A VERY FINE TOUR” THE STORY OF Ft. Lt. GEOFFREY FRANCIS BAKER - DFC and BAR WW2 BOMBER COMMAND PILOT

The Story of Geoffrey Francis Baker Page 5. SYNOPSIS This is the story about an ordinary Australian who went to war and safely returned to his family. This story is not about the politics of war or any other contentious matters which occurred during the conflict, it is about the experience and times of Geoffrey Francis Baker who became a war hero. The story of Geoff Baker is unique to him but the basics of the story can apply to many other military personnel, in fact it could apply to tens of thousands of ordinary citizens who changed their lives and went to war. There appears to be a commonality and a sense of purpose that gripped all during the period of the Second World War. I noticed a similar but smaller coming together of people, without the trauma of war, during the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. Geoff Baker was a Lancaster Bomber pilot for Squadrons 467 and 463 operating within the RAF Group 5 of Bomber Command. He also was a Pathfinder pilot with Squadron 97 in Group 8 and Group 5 of Bomber Command. These airmen were able to understand and follow instructions under difficult circumstances and impossible conditions. They were asked to repeatedly work and operate to the best of their ability as a cohesive team in extreme situations. I often wonder of how I would perform if confronted with the same situations and conclude that I would find it extremely difficult if not impossible to perform adequately. Although Geoff Baker and his like duly undertook the operational and non-operational duties in a proper workmanship like manner they must have felt in their quieter moments the heavy load that had been placed upon their young shoulders. With the mateship and cohesion of the team they carried on with their duties courageously in a selfless and purposeful manner. Bomber Command by their actions were the catalyst that paved the way for the early victory of occupied Europe, unfortunately however, there was a price to be paid. After training to fly heavy bombers in England Geoff Baker went on his first operational bombing trip over Europe in June 1943 he was 23. He was discharged on 10th August 1945 aged 26 with the rank of Flight Lieutenant. He was decorated with two DFC medals for gallantry during flying operations and awarded the prestigious Pathfinders Badge. He flew a total of 54 operations over Europe covering two tours. Within Bomber Command the average survival rate of one tour was 1 in 6(17%) and the average survival rate of surviving two tours was 1 in 40(2.5%).
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