In Celebration of

Norman Leonard Baker

08 April 1924 -  02 October 2017

It is with deep sadness that we announce the death of Norman Leonard Baker who passed away peacefully on 2 October 2017

Condolences 

(4 of 4)


Martin Baker (Son)

Written on 04 October 2017 from GX

We will all miss you so much. Thanks for being a great Dad. Remembering all the happy times. Martin.


Martin Baker (Son)

Written on 05 October 2017 from Winterborne Stickland

There will be a funeral service at Chiltern Crematorium near Old Amersham on Tuesday 17th October at 2.45pm, and afterwards at the Kings Arms Hotel in Old Amersham.

There will also be a Celebration of Life Service at St Mary's, Winterborne Stickland on Saturday 4th November at 2.30pm, and afterwards at the Crown Inn.

If you would like to come to either service, please contact gxmartinbaker@hotmail.com or 01753-888121, just so we have an idea of numbers.


Andrew Budd (Godson)

Written on 07 October 2017 from Hastings

So sorry to hear of Norman's passing. My condolences to the family.
Norman was a very good friend to my late father Ron Budd - my mother will be saddened to hear the news. God bless. Andrew


Mark Abbott (former student at Hardye's School)

Written on 02 November 2017 from Folkestone, Kent

Norman Baker taught me on the 'O' Level Physics course at Hardye's in the mid 1970s. I was struggling with the subject at that time. He finally got me to understand what equations were all about in Physics and how to visualize them graphically. As a teacher of Physics myself for the past 30 years I often think about how he helped me to progress in the subject and to appreciate the huge role that teachers have to play in the lives of their students. Norman took this responsibility very seriously indeed - he will live on in our memories.

Life Stories 

(1 of 1)


Martin Baker (Son)

Written on 04 October 2017 from GX

Norman Leonard Baker born 8th April 1924 in Liverpool. He married Caryl Dickinson on the 23rd April 1955 (St George’s Day) in St Mary’s Church, Walton-on-the-Hill, Liverpool. They met in 1941, so took 14 years to get around to getting married.

Norman started life at the Baker family home in Ronald Street and then Sandstone Road, Liverpool. The family moved to Stoneycroft Crescent when Norman was about five. His early days at school included attending Lister Drive Primary School. As a youngster Norman was keen on trains, Meccano, biking, Scouts, Boys Brigade, and fire spotting. From 1935 he was at Liverpool Collegiate School, from 12th September 1935 to 23rd July 1943 and in the 6th form from September 1939 to July 1943, so left school aged 19 and was head boy. He gained his School Certificate in Maths, Physics, Chemistry, English literature and language, Latin, French & German. He gained his Higher School Certificate in French & German and English Language & Spanish.

Norman was an Instructor with the Boy Scouts Association and during the war was in the OTC, ATC and Liverpool Defence Cadets. He also did his Scoutmasters training course.

He was accepted to Cambridge for degree studies in modern languages. Norman first decided on teaching as a career while at school, but joining the Army in 1943 and then a 27 year Army career interrupted this. He also became an Army Hockey Association Umpire.

Norman was an Officer in the Royal Signals 1943-1970 (27 years) and was commissioned in April 1945 very close to the date of his 21st birthday.

Army career : Norman joined the Army in 1943 and was commissioned April 1945 and retired in 1970 as a Major (acting Lt. Colonel), Royal Signals – he served in India, Singapore, Malaya, Egypt, Libya, the Canal Zone / Suez, Berlin, Yemen, Cyprus, as well as UK (eg Harrogate, Catterick, MOD London, Blandford Camp, and Northern Ireland). His basic training was in the Lake District, and just after joining up he was attached to 9th Armoured Division in Morpeth and was involved in running a telephone exchange as well as being involved with the local Scouts.

