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Baker, William Benjamin

Nationality:
British

Biography

Promotions:
? Temporary Warrant Officer
19 December, 1943: Pilot Officer on Probation (emergency)
19 June, 1944: Flying Officer (war sub)
19 December, 1945: Flight Lieutenant (war sub)
19 January, 1958: commission relinquished

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Periode:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Pilot Officer
Unit:
No. 626 Squadron, Royal Air Force
Awarded on:
February 22nd, 1944
Action:
Citation:
"Flying Officer Breckenridge, Pilot Officer Baker and Warrant Officer Meek were pilot, mid-upper gunner and navigator respectively of an aircraft detailed to attack Berlin one night in January 1944.  Whilst over the target area, the aircraft was hit by bullets from a fighter.  Much damage was sustained, the wireless operator was killed and the rear gunner was wounded.  Pilot Officer Baker was also wounded, being hit in the face and rendered unconscious.  Nevertheless, Flying Officer Breckenridge evaded the attacker and, displaying great determination, resumed his bombing run and successfully attacked the target.  Almost immediately the bomber was again hit by machine gun fire from the enemy aircraft, which had closed in.  This time, Warrant Officer Meek was severely wounded, a bullet penetrated his breast bone close to the heart and another one hit him in the shoulder.  Coolly and skilfully Flying Officer Breckenridge manoeuvred his badly damaged aircraft, however, and finally evaded the attacker.  By now, Pilot Officer Baker had recovered consciousness and, realizing that the aircraft was unprotected, immediately made his way to the rear turret and manned it in spite of his physical suffering, the intense cold and the lack of oxygen.  Pilot Officer Baker remained in the turret throughout the homeward flight, except for a short time when he left it to extinguish a fire which had commenced.  Meanwhile Warrant Officer Meek, though desperately wounded and suffering intensely, refused to leave his post.  Although deprived of practically all his navigational equipment, he plotted the route home with great skill.  Eventually Flying Officer Breckenridge reached base where he effected a successful crash landing.  His skill, courage and coolness in the face of heavy odds were worthy of the highest praise.  Pilot Officer Baker and Warrant Officer Meek proved themselves to be valiant members of aircraft crew, displaying great courage, fortitude and devotion to duty.  In spite of their injuries and much suffering they did all that was possible to assist in the safe return of the aircraft."
Details:
The CGM was awarded toWarrant Officer Meek and the DFC to Flying Officer Breckenridge
Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)

Sources