The early years: Remembering Sir Freddie Laker

Born during the interwar years and coming of age in a boom time for British aviation, the early efforts of Frederick Alfred Laker helped define his career trajectory

Frederick Laker, known to all as Freddie, grew up in a typical working class home, but at the age of five, family life changed forever when his father, a merchant seaman, walked out. His mother ran various businesses including a scrap yard, followed by a general store selling everything from toothpaste to stationery and it is from her that Freddie picked up his entrepreneurial flair.

Sightings of the Hindenburg airship and an Imperial Airways biplane when in 1936 sparked a teenaged Laker’s interest in aviation and when he was 16 he began an engineering apprenticeship with Short Brothers in Rochester. The factory was heavily bombed in 1940 and the following year, aged 19, he joined the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA).

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