New Year Revelry
The sketch shows Reggie with just one half of his
trademark moustache. This was apparently the result of half of
it being shaved off in a mess party. The date of 1.1.44 is
probably a give-away to it having happened on New Year's Eve.
The heading picture of him stood by his Typhoon was
taken in April 1944. He has no moustache.
sketch of Reggie was drawn by Sir William Rothenstein. He became
known for his portrait drawings of famous individuals and was an
official war artist in both World War I and World War II.
(Sir William was £150 by the Government for the portrait)
original is in the RAF Museum at Hendon (FA03555)).
Baker was a tall fair haired handsome character with a typical
flowing RAF wartime moustache and the appropriate call sign of
‘Lochinvar’. He had a happy go lucky personality, full of animated
anecdotes and generous use of clichés using a plethora of words
for ostentation to give splendour to his and our commonplace line
shoots. Wholly extrovert always talking shop like most of us, his
passion for words cared more for the expression for its own sake
rather than substance. It made great and easy enjoyable listening.
him ‘Young Lochinvar', a brave and glamorous knight amongst us. We
all loved his flamboyant personal force and delightful character.
His influence inspired laughter, enthusiasm and confidence and did
much to facilitate a very high standard of morale throughout
the whole of the operational unit, for both air and ground
John G. (Jack) Brown was a pilot with
Appointed Wing Commander
Reg is appointed Wing Commander
193 Squadron - Harrowbeer
From 'A Pride of Eagles:
Wing Commander Baker DFC and Bar arrived to take
command of the Wing on the same day.
In addition to the (Operation) No Ball raids, the
squadron was involved in wide sweeps over France seeking any
target which might offer. These sweeps were known by the
code name Rodeo. The squadron was also required to stand
by to take on any enemy aircraft which might try a daylight
intruder raid on southern England. Often the Squadron was
scrambled, only to find that it was a friendly aircraft or even
that there was nothing at all.
9th January 1944
amount of work to be done here simply appals me - they don`t
seem to have a clue of any description . God knows how they
have managed to live so far - actually they haven't as they
had two shot down whilst I was away - nice greeting on my
return . "
12th January 1944
" ...I am stuck down here with
bad weather . Remember johnny johnson in oban ? . Met him
t`other night in a pub - he was extremely surprised to see me
, could`nt understand why I had left coastal - he has been
doing a desk job for the last year and says he can`t get away
from it ! . Then he wondered why I had left dead beat command
!! . "
13th January 1944
as you can see I am still stuck down here with bad weather .
It really is awful having nothing to do but sit and look at
the rain and the angry sea , my God , it is angry too . There
are a couple of bodies floating just off the rocks here - they
come rolling in at 6o`clock every morning and then roll away
again . "
16 January 1944
From 'A Pride of Eagles:
Four aircraft led by Wing Commander Baker
took off on a small Ramrod operation. The target was a
store, being four large sheds beside a railway at St Theggonneg
four miles (6km) east of Landivisiau. The attack was
low-level using eleven-second delay bombs, and was highly
successful. At least four bursts seen slap on the target,
shattering parts of the buildings and one burst right on two
trains standing in the siding. Bombing height 150 feet.
Rest of trip zero level. No flak.
17th January 1944
as you have probably seen in the newspapers I was out with the
boys on a very amusing show t`other day - it was very good fun
. Haven't yet received the copies of my portrait but they
should be here any day now . "
20th January 1944
I am sending by post the portrait job , I think it stinks but
then one never knows what one really looks like must say it
shook me , I had no idea I looked anything like that !! "
vanity , all is vanity " . Let me know exactly what the
bottler thinks about it - she will probably roar with laughter
if I know my wizard little daughter . `fraid this is very
hurried but I am getting the boys ready for a big show this
afternoon - hope the wily Hun will come up and play for a
change . "
From 'A Pride of Eagles:
Visibility good. Eleven aircraft led by
Wing Commander Baker to Beaulieu at first light with 193
Squadron. Nine aircraft took off from Beaulieu with one of
193, now led by Squadron Leader Lefevre because the wing
commander had a tyre burst.
