Arthur Frederick Base1

#13563, b. June 1888, d. 27 July 1942

Individual's Timeline

Birth RegJune 1888Arthur Frederick Base1,2
Marr RegJune 1911Arthur Frederick Base1,3
Death of Father17 April 1919John Base1
MarriageJune 1928William Steed4
Marriage of DaughterJune 1937Winifred Agnes Base5
19391939Arthur Frederick Base6
Death27 July 1942Arthur Frederick Base7
Probate12 October 1942Arthur Frederick Base8

Primary events

Secondary circumstances

  • Occupation: Arthur was a Supervisor Engineering Aero.

Census details

Some aspects of Arthur Frederick Base's life. On an anniversary of the 27th July 1942 air raid on the Rolls Royce engine factory in Derby the following was published in the Derby Telegraph -

With invaluable assistance from the crew of the bomber, we (The Daily telegraph) published the most definitive description possible of the events of the 1942 raid on Rolls-Royce.

The background
With the indisputable importance of the Merlin engine to the war effort, the destruction of the Derby aero-engine factory, designated target GB7319 by the Luftwaffe, would have been of great value to the German war machine.
However, during the whole of the Second World War only one single German bomb caused damage to the factory in Nightingale Road.
Many theories exist as to why the Luftwaffe did not make a greater effort to bring about the destruction of the works, ranging from "bending the beams" through geographical location to smokepots, but no totally satisfactory explanation has been put forward and probably never will.
Of course, Derby, code-named "Daimler" by Luftwaffe Intelligence, did have its share of bombing raids between June 1940 and August 1942 and there were several raids in which the Rolls-Royce factory was specifically targeted.

Derby's defences
By October 1940, the defences around Derby consisted of 28 3.7inch guns, eight 40mm Bofors guns, 26 Lewis machine guns and 32 balloons.
Added to these were searchlights and the much disliked smokepots. Later, "Starfish" decoy sites were set up to divert attention away from the town.
The works itself had two confirmed machine gun posts: a quadruple Marlin machine gun set on the roof of the gatehouse at the "Chapel" on Addison Road and another machine gun on the roof of No 6 Shop on Nightingale Road.
On the day of the July 1942 raid, none of the factory guns were at readiness, but the raider was so low – little higher than the works chimney – that the local Bofors guns could not be depressed low enough to engage the bomber, leading to some of the Bofors guns being mounted on gantries.
It might need explaining that barrage balloons were more than simple gasbags on wires. Near each end of the balloon cable was fitted a device which severed the cable and caused the release of drogue parachutes when struck by an aircraft, and at the same time a panel was ripped from the skin of the balloon causing its deflation and fall to earth. Since no aircraft had the power to cope with the three tons of drag that the drogues inflicted, the aircraft would be brought to earth.
The smokepots were incinerator-like objects that burned diesel oil and were ignited when an alert came through so that the smoke-screen created would mask the area from the enemy. The smokepots caused the local populace more grief than the enemy!
Derby's Starfish site was located between Ticknall and Hartshorne. These decoy areas were set up in open country where complex arrangements of incendiary devices could be ignited and various types of "explosions" caused to simulate burning streets and exploding factories, but their overall success was marginal.

The camouflage
The camouflage scheme on the Nightingale Road factory was designed by Ernest Townsend, a Derby artist with a studio in the town.
The factory roofs were painted in various shades of red, brown, green, yellow and grey, in shapes which were intended to break up the outline of the long workshops and turn them into houses, gardens and open spaces.
The frontage each side of the Marble Hall on Nightingale Road was painted to simulate houses and break up the long stretch of the building.
The water tower near the centre of the factory had large discs painted on its four walls to represent clocks on a church tower, and the large building on the western corner of the complex was disguised as a chapel, the name it subsequently carried into the 21st century.
Other areas appeared as allotments and the copse in Osmaston Park is said to have been repeated on the factory roofing.
By 1946, the framework of the camouflage had been dismantled but much of the paintwork was left to its own devices and traces were still visible on the roofs more than 60 years later.

