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The Airmen's Stories - P/O G M Baird

 

George Maurice Baird was born in Foxton, North Island, New Zealand on 28th October 1913. He applied for a short service commission in April 1938 and after acceptance sailed for the UK on 1st February 1939 in the RMS Tainui.


He began his initial flying training at 10 E&RFTS Yatesbury on 16th March 1939. He moved on to 5 FTS Sealand on 30th May. With his training completed, Baird joined 248 Squadron at Hendon on 6th November 1939.

 

 

The squadron was moved from Fighter to Coastal Command in February 1940 but then rejoined in mid-June, operating fighter patrols in the Montrose/Aberdeen area in support of 603 Squadron.

He was captain of Blenheim P6952 WR*X, detailed to carry out a reconnaissance off the south-west coast of Norway on 20th October 1940. After engaging and damaging a Do18 of 1./KuFlGr.406 the Blenheim was attacked by Me109's of JG77. One engine was knocked out and the cockpit filled with smoke. Baird got down to low level, flying blind and skimming over the sea at a speed of 150 mph. The aircraft struck the sea 12 miles off Utsira and the fuselage filled with water.

Baird freed himself and opened the hatch. He then managed to float out Sgt. DL Burton, who was unconscious, but was unable to rescue Sgt. R Copcutt, also unconscious, before the aircraft sank.

Sgt. SV Wood had freed himself and released the dinghy, the three survivors climbed aboard and were later picked up by He59 BV+HH of Seenotflugkdo.5 and landed at Stavanger.

Baird's long captivity was spent in various camps and he returned to Britain on VE Day 1945.

He was repatriated to New Zealand but in late 1947 applied to rejoin the RAF and was granted an extended commission. After refresher courses on Oxfords and Wellingtons he converted to Lincolns and joined 35 Squadron at Mildenhall as a Flight Commander.


In February 1950 Baird went on an Air Traffic Control course. He served as a Controller at stations in the UK, the Far East and Germany and retired from the RAF on 2nd December 1963 as a Flight Lieutenant.

He returned to New Zealand and settled back in Foxton.

Baird died in 2008.


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