Last Known Activity
David L. Baker was born in Ohio in 1922, and was residing there when he enlisted in the Army Air Corps on October 10, 1942. After basic training, he was assigned to aerial gunnery school, and then joined a combat replacement crew. This crew arrived in England on September 25, 1943, and was assigned to the 323rd Bomb Squadron of the 91st Bomb Group at Bassingbourn Air Station.
The daily mission reports do not list this crew as having flown missions prior to October 9, 1943, when they were scheduled to participate in a bombing raid on the aircraft production factories at Anklam, Germany. The bombing run was made successfully, but on the return trip, the B-17 was engaged by a BF-110 enemy fighter flown by Lt. Richard Heller of JG 28.
The fighter fired rockets into the aircraft, resulting in a fire in the left inboard engine, requiring it to be feathered. Then the right inboard engine failed. Two of the crew managed to bail out, and in their descent noticed the left wing break off, then the fuselage split in two pieces. The wreckage fell into the waters of the Baltic Sea, just off the coast of Denmark.
The two crew members who bailed out were rescued, and captured, by a German naval vessel. They remained POWs for the rest of the war. All others in the crew were killed, either in the attack or by the crash.
The body of SSgt Baker was brought to Soby Harbor on the island of Aero on February 4,1944 by a fishing boat. It was taken to Soby cemetery chapel, and because it was an Allied flyer, the Wehrmacht was notified. A funeral was held on February 7, 1943, attended by two German non-commissioned officers and six privates. The coffin was lowered into the grave, and the Germans held a one minute salute in honor.
After the war, SSgt Baker was removed from Soby Cemetery and re-buried in the Ardennes American Cemetery where he lies in Plot B, Row 39, Grave 28.
USAAC-USAAF Aircraft Inventory Records
USAAF Accident Reports
SSgt David L. Baker served as tail gunner on B-17F # 42-30772, unnamed, assigned to the 323rd Bomb Squadron.
Missing Air Crew Report 895 applies, and identifies the crew as:
1 Lt Thomas E. Walsh p
2 Lt Charles W. Hull c-p
2 Lt Harry Cliffe nav
2 Lt James A. Fullerton bomb
TSgt Albert C. Jaskiewicz eng/tt gun
TSgt George J. Frank r/o
SSgt Harold L. Goldberger btg
SSgt T.D. Frazier lwg
SSgt Robert R. Robinson rwg
SSgt David L. Baker tail gun
Lts Cliffe and Fullerton were the two surviving crew members.
Crew photo identification:
Back, left to right
Front, left to right
(Frazier not pictured)