The raid of July 27, 1942
By this stage in the war, most of the German bomber units employed against Britain had been transferred to the eastern front and the Luftwaffe's bomber force in the west concentrated on single-aircraft "nuisance raids".
It was on one of these raids, on the Monday morning of July 27, 1942, that the Nightingale Road factory was finally damaged by the Luftwaffe.
The aircraft which came to Derby to bomb the Rolls-Royce factory that July morning belonged to KG2 (KG = Kampfgeschwader = Bomber Group), and was based at Deelen, near Arnhem, in Holland.
It was a Dornier Do217E-4, known to its crew as "Ludwig Siegfried", the German phonetics for the last two letters of its squadron code, U5+LS.
The four-man crew of the Dornier were Leutnant (Pilot Officer) Helmut Ueberson, Flugzeugführer (pilot); Gefreiter (Aircraftman 1st class) Kurt Kühling, Beobachter (navigator); Obergefreiter (Leading Aircraftsman) Josef König, Bordwart (flight engineer); and Unteroffizier (Corporal) Günter Bartnik, Bordfunker (wireless operator).
They were all in their early 20s and, in March 1944, they were screened to instructional duties on becoming the longest surviving, and therefore most experienced, crew in their unit.
17 people on the ground were killed. Arthur was one.

A fuller account by Author and historian Peter Ollerhead is at

On the same day/night in other parts of the world we had –

Japanese bombing Townsville, Queensland, Australia – 1 planes, 8 bombs, 0 casualities.

Allies bombing Hamburg, creating one of the largest fire-storms raised by the RAF and the USAAF in WW2, 42,000 killed and 37,000 injured

German bombing Birmingham – 60-70 planes attacked, on Hitler's orders, as reprisal for the increasing intensity of allied bombing of German cities

German bombing Malta – in the 24 hours dawn 26th to dawn 27th July.
(09:20) three ME 109s crossed the Island;
(10:38) Seven JU88s attack Ta Qali
(14:11) Five JU88s with an escort of twenty fighters attack Hal Far
(16:51) Seven JU 88s with fighter escort attack Luqa, destroying one Spitfire and three Beauforts and damaging one Wellington

USAAF bombs Buna - Gona. This is New Guinea, and the Japanese were in occupation, trying to take Port Morseby overland via the Kakoda Trail.


Arthur Frederick Base's headstone in the Cemetery reads
In Memory of
who died on
Monday, 27th July 1942. Age 54.
Additional Information: Husband of Agnes E. Base, of Norfolk Villa, Chellaston Road, Shelton Lock. Injured at Rolls-Royce Works; died same day at Nightingale Road.

Commemorative Information
Cemetery: COUNTY BOROUGH OF DERBY, Section of the Civilian War Dead Register.9

Children of Arthur Frederick Base and Agnes Elizabeth Grimmer


  1. Valerie Grey-Wilson, Base.
  2. Free UK BDM index from 1837, online, BASE      Arthur Frederick            Mutford      4a     970.
  3. Free UK BDM index from 1837, online, 4b page 30.
  4. Find my past web sites, online or, First name(s)      HILDA R G
    Last name      BASE
    Marriage quarter      2
    Marriage year      1928
    Registration month      -
    MarriageFinder™      HILDA R G BASE married
    Spouse's last name      STEED
    District      YARMOUTH
    County      Norfolk
    Country      England
    Volume      4B
    Page      29
    Record set      England & Wales marriages 1837-2008
    Category      Birth, Marriage, Death & Parish Records
    Record collection      Marriages & divorces
    Collections from      Great Britain.
  5. Find my past web sites, online or, First name(s)      WINIFRED A
    Last name      BASE
    Marriage quarter      2
    Marriage year      1937
    Registration month      -
    MarriageFinder™      WINIFRED A BASE married
    Spouse's last name      ELLISON
    District      SHARDLOW
    County      Derbyshire
    Country      England
    Volume      7B
    Page      1063
    Record set      England & Wales marriages 1837-2008
    Category      Birth, Marriage, Death & Parish Records
    Record collection      Marriages & divorces
    Collections from      Great Britain.
  6. Find my past web sites, online or, Base Household (4 People) Norfolk Villa Chellaston Road , Shardlow R.D., Derbyshire, England

         First name(s)      Last name(s)      DOB      Sex      Occupation      Marital status      Schedule      Schedule Sub Number      
         Arthur F      Base      04 Jul 1914      Male      Aero Engine Tester      Single      202      3      
         Arthur F      Base      21 Mar 1888      Male      Supervisor Engineering Aero      Married      202      1      
         Agnes E      Base      09 Oct 1857      Female      Unpaid Domestic Duties      Married      202      2      
         Muriel V      Wilson (Base)      04 Apr 1921      Female      Laboratory Typist      Single      202      4      

    Ref: RG101/5973H/015/16 Letter Code:.
  7. Valerie Grey-Wilson, Base, press cuttings.
  8. Website ( "Headline: DERBY DISTRICT FUNERALS

    Publication:Derby Daily Telegraph

    Publication date:Wednesday 05 August 1942."
  9. Website Commonwealth War Graves Commission - Web Site (unknown url).