Raymond Baxter

The former BBC motor racing commentator Raymond Baxter has died at the age of 84. Baxter was 18 when World War II broke out. He joined the Royal Air Force and became a Spitfire pilot with the celebrated 602 (City of Glasgow) Squadron, rising to the rank of Flight Lieutenant and being mentioned in despatches for his part in Operation Big Ben, when six of 602's Spitfires, converted to carry small bombs, attacked the Bataafsche petrol company in Holland to try to wipe out the headquarters of the German V2 rocket forces, which were the plague of London at the time. At the end of the war the squadron was disbanded and Baxter was sent to Cairo where he ferried Mustangs between the Middle East and India until the war ended. He remained in Cairo and began working in the British Forces radio network between 1945 and 1949 before leaving the services and joining the BBC. An experienced rally driver, Baxter commentated on many different things, including state funerals but became best known for his work in F1 and the Le Mans 24 Hours before handing over motorsport commentary to Murray Walker. From 1965 he was the presenter of Tomorrow's World, a TV show that inspired an entire generation to be interested in technology. He was briefly put in charge of publicity at the British Motor Corporation while still working for the BBC. In later years, he was a key player in the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, the honorary admiral of the Association of Dunkirk Little Ships and honorary chairman of the Royal Aeronautical Society. He was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 2003.

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Stories: SEPTEMBER 16, 2006
RAYMOND BAXTER