Tommy Baker, who served in Italy and northwest Europe during the Second World War as a trooper, was injured twice during conflict. (Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff)

WATCH: WWII veteran celebrates 97th birthday in Red Deer

A veteran of the Second World War who lives in Red Deer has turned 97.

Retired trooper Tommy Baker’s birthday was celebrated with the help of a parade featuring emergency and military vehicles, and the presentation of a quilt of valour on Saturday at Timberstone Mews.

Born in Pierson, Man., and raised in Calgary, Baker served with the Calgary Tanks regiment, which is now called the King’s Own Calgary Regiment, in Italy and northwest Europe during the war.

In 1943, Baker suffered shrapnel injuries in his right thigh and right shoulder after being blown off his motorcycle by a German anti-tank artillery gun.

“I was 18 or 18 and a half when I was wounded. I’m lucky – I was wounded twice,” Baker said.

Baker said he didn’t know there would be such a large celebration for his birthday.

Sandee Baker, the veteran’s daughter, said she teared up after seeing her father’s smile as he watched the vehicles in the parade pass by.

“It was a spectacular turnout,” she said, adding she’s proud of her father.

“In COVID times, it’s tough to celebrate and this was beyond my wildest dreams.”

Retired Major Patricia Murphy, president of The King’s Own Calgary regiment, kickstarted the birthday celebration.

A vehicle parade was held for a 99-year-old veteran in Calgary, and Murphy knew Baker’s birthday was coming up, so she wanted him to enjoy a procession as well. She contacted members of the Royal Canadian Artillery 78th Field Battery in Red Deer, who then put the event together.

“It’s really, really heartwarming, and I do hope that Tommy feels the love. These guys who came out volunteered. They want to be here and they wanted to honour him and his service,” said Murphy.

Murphy said she hopes younger people look at veterans such as Baker and become more interested in helping others.

“Second World War veterans … went overseas to fight for the liberties of people who they didn’t even know, risking their lives – that’s selflessness.”

Second Lt. Jason Taylor, with the 78th Field Battery, said the regiment was honoured to thank Baker “for his years of service to our country.”

“Today’s been a very moving experience. To not only see the organizations that have come together, but to see the community come out in recognition of Mr. Baker – I don’t know if words can really describe the sentiment of the air today,” said Taylor.



sean.mcintosh@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Second World War veteran Tommy Baker watches a vehicle parade celebrating his 97th birthday on Saturday, as personal care attendant and longtime friend Sheila Free puts her arm around him. (Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff)

Tommy Baker, who served in Italy and northwest Europe during the Second World War as a trooper, was injured twice during conflict. (Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff)

A photo of Tommy Baker during the Second World War. Contributed photo

Just Posted

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney arrives for an announcement at a news conference in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Inquiry into oil and gas foes to deliver report next year: Kenney

CALGARY — An inquiry into who is funding environmental opposition to the… Continue reading

Whatever snow may possibly fall in Red Deer on the weekend will melt when it hits the warm ground, says meteorologist Kyle Fougere with Environment and Climate Change Canada. (File photo by ADVOCATE staff)
Weather expected to get warmer next week in Red Deer

It’s going to be a cold weekend, according to Environment Canada. Saturday… Continue reading

Retired city manager Craig Curtis will argue for keeping the Molly Banister Drive right-of-way at Tuesday's public hearing. He warns of future gridlock if the extension is removed by city council. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
Former Red Deer city manager warns killing the Molly Banister Drive extension is ‘a terrible mistake’

Craig Curtis will argue for keeping the road alignment at next week’s public hearing

Alberta has 3,651 active cases of COVID-19. (File photo)
432 new COVID cases sets another record Friday

Central zone holds steady at 126 active cases

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. NDP leader John Horgan and B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau. (Black Press Media)
VIDEO: One day until B.C. voters go to the polls in snap election defined by pandemic

NDP Leader John Horgan’s decision to call an election comes more than a year ahead of schedule and during a pandemic

Alice Kolisnyk, deputy director of the Red Deer Food Bank, says the agency expects an increase in demand as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Every new subscription to the Red Deer Advocate includes a $50 donation to the food bank. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Support the food bank with a subscription to the Red Deer Advocate

The community’s most vulnerable members are always in need of a hand,… Continue reading

Canada's Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada's top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Canada’s top physician painted a bleak picture Saturday of the toll the… Continue reading

Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020. Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole is naming his shadow cabinet, including his predecessor Andrew Scheer as the party's infrastructure critic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
O’Toole tells Alberta UCP AGM Liberals were “late and confused” on COVID response

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole says Alberta has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic… Continue reading

Indigenous fishermen carry lobster traps in Saulnierville, N.S. on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS /Andrew Vaughan
Federal representative hopes to ease tensions in Nova Scotia lobster dispute

HALIFAX — The man tasked with lowering the temperature in a heated… Continue reading

A voter places her absentee ballot in the ballot box, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020, at Merrill Auditorium in Portland, Maine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Robert F. Bukaty
American voters living in Canada increasingly being counted in presidential race

The largest number of Canadian-based American voters cast their ballots in New York and California

This photo provided by Air Force Reserve shows a sky view of Hurricane Epsilon taken by Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter team over the Atlantic Ocean taken Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020.   Epsilon’s maximum sustained winds have dropped slightly as it prepares to sideswipe Bermuda on a path over the Atlantic Ocean.  The National Hurricane Center says it should come close enough Thursday, Oct. 22, evening to merit a tropical storm warning for the island.  (Air Force Reserve via AP)
Hurricane Epsilon expected to remain offshore but will push waves at Atlantic Canada

Epsilon is not expected to have any real impact on land

A composite image of three photographs shows BC NDP Leader John Horgan, left, in Coquitlam, B.C., on Sept. 25, 2020; BC Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau, centre, in Victoria on Sept. 24, 2020; and BC Liberal Party Leader Andrew Wilkinson Pitt Meadows, B.C., on Sept. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck, Chad Hipolito
British Columbia votes in snap election called during COVID-19 pandemic

NDP Leader John Horgan called the snap election one year before the fixed voting date

Nunavut's provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, on Tuesday June 30, 2020. The annual report from Nunavut's representative for children and youth says "complacency and a lack of accountability" in the territory's public service means basic information about young people needing services isn’t tracked. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Nunavut’s young people ‘should be expecting more’ from government services: advocate

‘The majority of information we requested is not tracked or was not provided by departments’

Most Read