Roy Baker-Falkner

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Lieutenant-Commander Roy Sydney Baker-Falkner DSO, DSC (Nottingham, 3 June 1916 - missing in action 18 July 1944) was a Canadian pilot who served with the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm during World War II. He was involved in the Dunkirk evacuation and the Battle of Britain. As Wing Leader of No 8 Naval Air Wing, he lead the successful bombing attack on the German battleship Tirpitz in 1944 during Operation Tungsten. He received the Distinguished Service Cross and Distinguished Service Order, and was mentioned in dispatches.

Biography

Roy Baker-Falkner was the son of Reginald Sydney Baker-Falkner and Grace M. Smerdon.[1] Although Canadian, he was born in the United Kingdom where his father was stationed as a soldier during World War I. On returning to Canada, the family settled in Saanich on Vancouver Island. Baker-Falkner went back to the United Kingdom in 1929, and enrolled in Dartmouth Naval College as a Royal Canadian Navy cadet. In 1937 he transferred to the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm and qualified as a pilot a year later. He initially served in the Mediterranean aboard Template:HMS, flying Fairey Swordfish torpedo bombers.[2]

World War II

Baker-Falkner was stationed in England in spring 1940. He took part in the evacuation of troops from Dunkirk and in the Battle of Britain. On secondment to the Royal Air Force, he was involved in mine laying near the German coast, for which he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. From August 1941 to August 1942, he was a pilot instructor in Scotland before becoming commanding officer of 767 Naval Air Squadron. As a test pilot, he was involved in the development of the new Fairey Barracuda dive-bomber. From August 1943, he was commander of 827 Naval Air Squadron; this was the first Royal Navy unit flying the Fairey Barracuda. He next became Wing Leader of No 8 Naval Air Wing, which joined the battlecruiser HMS Furious in the Orkney Islands. On April 3, 1944, Baker-Falkner led No. 8 Naval Air Wing in a successful bombing attack on the German battleship Tirpitz, which was sheltering in in a Norwegian fjord. The attack was part of Operation Tungsten.[2][3]

On 18 July 1944, he flew an anti-submarine patrol over the Atlantic. In bad weather, he failed to return to the fleet. Baker-Falkner and his crew, consisting of observer G.N. Micklem and air gunner A.H. Kimberley, were listed as missing in action.

Roy Baker-Falkner was awarded the Distinguished Service Order on 30 May 1944. He was mentioned in dispatches on 25 July 1944 for his "bravery, leadership, skill and devotion to duty while operating from, or serving in HM Ships during successful strikes at enemy shipping off the coast of Norway".[2]

Further reading

References