The following day, ten aircraft with the wing
commander leading, took off from Beaulieu to sweep the Paris
area but on reaching The Needles they were recalled as 50 enemy
aircraft were reported operating and our formation was
considered too small.
2nd February 1944
" I have had the wing away
with me on detachment - quite near your home - in fact about
three miles from where I proposed to you , remember ,
New Forest) . I literally haven't had time to shave
during the last few days , never had so much to do before .
Of course I want the
quiet " family " life when this is all over just as much as
you do . You don`t think I enjoy being away from you or
missing seeing my lovely bottler growing up . I hate it and at
times I feel desperately lonely , that probably sounds strange
, my feeling lonely , but I do very often . At least I know I
am doing this for you and the bottler and no matter what it
costs me I shall fight to my last breath for you . At times
you probably think I am awfully hard , I know I am but I have
to be otherwise I couldn'tt carry on , deep down inside you
understand I know . "
England and the Beachhead
1 February 1944
Wing Commander Reg Baker stands proud amidst his Harrowbeer Wing,
early 1944 (without cap and hands in pocket directly behind Rod
Davidge sitting on left)
Seated from left:- Rod Davidge, Bill Switzer, Johnnie Deall , Jim Darling, squatting n/k.
1st Row:- n/k, n/k, Percy
Beake, Van Vancuylenburg, 193 I/O Dave Beedie, Butch Freakley,
Digger Cotes-Preedy, Jock Inglis, Cass Cassie,
Johnnie Brown, Killy Kilpatrick, Reg
Baker, n/k, Peter LeFevre? [CO 266], n/k, n/k, n/k, Don McGibbon
, Jimmy Haworth , Doug Borland , n/l, n/k, Derek
Erasmus , n/k, 193 M/O Doc Chapman, n/k, 193 Adj Jonah Jones.
2nd Row:- Ned Statters, Gus
Gough, Sac Bilz, Mort Soble, Wally Wallace, spinner, n/k, Ian Ross,
3rd Row:- Mike Bulleid, n/k,
Paddy Pringle, Eddie Richardson, Rob Pratt, [on spinner] n/k, n/k,
n/k, n/k, n/k, n/k, n/k.
All personnel are 193 Squadron unless noted
(n/k = 'not known')
Many thanks to Chris Woodcock for painstakingly
identifying the personnel on this photograph.
On 1st February 1944 during the period
of intense preparation for the Invasion of Europe, No. 146 Airfield
as it was then called, began to form in a Sussex farmhouse on the
edge of Tangmere Aerodrome.
Wing Commander D E Gillam DSO, DFC and
Bar, AFC was responsible for all initial arrangements, though he had
not then been officially posted as Officer Commanding the Airfield.
A number of famous squadrons passed
through the unit during the early stages, including Nos. 183, 193
(Brazilian), 197, 257 (Burma), 263, 266 (Rhodesian) and 609 (West
Riding) until concentration for the assault took place at Needs Oar
Point, Hampshire, in April, when Nos. 193, 197, 257 and 266
Squadrons became the finally posted strength.
Wing Commander Gillam was promoted to
the rank of Group Captain and assumed command of the parent Unit No.
20 Wing, which also controlled Nos. 123 and 136 Airfields.
Wing Commander E R Baker DFC and Bar,
became Commander Flying of No. 146 Airfield with Wing Commander E W
W Willis as Airfield Commander on the administration side.
F/Lt Neville Thomas wrote:
Under the brilliant leadership of Wing Commander
Baker the Wing, operating at first from Tangmere and later from
Needs Oar Point, successfully carried out a wide variety of
missions directed against the enemy whoever he was to be found,
on land and sea, and in the air.
