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Doncaster Features: Famous Doncastrian: Ernest Baker

Wing Commander Ernest Reginald Baker, D.F.C., (40660), was one of Doncaster's bravest pilots. On being reported missing and being awarded a Distinguished Service Order the King's report said:

"Since being awarded a bar to the Distinguished Flying Cross in August 1943, this officer has led a large number of fighter bomber attacks against enemy shipping and constructional targets and has personally destroyed three enemy aircraft.

In October 1943, Wing Commander Baker carried out a hazardous attack at point blank range on enemy shipping under heavy fire, to score a direct hit. By his outstanding leadership, courage, and determination, he has set a splendid example to his officers and men.

Acting Wing Commander Baker was born at Doncaster in 1914 where his home is. He was educated at Doncaster Grammar School and Chester College. He was commissioned in 1938, was awarded the DFC in November 1940 and Bar in October 1943."

Claude Enfield would write in The Doncaster Free Press later in June 1944:

"Great Doncastrian – Wing Commander E. R. Baker, Doncaster’s air ace, a freeman of the Borough, is missing. Those of us who had followed his career with such deep and proud interest were clinging to the hope that he who had so brilliantly avoided misfortune would continue to baffle the odds, so to speak, and come through the war unscathed, but it was not to be.

Yet what a brilliant record. How many planes he shot down, how many submarines and E-boats he sank, I do not know, but I should say his bag put him among the greatest air aces of the war. It seemed as if nothing could go wrong for him. That he should have flown day after day and week after week for the best part of four and a half years getting the better of jerry every time is a record bordering on the miraculous. And this great gladiator of the skies was once a school teacher. If he has been lost to us we shall treasure his memory as a great Doncastrian and a personification and embodiment of our great race of young men who, devoted to peace, enemies of no man, have shown that when the life of the old country is at stake they can rise to immortal heights.

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