South Shields Local History Group

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Baser, Wylie (RAF)

The Crew of Blenheim IV R3903 DX-X
139 (Jamaica) Squadron

Pilot Officer Wylie Baser – (87459) Pilot – killed 4th June 1941 aged 20. Parents William Bell & Agnes Smith Baser of South Shields, Co. Durham. Runnymede Memorial Panel 31. Also remembered on Hutcheson Grammar Memorial, Giffnock War Memorial and Netherlee Church of Scotland.

Wylie Baser – image courtesy of Diane & Joan Abernethy

Diane & Joan Abernethy

“ Wylie and our late mother Nancy Campbell, were planning to get engaged on his return,  after his tour of operations ended. Unfortunately, this was not to be.
Nancy remained friends with Wylie’s parents until their deaths.
Wylie had a sister called Betty. She was a nursing sister. She worked in Tripoli, Libya, where she married her husband Dick Selz. She remained close to us all before she retired with her husband to Texas. They had no children. “

1939 Register
Address 198 Sunderland Rd, South Shields, Co Durham
William Bell Baser born 5/5/1889 Office HM Customs & Excise
Agnes S Baser born 20/7/1888
Wylie Baser born 23/2/1921

1939 Register
Address 5 Moor Lane South Shields
Hannah Baser born 8/5/1859 widow ( mother of William Bell Baser born 1889)
Hannah D Baser born 14/2/1919 Shorthand Typist (daughter of George B B Baser born 1890-1930)
William John Baser born 2/11/1920 (died 1949) Railway Clerk (son of George BB Baser born 1890-1930)
Alan Denis Baser born 27/11/1927 – 1959. Served in the Merchant Navy WW2 (R 306676) (son of George B B Baser born 1890-1930)

RAF – W Baser 1940 Serv. No. (6759) (Wylie)

William Bell Baser – airman’s father

1891 Census
Address – Stanhope Rd, Westoe, South Shields
William John Baser born 1859 Plymouth, Devon Marine Engineer
Hannah Baser born 1860 South Shields
Lily born 1885 South Shields
William Bell Baser born 1889 South Shields *
George B B Baser born 1891 South Shields
Eliza M J Baser (sister) born 1868 Plymouth

1901 Census
Address – 5 Osborne Tce, South Shields
Hannah Baser born 1860
William Bell Baser born 1889
George B B Baser born 1891
Joseph R B Baser born 1893 South Shields

1911 Census
William Bell Baser had left home and was boarding in a house in Battersea. He was an Excise student.

William Bell Baser of 198 Sunderland Rd, South Shields died 13 July 1959 leaving £1,143 17s 6d to wife Agnes

William John Baser 1859 – 1932 South Shields – airman’s grandfather

1871 Census
Address – Harton Down Hill, Harton, South Shields,
William Baser born 1835 Devon Coastguard Boatman
Jane Baser born 1837 Devon
William John Baser born 1859 Devon *
Robert James Baser born 1864 Devon
Eliza Maria Jane Baser born 1869 Devon
Harry Charles Ryde Baser born 1871 Devon

William married Hannah Bell in South Shields in 1882

William John Baser was 56 years old and First Engineer in the Merchant Navy ship Yarrowdale when captured by the Germans in December 1916. His home address was 16 Hepscott Tce South Shields. He was held Wahrnbeck Post Boden Felde

The British steamer Yarrowdale was sunk in the North Sea by HM ships Achilles and Dundee on 16/3/1917. On 11/12/1916 when outward bound, the German raider Moewe captured the Yarrowdale. She was fitted out in Germany and disguised as the Norwegian steamer Rena – a ruse that did not fool the British Navy.

When captured the Yarrowdale had on board:-
117 motor lorries
1 motor car
6,300 cases of rifle cartridges
30,000 rolls of barbed wire
3,300 tons of steel bars
Large quantity of meat, bacon and sausages.

Shields Daily News 23/1/1917
Yarrowdale arrives in German port.
Mr Gerrard the US Ambassador at Berlin, has formally reported the arrival of the Yarrowdale at a German port – 469 prisoners were on board, including 103 neutrals.

