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Philip John Noel-Baker
1 November 1889 8 October 1982


Born Philip John Baker, he was a politician, diplomat, academic, an outstanding amateur athlete, and campaigner for disarmament and received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1959.
His Canadian-born Quaker father, Joseph Allen Baker, moved to England to set up a manufacturing business and himself served on the London County Council and in the House of Commons.
Philip was educated at Bootham School, York and then in the US at Haverford College, attended King's College, Cambridge 1910 - 1912. Became President of the Cambridge Union Society and the Cambridge University Athletic Club.
Selected and ran for Britain at the 1912 Stockholm Olympic Games Team manager and competitor for the British track team in the 1920 and 1924 Olympics. In 1920 he won a silver medal in the 1500 metres at Antwerp.
In World War I, Noel-Baker organised and led the Friends' Ambulance Unit attached to the fighting front in France from 1914to 1915, then adjutant to the First British Ambulance Unit for Italy 1915 to 1918. He received military medals from France and Italy as well as Britain.
After the war, Noel-Baker was involved in the formation of the League of Nations, serving as assistant to Lord Robert Cecil, the assistant to Sir Eric Drummond, the league's first secretary-general. He also spent time as an academic early in his career, as a professor of international law at the University of London from 1924 to 1929 and as a lecturer at Yale University from 1933 to 1934.


Phillip Noel Baker letters>
The above letters recently sold at auction - click

His political career with the Labour Party began in 1924 when he ran unsuccessfully for Parliament. He was elected as the member for Coventry in 1929, but lost his seat in 1931. In 1936 Noel-Baker won a by-election in Derby after J.H. Thomas resigned; when that seat was divided in 1950, he transferred to Derby South and continued until 1970. In 1977, he was made a life peer as Baron Noel-Baker, of the City of Derby.
As well as a Parliamentary Secretary role during World War 2 under Winston Churchill, he served in a succession of junior ministries in the Attlee Labour Government. He was also prominent within Labour, serving as Chairman of the Labour Party in 1946. In the mid-1940s, Noel-Baker served on the British delegation to what became the United Nations, helping to draft its charter and other rules for operation as a British delegate.
Noel-Baker married Irene Noel, a field hospital nurse, in 1915 in East Grinstead, adopting the hyphenated name in 1943. Their only son, Francis Noel-Baker, also became a parliamentarian and served together with his father in the Commons. Philip Noel-Baker's mistress from 1936 to 1956 was Lady Megan Lloyd George, daughter of the former Liberal Party leader David Lloyd George and herself a Liberal and later Labour MP. Following Noel-Baker's death in Westminster, he was buried alongside Irene in Heyshott in West Sussex.
information part sources: PN Baker biographies, House of Commons and Wikipedia


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