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Jack Baker, Last surviving Veteran of Maleme

Article about: by Adrian Stevenson Hi Sean, welcome ! And thanks for the post. Cheers, Ade. Thank you, I hope it will be of interest

  1. #1

    Default Jack Baker, Last surviving Veteran of Maleme


    Last night I had the honour to have dinner with a 96 year old man who,s name is Jack Baker. Jack was in the RAF at Maleme during the invasion of Crete by the Germans. He was coming off guard duty when the Luftewaffe started strafing the airfield prior to the landing of the gliders. My friend Sean is going to join the forum and carry on with this thread and give you an insight into the story of this incredible man. Watch this space
    Last edited by Ben Evans; 05-27-2012 at 09:06 AM.

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    Default Re: Jack Baker, Last surviving Veteran of Maleme

    Looking forward to it Ben, i have read The Battle of Crete and Cretan Runner this year a very interesting Battle, did you go to Kontomori on your travels? There was a massacre of civilians in that village, they were suspects of butchering German parachutists whilst still in their harnesses. I sent Sean some pics a while back taken by the Bundes Archive taken at the time of the massacre.


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    Default Re: Jack Baker, Last surviving Veteran of Maleme

    Steve, it is the next village along from my friend Seans, mate there are memorials all over Crete to people who were executed by the Germans, the one in Kontomari is one of the books, shows a sequence of events pics of the execution, I will try and dig it out.

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    Default Re: Jack Baker, Last surviving Veteran of Maleme

    Looking forward to this thread, thanks Ben.

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    Default Re: Jack Baker, Last surviving Veteran of Maleme

    Interesting. Very much looking forward to it, Ben.

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    Default Re: Jack Baker, Last surviving Veteran of Maleme

    Before I start I would like to make one correction, & that is that Jack is not the last surviving veteran of Maleme. However he was the only British veteran of the Maleme battle to attend the 71 anniversary this year.

    Jack Baker was an airman on 30 Sqn Royal Air Force, stationed on Maleme airfield, his trade was Survival equipment fitter.

    I will start Jacks story on the morning of the 20th of May 1941. He had just finished his guard duty & was heading to the mess tent for breakfast when the morning hate as it was known came. This was the name given to the German air forces low lever strafing, & bombing that had become part of everyday life for the allied troops stationed on Crete. He ran to take cover in a trench some meters N of the Tavronitis bridge, once safe there he noted that this was not like the previous days attacks. As soon as the aircraft had passed he tells of the shock, & poor visibility (smoke & dust) caused by the bombing, it was then that he saw the gliders landing in the riverbed. He describes how both RAF & NZ forces, engaged the Germans as they excited a glider to there front, from his memory none got out. At some point a NZ Sgt told Jack to join other RAF personnel on hill 107, he says that the RAF personnel were never made part of the defense of Maleme, in his words a very poor decision by the O/C . With no RAF aircraft to service, & no clear orders as to what to do Jack made the decision to get back to the RAF HQ in Hania. So along with his mate Bert, they grabbed, some tinned fish, & bread ditched there gas masks to make room for there rations & started to walk E in the direction of Hania. The distance to Hania was more than 20Ks, & keeping inland & staying of the main roads due to German aircraft he knew it was going to take some time. I will leave it there for now & post the next installment in a day or 2.


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    Default Re: Jack Baker, Last surviving Veteran of Maleme

    Great stuff.
    I think this thread is going to totally re-define the word "cliffhanger."

    Best Regards,

    Best Regards,


    [/COLOR][CENTER][COLOR=#ff0000][SIZE=3]URGENTLY LOOKING FOR: 1982 era Argentine military issue goggles. Fravida 109, and "Sanbuee" French lens type

    [/SIZE]Have a look at my 20+ (so far, work in progress) albums for lots of M1's, rare liners and other stuff, including WW2British helmets, Falklands battlefield pickup helmets and let me know what you think!

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    Default Re: Jack Baker, Last surviving Veteran of Maleme

    Good one Sean, pleased you have made a start mucker I have made enquiries about the Regt Museum visit, I will update you as and when I hear owt

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    Default Re: Jack Baker, Last surviving Veteran of Maleme

    Hi Sean, welcome ! And thanks for the post.

    Cheers, Ade.
    Had good advice? Saved money? Why not become a Gold Club Member, just hit the green "Join WRF Club" tab at the top of the page and help support the forum!

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    Default Re: Jack Baker, Last surviving Veteran of Maleme

    Jack & Bert made there way through the olive groves & cultivated land, keeping the white mountains to there right & the sea to there left. They came under fire from time to time never sure if it was from friend or foe. It was during one such event that Jack lost touch with his mate Bert, (he later found out that Bert was taken prisoner). Now on his own with nothing more than his rifle + 15 rounds of ammunition, the tin of fish & bread he had picked up at Maleme, & wearing only shorts & a shirt Jack pressed on. He did meet up with other allied troops, sometimes they were in large groups & other times in 1 & 2, but he always kept to his plan to rejoin the RAF HQ in Hania. He describes how he came across an abandoned position, & laying there was a wallet containing thousands of Drachmas, next to that was some oranges, he took the oranges & left the money. Jack's next recollection was bumping into a Kiwi who was guarding a German Para, the Kiwi asked Jack if he would take the wounded prisoner to the aid post along the track. Jack agreed & was amazed when the soldier passed onto him his bren gun, amo, & grenades, while informing Jack that the prisoner was a cocky sod. Jack taking no chances bound the Germans hands behind his back & marched him off to the aid post as instructed. Once free of his burden, Jack pushed on, he has no clear memory over how many days these events took, only remembering it took about 4 days to reach Hania. Again on his own he came across 2 Australians, they sat ether side of there dead friend, Jack asked them to join him on his journey to RAF HQ but they would not leave there mate, he spent some time there but knew he had to keep moving if he was ever to reach his own people.
    More to follow Sean

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