At the beginning of 1941 Flight Lieutenant Baker had already done 1000
hours of active service flying.
Coastal Command Sunderland2
"My Skipper, who
taught me all I know about flying-boats, was a South
African-Flight Lieutenant A. S. Ainslie. He won the D.F.C. He was
the grandest chap I've ever known we used to call him Angel.
Unfortunately he got shot down by a U-boat (June 29th, 1940),"
A U-boat of a Different Kind
6 January 1941
Reg met a U-boat of a different kind.
through miserable weather for hours, rain and snow, they suddenly
broke into clear skies.
Reg in the Sunderland cockpit: 21 January 1941
It was the most amazing thing I have ever seen in
my life. We stuck the nose of the aircraft into clear weather
while the tail was still enveloped in clouds. As the second pilot
and I blinked in the sudden light and looked ahead we both sighted
a submarine at the identical moment, turned our faces to each
other and howled in unison ďSub!Ēí
The U-boat was only a few miles away, on the surface.
Reg dove for his enemy, recognising it as an Italian submarine, and
men were clearly seen on the conning tower. These men quickly
realised they were about to attacked, hastily returned inside the
sub, the tanks flooded and the submarine began to submerge. But they
were too late, with part of the stern still showing Reg Baker placed
his explosives either side.
His rear gunner reported the sight
ĎThereís a sheet of metal about six feet by
four, just been hurled out of the sea all torn and twisted. Ď
Fountains of water caused by the release of air gave
further evidence of the submarines demise.
Photograph1 taken during the
attack on a U-boat in the Bay of Biscay by Sunderland U/10
Squadron RAAF, June 1942.
One of Regís crew is known to have
If we donít win this war, the crew
of this aircraft will be in a devil of a mess
Reg Receives his DFC
3 March 1941
Reg and Norma went to Buckingham Palace to receive from
the King his DFC.
Norma and Reg at Buckingham Palace
Written on the back 'Collecting Reg's DFC from the
King, 30 June 1941, my 21st birthday'
Reg with Susan
He is at least 6 feet two inches tall, with a spare
figure, very blue eyes, a small fair moustache to set off a well-cut
mouth and firm chin, and a natural wave in his
fairish hair. Very modest, quiet of speech with a sense of humour.
Reg travels with 14 others, all
experienced operational pilots or observers to Ottawa, Canada, to
attend a specialist navigation course. He embarked on the ANC
Derbyshire which took a route via Iceland to arrive in Halifax on 20
April. He was 'stooked' (commandeered) to act as the ship's adjutant
for the voyage.
There then followed a two day train
journey to Montreal.
On arrival Reg was told that he would
not be attending the course after all, and probably be diverted to
ferrying between Bermuda and England.
Reg's letter describes the
As you can see I
am still stuck in this sink of iniquity!!! In the usual
Air Force manner I am not going on my course - they have
decided to do something else with me. As yet they haven't
made up their minds. Actually I am fairly sure they are
going to put me into ferrying which means flying between Bermuda
am sending this home by air - Jim Mollison (Amy Johnson's
husband) is flying back in a few days.
Ramon Navarro is
staying here too, and last night I had a drink with him - I must
confess I wasn't very much impressed, although of course all the
women simply stand and stare at him - it really is amazing.
Reg writes home to say that he
expects to be home in England within 14 days
Reg is still in Bermuda and
....There is quite a good
chance of my doing the course that I came over here originally
Freedom of Doncaster
30 June 1941
Reg is given the Freedom of the borough of Doncaster.
Norma receives the Freedom of Doncaster on behalf of Reg
Reggies Freedom Certificate
Reg eventually arrives back in England
28th August -
15 September 1941
Reg travels back to Port Albert,
Goderick, Ontario Canada by sea. He was again 'stooked' to be
the ship's adjutant.
15 September 1941
Reg begins his
specialist navigation course (until 26 December).
14 October 1941
Reg gave numerous talks in Canada and the USA on
the current state of the air war in Europe.
Reg addressed the Joint meeting of Kiwanis and
Optimist Clubs of Sarnia (Ontario) and he made his feelings quite
My profession, since the war
started is killing and I enjoy it. I donít know anything I like
better than when I am killing Nazis. Some people say we are
fighting for the countries Germany has defeated. We are not only
fighting for them. We are fighting for our very existence. If we
lose this war there will be no Britain. It will be all over for
us. If you keep this in mind you will somewhat understand our
cruelty and our feelings. We will fight to the bitter end.
Our job in the RAF is two fold. Any army that
tries to operate without the cooperation of an air force is
completely lost. This was shown in Greece in Crete and in France.
I saw it myself in Norway. I saw troops go down the sides of
mountains and be bombed 24 hours a day. They were completely
helpless. Our primary task is to be ready when our army is ready
to send out an expeditionary force. Then we will begin to wipe the
Germans out of the sky. We look forward to nothing so much as
This war is a grim business, but you can get a
lot of fun out of it. I started out with 39 other air force men.
Now there are only three left. Only a few of them are prisoners of
war. One of the things the Germans canít understand about us is
the careless way we speak of our buddies who have been killed. We
have to speak that way. If we kept thinking of them, we couldnít
He also intimated at the change of
tactics since the Battle of Britain
We are rapidly arriving at numerical equality
with the German Air Force. I donít think we have arrived there
yet, but we have the superiority in the air. Last year the air
battle line was over Britain. Now it is over France, well pushed
back. Our boys have to go over there for a fight now. Air
superiority canít be decided in a day and stay in the same
position for a week. It changes every day.
The course goes well for Reg:
3rd November 194
Nothing but work
and more work...we have had a few examinations and my average is
85%......I have arranged for you to receive a parcel of food etc.
There was a small printed slip with
REMINDED THAT IT IS NOT PERMISSIBLE TO RECEIVE A PARCEL OF
RATIONED GOODS OR OF FOOD (WHETHER RATIONED OR UNRATIONED)
FROM OVERSEAS, UNLESS IT REPRESENTS A GENUINELY
UNSOLICITED GIFT RECEIVED ON AN ISOLATED OCCASION
Reg returns to 210 Squadron
Reg returns to the UK and goes back to 210 Squadron
having passed his Specialist Navigation Course with 85% top mark for
210 Squadron were now fully equipped
with Catalina flying boats.
1. Taken from CB 04050/42(6) Monthly Anti-Submarine Report
2. Taken from CB 04050/41(9) Monthly Anti-Submarine Report
page last updated:Monday 22 December 2008