Last Known Activity
Wayne I. Baldwin was born in Delaware in 1921. He was residing in New York state on January 12, 1942 when he enlisted at Syracuse as a private in the Army Air Forces. He had completed 4 years of high school, was single with no dependents, and had worked as a mechanic or repairmen on motor vehicles.
After basic training, he was sent to aerial gunnery school. When he had completed this course, he was assigned to the newly-activated 351st Bomb Group at Geiger Field, Washington. Weather conditions precluded much training at that site, so the unit was moved to Biggs Field, Texas and prepared for overseas deployment.
When arriving in England, Baldwin was assigned as the ball turret gunner on a B-17 of the 509th Bomb Squadron. This crew flew 6 missions in May, 1943, but was credited with only 5 because the first one was recalled. On May 29, 1943, this crew took part in a bombing mission to St. Naizare, France, directed against the submarine pens and docks.
After bombs were dropped, two flak bursts knocked out two of the bomber's engines. Then, fighters attacked. Just as the fighters broke off their run, a flak burst hit through the still-open bomb bay doors, exploding inside and killing Baldwin and the two waist gunners. Most of the crew managed to bail out, but were captured upon landing. The aircraft crashed near Ploeren, France.
TSgt Wayne I. Baldwin's remains were eventually buried in the Brittany American Cemetery in St. James, France. He lies in Plot L, Row 12, Grave 21.
USAAC-USAAF Aircraft Inventory LIsts
USAAC Accident Reports
Wayne I. Baldwin was acting as ball turret gunner on B-17F # 42-29838, nicknamed "Concho Clipper," assigned to the 509th Bomb Squadron.
Missing Air Crew Report 16399 and mission loading lists identifies the crew as:
Lt Col J. Russell, Jr p
F/O Leo Griketas c-p
2 Lt Roy P. Stealey nav
2 Lt Charles B. Woerhle bomb
SSgt Charles T. Eaton eng/tt gun
TSgt James E. Welk r/o
TSgt Wayne I. Baldwin btg
SSgt Nahannie Bader lwg
SSgt Maurice A. McLaughlin rwg
SSgt Frederick D. Williams, Jr. tail gun
Sgts Welk, Baldwin, and Bader were all killed. The remaining members of the crew were captured. Welk has no known grave site; the other two are buried in the Brittany American Cemetery at St. James, France.
Some loading lists and references list an additional crew member ( Lt C.F. Russell) as the pilot. He does not appear on all lists, so it could be this is a regularly assigned pilot that did not fly this mission or else a mistaken version of Col. Russell's name. There is no record of Lt Russell as a POW.