Philip Noel-Baker is Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize
Philip John Noel-Baker, Baron Noel-Baker, born Philip John Baker (1 November 1889 – 8 October 1982) was a British politician, diplomat, academic, an outstanding amateur athlete, and renowned campaigner for disarmament who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1959.
Born Philip Baker in Hendon, to a Canadian-born Quaker father, Joseph Allen Baker, who moved to England to set up a manufacturing business and himself served on the London County Council and in the House of Commons. Educated at Bootham School, York and then in the US at the Quaker-associated Haverford College, he attended King's College, Cambridge from 1910 to 1912. As well as being an excellent student, he became President of the Cambridge Union Society and the Cambridge University Athletic Club.
He was selected and ran for Britain at the Stockholm Olympic Games in 1912, and was team manager as well as a competitor for the British track team for the 1920 and 1924 Olympics. In 1920 at Antwerp he won a silver medal in the 1500 metres. The exploits of the British team at the 1924 Games in Paris were later made famous in the 1982 film Chariots of Fire, though Noel-Baker's part in such was not portrayed in that film.
During World War I, Noel-Baker organised and led the Friends' Ambulance Unit attached to the fighting front in France (1914-1915), and was then adjutant of the First British Ambulance Unit for Italy (1915-1918), for which he received military medals from France and Italy as well as his own country.
Noel-Baker was twenty-six years old when the First World War began. As a Quaker he was against taking an active part in the war. He formed the Quakers' Ambulance Unit and served in it himself behind the front lines in France. In Italy he served with the British Ambulance Unit under Trevelyan.
Noel-Baker's entire bent of mind, his upbringing, his experience of war - all these things must inevitably have drawn him, as soon as the war was over, to the work directed at righting some of the wrongs created by the war. Above all he must have felt himself called upon to do everything in his power to prevent any new wars. It was therefore natural that he should seek association with the new international organization, the League of Nations.