This 'softening process' a prelude to the
Invasion included attacks on a large number of Flying Bomb sites
in the Cherbourg Peninsular and in the coastal area between
Dieppe and the Pas de Calais, over 700 sorties being made
against this type of target alone, during the months of February
March and April.
Source: F/Lt Neville Thomas
7th February 1944
....we have been very busy , had some bad luck too . One chap
was killed yesterday and Peter Le`Evre ( at F.T.S. with me
) was shot down on a show this morning . He was about 30 yards
from me when he went smack in . "
8 February 1944
F/Lt Beake accompanying Reg Baker
‘We were approaching Gael airfield in Brittany right down
on the deck and were actually slightly below the level of the
airfield itself, which is on a hillside. We saw two FWs about to
land and four more further south. Once was just going down but the
other was going round again. I was lucky enough to go in first and
get one which was making another circuit. He rolled over, burst into
flames and spread himself over the field nearby.
Reg would also lay claim to one FW 190
[View the 193 Sqn ORB for this raid]
Two Kills and a Visit
10th Feb 1944
Picture taken on 10 February 1944 of the Harrowbeer Wing pilots, who
had achieved considerable success against the enemy that day.
From left to right: Flying Officer Richardson, Flight Lieutenant
Cassie, Wing Commander Reg Baker, Flight Lieutenant Deall, Flying
Officer Haworth, Flying Officer McGibbon.
Reg led eight Typhoons of 193 and 266
Squadrons on 10 Group Rodeo 80. By the end of the operation
nine enemy aircraft were claimed destroyed and two damaged. On the
approach to Etampes Mondesir aerodrome Reg reported enemy aircraft
on the ground. The Typhoons swept into the attack.
Combat Report W/C
Typhoons 193 and 266 led by W/C Baker
All Typhoons 1b L.R.
Area 10 – 15 miles ESE of Paris
1Do217 destroyed, 1 FW190 destroyed
touch with my No.2 in cloud I found my aircraft icing up and broke
cloud at 700 ft, going down. After having sorted out the cockpit I
suddenly saw a Do217 flying East at 600 feet/200 yards ahead. I
closed to about 70 yards dead astern and below, and tried one short
burst. The e/a burst into flames and I saw it hit the ground. I then
discovered that I was steering east, so I changed my course to WNW
flying at low level through snow flurries. I emerged from one of
these and saw one FW190 flying NNW at 600 feet 500 yards ahead. I
closed to 50 yards astern and slightly underneath e/a, and carried
out the same attack as on the Do217. E/a’s engine caught fire,
aircraft rolled over and I saw it hit the deck in flames. Still
steering WNW in bad snowstorm I suddenly found myself over Paris at
roof-top level, and immediately changed course to NNW. I saw the Arc
de Triomphe from close range, also a game of football going on in a
large stadium. There was no flak at all from Paris. I recrossed
coast at 0 ft 8 miles SW of Le Treport, and eventually landed at
Newchurch very short of petrol, although Shellpink had given me
several vectors around 190 degrees as homing course for English
A full set of combat reports for this
raid can be read [here].
Steven Darlow writes in 'Victory
few days for the Wing. Reggie was certainly working his
airmen hard to meet their objective of depleting the strength of
the German Air Force.
12th February 1944
...sorry I have been so long in writing , but I honestly haven't
had a minute. We have been doing terribly well , destroyed
fifteen and damaged four so far this month . I am feeling very
weary , but we shall probably have a day off soon ."