Shields Daily News 15/8/1917
Interned Tyne Seaman’s Fund
Mrs H Baser asks us to tender her husband’s thanks to his fellow townsmen for sending him parcels. Mr Baser is late Chief Engineer of the Yarrowdale. He has been interned at Ruhleben, but is now at Brandenburg.
George Brunswick Bell Baser Bsc – airman’s uncle

Served in the Merchant Navy. When aged 24 he was 3rd Engineer. He was born in Nov 1890. He left school in 1906 and trained to be a marine engineer. He had a Bsc. He died in London City in 1930.
During WW1 he was a Lieutenant in the Royal Engineers. His unit – 528th Field Coy R.E. (1/3rd Durham Fortress Royal Engineers) On 23rd Aug 1916 he was admitted to 34 Casualty Clearing Station at the rank of 2nd Lt. He had a sprained ankle and diarrhea.

In 1918 he married Gertrude E Hales (born 1898) in Woolwich. Gertrude also died in 1930, in Hackney.

1930 Obituary
“George Brunswick Bell Baser was trained as a marine engineer, and after serving an apprenticeship at the Wallsend Slipway Engineering Works and graduating from Armstrong College, Newcastle, he had gone to sea with the intention of obtaining a Board of Trade certificate when the War broke out.

After a period in France on active service he was discharged owing to ill health, but in 1917 he was recommissioned as a lieutenant and appointed assistant inspector in the London district for the War Office.

Immediately after the War he lectured to wounded officers at Cambridge University and in 1919 he was appointed assistant lecturer in engineering at the Swansea Technical College, where he remained for eight years.

In 1927, Mr Baser came to London to take up a similar post at the Wandsworth Technical Institute.

He was born in South Shields in 1890 and became an Associate Member in 1917.

His death occurred on 14th Nov 1930”

Their son William John Baser was born 2/11/1920. (They had another son Alan and a daughter Hannah) He was in the RAF. William John married Joan Isobel Brown (born 1924) in 1945 in Cambridge. They had one son Anthony G Baser born in 1945 in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire. To date he is still alive living in the UK.

London Gazette 21/12/43 – Sgt William John Baser (986628) (161047) 28/7/43
London Gazette 10/5/49 – William John Baser DFC (161047) (and transferred to the Equipment Branch) 1/4/49
P/O 28th July 1943 commissioned RAFVR General Duties Branch (intelligence)
F/O 28th July 1944
F/Lt July 1945
F/O 18th Dec 1945
F/Lt 1st April 1949 transferred to RAF Equipment Branch
DFC 16th Jan 1945 7 Squadron

RAF Intelligence Branch
This organisation was established in 1939, then as the war progressed it included Signals Intelligence staff at Bletchley Park and also the Imagery Intelligence staff at RAF Medmenham from 1941 based at Danesfield House in Buckinghamshire. This unit specialised in the interpretation of photographic reconnaissance operations.

Passenger List :- 1947 RAF Families & Civilians Joan Isobel Baser departure 30/10/47 from Liverpool to Singapore on board the Empress of Scotland. She was accompanied by Master A. G. Baser the family of S/Ldr (incorrect) WJ Baser (161047)

He and his wife were killed in a car accident 31st July 1949 and are buried British Military Cemetery Pasir Panjong in Singapore.

Probate 1950
Joan Isobel Baser of RAF Tengah, Singapore, widow, died 31 July 1949 at 10th Mile Bukit Timah Road, Singapore. Admin to Emily Grace Pedlar and Joyce Ena Dowell, widows. £1,015 16s 3d

Bradford Observer 1/8/1949
RAF Officer & Wife
F/Lt William John Baser 29 and his wife Joan Isobel 25 were killed yesterday, when their car came into head on collision with a lorry carrying Ceylonese soldiers. 17 soldiers were injured and 9 were detained in hospital. F/Lt Baser was attached to RAF Tengah Barracks

Joseph Rochester Bell Baser 18 Oct 1892 -1973

Joseph was born on 18 October 1892 and baptised two weeks later at St Hilda’s Church, South Shields. He was the third and youngest son of the five children of Devon-born marine engineer William John Baser and his South Shields born wife, Hannah Bell.
In 1911 when Joseph was 18, he shared a house with his older brother George and was working as a clerk for the North Eastern Railway.

