Alan Baxter (politician)

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Alan Cheyne Baxter (19 August 1911 – 1976) was a New Zealand politician of the Labour Party.

Biography[edit]

Parliament of New Zealand
Years Term Electorate Party
1946–1949 28th Raglan Labour

Baxter was born on 19 August 1911 at Egmont Village.[1] Before the war, Baxter was a shepherd. He joined the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) in March 1940 and was a flight lieutenant.[1] He was awarded the DFC in October 1942 for his actions in the Dieppe Raid,[2] with a Bar awarded in 1945.[3] The citation for the 1942 award read:[4]

On August 19th, 1942, he was observer in the leading aircraft of a formation which participated in the combined operations at Dieppe. When the formation was attacked by some 20 enemy fighters, Pilot Officer Baxter calmly gave directions to his captain, and subsequently his skilful navigation was an essential contribution to the success achieved by the formation and to its safe return to base.

According to one of his navigators, he flew more bombing missions over Germany than any other New Zealand airman (and came back alive).[5] During one period of raids, he lost seven room mates in five days. One personal escape involved bending over to pick up a map, with a shot of flak shooting through the seat where he had been sitting only a moment before.[6] On the bombing of Germany, he stated it was something that had to be done to stop Hitler, but every time they were let go, he felt for "the poor blighters below".[7]

Baxter contested the 1946 by-election in the Raglan electorate for the Labour Party, but lost against Hallyburton Johnstone of the National Party.[8][9] Later in the same year, Baxter defeated Johnstone in the 1946 general election by just 13 votes.[10] Johnstone in turn defeated Baxter in 1949.[11] Baxter later stood unsuccessfully for Raglan in the 1957 and 1960 elections.

A notable characteristic of his parliamentary period was that he was respected as a man who never compromised his principles.[12]

Baxter died in 1976.[13]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Thompson, H. L. (1956). New Zealanders with the Royal Air Force. 2. Wellington: Historical Publications Branch. p. 407. 
  2. ^ "No. 35759". The London Gazette (Supplement). 23 October 1942. p. 4643. 
  3. ^ "No. 36942". The London Gazette (Supplement). 16 February 1945. p. 934. 
  4. ^ "The Dieppe Raid - August 19, 1942". f. Retrieved 26 December 2015. 
  5. ^ conversation with former navigator, F.Harper, April 2000
  6. ^ personal war incidents passed on to his family
  7. ^ personal conversation, circa 1974/1975
  8. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 208.
  9. ^ "News of the Week". Lake Wakatip Mail (4732). 7 March 1946. p. 2. Retrieved 25 December 2015. 
  10. ^ "The General Election, 1946". National Library. 1947. p. 8. Retrieved 1 January 2014. 
  11. ^ Wilson 1985, pp. 183, 208.
  12. ^ Phil Amos, former Labour Cabinet minister, at Alan Baxter's funeral, 1976
  13. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 183.

References[edit]

  • Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. OCLC 154283103. 
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Hallyburton Johnstone
Member of Parliament for Raglan
1946–1949
Succeeded by
Hallyburton Johnstone