16th February 1944
" feeling extremely depressed about
today , three of the chaps shot down is not pleasant . Two of `em
were cousins too . Still I suppose that is the way it goes - no
wonder one becomes so hard and callous at times . As yet I
haven’t any more news about my move , as usual I suppose it will
all happen in a terrific rush . "
19th February 1944
" my move as far as the wonderful
air force system knows , will not be until the beginning of next
month . As I told you we lost three of the chaps t`other day ,
two in flames . The third one may well be a prisoner of war , we
can only hope "
28 February 1944
No. 483 GCC
9 March 1944
No. 20 Fighter Wing
Reggie's Typhoon 'Lochinvar'
1944 Wing Commander E R Baker DFC and
Bar becomes Wing Commander Flying of No. 146 Airfield (later changed
to Wing on 11 May)
[View the 257 Sqn ORB for March 1944]
Combat Report P/O
1153 – 1355 hours
Time of attack – approx 1300 hours
1 Ju88 shared - F/Sgt J O Hulley and P/O M R Eastwood
I was on a ranger
Rennes, Gael area flying as Blue 2 at zero feet. We were flying
south of Rennes on a westerly course when I sighted an aircraft, 4
miles away at 2,000 feet on my starboard. I reported same and was
ordered by W/Cdr Baker to attack it.
which I recognised as a Ju88 was flying head on but started turning
starboard there allowing me to turn port onto it. During the turn
enemy aircraft was approx 200 yds and I fired my first burst at 70
degree decreasing to a stern attack and saw strikes on port main
plane and engine which appeared to catch fire. I then broke
underneath e/a, pulled up, made another attack and fired a burst but
overshot. My No.2, Blue 3, went in and attacked a/c from astern. He
fired one long burst and broke away, I then managed to drop back and
fire a final burst at 100 yds closing in rapidly. Aircraft was
burning furiously during this last attack especially starboard
I then watched
e/a and saw one of the crew bale out. The e/a then crashed after
losing height slowly, a column of smoke rising to 1,000 feet. Where
e/a was seen to crash. During attack on the Ju88, flak heavy and
light appeared to be coming from Rennes airfield. The enemy aircraft
put his undercart down during first attack. I then joined up with
the Squadron and returned to base.
One gun used.
20 rounds 20mm per cannon no stops
Total 40 rounds HE/I 40 round SAP/I – Total 80 rounds.
I was Blue 3 to
W/Cdr Baker on the 6/4/44. We were on a Ranger and had just
arrived south of Rennes when Blue 2 (P/O Eastwood) reported an a/c
at 3 o’clock. The e/a was at about 2,000 feet and we were on the
deck. Blue 1 told B” to chase it, and B” and myself broke away,
dropped tanks and climbed to meet the e/a, which was flying towards
us. B2 did a ¼ attack onto the JU88’s (identified) port, closing
right up to it. He then broke away, and I came in and attacked. I
saw strikes on his tail, and allowed a bit more deflection, and got
better results, seeing strikes up forward and on the engines. It had
been badly hit by Blue 2, and as I broke away I noticed the
starboard engine blazing, and the port engine smoking well. Blue 2
then attacked again, and the Ju88 sailed down eventually and
flipping into the deck, where it sent up a very thick column of
The Ju88 had
lowered his u/cart just as B2 made his first attack. One of the crew
baled out after my attack. His parachute opened. There was a lot of
heavy flak from Rennes aerodrome, and I think from Rennes itself.
The CO S/Ldr Holmes silenced an AA post which was firing in the
direction of Blue 2 and myself when we were attacking. The Ju88 did
not return fire, and only carried out diving and slight evasive
One gun used
50 rounds 20mm per cannon. No stops
Total 25 He/I 25 SAP/I Total 200 rounds.
[View the 257 Squadron ORB for this raid]
Dinner with General Eisenhower
On this Friday evening
Reg attended a formal dinner in the
Hotel, Chichester where
General Eisenhower was the guest of honour. The dinner was
attended by nine Air Chief Marshals, Air Marshals or Air vice
Marshals and 52 other senior officers. Air Chief Marshal
Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory presided with Wg Cdr D Walker as Mr
Besides Eisenhower and
Leigh-Mallory other well known officers included
Sir Arthur Tedder, 'Sailor'
Malan, 'Johny' Johnson, Sir Arthur Cunningham, Freddy Rosier,
Harry Broadhurst, Roly Beaumont and John Cunningham.
They dined on Filet de
Boeuf a la Americaine and Christmas Pudding.
