The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. S Baxter
Sidney Baxter from Chester le Street, County Durham was born in June 1916, the son of Edward Robinson Baxter and Jessie Baxter (nee Fairbairn).
Baxter attended the secondary school there. He joined the RAF as an Aircraft Apprentice in January 1933 and passed out in December 1935 as a Fitter.
He remustered as an Airman u/t Pilot on 6th March 1939 and began his training at 14 FTS Kinloss on 13th April 1939 on No. 1 Course.
With his training completed, Baxter joined 236 Squadron at Stradishall on 8th November 1939. He was posted away to 222 Squadron at Duxford on 25th November 1939.
During his service with the squadron Baxter acquired the nickname 'Clot'. He was in the habit of checking his aircraft and asking questions of the groundcrew more than any other pilot. When this was questioned his reply was that he was the clot who had to fly the aircraft. Spitfires he flew became Clot I and Clot II.
Over Dunkirk on 1st June 1940 Baxter shot down a Me110. He reported 'Formation of about 10 Me110s at 10,000 feet above. Climbed to them and they broke formation. Saw one dive inland and followed him. About 10 miles inland I caught him and opened fire at 250 yards, very near ground. Enemy turned to port and I gave a full deflection burst from about 100 yards closing to 50. Port motor caught fire, pieces flew from aircraft and enemy dived into ground and exploded'.
On 2nd September he probably destroyed a Me110, damaged another and a Do17, on the 3rd he again probably destroyed a Me110 and on the 11th he destroyed a Ju88 and probably destroyed a He111.
In the afternoon of 14th September 1940 Baxter's Spitfire, X4275, was badly damaged in combat with Me109s. He was killed while attempting to land at Rochford. The tail unit separated as he was on final approach.
Baxter was cremated at West Road Crematorium, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. He was 24 years old.
Quoted in 1996, one of his groundcrew said of Baxter 'He was a very nice gentleman'.
Above image courtesy of Keri Stewart, West Road Crematorium.