Baker, Edgar Francis (Flight Sergeant, b.1917 - d.1943)
Collection relating to the Second World War service of 403249 Flight Sergeant Edgar Francis Baker, No. 454 Squadron, Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Egypt, Kenya, Sudan, Syria, Iraq, and Crete, 1941-1943.
Collection consists of:
- One blue covered June 1938 issue flying log book with 'Royal Australian Air Force Observer's Air Gunner's and W/T Operator's Flying Log Book', and Flight Sergeant Baker's name written on the cover. The log book spans the period 21 July 1941 to his last flight on 23 July 1943 when he was killed flying out of Derna, near the island of Crete. The log book notes training flights in Australia and Africa and records flights in Douglas DC-2s, De Haviland DG-82 Tiger Moths, Fairey Battles, Avro Ansons, Bristol Blenheims (Mk. IV and Bisley Mk. V variants), and Martin Baltimore Mk. IIIs.
- One red, faux leather covered notebook used as a diary spanning the period 7 September 1941 to 11 April 1942. The diary begins with a nominal roll of members of the No. 10 Course WAGS [Wireless Air Gunners School], with their names, nicknames, state of origin, posting, and a remarks column with sporadic mentions of members' fates. This volume commences with Baker's embarkation from Australia and discusses farewell celebrations in Sydney, then the voyage to the United Kingdom via New Zealand and Panama. It contains detailed descriptions of the voyage, including activities aboard the ship and the process of traveling through the series of lochs regulating water height in the Panama Canal. Following his arrival in the United Kingdom, Baker is transferred to Sleaford (Lincolnshire) for further training. During this period, he consistently notes his boredom and the monotony of his training there. Later in this volume, Baker describes his journey to Egypt. This journey aboard the SS Viceroy of India goes around the south of the African continent, with stops in Freetown and Aden before traveling through the Gulf of Aden to Port Tewfik and Suez. This volume of the diary ends with Baker in Cairo, and descriptions all of the tourist activities he undertakes around Cairo and Alexandria while waiting for a posting.
- One black, faux leather black notebook used as a diary spanning the period 12 April 1942 to 23 February 1943. The diary begins with Baker based in Helwun, just south of central Cairo. During this period in Helwun, most of the diary entries relate to time spent on leave visiting various tourist sites around Cairo and northern Egypt, largely in the area between Cairo and Alexandria. In June 1942, Baker is posted to Kenya, and the diary describes his journey via Suez, Sudan, Aden and his arrival in Nairobi followed by his posting to Nanyuki. During the period between arriving in Kenya and his posting, much time is spent on leave exploring Nairobi and the surrounding areas, meeting various British ex-patriots, and attending lectures. While based in Kenya, Baker undertakes several cross-country training flights, which are described in the diary. The diary ends with his movement from Kenya north back up to Derna, however he travels indirectly, passing briefly through Iraq, Transjordan, Syria, Cairo and Alexandria.
- One black, faux leather black notebook used as a diary spanning the period 24 February to 20 July 1943, with Baker dying three days later. The diary largely discusses lectures, sandstorms on base, and anti-submarine missions. There are three weeks of entries relating to Baker's visit Cairo for medical attention for an undiagnosed illness. He then briefly goes to Alexandria, then flies out to Derna to rejoin No. 454 Squadron. The last few entries in the diary pertain to being put on stand-by for anti-submarine missions around Crete after an Italian submarine is spotted in the area. The final entry mentions a downed plane with an English crew on 20 July 1943.