Then in June 1912 Joseph left Liverpool for Canada on board the SS Empress of Ireland. He arrived in Quebec at the end of the month, moving west to stop in Frobisher, Saskatchewan where he found work as a bank teller. On 15th Feb 1916 he travelled 230km to Virden in Manitoba and enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force.  He named his mother in South Shields as his next of kin and was described as tall, with black hair. His rank was private and he was enlisted in 226th Battalion.

After initial training, the 226th Battalion sailed for England in December and then on to camp at Bramshott in Kent. In January 1917 Joseph found himself attached to the Canadian Army Pay Corps. Originally based at Bramshott he was transferred to No 1 detachment at Taplow, Buckinghamshire and then No 5 detachment based in London.

Joseph had two stays in hospital whilst in the CEF. The first was at the London Military Hospital from the end of August to mid October 1917 with gastritis. This was followed by a two week convalescence at Uxbridge, West London. The second was from mid October to mid November 1918 at No 14 General Hospital, Eastbourne, East Sussex with influenza. In both cases he made a full recovery.

Private Baser (100073)  returned to Canada on 24 July 1919 and was demobbed on 7 August in Toronto, Ontario where he returned to his job as a bank teller. Then two years later in April 1921 Joseph returned to live permanently in South Shields where he found work with the local council. He never married and died in South Shields on 25 July 1973.

22 Stanhope Street, Westoe, South Shields (1892 birthplace)
5 Osborne Terrace, South Shields (1901 census)
8 Hepscott Terrace, South Shields (1911 census)
Frobisher, Saskatchewan, Canada (1916 enlistment papers)
16 Hepscott Terrace, South Shields (1921 ship’s manifest)
72 Sunderland Road, South Shields (1973 probate papers)

Sgt Cyril Ernest Triggs – (973935) Wireless Op/ Air  Gnr. 23y. He was baptised 2/5/1918 Canton, St John The Evangelist, Glamorganshire, Wales. Parents – Edward Ernest & Frances Winifred Triggs (nee Dolbear) living 79 Kings Road and the father’s occupation was Bowswain Mercantile Marine.

1939 Register
Address 1 Mark St, Cardiff
Ernest E Triggs born 18/2/1886 Able Seaman
Frances W Triggs born 15/12/1887
Cyril Ernest Triggs born 28/3/1918 Stoke Keeper & Warehouseman *
Agnes W Triggs born 23/9/1921 Factory Machinist
Frederick R Triggs born 17/7/1921 Incapacitated
Albert H Triggs born 1/9/1924 Bars Stamp Operator (ammonization).    
Christopher B Triggs born 2/7/1926
Reginald W Triggs born 11/2/1939

( image – Ernest Triggs 1886 whilst serving in the Merchant Marine)

Edward Ernest Triggs was born in 1886 in Cardiff, Wales. In 1893 he attended Grangetown Elementary School in Cardiff. His father was Edward Charles Triggs. He served in the Merchant Marine during WW1 – No 306803. On 1st Dec 1916 he married Frances Winifred Dolbear (born 1887) in Canton St John The Evangelist. Her father was James Dolbear.
On 14/7/1919, when he was 33 and whilst serving on the ship Wells City he was processed as a crew member on Ellis Island. He was described as 5ft 7in 150lb with a star on his right forearm.
Edward Ernest Triggs died in 1956 in Glamorgan, Wales.

Sgt Arthur William Simpson – RNZAF (NZ40949) Observer. 32y He was an accountant on enlistment. His parents were George Spence & Barbara Simpson of Wanganui and his wife, Doris Leslie Simpson of Hataitau, Wellington.

He enlisted in Kaikohe, Northland 20th June 1940

George Spence Simpson was buried 8/5/1958 and Barbara 10/10/1947 in Aramoho Cemetery Whanganui.

Arthur’s siblings :- George Spence Simpson jnr a school teacher in Waverley – Edward Campbell Simpson a Manager in Wanganui – died 22/12/1979 – Gwendoline Margaret Simpson – Myrtle Ellen Simpson ( a teacher 23/9/1932)

Manawatu Times 15/9/1932


A very pretty evening wedding was celebrated in St Andrew’s Church, Palmerston North, on Wednesday Sept 7th, when Joyce Espy youngest daughter of Mr & Mrs Jas. W. Neill of Tuhitarata, Waitarapa, and late of Opiki, Manawatu, was married to Edward Campbell, second son of Mr G Simpson of Wanganui.

