Brian Edmund Baker

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Brian Edmund Baker
Air officers of Coastal Command in March 1942.jpg
Air Vice-Marshal Baker, first from left, at RAF Coastal Command, Northwood, World War II
Born(1896-08-31)31 August 1896
Hertford, Hertfordshire
Died8 October 1979(1979-10-08) (aged 83)
RAF Hospital Nocton Hall, Lincolnshire
AllegianceUnited Kingdom
Service/branchBritish Army
Royal Air Force
Years of service1915–1950
RankAir Marshal
Commands held
Battles/warsWorld War I
World War II

Air Marshal Sir Brian Edmund Baker KBE, CB, DSO, MC, AFC (31 August 1896 – 8 October 1979), was an officer of the Royal Air Force who served in both World Wars. He was a flying ace in World War I credited, in conjunction with his gunners, with twelve victories, comprising one enemy aircraft captured, four destroyed (including one shared), and seven "out of control" (including one shared).[1]


Baker was educated at Haileybury College between 1910 and 1914.[2]

World War I[edit]

On 9 January 1915 Baker received a commission as a temporary second lieutenant,[3] in the 15th (Service) Battalion of the Rifle Brigade.[4]

In August 1915, Baker was transferred into the Royal Flying Corps,[2] and received the Royal Aero Club Aviator's Certificate No. 1938 at the military flying school at Montrose on 25 October 1915.[5] On 7 December 1915 Baker was assigned to the General List, attached to the Royal Flying Corps, and appointed a flying officer.[6] With only 12 hours of flight time in his log book, he was posted to No. 13 Squadron in France,[2] flying the BE.2 aircraft.[7]

On 6 February 1917, although still only a second lieutenant, he was appointed a flight commander, with the temporary rank of captain,[8] in the newly formed No. 48 Squadron, flying the Bristol F.2B.[7] Between June and November 1917 he gained 12 victories:

No. Date Aircraft flown Opponent Location
1 15 June 1917 Bristol F.2b (A7149) Albatros D.III North of Vitry
2 21 July 1917 Bristol F.2b (A7107) Albatros D.V Slype
3 22 July 1917 Bristol F.2b (A7146) Gotha bomber North-west of Ostend
4 27 July 1917 Bristol F.2b (A7170) Albatros D.III North-east of Nieuport
5 28 July 1917 Ghistelles-Zevecote
6 19 August 1917 Albatros D.V Ostend
7 21 October 1917 Albatros D.III
8 31 October 1917 Pfalz D.III North-east of Dixmude
9 11 November 1917 Albatros D.III
11 29 November 1917 Houthoulst Wood
12 Armesvelde-Zarren

On 1 July 1918 Baker was appointed Officer Commanding No. 141 Squadron at RAF Biggin Hill,[7] receiving promotion from captain to temporary major.[9]

Inter-war career[edit]

After the war he remained with the RAF, serving as an instructor at the School of Technical Training. He trained as a flying instructor at the Central Flying School and in December 1921 was assigned to No. 4 Flying Training School at RAF Abu Sueir, Egypt. He later served on the staff of the Directorate of Training, before being appointed Officer Commanding, Aden Flight, in February 1924. In April 1925 he returned to No. 4 FTS as instructor and commander.[7] He was promoted from flight lieutenant to squadron leader on 1 July 1925.[10]

Baker was appointed Officer Commanding the Experimental Section at the Royal Aircraft Establishment in March 1926, and Officer Commanding No. 32 Squadron at Biggin Hill in December 1929.[7] In December 1932 he was promoted to wing commander,[11] and appointed chief flying instructor at RAF Leuchars.[7]

Baker served aboard the aircraft carrier HMS Eagle in 1934,[4] and was senior RAF officer aboard HMS Courageous from May 1935. He was appointed station commander at RAF Gosport in April 1937,[7] with the rank of group captain[12] from 1 July 1937,[13] and then served as station commander at Leuchars from September 1938.[7]

World War II[edit]

In May 1940 Baker was appointed Air Officer Commanding No. 51 Group, part of RAF Flying Training Command,[14] receiving promotion to air commodore (temporary) in September.[15] He then served as Air Officer Commanding AHQ Iceland from 1941, and Air Officer Commanding No. 16 Group from July 1942,[7] receiving promotion to air vice marshal on 1 December 1942.[16] He was transferred to command of No. 19 (Reconnaissance) Group, Coastal Command, in July 1943.[7] He commanded Air Headquarters East Africa from January to June 1945.[17] He was appointed Senior Air Staff Officer at Headquarters RAF Middle East in June 1945.[4]


From December 1945 Baker served as Deputy Air Commander-in-Chief RAF Mediterranean and Middle East.[7] He was promoted to air marshal on 1 July 1947,[18] and was appointed Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief RAF Transport Command in September 1947, serving in that post until his retirement from the RAF in May 1950.[7][19]

Baker died on 8 October 1979 at RAF Hospital Nocton Hall, Lincolnshire, England.[20]

Honours and awards[edit]

