William Bostock Baker was born in Seattle, Washington, on October 28, 1921, son of Hugh W. and Mary Gwendoline (Bostock) Baker. He attended the University of Washington at Seattle, from which he received the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Geography in 1944. While there he was a member of the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps Unit, and upon graduation, March 1, 1944, was commissioned Ensign in the US Naval Reserve. Advancing progressively in rank, he subsequently attained that of Lieutenant Commander, to date from August 1, 1946.
After receiving his commission in the US Naval Reserve in 1944, he was assigned to USS Iowa and served in that battleship throughout the remaining period of World War II and until January 1946. In that vessel he saw action in the Marshall, Hollandia, Marianas, Western Caroline, Leyte, Okinawa Gunto operations; the 1944 Asiatic-Pacific raids; the THIRD Fleet operations against Japan; and the capture and occupation of Tinian. He was relieved of active duty in February 1946 and five months later returned to active Naval service, reporting in September on board USS Gosselin. Detached from that attack transport in May 1948, he next had duty as Executive Officer of USS Arikara.
During the period February to December 1950 he was a student at the General Line School, Monterey, California, after which he served as Assistant Material and Inspection Officer on the staff of Commander Pacific Reserve Fleet, which headquarters in Alemda, California. Continuing duty with the Pacific Reserve Fleet, he was assigned to navigation and electronics with the Columbia River Group until March 1952, when he reported as Operations Advisor with the US Naval Advisory Group, Republic of Korea Navy. He had instruction at the US Naval Service School Command, Treasure Island, California, between January and March 1954, and the next month joined USS Burton Island to serve as Navigator, Executive Officer and Ice Observer. He was Navigator of that ice breaker during the first successful transit of the Northwest Passage by a large ship in 1954 (McClure Strait and Melville Sound route). Detached from the Burton Island in May 1957, he returned to Korea, to serve as Fleet Observer with the Naval Advisory Group until June 1958. Since then he has been Officer in Charge of the US Naval Degaussing Station, Naval Base, Bremerton, Washington.
Lieutenant Commander Baker ahs the American Campaign Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with one silver star and one bronze star (six engagements); World War II Victory Medal; Navy Occupation Service Medal, Asia Clasp; National Defense Service Medal; Korean Service Medal with four stars; United Nations Service Medal; and the Philippine Liberation Ribbon with two stars. He also has the Korean Chung Mu with silver star and Korean Presidential Unit Citation Badge.