The bridesmaids were Miss Marjorie Neill, sister of the bride, and Miss Myrtle Simpson sister of the bridegroom. 

Mr George Simpson of Wellington and Mr Jock Byers, were the best man and groomsman respectively.

Rev John Paterson performed the marriage ceremony. The bride who was escorted by her father, Mr Jas W Neill, looked charming in a dainty frock of white ring velvet, made ankle length and surmounted by a beautifully scalloped veil of net silk, which was gracefully arranged over the shoulders to fall over the dress, ending in a short train. Orange blossoms were worn over each ear, also white shoes to match.

Miss Neill as chief bridesmaid, wore a dress of beige and electric blue taffeta, and Miss Simpson wore a dress of pale green and beige taffeta, and both maids wore beige flower head-dresses to match.

The bride’s mother wore a navy silk marocain frock, with beige and orange trimmings and hat to tone. The bridegroom’s mother wore a flowered navy silk frock, with hat to match. Both carried bouquets.

A dainty spread was partaken at the Piccadilly tea rooms which was presided over by the Rev J Paterson, and after the usual toasts, the room was cleared for dancing, which continued until midnight, about 80 guests taking part in the festivities.

During the breakfast, many telegrams were read from friends in both islands, as well as from Sydney. Mr John Neill, grandfather of the bride, who gave a very interesting address is well known in South Otago, and the bride’s grandparents were also well known and highly respected pioneers of the South Otago province. Mr & Mrs R Wallace having taken up land in the Wallace town district in the 1860’s.

Many beautiful presents were received by the young couple, including cheques. Mr & Mrs Simpson left amid showers of confetti for a three week motor tour of the North island, the bride travelling in a brown frock with coat and hat to match, also brown shoes.
Image courtesy

21st Sept 1940

The wedding took place recently at St Michael’s Anglican Church, Kelburn of Doris Leslie, only daughter of Mr & Mrs W D Armit, of Kelburn Parade, Wellington, to Sgt Observer Arthur William Simpson RNZAF youngest son of Mr & Mrs G S Simpson, St John’s Hill, Wanganui. The Rev J Mayo officiated.

The bride, who was given away by her father, wore an afternoon frock of heavy marocain in a lovely shade of deep dusky pink, shoes and long gloves were of navy, and she carried a beautiful bouquet of pale pink flowers. The matron of honour, Mrs F M Phillips was smartly frocked in deep blue marocain and wore a large navy hat and accessories. Her bouquet was in tones of pale pink and blue. Mr Deans Low, Wanganui attended as best man.

The reception was held by the bride’s parents at the Hotel Waterloo. The bride’s mother wore a smart navy and white frock, a navy edge-to-edge coat and a navy halo hat, and the bridegroom’s mother wore a Wedgwood blue dress under a musquash fur coat, her hat & accessories being of navy.

The bride and bridegroom left later by car for the north, the bride wearing a three-quarter length coat of navy astrachan over a tailored Air Force blue frock.

Auckland Star 18/1/1941

NZ airmen play rugby in Canada on voyage home

Even 10,000 miles from home, early winter meant Rugby to a hundred odd young New Zealanders when their ship touched at a Canadian port, while they were en route for England and active service, writes Naval Airman  A Thompson, a former member of the Auckland Star literary staff.

Arrangements were made for a game ashore and this resulted in a one point win by an Air Force side over a Team of Navy and Fleet Air Arm men. It was an event marked by the appearance of a number of prominent players from all over the Dominion.

A W Simpson played for the Air Force and was associated with Wanganui Club. He scored a try in the match.

The players all wore sand shoes and had been on shipboard for a month. The Referee said it was the best he had yet seen in Canada. Final score 9 – 8.

A good game, a good spirit, a perfect ground….. it was almost like home again.

13th May 1942
Sgt Arthur William Simpson, previously reported missing on air operations, death now officially presumed as in June. His wife is Mrs D L Simpson 36 Kelburn Parade, Wellington.

