An Old Coathamian – Not Forgotten

George Bewick BAINBRIDGE

No. 63826 Pilot Officer (Pilot),
Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve;
Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve;

Died 13 June 1941, aged 22 years.

Buried in Redcar Cemetery, Plot C, Row 8, Grave 2.

Pilot Officer Bainbridge was the pilot of a Vickers Wellington bomber which suffered mechanical failure and crashed in Wales whilst on a training flight from its base at RAF Harwell in Oxfordshire. Four of his crew survived the crash with injuries, but he and his co-pilot and another crew member were killed.

George Bewick Bainbridge was the only child of Alick and Mary Bainbridge of Redcar. He was born on 7 January 1919 in Hutton Rudby, where his father had been a joiner before the First World War. He entered Coatham School in April 1932, aged thirteen, joining Ingham’s House, in Form II. He was a fee-paying day boy and was at that time in the same form as Beacham (q.v.). Having won his form prize in July 1933 he was promoted to Form IIIA. In 1935-36, in Form VA, he became a school monitor and in July 1936 he passed his School Certificate examination. That year he was awarded the Headmaster’s ‘Special Merit’ prize. Although he played both rugby and cricket for his house, George’s great talent was as a swimmer. Under the tutelage of schoolmaster Mr. R.J.C. Williams, ‘Bammer’ Bainbridge overcame a frail physique, serious illnesses and injuries to become the most successful swimmer in the school’s history. He came to dominate school swimming competitions, everything from the 100 yards to the annual open water mile. He was also Northumberland and Durham Amateur Swimming Association freestyle champion and record holder in 1936, 1937, 1938 & 1939. He swam for England at the Empire Pool, Wembley, in April 1939 and his successes and his exemplary attitudes were repeatedly honoured in the school magazines of the time. He was first listed on the School’s Roll of Honour in July 1942.