• 1943-1944 OTB Catterick (Operators Training Battalion).
• 1944 9th Armoured Division Signals.
• 1944 pre-OCTU, Wrotham, nr Sevenoaks, Kent. Wrotham Camp was a group of Nissen huts overlooking the Pilgrims' Way in Kent. Wrotham was a pre-OCTU unit (Officer Cadet Training Unit), and the course was designed to weed out the weaklings before the OCTU itself. It was deliberately tough and recruits wore denims the whole time (denims were the army's working overalls, and consisted of heavy, baggy battle-dress), along with full webbing kit, belt and shoulder-straps; all of this, plus boots, had to be kept spotlessly clean in an exceedingly muddy camp. Recruits had to "double" everywhere, even when alone, and certainly as a squad. They also had to endure things like doing an assault course while the instructors fired live bullets over their heads using a Bren Gun. Up to 10,000 recruits were at Wrotham at any one time, and they lived in Nissen huts.
• 1944-1945 at 150 Officer Cadet Training Unit (OCTU) at Catterick.
• 1945 sailed on the Queen of Bermuda to India.
• 1946-1946 66 (B) Line Troop, T L of C Sigs (?).
• 1946-47 based in Singapore & Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
• 1946 (November) at 66 British Line Section, Malaya Commands Signals SEAC.
• 1947 sailed back to the UK once again on the Queen of Bermuda.
• 1947-1948 Boys Squadron, Royal Signals.
• 1948-1951 at the Army Apprentice School/College, Harrogate.
• 1951 with AA Command & 5 AA Group, Nottingham.
• 1951-1954 he was with 1 Infantry Division Signal Regiment Tripoli (Libya) and Canal Zone. At some point, as a Captain in the Royal Signals he was at HQ 1st Guards Brigade, MELF 27 (Middle East Land Forces) – I assume this was in Suez or Egypt or Libya and was at MELF 10. He was certainly a Captain by 1951 though I am not sure when he attained this rank.
• 1953 Coronation Parade, Adjutant Royal Signals Marching Contingent.
• 1954-1956 44 Signal Regiment TA, Hammersmith. This was at 44 (HC) Infantry Division Signal Regiment (TA) at Stamford Brook Ave, London.
• 1956-1958 Berlin Signal Squadron.
• 1958-1961 He was Adjutant and Squadron Commander, 8th Signal Regiment, Catterick. He was promoted to Major around this time.
• 1962-1965 with 99th Signal Regiment, Cyprus - included a posting as Detachment Commander to Aden during 1962/1963 where it is rumoured he was in charge of a spy listening post who’s task it was to listen in on all Russian radio communications. In Cyprus, 1963-1965 Norman was based at Four Mile Point camp near Famagusta, and was famous for being the Office in Charge of the building of a loo block called ‘Bakerloo’.
• 1965-1967 MOD, DI24, SO2 at Pall Mall, Whitehall.
• 1967-1969 School of Signals, Blandford, Dorset SO2 Engineering Wing.
• 1969-1970 40th (Ulster) Signal Regiment TA, Clonaver Park, Belfast - Training Major.
• 1st September 1970 retired from the Army after 27 years of service.

Norman had two particular long term Army friends. The first was Ron Budd. They met up at a number of Royal Signals training establishments prior to their OCTU in 1944-1945, and were at Wrotham Camp together, at OCTU in Catterick together, and in Kuala Lumpar, Malaysia together at one point, though in different units. The other was John Boyne who was in the REME, and they met in the Canal Zone in 1955; John is still in touch, though sadly Ron died early in 2017.

Norman received five service medals : The Burma Star (given to those who served wartime service in Burma, parts of India and Malaya), The Defence Medal, The 1939-1945 War Medal, and two operational tour medals : General Service Medals with The Canal Zone (Suez) and Northern Ireland clasps.

Teaching career : Norman was later a Science Teacher, and became an adult student at Weymouth College of Education 1970-72. He then worked at a number of schools in Dorset, including Gillingham, Shaftesbury, Sherborne Girls (St Aldhelm’s School) and then from 1975 at Hardye’s School in Dorchester. Caryl (1926-2008) was also an English teacher and graduate of Liverpool University (BA English).

Norman and Caryl bought ‘Greenbank’ in Winterborne Stickland near Blandford in Dorset in December 1969 as a ‘stop-gap’ family home while Norman was in Northern Ireland 1969-1970. However they stayed there until 2008 when Caryl died, and Norman continued to live the there until March 2015 at which point he moved to a Residential Care Home called Mulberry Court in Chalfont St Peter, Buckinghamshire, where he spent a very happy and comfortable two and half years. Norman died peacefully in Mulberry Court his hotel of choice! Norman leaves two sons, five grandchildren, and five great grandchildren.

Photos 

(2 of 2)


Norman on his wedding day in 1955 Norman in 2003