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Identifying Crash incident

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Identifying Crash incident

Old 22nd Nov 2020, 23:17
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Identifying Crash incident

Hello, I wonder if any knowledgeable members of the forum can possibly help?

I'm researching the life of a TV Director for a film project which I'm working on and for an associated article about his career & life. One of the interviewees I spoke to, who knew him, recounted an incident during a period he had been in the RAF and involved in a crash, and I hope to verify the story and maybe find out additional information about it. The story was told to him 40 years ago, so I do not know, after all this time, how much is reliable, but below is the information I have been given....

I know subject's name was Christopher Baker. He later became a TV director on shows like 'All Creatures Great & Small', 'The Gentle Touch' and 'Boon', and is known to have joined the BBC around 1957, so I'm assuming the crash happened before then (although there is a 5 year-gap in his employment history between 1962-7, so it is feasible, though unlikely, it occurred in the Sixties).

The interviewee told me the following quote: I do remember him telling me a horrific story about his days as an RAF jet pilot well before his days in tv…I believe he was stationed in Germany and on war practice manoeuvres when his jet plane developed a problem and he had to bail out. The jet crashed but he landed by parachute in a farmers field in the middle of nowhere. He landed badly and broke both his legs and he told me that, unnoticed, he had to crawl as best he could some way across the field to a farmhouse where he got help from a concerned but kindly farmer and his family. Fortunately there were no other casualties.”

That is all I have to go on. Which is pretty scant. Possibly in the 1950s, Possibly in West Germany. All I know for certain is his name was Christopher Baker. Can anyone help narrow the field and suggest a way forward? It would be greatly appreciated if any of that could be verified!

Thank you for your time and help
Stuart



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Old 23rd Nov 2020, 04:37
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You may already have this but it appears that Chris Baker was the director of a couple of the episodes of a 1982 BBC RAF TV drama Squadron.

See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Squadron_(TV_series)

The other names involved in the RAF TV show production might give a lead on someone else who had also heard the bailout story.
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Old 23rd Nov 2020, 11:09
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filmed at RAF Lyneham in Wiltshire in 1982

Originally Posted by Airbubba
You may already have this but it appears that Chris Baker was the director of a couple of the episodes of a 1982 BBC RAF TV drama Squadron.

See: wikipedia.org/wiki/Squadron_(TV_series)

The other names involved in the RAF TV show production might give a lead on someone else who had also heard the bailout story.
He did indeed - two episodes of Squadron, 'One of Our Harriers is Missing' and 'Memorial Flight' - which were filmed at RAF Lyneham in Wiltshire in 1982. Unfortunately, there aren't many of the production crew still alive from that series to ask. It was created by Joe Waters who died in 2013 and script edited by Mervyn Haisman who died in 2010.
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Old 23rd Nov 2020, 12:59
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If he ejected from an aircraft with a Martin Baker seat, it will be recorded in Sarah Sharman's book of her great uncle "Sir James Martin". If it was a Sabre it might not appear.

Beware, I am helping somebody who is being bombarded by a bloke in the US who claims all sorts of things, including ejecting from a Jaguar - the bloke is a Walt however!!!

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Old 23rd Nov 2020, 13:14
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Might seem a bit obvious, but have you asked Martin-Baker?

https://martin-baker.com/ejection-tie-club/
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Old 23rd Nov 2020, 15:05
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You might be able to distill some possible candidates for the accident in question by looking through the relevant years here.
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Old 23rd Nov 2020, 15:32
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Originally Posted by Old-Duffer
If he ejected from an aircraft with a Martin Baker seat, it will be recorded in Sarah Sharman's book of her great uncle "Sir James Martin". If it was a Sabre it might not appear.


Beware, I am helping somebody who is being bombarded by a bloke in the US who claims all sorts of things, including ejecting from a Jaguar - the bloke is a Walt however!!!