4th June 1941

The crew took off at 19h from Horsham St Faith on the 4th June 1941, along with 5 other Blenheim’s from the squadron, on a bombing operation to De Kooy airfield in the Netherlands. This airfield was used by enemy aircraft to bomb Britain. As they approached the target, they were intercepted by ME109s. R3903 was shot down by Uffz Heinrich Nöcker of 3/JG . 1 at 20.08h from his base of De Kooy airfield. They were shot down 30km west of Bergen-aan-Zee, Holland and crashed in the sea. Sgt Dennis piloting Blenheim V6069 was attacked by an enemy fighter, jettisoned his bombs and crash landed in the UK. Blenheim V5826 was also attacked and jettisoned its bombs and managed to return safely. Pilot Officer Ian Alister Lees (62274) 26y of Edinburgh, in Blenheim Z5744  failed to return along with his crew. Sgt Charles Meredith ofImage Shropshire, 21y, (951583) W/op /Air gnr and Sgt Thomas Charles Osborne (919874) of Monmouthshire, Observer. All remembered on Runnymede. This aircraft also shot down by Uffz Heinrich Nöcker at 20.06h.

Uffz Heinrich Nöcker

He was born 26/10/1917.He shot down 6 aircraft. Killed in action 26/11/1942 during aerial combat at Medjez-el-Bab, 2.5 miles NW ofF Testour in Tunisia. He made 63 combat missions and 80 convoy escorts.

(Image Uffz Nöcker courtesy Aircrew Remembered)

139 Sqn Operation Record Book

February 1941

24 Feb 41 –
Sgt Simpson , P/O Baser and Sgt Triggs posted to squadron from 17 OTU ( operational training unit)

March 1941

13 March 41
– Target Calais Marck Up 1106h Down 1400h Formation with fighter escort – all aircraft bombed from 17,000ft. Flak not heavy.
16 March 41
– Blenheim V6??? Shipping Sweep ‘C’ Up 1430h Down 1903h Task abandoned due to low fog over sea – Landed at Watton.
18 March 41
– Blenheim V6030 – Shipping Sweep ‘E’ Up 1120h Down ? Bombed enemy ship
24 March 41
– Blenheim V6030 – Target Shipping Sweep ‘C’ Up 1025h Down 1446h No shipping seen.
26 March 4
1 – Blenheim V6030 – Target Shipping Sweep ‘F’ Up 0640h Down 1032h
28 March 41
– Blenheim V6030 – Target Shipping Sweep ‘E’ Up 1359h Down 1730h No shipping seen
30 March 41
– Blenheim V6030 – Target Shipping Sweep ‘E’ Up 1149h Down 1513h No shipping seen
April 1941

8) 11 April 41
– Target Emden Up 1023h Down 1500h Raided coastal patrol boats. Chased by two ME110s – no casualties.
9) 13 April 41 – Target Leyden Up 1754h Down 1858h Bombs not dropped owing to lack of cloud cover.
10) 15 April 41 – Blenheim V5860 Target (Chivenor) Shipping Beat 17 – Bombed coastal vessels – sunk 2. Up 1249h Down 1808h
11) 19 April 41 – Target Shipping Beat 9 Up 1620h Down 1905h. No shipping seen.
12) 23 April 41 – Blenheim V 5460 – Target Fringe Beat 8 – Up 1433h Down 1720h Bombs not dropped
13) 25 April 41 – Blenheim V6177 – Target Fringe Beat 5 – Up 1001h Down 1425h Bombs dropped.
14) 27 April 41 – Blenheim V6030 – Target Shipping Beat 14 – Up 1322h Down 1648h No shipping seen.
15) 29 April 41 – Blenheim V6030 – Target Shipping Sweep 5 – Up 1305h Down 1715h No shipping seen.
May 1941

16) 1 May 41
– Blenheim V6030 Target Den Helder Up 1539h Down 1755h. Bombed target. 9 aircraft bombed. 2 X500lb bombs hit the roof of the Power Station.
17) 4 May 41 – Blenheim V6030 Shipping Sweep 14A  Up 1554h Down 1700h Sweep in Cherbourg area @ no shipping seen.
18) 7 May 41 – Shipping Sweep on Delfzine Up 2220h Down 0010h Bombs not dropped

June 1941

19) 2nd June 41
– Target cloud cover attack on NW Germany Up 1817h Down 1930h Bombs not dropped owing to lack of cloud cover.
20) 4th June 41 – Target De Kooy Airfield. Failed to return.

Written and researched by Dorothy Ramser 5/8/2021

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