Sergeant William John BAKER

Service No: 405670
Born: Mackay QLD, 2 November 1921
Enlisted in the RAAF: 24 May 1941
Unit: No. 27 Operational Training Unit (RAF), RAF Station Lichfield
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 27 Operational Training Unit Wellington aircraft Z1744), Staffordshire, 20 November 1942, Aged 21 Years
Buried: Fradley (St Stephen’s) Churchyard, Staffordshire
CWGC Additional Information: Son of John Henry and Janet Baker, of Mackay, Queensland, Australia
Roll of Honour: Walkerston QLD
Remembered: Panel 118, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

At 0803 hours on the 20 November 1942, Wellington Z1744 took off from Lichfield detailed to carry out a combined bombing and photographic exercise. Fairly early in the flight, the aircraft was approached by two Spitfires reportedly from an American Unit, one passing so close that it took away the trailing aerial and rendered the radio equipment unserviceable. At approximately 1410 hours eyewitnesses on the ground saw the aircraft flying low over some factory buildings near Leek in Staffordshire, and then to their horror, it smashed into high ground at a place known locally as Hen Cloud. Five of the crew members were killed and one injured.

The crew members of Z1744 were:

Sergeant William John Baker (405670) (Air Bomber)
Sergeant James Robert Barlow (401882) (Pilot)
Flight Sergeant Howell James Buckley (1312443) (RAFVR) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Kenneth Spencer Cheek (416411) (Air Gunner) Injured, Discharged from the RAAF: 8 November 1945
Flying Officer James Love (414051) (Navigator)
Flying Officer Keith Pettiford (411374) (Navigator)


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 Veterans’ Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 163/90/451

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