Soldier and banker's business role recognised
Michael Pollitt, obituaries editorA soldier and banker, Col Godfrey Baker, who has died aged 92, was made OBE for promoting British business and commerce in France.He had been sent to France by the then Westminster Bank for one year but ended up staying for more than 20 years, holding a number of increasingly senior posts.Michael Pollitt, obituaries editor
A soldier and banker, Col Godfrey Baker, who has died aged 92, was made OBE for promoting British business and commerce in France.
He had been sent to France by the then Westminster Bank for one year but ended up staying for more than 20 years, holding a number of increasingly senior posts.
Col Baker, who retired to Norwich in 1975, was twice mentioned in dispatches and was awarded the Territorial Decoration.
He had also been stationed at RAF Coltishall during the second world war, where he met and married his wife of almost 67 years.
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Brought up at Cromer, she had joined the WAAF (Women's Auxiliary Air Force) and they were married at Swanton Abbott Church, near North Walsham, in April 1943.
Born in Hampstead in 1917, he went to Haberdashers' Aske's School and then London University. He went to work for the Westminster Bank and in 1938 joined the Territorial Army and was commissioned into the 10th Batt, Royal Fusiliers (3rd City of London Regiment) on July 1, 1939.
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Seconded to the RAF, he served as a navigator for three years in night fighters with 141 Squadron, which was then flying Boulton & Paul Defiants, and later 68 Squadron in Beaufighters and Mosquitos.
He returned to army duties where he landed in Normandy on June 7 (D Day+1) on the beach at Arromaches. He spoke perfect French, good German and a bit of Russian, which was to help his later career in banking.
He later commanded the 625 Mobile Light AA Regiment in the TA until he resigned his commission to move to France, when he became chief accountant with the Westminster Bank in Nantes, before holding a string of senior banking posts around the country. He retired as the bank's chief manager in Paris, having been awarded an OBE for services to British business and expatriates in France.
A keen golfer, he had also founded the British and American Expat-riates' Club in Lyon.
In retirement, he played golf and also fished. He remained active and was still driving at the age of 91.
He still loved spending holidays in France with his children, Sally and Michael. He leaves a widow, Betty, and three grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
A funeral has taken place at St Faith's Crematorium.