Eisenhower gave an
after-dinner speech and flew back to his Headquarters at Bushy Park
the next day.
He and Air Chief
Marshal Leigh-Mallory sent to the officers mess a couple of boxes of
cigars which they hoped would be found acceptable.
[View the seating plan]
A Days Work
29 April 1944
On April 29th 1944 I was stationed at Needs Oar Point
airfield near Beaulieu with 197 Squadron, 146 Wing, Tactical Air
Force, when we were first called at 4.30am.
Needs Oar Point
At that time we were under canvas and breakfast was taken
before reporting to the briefing tent.
197 Squadron was a Typhoon fighter bomber squadron and we
were given our first mission of the day as a Ramrod[a]
over France , however the weather was bad over
France, and we turned back, the bombs being dropped on a
We returned about 7am and were told to remain on standby.
About 7.45 the Wing formed up for a formation flight to
Harrowbeer Airfield, north of Plymouth. On arrival we were
told to go to the mess for breakfast and then report for
Later that morning we were told that our target was Morlais
in the Brest Peninsula. It seemed that a number of vessels
were moored in that area. I was Wing Co Baker's No. 2 and
we took off and flew low-level before sighting the French coast
at which point the Wing climbed to 12,000 feet, proceeded inland
and then turned for our attack on the ships, and the quickest
way home. We then mad a dive bombing attack on the ships
moored below, before pulling out at 1500 feet doing about 550
knots (632 mph, 1020 kph).
I recorded in my log book of seeing one direct hit and two
near misses, the rest of the Wing followed and we formed up for
a low level flight in Battle formation for our return journey to
No aircraft were lost although there had been plenty of light
flak and also balloons to cope with.
Back at Harrowbeer we were told to remain on standby.
However, no further orders came through and we returned to Needs
Oar Point the following morning.
[a] during World War II, long-range
strategic bombing strikes over continental Europe from bases
in England were known as "Ramrod" missions)
Typhoon Readiness (source unknown)
Pilots moved through three stages
of readiness in preparation to scramble.
1st Stage: 15 minutes readiness for
2nd Stage: Dispersal readiness with
parachute in the cockpit for one hour.
3rd Stage: Cockpit readiness.
Under conditions of cockpit
readiness the pilots were strapped in the cockpit , the engine was
kept warm and everything was switched on ready for immediate start
up and take off. When the Tannoy loudspeaker system called for that
section to scramble the pilots simply pressed the buttons to
activate the Coffman starter and opened up the throttle, taking off
across the grass and runways in the direction the aircraft was
pointing. At the same time red Verey lights were fired from the
dispersal hut and the control tower to warn other aircraft that a
section was scrambling.
It was a matter of Squadron pride
to be airborne within seconds and there were some dramatic take
offs. One of the most interesting I saw was a pilot who had
unknowingly selected "flaps down". His flaps were coming down as he
raced across the 'drome and he finally took off with full flap. He
worked out what had happened shortly afterwards, pulled the flaps up
too quickly and almost squashed into the ground. The readiness
programme was carried out between offensive operations later on by
all pilots and when the Squadron was away on a mission by the pilots
who were not on that particular mission.
intervention of the tactical air Forces, especially the
rocket-firing Typhoons was decisive. They came down in hundreds
firing their rockets at the concentrated tanks and vehicles, we
could do nothing against them".
General von Luttwitz Commander 2nd Panzer Division
"We feared the
Typhoons most of all, these aircraft continued to attack a target in
spite of heavy ground fire causing complete devastation, coming
around again and again It created a low morale from which we never
recovered, I was lucky to survive, the only possible means of escape
was to get out of our tank and run".
An Ex. German Tank Commander visiting the Typhoon and Tempest
Museum, Shoreham, England talking to the Curator, Ken Rimell
The title of the No.146 Airfield was
changed to 'Wing' and that of the parent to 'Sector'.