Second Lieutenant (Temporary Captain) Brian Edmund Baker, Rifle Brigade and Royal Flying Corps.
For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He led his patrol with great skill against a hostile formation, which he attacked, accounting for five enemy machines out of six. Later, he drove a hostile machine down in flames, and attacked and destroyed another one by diving 7,000 feet on to it and firing at such close range as to nearly collide with it. His gallantry has been at all times of great value to his squadron.[21]
Second Lieutenant (Temporary Captain) Brian Edmund Baker, MC, General List and Royal Flying Corps.
For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. Whilst on patrol he engaged nine Albatross scouts, five of these being driven down, two of which he accounted for. On another occasion, whilst leading his flight on in offensive patrol, he dived alone on a formation of six enemy scouts, driving one down out of control. During the course of his patrol work he has brought down ten enemy machines, and his work on all occasions has been magnificent. He is a dashing patrol leader, and inspires all with the greatest keenness.[23]


Brian Edmund Baker
Air officers of Coastal Command in March 1942.jpg
Cricket information
BattingRight-handed batsman
Domestic team information
1927–1932Royal Air Force
Career statistics
Competition FC
Matches 8
Runs scored 303
Batting average 25.25
100s/50s –/2
Top score 66
Catches/stumpings 5/–
Source: ESPN Cricinfo, 2 September 2014

Baker was a keen cricketer, and as a right-handed batsman,[32] he played for Haileybury College nine times between 1912 and 1914,[33] and twice for Hertfordshire in the Minor Counties Championship in August 1914.[34] Between 1925 and 1932 he made thirteen appearances for the Royal Air Force cricket team, eight at first-class level,[33][35] and served as Team Captain between 1928 and 1930.[2] He was also a member of the RAF hockey team in 1927.[2]


  1. ^ Shores, Christopher F.; Franks, Norman; Guest, Russell (1990). Above the Trenches: A Complete Record of the Fighter Aces and Units of the British Empire Air Forces 1915–1920. London, UK: Grub Street. p. 57. ISBN 0-948817-19-4.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Pupils at Haileybury College prior to 1912". 2008. Archived from the original on 2 April 2012. Retrieved 2 September 2014.
  3. ^ "No. 29041". The London Gazette (Supplement). 15 January 1915. p. 490.
  4. ^ a b c "Royal Air Force: Appointments". Flight. XLVII (1903): 649. 14 June 1945. Retrieved 2 September 2014.
  5. ^ a b "Brian Edmund Baker". 2014. Retrieved 2 September 2014.
  6. ^ "No. 29419". The London Gazette (Supplement). 28 December 1915. p. 12992.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Air Marshal Sir Brian Baker". Air of Authority – A History of RAF Organisation. 2014. Archived from the original on 24 August 2014. Retrieved 2 September 2014.
  8. ^ "No. 29931". The London Gazette. 6 February 1917. p. 1270.
  9. ^ "No. 30798". The London Gazette. 16 July 1918. p. 8338.
  10. ^ "No. 33063". The London Gazette. 3 July 1925. p. 4456.
  11. ^ "No. 33898". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 December 1932. p. 16.
  12. ^ "No. 34414". The London Gazette. 2 July 1937. p. 4254.
  13. ^ Air Force List. HMSO. 1939. p. 404. Retrieved 2 September 2014.
  14. ^ "Groups 50–67". Air of Authority – A History of RAF Organisation. 2013. Archived from the original on 19 December 2014. Retrieved 2 September 2014.
  15. ^ "No. 34949". The London Gazette. 20 September 1940. p. 5580.
  16. ^ Air Force List. HMSO. 1944. p. 128. Retrieved 2 September 2014.
  17. ^ "Commands – Middle East & Mediterranean". Air of Authority – A History of RAF Organisation. 2014. Archived from the original on 10 September 2014. Retrieved 2 September 2014.
  18. ^ "No. 38015". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 July 1947. p. 3255.
  19. ^ Mackie, Colin (2011). "Senior Royal Air Force Appointments" (PDF). Retrieved 13 August 2014.
  20. ^ "Brian E. Baker". ESPN Cricinfo. 2014. Retrieved 2 September 2014.
  21. ^ "No. 13134". The Edinburgh Gazette. 27 August 1917. p. 1796.
  22. ^ "No. 30555". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 March 1918. p. 2727.
  23. ^ "No. 30845". The London Gazette (Supplement). 13 August 1918. p. 9560.
  24. ^ "No. 30638". The London Gazette. 16 April 1918. p. 4717.
  25. ^ "No. 13378". The Edinburgh Gazette. 6 January 1919. p. 77.
  26. ^ "No. 36033". The London Gazette (Supplement). 28 May 1943. p. 2419.
  27. ^ "No. 36656". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 August 1944. p. 3771.
  28. ^ "No. 37125". The London Gazette (Supplement). 8 June 1945. p. 3084.
  29. ^ "No. 37501". The London Gazette (Supplement). 12 March 1946. p. 1379.
  30. ^ "No. 37666". The London Gazette (Supplement). 23 July 1946. p. 3834.
  31. ^ "No. 38711". The London Gazette (Supplement). 13 September 1949. p. 4389.
  32. ^ "Brian Baker". 2014. Retrieved 2 September 2014.
  33. ^ a b "Miscellaneous Matches played by Brian Baker". 2014. Retrieved 2 September 2014.
  34. ^ "Minor Counties Championship Matches played by Brian Baker". 2014. Retrieved 2 September 2014.
  35. ^ "First-Class Matches played by Brian Baker". 2014. Retrieved 2 September 2014.
Military offices
Preceded by
Sir Ralph Cochrane
Commander-in-Chief Transport Command
Succeeded by
Sir Aubrey Ellwood