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John Robert Baldwin 1918 – 15 March 1952 Place of birth Bath Allegiance United Kingdom Service/branch  Royal Air Force Years of service 1939-1952 Rank Wing Commander Service number 122337 Commands held No. 198 Squadron RAF 146 (Typhoon) and 123 (Typhoon) Wings Awards Distinguished Service Order Distinguished Flying Cross Air Force Cross Croix de Guerre Grand Officer of the Order of Orange-Nassau Wing Commander John Robert Baldwin, DSO and Bar, DFC and Bar AFC was a British Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve officer and the top scoring fighter ace flying the Hawker Typhoon exclusively. He went missing presumed killed in March 1952 during the Korean War while on officer exchange with the USAF, flying a North American F-86 Sabre.[1] Career Beginning as ground crew with the RAFVR at the start of the Second World War, Baldwin volunteered for aircrew in 1941 and trained as pilot. He joined No. 609 Squadron RAF in November 1942. His first success was damaging a FW 190in December 1942, and on 20 January 1943 he shot down three Bf 109s of JG 26. On 25 March he was shot down into the Channel by a FW 190. On 4 October 1943 he claimed two Bf 109's of JG 2. Baldwin moved from No. 609 Squadron to command No. 198 Squadron RAF in November 1943. His tour ended in April 1944, and he served with No 2 Group Operations staff. In june 1944 he was appointed to command 146 (Typhoon) and he claimed a further 3 victories in June and July 1944. During operations following the invasion of north-west Europe, Baldwin was involved in a "friendly fire" incident. On 27 August 1944, his wing was requested by the Royal Navy to attack enemy vessels off Le Havre. Typhoons of No. 263 Squadron RAF and No. 266 Squadron RAF attacked the ships. Baldwin requested clarification, as the ships did not appear to be enemy, but he was told to press on. The ships turned out to be the Royal Navy's 1st Minesweeping Flotilla. In the course of the attack, HMS Britomart and Hussar were sunk, while Salamander had her stern blown off. The attacks cost 117 sailors killed and 153 wounded. The subsequent court of enquiry identified the fault as laying entirely with the Navy; the officer arranging the minesweeping had not informed others of the area of operations.[2][3] In February 1945 he commanded 123 (Typhoon) Wing. On the last days of the war in Europe he was commanding the Wing in operations against enemy shiping in the Baltic Sea. On 3 May 1945 squadrons of 83 Group were attacking enemy shipping, and No. 198, No. 184, No. 193, No. 263, and No. 197 squadrons attacked the passenger liners Cap Arcona and Deutschland and the freighter Thielbek, which were believed to be used by the Germans to escape. The ships had actually been used by the Germans to house prisoners, many from the concentration camp at Neuengamme. As a result of the attack over 7,000 died. He was credited with 15 and 1 shared aerial victories destroyed, 4 damaged, and 5 damaged on the ground as well as many ground vehicles.[4] Honours and awards 23 February 1943 - Flying Officer John Robert Baldwin (122337) Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, No. 609 Squadron is awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross: This officer has participated in numerous sorties, invariably displaying great courage and operational efficiency. This was amply demonstrated during a sortie one day in January, 1943, when he attacked a formation of three enemy aircraft. In his first attack, Flying Officer Baldwin shot down the leading aircraft of the hostile formation. Following this success he destroyed another of the formation before his own aircraft was hit in one of the wings. When the third enemy fighter attempted to attack from the rear, Flying Officer Baldwin out-manoeuvred the attacker and shot it down. On another occasion, during a sortie over Belgium, he damaged four locomotives. – London Gazette[5] 14 January 1944 - Bar to DFC[6] 10 March 1944 - Acting Squadron Leader John Robert Baldwin, DFC (12233), Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, No. 198 Squadron is awwarded the Distinguished Service Order in recognition of gallantry displayed in flying operations against the enemy: Since being awarded a Bar to the Distinguished Flying Cross, Squadron Leader Baldwin has led his squadron on very many sorties, during which 309 enemy aircraft have been shot down. Much of the great success achieved can be attributed to Squadron Leader Baldwin's superb leadership, fine tactical ability and iron determination. His sterling qualities were amply demonstrated in January, 1944, when he led an attacj on a force of some 30 Focke Wulf 190s, 9 of which were shot down, Squadron Leader Baldwin being responsible for 2 of the successes. His example was inspiring – London Gazette[7] 29 December 1944 - Acting Wing Commander John Robert Baldwin, DSO, DFC (122337) is awarded a bar to the Distinguished Service Order.[8] 24 January 1947 - Wing Commander John Robert Baldwin, DSO, DFC (122337), Royal Air Force is allowed to wear the Croix de Guerre 1940 with Palm conferred by the Belgian Government in recognition of valuable services rendered in connection with the war.[9] 31 October 1947 - Wing Commander John Robert Baldwin, DSO, DFC (122337), Royal Air Force is allowed to wear the decoration of a Grand Officer of the Order of Orange Nassau conferred by the Queen of the Netherlands in recognition of valuable services rendered in connection with the war.[10] 1 January 1948 - Acting Wing Commander John Robert Baldwin, DSO, DFC (122337) is awarded the Air Force Cross[11] 30 October 1953 - Squadron Leader John Robert Baldwin, DSO, DFC, AFC (122337) Royal Air Force (missing) is allowed to war the Distinguished Flying Cross conferred by the President of the United States in recognition of valuable services rendered during operations in Korea.[12] Notes ^ Flight 21 March 1952 ^ http://www.halcyon-class.co.uk/FriendlyFire/daily_telegraph.htm ^ http://www.halcyon-class.co.uk/FriendlyFire/friendly_fire.htm ^ Aces High, Shores & Williams, page 108 ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 35919. p. 976. 26 February 1943. Retrieved 11 December 2010. ^ London Gazette dated 14 January 1944 ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 36418. p. 1165. 10 March 1944. Retrieved 11 December 2010. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 36863. p. 5954. 29 December 1944. Retrieved 11 December 2010. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 37863. p. 459. 24 January 1947. Retrieved 11 December 2010. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 38113. p. 5145. 31 October 1947. Retrieved 11 December 2010. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 38161. p. 39. 1 January 1948. Retrieved 11 December 2010. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 39999. p. 5768. 30 October 1953. Retrieved 11 December 2010. Persondata Name Baldwin, John Robert Alternative names Short description British Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve officer Date of birth 1918 Place of birth Bath Date of death 15 March 1952 Place of death