Bio / Text:
Raymond Frederick Baxter joined the Royal Air Force in August 1940 and trained as a pilot in Canada. He first flew Spitfires with No. 65 Squadron based in Scotland. He joined No. 93 Squadron RAF, flying over Sicily in 1943, where he was mentioned in despatches. He returned to England in 1944 as an instructor and was later a flight commander, returning to active service with No. 602 Squadron RAF in September 1944.
On 18 March 1945, he took part in a daring daylight raid on the Shell-Mex building in The Hague, which was then the German headquarters for V-1 and V-2 attacks on southern England. The commander of the raid, Max Sutherland, received a bar to his DFC and the other four pilots, including Baxter, were mentioned in dispatches.
In an interview about his wartime career, Baxter described flying over a V-2 rocket site during a launch on 14 February 1945, and his wingman firing on the missile: "I dread to think what would have happened if he'd hit the thing!"
He later flew North American Mustang and Douglas Dakota aircraft for a year, then worked in Forces Broadcasting from 1945 to 1949, based in Cairo and then Hamburg, becoming its deputy director. He was demobbed in 1946 as a flight lieutenant.
He joined the BBC in 1950, and had a long and distinguished broadcasting career, providing radio commentary on the funerals of King George VI in 1952 and Sir Winston Churchill in 1965, the former commentary given while suspended from the ceiling of Westminster Abbey. He also reported at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. He presented coverage of the Farnborough Airshow from 1950 to 1986, and is probably best known for his 12 year stint as the presenter of science show Tomorrow's World.
He died 15 September 2006 at the age of 84 at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading, close to his home in Henley-on-Thames.