Hugh Baker and Peter Stevens, 97 Squadron

Hugh Baker was killed on 30 July 1944 when his aircraft was shot down over France. Of the unusually large crew of nine, only three survived, including Squadron Leader Peter Stevens, who was 97 Squadron’s Navigation Officer.

At this stage of the war, 97 Squadron was under the control of 5 Group although it still nominally belonged to 8 Group, the Pathfinders.

Squadron Leader Peter Stevens was probably flying with the crew  to refresh his flying skills (it was not uncommon for the ‘leaders’ of the various trades to fly in order to keep their skills up to date) or was with them as an observer. READ MORE

 

Update on Frank Smith & Patch the Dog

Further to our recent post about Frank Smith and Patch the Dog, Frank’s son-in-law has kindly sent a copy of Frank’s logbook and there is a very interesting entry on 4th May 1945 which reads:

13.10 Base to Juvincourt

and then on the next line:

17.15 Juvincourt to Dunsfold, evacuation of 23 ex P.O.Ws

The flight from Juvincourt took one hour and forty-five minutes, and the Harrison crew returned from Dunsfold to base (Coningsby) on the same very eventful day.

It is thought that this may very well be the day that Patch was brought back from the Continent.

Juvincourt was one of the largest Luftwaffe airfields in Northern France before it was seized by the Allies after the Normandy invasion. It is some distance from the Belgian border, but family history recounts that Patch came from Belgium. Given the very short timeframe, it seems unlikely that the crew had time to go to Belgium, so perhaps one of the ex-POWs had him and gave him to the crew, and in particular to Frank Smith, for safe-keeping. The POW would have been entering the extensive programme of care for ex-POWs which was waiting for them when they came home, and the chances of being able to keep the dog were minimal.

For details of Operation Exodus, the evacuation of POWs, see this page.

 

 

 

 

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Tales from the Archive – No 2

Another copy of TALES FROM THE ARCHIVE is now available, which has details of the Reid crew, the loss of Wing Commander Edward Leach Porter on the Stettin Bay Mining Operation, and the Missing Research and Enquiry Service.

Tales from the Archive – 2. December 2017

For more extensive details of the STETTIN BAY MINING OPERATION, which demanded the most enormous courage from the Controller, Porter, and the two marker Deputies, Squadron Leader Parkes and Squadron Leader Locke, follow the link.