Private 31407 Clifford Baker

Killed in Action on Saturday, 11th August 1917, age 21.
Commemorated on Panel 34 of Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Ieper, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.

3rd Bn., Worcestershire Regiment. 7th Brigade of 25th Division.

Son of Samuel and Martha Baker, of 19 Farm Road, Langley Green, Oldbury, Staffs.
Born: Oldbury, Enlisted: Dudley, Resident: Birmingham.

First landed France & Flanders, post 31st December 1915.
Medal entitlement: British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the Tipton Library, and St. Matthew's memorials.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/926178/

Genealogical Data

1901 Census
19 Farm Road, Langley Green, Oldbury, Staffs.
Samuel Baker (42, Labourer in Chemical Works, born Oldbury), his wife Martha (43, born Blackheath), and their 5 children: Benjamin (15, Clerk in Brewery, born Oldbury), Harry (11, Moulder, born Oldbury), Theodore (9, born Oldbury), Charles (7, born Oldbury), and Clifford (5, born Oldbury).

1911 Census
19 Farm Road, Langley Green, Oldbury, Staffs.
Samuel Baker (52, Labourer, born Langley), his wife Martha (53, born Rowley Regis), and 5 of their 6 surviving children of 8: Benjamin (25, Printer, born Langley), Harry (21, Moulder, born Rowley), Theodore (19, Tailor & Outfitter's Assistant, born Langley), Charlie (17, Fitter's Assistant, born Langley), and Clifford (15, Messenger Boy, born Langley).

Marriage of Clifford Baker and Ethel Goodridge, registered June quarter 1916 in Dudley. The birth of a son, Clifford Baker, was registered in September quarter 1916 in Dudley.

Personal Data

The 'Staffordshire Roll of Honour' shows C. Baker, Private, Worcesters. This Clifford Baker correctly matches that information and his date of death is also relevant, however nothing obviously indicates that he ever lived in Tipton. The address of 19 Farm Road, Langley is given in the excellent book "The Fallen of Langley, Oldbury and Warley, 1914-1918" and this corresponds with the family address in 1901 and 1911.

It is likely that this is the correct man as Clifford married a Tipton woman - Ethel Goodridge in 1916. On the 1911 Census Ethel was living with her parents at 49 Dudley Road, Tipton, this is in St. Matthew's parish where Clifford is commemorated. As Clifford had already enlisted in the army, it is likely that Ethel continued to live with her parents with her new-born son.

After Clifford's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £2/12/1d (2 pounds, 12 shillings and 1 penny); this was paid to his widow, Ethel, in November 1917. His War Gratuity was £6/10/0d (6 poundsand 10 shillings), this was also paid to his widow in November 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that Clifford had enlisted in approximately February 1916.

Action resulting in his death

The 3rd Worcesters had come into the 3rd Battle of Ypres on the 1st August 1917 when they held the line near Bellewaerde after the failed attack by the 8th Division on 31st July. Here they suffered heavily from German artillery fire with over 20 men killed. After a brief period out of the line, they were back in the same place on 9th August ready for a renewed attack on the Westhoek Ridge.

At dawn on 10th August the 3rd Worcesters led the attack on Westhoek Ridge. The ridge was taken quite swiftly given the muddy conditions, but the move past the ridge was held up by enemy concrete block-houses which were captured only with difficulty. At the end of the day the Worcesters pulled back to hold a line to the west of the ridge as this was more defensible. The next day, 11th August, saw the continued defence of the newly-captured ridge against artillery fire and counter-attack on the flanking battalions.

The 3rd Worcesters were relieved on the 12th August, and had 34 men killed in the action. Clifford Baker is one of the 18 men recorded as killed on the 11th August, he has no known grave and is commemorated on the Menin Gate in Ypres.

Newspaper Cuttings

Tipton Herald October 20th 1917
Tipton & District Notes
In official casualty lists, Pte C. Baker (Worcs) of Tipton is reported killed, as is Sergeant W.H. Small (Rifle Brigade).