William Frederick Baxter GC (EM exchanger)

b. 22/09/1907 Coventry, Warwickshire. d. 04/04/1995 Scarborough, Yorkshire.

DATE AND PLACE OF GC ACTION: 08/07/1941 Coventry.

William Frederick Baxter (1907-1995) was born on 22nd September 1907 in Coventry, Warwickshire, the younger son of John and Emma Baxter (nee Matthews). John had his own brass foundry business while Emma was a nanny for the Wedgewood family in Trentham. The Baxter family had seven children in all, six boys including William and a girl. Two of the boys would die in the Second World War. William went to Edgwick School and after school he left to work with his older brother Harold at the Standard Motor Company in Coventry.

William F Baxter GC

After a time on the manufacturing floor, he moved to the work studies side of the business, dealing with manning and efficiency. He became a Clerk. Whilst working for the Standard Motor Company, he joined the St John’s Ambulance Brigade, and it was his medical knowledge which came to the fore in the Second World War.

He married Edna May Pallett on 26th April 1930 and they had three children, Gerald, Shirley and Pauline. At one time, up to six of the family were working in the Standard Motor Company works just prior to the outbreak of war.

William became part of the Civilian Medical Aid Service in Coventry during the Blitz on the city in the later months of 1940. William’s life would change on 8th July 1941 when at work at the Standard Motor Company. There was an accident in the Service Department when a Mr Ross was trapped by the arms between the rope and pulley at the end of a 130 feet long latticework crane jib, so that he was in imminent danger of either bleeding to death or falling from a great height. Baxter obtained a rope and some first aid dressings and climbed to the top of the jib; having lashed Mr Ross securely, he applied the dressings and a tourniquet. He then stayed with him for an hour until a rescue was affected by the fire brigade. There is little doubt, but for Baxter’s action, Mr Ross would have died either through loss of blood or by falling from the jib.

For his actions, William Baxter was awarded a Edward Medal in Bronze (London Gazette 14th April 1942), and continued to work at Standard Motors until 1958, when he and Edna moved to Yorkshire to run a guesthouse in Scarborough. While Edna ran the business, Williiam worked as a Valuation Officer for Scarborough Corporation. On retirement, he and Edna moved to Gristhorpe, near Filey. In 1971, William chose to exchange his Edward Medal and attended an investiture for the GC in 1972. He donated his EM to the City of Coventry Museum (now Herbert Art Gallery and Museum).

William died on 4th April 1995 in Scarborough and was cremated at Woodlands Crematorium on 10th April and his ashes were scattered in the Garden of Remembrance in the same area as his wife who pre-deceased him. His GC and 1977 QEII Silver Jubilee Medal are privately held.





Marion Hebblethwaite – Image of William Baxter GC.