Private 14704 Peter Baker

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There is a further photograph at the bottom of this page.

Died France & Flanders on Wednesday, 1st December 1915, age 20.
Buried in Grave II. D. 18. at Longuenesse (St. Omer) Souvenir Cemetery, Pas De Calais, France.

4th Bn., Coldstream Guards. Pioneer Battalion of Guards Division.

Son of Peter and Hannah Baker, of 200 Dudley Port, Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Dudley Port, Enlisted: Birmingham, Resident: Dudley Port.

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

Commemorated on the Tipton Library Memorial.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/19394/

Genealogical Data

Birth of Peter Baker registered September quarter 1895 at Dudley.

1901 Census
128 Dudley Port, Tipton, Staffs.
Peter Baker (41, Galvaniser,born Rowley), his wife Hannah (38, born Cradley Heath), and their 6 children: John Jesse (12, born Dudley Port), Francis (10, born Dudley Port), Samuel (9, born Dudley Port), Lilly (8, born Dudley Port), Peter (5, born Dudley Port), and Leopold (3, born Dudley Port).

1911 Census
200 Dudley Port, Tipton, Staffs.
Peter Baker (51, Galvaniser,born Rowley), his wife Hannah (48, born Cradley Heath), and their 6 children: Jesse (22, Olive Smith, born Tipton), Francis (20, Fitter, born Tipton), Samuel (19, Iron Turner, born Tipton), Lilly (18, Lady's Help, born Tipton), Peter (15, Foundry Labourer, born Tipton), and Leopold (13, Foundry Labourer, born Tipton).

Personal Data

Peter Baker was undoubtedly a tall man, reported in the Tipton Herald to be either 6 feet 4½ inches or 6 feet 6 inches tall. He was also reported as either the tallest or second tallest man in Kitchener's New Army, it is difficult to see how that 'fact' was found out.

After Peter's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £5/5/5d (5pounds, 5 shillings and 5 pence); this was paid to his father, Peter, in February 1916. His War Gratuity was £3/0/0d (3 pounds exactly), this was paid to his mother, Hannah, in September 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that Peter had enlisted within the 12 months prior to his death.

Action resulting in his death

The 4th Battalion Guards was the Pioneer Battalion, and had moved overseas on 15 August 1915 and joined Guards Division. The Division's first action was the Battle of Loos in September-October 1915, in particular at Hill 70 and the Hohenzollern Redoubt.
In November 1915, the Guards Division was still in the Loos sector in extremely muddy conditions. As pioneer troops, the 4th Battalion and Peter Baker would have spent much trying to maintain the trenches and prevent their flooding.

Baker's Medal Index Card says "Acc K" meaning 'Accidentally Killed', and this is confirmed in the Tipton Herald article of 18th December 1915. The nature of the accident was not reported, but it resulted in his evacuation from Laventie, where the accident occurred, to St Omer which was the Army's General Headquaters and a considerable hospital base. Peter Baker died here on 1st December 1915 and is buried in Longuenesse (St. Omer) Souvenir Cemetery.

Newspaper Cuttings

Tipton Herald 30th January 1915
The record of having sent the tallest soldier to Lord Kitchener's Army is held by Dudley Port. The name of the recruit is Peter Baker, and he has resided with his mother at 200 Dudley Port. He is only 19 years of age, and is 6 feet 4 and a half inches in his bare feet. He joined the Coldstream Guards, and his parents did not know he had enlisted until they received a letter from him saying he was at Caterham, Surrey, where he has to remain for three months. He has a brother, Frank Baker, who enlisted on Bank Holiday Monday, and has been in the trenches since November 15th.
Tipton has the distinction of providing the tallest soldier in Kitchener's New Army. It is Private Peter Baker who stands 6 feet 4 and a half inches in his stockings. He is attached to the Coldstream Guards. He lived at Dudley Port, and as a boy went to the Burnt Tree (Tipton) Council School.

Tipton Herald 3rd April 1915
The tallest man in Kitchener's Army, Peter Baker (Coldstreams) of Dudley Port, enlisted at West Bromwich.

Tipton Herald 18th December 1915
Private Peter Baker, the tallest man in Kitchener's Army, whose parents reside in Dudley Port, has met his death accidentally while serving with the army in France. The official intimation of the young man's death does not disclose the circumstances under which it occurred. He was connected with the Coldstream Guards, but at the time of his death was in the pioneer section of the transport. A letter of condolence from the King has been received by the family. Prior to enlisting, Baker, who has a brother in the firing line, was employed at Hawkin's foundry. He was a regular attendant at St Michaels Church, Tividale. He stood 6ft 6in in his socks, and in the whole British Army there are supposed to be only two taller men.

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