Photograph courtesy of Mrs. Flatman.
Born: 1925, Ipswich.
Died: 21st December 1942; age: 17; Aircraft shot down near Dachau, Bavaria.
Rank: Sergeant: Service Number: 1175563
Regiment: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 9 Squadron.
Father: Thomas Charles Baker, born 1893, St. Clement’s, Ipswich.
Mother: Dora Maria Baker (nee Austin (1st marriage Jones)), born 1887, Richmond, Surrey.
21st December 1942
Aircraft: Lancaster; Serial Number: W4185; Code:WS/G. Took off from Waddington, Lincolnshire, at 5:39pm, detailed to attack a target at Munich. The aircraft was shot down near Dachau.
Edward Fenwicke-Clennell D.F.C. Pilot Officer/Pilot; age: 19; R.A.F.
Jack Passmore Warren; Flight Sergeant/Navigator; age: 25; R.A.F.V.R.
Robert Guy Clarkson; Pilot Officer/Air Bomber; age: 25; R.C.A.F.
Image “operation picture me”
John Frederick Edwards; Flight Sergeant/Air Gunner; age: 27; R.C.A.F.
John Alexander Wilson Moffat D.F.C. Pilot Officer/Wireless Operator/Air Gunner; age 22; R.A.F.V.R.
Peter M. Slater; Sergeant/Flight Engineer; R.A.F. Peter survived the crash. He was told by the Germans that he had been unconscious for 3 days, and the rest of the Lancaster crew had all been killed. Peter was taken PoW – Stanlager 9 C No. 865. PoW number 42678. He was repatriated to England in May 1946.
Robert Guy Clarkson’s father, Mr. Guy Fozdick Clarkson, of 246, Poplar Plains Road, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, wrote over a hundred letters to all authorities in Canada and England in a desperate bid to find out what happened to his son and the fellow Lancaster crew members. He was anxious to find out what had happened, where were they buried, what condition was the grave in, who was caring for the grave? He had not heard one bit of information, since the message reporting his son Robert ‘Missing.’
In one letter, Guy Clarkson writes…”It seemed quite a simple operation to carry bombs to southern Germany in 1942, but now, in peace time, it apparently is very difficult to reach Germany, Bavaria in particular, for the purpose of inspection of burials attended to by the Germans.”
After the war the Americans held the Bavarian zone, which the authorities explained to Guy Clarkson, accounts to the delay in ascertaining the facts.
Guy was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.A. he wrote to an American friend serving in Bavaria, he asked for him to visit Oberschleissheim Churchyard. The friend was able to take photographs of the collective grave on the 8th September 1945. With this information secured, Robert wrote to all authorities once again anxious for more information and assurance that the grave would be maintained.
It was 4 years after the crash of the aircraft before Missing Research & Enquiry Service Officers were able to visit the site, and interview the local people. They reported their finds to Guy:
The crew were buried together with full German military honours. The funeral was controlled entirely by the local Luftwaffe of Schleissheim Airfield. The burial was conducted by a Captain of the Lutwaffe. It is a large grave covered with a bed of flowers. A joint cross erected by the Germans marks the grave and the wording lists the crew.
It was the agreed policy of the Nations of the British Commonwealth that all British aircrew buried in Germany would be moved to British Military Cemeteries located in Germany, and the Military Cemeteries entrusted to the perpetual care of the Imperial War Graves Commission.
Guy Clarkson did not want his son moved. He tried to find all the names and addresses for the other crew members next of kin. They too were distressed by the news that the bodies were to be moved.
On the 26th October 1946, Mr. & Mrs. E.P. Warren, of 175, Stratford Street, Leeds, Yorkshire, wrote to the authorities regarding the removal of the bodies from a civilian cemetery to a military cemetery….”We strongly object to any disturbance or removal of those boys, be they either intact or otherwise. They already lie in consecrated ground, and in peaceful surroundings, why disturb them again. For mercy’s sake and our own personal feelings, let them rest in peace, after all this time, a period of four years. Hoping you will grant our wishes.”
The authorities wrote to Jack Baker’s family on the 11th June 1947. The letter asked what they wished to do?
On the 23rd June 1947, Mr Edwards, of Portage La Praire, Manitoba, Canada, father of John Edwards, received a letter that if the families did not agree to the move….”the relatives themselves would have to arrange for care of the graves permanently at their own expense and the headstones would too have to be provided by the families.”
On the 15th August 1949, at the requests of these members next of kin their burial place remains as indicated. Letters should be sent to all the families ….” At the unanimous request of the next of kin, these bodies are not to be concentrated, but are to remain in their original burial place. Assurances that the grave would be maintained.”
The final Grave Registration Report was made on the 23rd October 1956.
Only ten aircrew of Bomber Command were left in German civilian cemeteries, and not moved after the war to a military cemetery.
Guy Fozdick Clarkson died 22nd December 1949.