Douglas Walter Baker
Douglas Walter Baker was accidentally killed whilst flying at RFC/RAF Beaulieu, (a flying training school) in Hampshire on 26th October 1918. His parents, Mr and Mrs Henry Baker, lived at 196, Kings Road, Reading. Douglas was their youngest son. Douglas is commemorated on the family grave Number 12830, Berkshire Family History Society classification 7G20. However, his registered war grave is in St. Paul churchyard, East Boldre. Beaulieu flying school was based at East Boldre between November 1915 and 1919.
Details of his career appeared in the Standard 9th November 1918. Douglas joined up in September 1914 and after 5 months training went to France with the 1st/4th Royal Berkshire (Territorial) Regiment in February 1915. After eleven months on active service he was selected because of his previous mechanical training, along with a number of others, to return home and go into the workshops at Farnborough as a 2nd Air Mechanic. He was very quickly promoted to 1st Mechanic. In 1916 he was ill for four months with rheumatic fever. Six months before the end of the war he volunteered for service as an officer in the RAF. Having passed the Central Air Board in London he went for training as a pilot at Hastings, Bristol and Uxbridge. Within three months he was sent to Beaulieu to qualify for his ‘Wings’. On qualifying he would have gained an automatic commission. Tragically it was on eve of finishing his instruction when the accident happened; he had been allocated his service machine .
Douglas Baker was spoken of very highly by his officers and tutors. He was considered to have great promise as a pilot. Douglas was very popular and had many friends. Douglas lost his life so near to the end of the war, however, his parents may have been comforted by the words that concluded the article. “It seems very hard to have one dear to us killed in England, but we must realise that the fact that he was doing his duty to his home and country just as much as the most renowned airman in France”.