To students of aviation history, Major Maurice Baring is well known as Trenchard’s right hand man. “Take a note, Baring” became a familiar saying in the Royal Flying Corps. Trenchard was a man of immense intelligence capable of producing brilliant ideas, unfortunately he lacked the verbal and written skills to convey them. Major Maurice Baring seemed to have the ability to translate for him and always produced orders on his behalf that were a model of clarity.
To students of literary history the same Maurice Baring was famous as a novelist, translator, dramatist and poet. A contemporary and friend of G. K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc he had made a name for himself as a travel writer and war correspondent long before he joined the Royal Flying Corps as an administrator.
Born into the famous Baring banking family in 1874 he was educated at Eton and Cambridge. He reported on the Russo-Japanese War of 1905 for the Morning Post and after his service in the Flying Corps went on to success as a novelist and dramatist.
A man of infinite charm and kindness he was also an inveterate practical joker, his boss, Trenchard, a frequent victim. When Baring felt Trenchard had been overly harsh during one of his frequent squadron visits, he would institute his own “field punishment” that usually involved hiding Trenchard’s beloved pipe until he felt he had suffered enough. Baring would always report this back to the unfortunate victims of “Boom’s” wrath.