Bakker DFC, Eduard

Bakker, Eduard (Eddy)

Distinguished Flying Cross

Commander

320 (Netherlands) Squadron, Royal Air Force

Killed in action on Monday 25 October 1943 (aged 34)

Buried:

Orry-la-Ville Dutch War Cemetery, Senlis, Oise, France (Section C Row 1 Grave 9)

Commemorated:

Dutch National Second World War Monument is located in Dam Square, Amsterdam

BIOGRAPHY

Commander Eduard Bakker’s death was reported in the 30 October 1943 edition of the County Down Spectator.  His death had been announced by Lieutenant-Admiral J. Furstner who was the Dutch Minister for Naval Affairs in London.  Commander Bakker’s wife, Dorothy Margaret Bakker (nee Tyrrell, born 25 September 1918), was the elder daughter of Herbert and Dorothy Tyrrell (nee Kirkpatrick) of Marathon, Seacliff Road, Bangor and she was a granddaughter of the late John Tyrrell JP, former High Sheriff of Belfast.  She was also a niece of Air Vice-Marshal William Tyrrell DSO MC.  Margaret Bakker’s uncles, Captain John Marcus Tyrrell and Captain Walter Alexander Tyrrell MC were killed in action during the First World War and they are commemorated on Page 340 in the Book of Honour Remembering Their Sacrifice in the Great War – North Down compiled by Barry Niblock.

The Netherlands Naval Aviation Service (Marine-Luchtvaartdienst; MLD) was the Naval Aviation Branch of the Royal Netherlands Navy and was formed in 1914.  Germany invaded the Netherlands on 10 May 1940 and MLD aircraft were redeployed to France, later going to Britain where Dutch personnel formed 320 (Netherlands) Squadron, initially in the Royal Air Force Coastal Command and later Bomber Command.  Commander Eduard Bakker came to England in 1940 and he met Dorothy Margaret Tyrrell at Pembroke where she was serving as a commissioned officer of the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF).  They were married on 3 January 1941 in Helen’s Bay Presbyterian Church.  The newspaper report indicated that Commander Bakker was one of the first Dutch airmen to be awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and that he had ‘a career of unusual distinction’.  ‘He had active service in France and Belgium, and he helped to rebuild the Netherlands East Indies Air Force’.

After his marriage, Eduard Bakker was tasked with advising the Dutch Government as to what type of war planes they needed and in this capacity he and his wife paid an official visit to Santiago in California to evaluate American aircraft.  During 1941 they made further trips to the United States; on 6 September 1941 they travelled from Glasgow to New York aboard the SS Port Dunedin with their daughter, Wilhelmina Dorothy Margaret, who was born on 9 October 1941 in San Diego, California.  From California the Bakker family travelled to the Dutch East Indies, now Indonesia, arriving just a few days before the attack on Pearl Harbour.  Eduard Bakker served throughout the Japanese invasion and he was evacuated to Australia with his wife and baby daughter on one of the last planes to leave.  From Melbourne, the Bakker family returned to the United States in April 1942 aboard the SS Mariposa and early in 1943 they travelled from New York to the United Kingdom aboard the Rimutaka.  Initially Eduard Bakker was engaged in administrative work before being transferred, at his own request, to operational flying.  He had accumulated more than 5,000 hours of flying time.

Born on 28 March 1909 in Rotterdam, Commander Eduard Bakker was 34 years old when the North American B-25 Mitchell II bomber (FR178) he was flying was shot down over Brest on 25 October 1943.  That day 24 aircraft of 98 and 320 Squadrons RAF had been despatched to bomb the Lanevoc-Poulmic airfield.  Commander Bakker was buried in Orry-la-Ville Dutch War Cemetery in France.  The Dutch National Second World War Monument is located in Dam Square, Amsterdam.