F/Lt Neville wrote:
It was obvious
that the vast Armada necessary to transport the Invasion forces,
must achieve complete surprise in order to make a successful
landing on the shores of France and so the fait went forth -
Radar Installations from Cap de la Hague to Cap Gris Nez must be
destroyed! This formidable task was allotted to Nos. 123
and 146 Wings.
By Reg Baker's
146 Wing alone, over 400 sorties were made despite the intense
flak guarding these vital points, the attacks were pressed home
to point blank range.
As is now known
these missions were entirely successful and on June 6th the
Invasion was launched and covered by continuous air patrols,
landed on the shores of Normandy while unsuspecting enemy broke
[View the 146 Wing & 257 Sqn ORB for May 1944]
It's a boy!
Reginald Baker, son of Reg and Norma was born in Abingdon Berkshire.
Reg wrote from 146
Wing C/o GPO Beaulieu, Nr Brockenhurst saying how pleased he was
that Norma had given him a son on Empire Day.
To Mrs E.R. Baker
From 146 Wing
c/o G.P.O. Beaulieu
Nr Brockenhurst .
" ..have managed to ring up three
times to ask how you both are - very pleased and relieved to hear
that all is well . Do you realise what you have done ? Presented
me with a son on Empire Day - seems to me I first met a certain
tall attractive blonde in dark glasses for the first time on
Empire Day 1939.
Have been trying very hard to come
and see you and the bottler too but I simply cannot make it .
Received a wonderful large coloured picture of the bottler . I
have had it framed and labelled " The Baker Bottler " and it sits
in front of me and watches me working at the desk .
P.s. Could you use a book on " how to fly " for Steve yet ? . Feel
it is probably a bit early !!! . "
(Reg and Norma met for the first time
on Empire Day 1939 at Thorney Island.)
D Day Invasion
5 June 1944
Flying Officer S J Eaton (257 Squadron)
On 6 June we knew the invasion was
on. The day before we came back from a dive-bombing trip and later
we went out again from Tangmere where we’d landed to search for
Squadron leader Ross of 193 Squadron who had baled out over the
Channel just south of the Isle of White. We couldn’t find him but we
were flying across in a long line, searching the sea, when we
suddenly became aware of all these boats, hundreds and hundreds of
boats, as far as the eye could see. It was an incredible picture and
our Wing leader, Reg Baker, called up and ordered R/T silence ‘ . .
. not another word until you land.’ So when we got back he said,
‘Well, obviously you know tomorrow’s D-Day’ – and that was it.
Flight Sergeant A Shannon, (257
Squadron) commented on the scene set by Reg Baker on the eve of
Wing Commander Baker . . . got us
all together on the evening of the 5th and said the possibility is
that I won’t be with you here tomorrow and many of you may not be
here tomorrow – but it’s going to be a great day for all of us.
Circumstances rather overtook us and we were quiet rather than
thrilled or emotionally affected by it, more or less
6 June 1944
The squadron Operations Record Books of Reg Baker's 146
Wing describe their action:
Greatest day in our lives - Invasion Day. All the boys in
readiness at 0430 roaring to go but nothing doing for us in the
morning and we waited round for a show, listening to all the news
broadcasts etc. In the afternoon the first show was laid on and
the boys clobbered some tanks - nice work. Another `op' was laid
on but there was no joy in this as no targets were found. Packed
up about 2200 hours everyone feeling pretty tired and ready for
At last the day for which we have all been waiting has arrived.
All last night our aircraft were over France in great numbers. At
first light we had the honour to share with 266 Squadron two
bombing shows on territory later to be occupied by our own troops.
Both shows were successful. Our show was led by S/Ldr Taylor
leading one section and W/C Baker the other. We all waited
hopefully for the return of the aircraft to find out how the big
show was going on. Our hopes were raised when we were told of how
everything appeared to be going smoothly the other side. Squadrons
from the Wing attacked targets for our forces a11 today. Later in
the day our squadron once again started sorties against ground
targets. Good results were seen in all cases. Tanks, MT and dumps
were attacked along with anything else which may have been of use
to the enemy. We finished our work late in the evening just as the
night bombers were again going out.
