Savannah Publications,2000.
    p.67.

    Col.

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    Ironic his citation is dated 20 Jan 1944 and he ditched the following day. Do you have his log book, Michael, as that will indicate how long he was with 1409?

    I should have added that, unfortunately, the 1409 Met Flight ORB cannot be downloaded on-line, so it would be necessary to visit the NA to view it. Alternatively you can request a copy be digitised or printed, but I think the cost would be, let's say, expensive as you will probably only be interested in part of it.

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    Brian,

    What you are looking at (in my post #4), is a recommendation (as the title of reference work quoted suggests), not a citation. The approval of the award of the DFM, was based on this recommendation.

    Michael,

    A little more (albeit, with a few minor errors), on your father, and his pilot:

    The following night (23/24 November, 1943), P/O M.[sic]J. Izatt and F/Sgt A.W. Bains[sic] had just crossed the Dutch coast at 23,000 feet when Izatt noticed lights on the port side: almost immediately a burst of tracer came towards the Mosquito, just missing the tail. Izatt made a diving turn to port while Bains[sic] searched for the fighter. At 20,000 feet he turned back on track and started to climb again. Three minutes later tracer came from the starboard quarter and again missed the bomber. As Izatt dived to starboard the fighter streaked past and was not seen again. The crew had lost 8 minutes and, knowing they would be too late for the Berlin attack, they bombed Emden.

    See:
    Pathfinder Force A History of 8 Group.
    Musgrove,Gordon.
    London:Macdonald & Jane's,1976.
    p.202.

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 30th August 2015 at 12:32.

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    I appreciate all your replies, especially the extract concerning the bombing raid. I was a bit puzzled by this as mosquitoes in 1409 flight were not bombers. This leads me to believe my father was in another squadron prior to joining 1409 flight. This may have been 139 squadron as his mosquito was used by this squadron!! Is there any way I can fond out about this - unfortunately I do not have my fathers log book, which would probably make things easier!

    Michael

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    Michael,

    As I suggested in #3, get your father's service record. That will tell you which units/squadrons he served with; once you have that information to hand it's a 'simple' matter of accessing the ORB's in person at Kew - or downloading a sample, or perhaps someone on the forum will already hold copies. The key with nearly all similar enquiries is the service record. (I did note off-board that I was in error in respect of the 25 years, it doesn't apply for next of kin.)

    Brian

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