Private 16299 George Baker

Baker George 96 450x600

Died of Wounds on Friday, 7th December 1917, age 20.
Buried in Grave XXXI. B. 17A at Etaples Military Cemetery, Pas De Calais, France.

2nd/6th Bn., South Staffordshire Regiment. 176th Brigade of 59th Division.

Son of Sarah Baker, of 1, Queen St., Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Wolverhampton, Resident: Tipton.

First landed France & Flanders, 25th May 1915.
Medal entitlement: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the St. John's Memorial.
Commemorated here because identified as Tipton on 'Soldiers Died in the Great War'.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/498726/

Genealogical Data

1901 Census
36 Wood Street, Tipton, Staffs.
Jabez Baker (24, Canal Boatman, born Tipton), his wife Sarah (27, born Tipton), and their 3 children: Jabez (5, born Tipton), George York (3, born Tipton), and John Thomas (1, born Tipton).

1911 Census
36 Wood Street, Tipton, Staffs.
Jabez Baker (34, Canal Boatman, born Tipton), his wife Sarah (37, born Tipton), and their 7 surviving children of 8: Jabez (15, Assistant in Foundry, born Tipton), George (13, Assistant in Foundry, born Tipton), John Thomas (11, born Tipton), Mercy (9, born Tipton), Abraham (6, born Tipton), Sarah (4, born Tipton), abd Louisa (2 months, born Tipton).

Personal Data

George was admitted to No. 4 Stationary Hospital, near St. Omer, on 28th November 1915. The entry record stated that he was 20 years old, had been serving for 11 months, and been "with the field force" for 4 month. He was suffering from the "effects of old wound on foot". He was to spend 14 days under treatment, returning to his unit on 11th December 1915.

After George's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £8/6/4d (8 pounds, 6 shillings and 4 pence); this was paid to his mother and sole legatee, Sarah, in March 1918. His War Gratuity was £13/10/0d (13 pounds, and 10 shillings), this was also paid to his mother in November 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that George had enlisted in approximately December 1914.

Action resulting in his death

After the initial success on the opening day of the Battle of Cambrai, the breakthrough to Cambrai was elusive. Bourlon Wood, dominating the northern end of the battlefield, was eventually captured but was under constant bombardment giving massive casualties.

On 28th November the 2/6th South Staffs moved into Bourlon Wood and came under heavy bombardment, with large amounts of phosgene gas. Bourlon Wood was abandoned on the 3rd December, as it was impossible to hold against German shelling.

War Diary of 2nd/6th South Staffs.
29th November 1917, Bourlon Wood.
Enemy heavily bombarded Bourlon Wood with High Explosive and Gas shells and attacked front line positions on the 2/6th North Staffs regiment front, to which we were in support. 'A' Company advanced through the wood under heavy fire and reinforced the front line in answer to the S.O.S signal. The Company sustained several gas casualties.

30th November 1917, Bourlon Wood.
The battalion was heavily bombarded by Gas and High Explosive shells. During these two days the battalion suffered heavy causalities from gas, the whole of 'A', 'C' & 'D' Companies becoming casualties.

27 men of the 2/6th South Staffs were killed on the 30th November, Edward Malugani, Joseph Taylor and Jonathan Edwards, were from Tipton. Over the next 2 weeks, a further 55 men of the 2/6th South Staffs died, mostly due to the effects of gas in Bourlon Wood.

George died of wounds on 7th December 1917 at one of the large Base Hospitals at Etaples, near Boulogne. It is likely that his death would have been due to gas at Bourlon Wood on 30th November. George is buried in Etaples Military Cemetery.

Newspaper Cuttings