Der Tag - but ours. Not such a heavy programme as anticipated, but
almost all our pilots ranged over the beachhead once, and to the
south seeking and attacking enemy transport. Shelling from our
warships was visible as spasmodic flashes, no Hun aircraft were
seen by any of our chaps, but Spits and Thunderbolts, patrolling
over the massed shipping in the Bay du Seine approached our
formations enquiringly several times, but sheared off as
recognition dawned. A fairly successful bag of assorted transport
including tanks, trucks and staff cars were `britched up'
and a tented Hun camp was strafed. The occupants of one staff car
tumbled out and sought shelter in a chateau. This was promptly
demolished by a direct hit with a 500 lb bomb. There was little
flak opposition in all these prangs.
D-Day, everybody tense. Boys over the beaches when first landings
were made, a wonderful sight. Sgt Mitchell crash-landed on the
beachhead. No activity during the afternoon.
After D-Day 146 Wing Typhoons roamed inland of the beachheads
attacking gun positions and MT, bombing troop concentrations in
woods and villages, bombing enemy HQs, and carrying out armed recces.
193 Squadron's Operations Record Book 11 June:
Plenty of Hun transports found and attacked.'
197 Squadron's Operations Record Book 10 June:
Several vehicles and a gun and trailer "bought it" while other
transport were left smoking. Strikes were obtained on about 12
transports in all. Very good show!
197 Squadron's Ken Trott describes what a typical armed recce was
It was usually four or eight of us being led over France, from
this country in the early stages. Over France what sort of height
we would fly at depended on who was leading. We would be looking
for targets, usually MT or tanks. When a target had been selected,
whoever was leading would give an indication of what it was and we
would then go in line astern or spread out a bit depending on what
If it was a road convoy then obviously there were several
vehicles. You would be in battle formation anyway, which would be
four aircraft spread out, and the other four would come in behind.
You would go in and attack the target and hopefully blow up the
transport. We usually carried a couple of bombs and of course we
had our 20 mm cannon, using either depending on what the target
You could be told of the target in the air. Whoever was leading
could be called up on the radio and given a map reference. But
generally after D-Day an armed recce was going round an area, Caen
generally, looking for anything that was likely to move.
But of course despite operating virtually free of Luftwaffe
intervention, there was still considerable danger to the low flying
fighter-bomber pilots of the tactical air forces. Flak was the main
opposition; some pilots force-landed, some used the emergency
landing strips, some had to bale out and others were seen to go down
in their aircraft. Losses would rise.
A few days into the invasion Reg wrote
to Ann from Needs Oar Point it would be his last letter....
Royal Air Force
Army Post Office
Ann, my darling
I received a very newsy letter from
you this morning, it was like a breath of spring, no war, nobody
being killed, just a picture of quiet home life.
I had hoped to see you before this
assault on Europe started, but it couldn’t be so; nor shall I be
able to see you before going to the other side. Try not to worry I
am doing the job I have always wanted to do and I am very happy
This is very short because I have
so much to do. I will let you know as often as I can that I am
alright – always remember no news is good news.
God bless you and keep you safe and
All my love
[View the 257 Sqn ORB for June 1944]
Reggie's daughter Helen in 1944
[to 16 June 1944
page last updated:Monday 22 December 2008
Table of contents detailing updates added
RAF Lasham 1942-48 - a project by
Trinny. Please click
here to view
Victory Fighters: The
Veterans' Story - Winning the Battle for Supremacy in the Skies
Over Western Europe, 1941-1945
By Stephen Darlow
Fighters is largely a collection of eye-witness accounts of the
struggle that raged in the skies over occupied Europe after the
Battle of Britain. Reg Baker is one of the six featured pilots.
Stephen Darlow has been a major
support and contributor to this website do please visit the
website of this excellent Military Aviation author.