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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 March 2006, 10:31 GMT
WWI aircraftswoman dies aged 107
Alice Baker
Alice Baker lived in her own home until she was 104
One of the last surviving women to have served in World War I has died in Norfolk aged 107.

Alice Baker, born in Costessey near Norwich in 1898, joined the Royal Flying Corps at the age of 18 and rose to the rank of Leading Aircraftswoman.

During the war Mrs Baker served as a "doper" in Dover, which involved daubing the canvas wings of biplanes with a lacquer to make them waterproof.

She died in her sleep at her Ditchingham care home last Monday.

Max Arthur, a writer who specialises in first-hand recollections of historical events said her job in the Royal Flying Corps - forerunner of the RAF - was one of the many women had to do during the war.

'Great reverence'

"Women did so much during in WWI - it's almost a forgotten area, and an area that should not be forgotten.

Alice Baker in the Royal Flying Corps
Alice Baker served as a doper in Dover with the Royal Flying Corps

"We should be giving great reverence to this lady and giving her a tremendous funeral and send-off."

After the war, Mrs Baker became a nurse at St Andrew's Hospital in Thorpe before marrying Stanley, a police officer.

Their son Leslie served as a bomber pilot in World War II.

An ardent Chelsea Football Club supporter, she enjoyed the odd tot of brandy and was very much involved in village life in Hempnall, near Wymondham.

In 1993 at the age of 94, Mrs Baker was invited to stand next to the Queen as she cut the cake at RAF Marham during the 75th birthday celebrations of the RAF.

She was honoured with two surprise flypasts by RAF Coltishall squadrons - one to mark her 100th birthday and the other last July for her 107th birthday.

Alice and Stanley Baker
Alice married Stanley, a police officer, after becoming a nurse

Speaking on BBC Radio Norfolk in 1999, Mrs Baker remembered the first bike she had as a child.

"We never had tyres like we did today and the roads were not even - they used to have stones put on them," she said.

"I think a lot has changed, and not all for the better."

Mrs Baker lived in her own home in Hempnall with the support of family and friends until she was 104, when she moved into All Hallow's Hospital in Ditchingham.

Her funeral will take place on Thursday at Hempnall Parish Church.




SEE ALSO:
Great War veteran dies aged 107
07 Feb 06 |  Lancashire
Oldest war veteran reaches 106
25 Jun 02 |  Scotland


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