Albert Baker – Chemist to Tank Corps legend

Albert Baker was an analytical chemist by profession but after joining the Tank Corps he went on to win two Military Crosses for Bravery.

Albert joined the Derby School Battalion in September 1914 and after a period of training in England, he saw service in France for nearly a year, before returning to England to train for a commission in the Tank Corps, joining the 7th (G) Battalion.

Albert Baker

Capturing the Graincourt gun

At the Battle of Cambrai, the first large-scale use of tanks, Baker was in command of his Mark IV tank ‘Gorgonzola II”. During the advance on the German-held village of Graincourt, the British tanks were sustaining considerable damage from a battery of German field guns.

In partnership with another tank from the company, who destroyed the first gun, Gorgonzola II managed to see off the gun crew and capture the gun intact.

For leading his tank in the face of two German field guns and creating a route for the infantry to push on and capture the village, Albert was awarded a Bar to his Military Cross.

Albert pictured with the captured gun

Albert and his crew "smuggled" the captured German Field Gun back to England and in 1938 it was presented to the 7th Battalion Royal Tank Corps at Catterick.

Baker’s actions at Cambrai and the capture of the Graincourt Gun made him a prominent figure in the Tank Corps.

The gun is now on display as part of the Tank Men exhibition at The Tank Museum.

Cambrai 100

Watch a series of 360 videos to learn how pioneering technology was used to devastating effect in the first large tank attack in history. 

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