Old Duffer
Have had a quick look in the book, and can't find his name appearing at any time up to 1957. There is reference to a Flying Officer 'Boxy' Baker in Duncan Curtis's book on the Sabre in RAF service, but no reference to whether this chap was in fact called Christopher (it appears that he might have been called Bob, in fact), and no reference to his ejecting. It may be best for the OP to surreptitiously find out when he was in the RAF- there were, after all, some aircraft which didn't have ejection seats, so it's not beyond the realms of possibility that he earned caterpillar club membership rather than a MB tie, and was injured on landing.
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Old 23rd Nov 2020, 15:50
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If MB can't help it, might be worth trying to contact those who run the aviation-safety.net database. For many types they have the crew names in the narrative, if the accident occured in flight. They might agree to query the database for you - can't be queried for names from the front end. There is a separate contact form for the press/media
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Old 23rd Nov 2020, 16:09
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Just a quick one, were there any jets that didn't have an ejection seat, or possible multi engine as the OP referred to bail out. This may seem to indicate a canopy push and manual jump.
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Old 23rd Nov 2020, 16:22
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Just a quick one, were there any jets that didn't have an ejection seat, or possible multi engine
As I understand it, the 'Meatbox' Mks prior to the Mk 8 didn't have MBs ... hence Jan Z's reported explanation as to why he was able to perform the 'cartwheel' -"Because I fly the Mk 8 !!!
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Old 23rd Nov 2020, 19:13
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Originally Posted by MATELO
Just a quick one, were there any jets that didn't have an ejection seat, or possible multi engine as the OP referred to bail out. This may seem to indicate a canopy push and manual jump.
Yes, as per my last, I'm wondering if he flew Vampires as there were several squadrons equipped with that in RAFG during the likely timeframe.
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Old 23rd Nov 2020, 21:27
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I remember a Chris Baker who was on the same Ternhill Piston Provost course in 1955/6. He went on to RAF Oakington for the Vampire part of his training in 1956. The course split in half and I went to Vampires at RAF Swinderby. Half way through the course we heard about Chris’s crash landing in a Vampire V in a field after an engine failure and how he saved his legs by putting his feet up on the instrument panel. It could have been his second accident as we heard he had left the RAF after the Vampire V accident. I have a photo of him at Ternhill somewhere in my pile!

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Old 24th Nov 2020, 01:05
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Originally Posted by brakedwell
I remember a Chris Baker who was on the same Ternhill Piston Provost course in 1955/6. He went on to RAF Oakington for the Vampire part of his training in 1956. The course split in half and I went to Vampires at RAF Swinderby. Half way through the course we heard about Chris’s crash landing in a Vampire V in a field after an engine failure and how he saved his legs by putting his feet up on the instrument panel. It could have been his second accident as we heard he had left the RAF after the Vampire V accident. I have a photo of him at Ternhill somewhere in my pile!
This is an amazing turn of events. I couldn't have hoped for a better reply than this! You've genuinely astounded me!
If you could possibly unearth the photo that would be the cherry on the cake!
What an amazing way to verify the story than to hear from someone who remembers it! Tremendous!
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Old 24th Nov 2020, 10:36
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Thanks to your really incredible memory for events, I've been able to find the details of the crash, which apparently occurred on 22nd January 1957. I'm so grateful to you.
If you ever do find that photo it would be brilliant to see. We only have a single image of Chris. He was such an elusive chap (which is precisely why we're trying to research him!)
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Old 24th Nov 2020, 11:18
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Here is my photo B/C. I hope it is the same Chris Baker, taken at RAF Ternhill in 1956.




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Old 24th Nov 2020, 11:33
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You are an absolute STAR. What Can I say except a massive thank you. Genuinely, you've made my year.
I've only seen one photo of him in his mid 40s with a beard, so to see him so young is a pretty amazing thing. This is the best side of the internet, finding someone kind enough to elp like you have.
Thank you Brakedwell.
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Old 24th Nov 2020, 11:49
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BC, you might try a PM to` Vampiredave`,who has written a book about the Vampire ; in it there are several pictures of various Vamps in disarray....but he may well have more if it was in Germany as well....
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Old 24th Nov 2020, 12:11
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Well done all of you so far
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Old 24th Nov 2020, 12:15
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So, student who crashed on take-off from Oakhington in a Vampire FB5 after engine failure and was subsequently let go for medical or other reasons. As opposed to:

"I do remember him telling me a horrific story about his days as an RAF jet pilot well before his days in tv…I believe he was stationed in Germany and on war practice manoeuvres when his jet plane developed a problem and he had to bail out. The jet crashed but he landed by parachute in a farmers field in the middle of nowhere. He landed badly and broke both his legs and he told me that, unnoticed, he had to crawl as best he could some way across the field to a farmhouse where he got help from a concerned but kindly farmer and his family. Fortunately there were no other casualties.”

Still, it would have made a good screenplay.....

Last edited by ORAC; 24th Nov 2020 at 14:17.
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Old 24th Nov 2020, 12:34
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Originally Posted by ORAC
So, student who crashed on take-off from Oakhampton in a Vampire FB5 after engine failure and was subsequently let go for medical or other reasons. As opposed to:

"I do remember him telling me a horrific story about his days as an RAF jet pilot well before his days in tv…I believe he was stationed in Germany and on war practice manoeuvres when his jet plane developed a problem and he had to bail out. The jet crashed but he landed by parachute in a farmers field in the middle of nowhere. He landed badly and broke both his legs and he told me that, unnoticed, he had to crawl as best he could some way across the field to a farmhouse where he got help from a concerned but kindly farmer and his family. Fortunately there were no other casualties.”

Still, it would have made a good screenplay.....
Well, the story of him crashing his jet into a field is perfectly true. And I think him breaking his legs was true as well - Brakedwell did say he only saved them by putting them on the instrument panels, so he could have potentially lost them entirely. The only thing which was wrong was that it happened in Cambridgeshire rather than Germany.
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