Private 325810 Walter Baker

Baker Walter 96 369x600Baker Walter 96 425x600

Died Egypt on Friday, 1st November 1918, age 21.
Buried in Grave A. 29. at Damascus Commonwealth War Cemetery, Damascus, Syria.

Queen's Own Worcestershire Hussars (Worcester Yeomanry). Cavalry Regiment.
Formerly 3368 Worcestershire Yeomanry.

Son of Mr and Mrs Joseph Baker, of 44, Brettell St., Dudley, Worcs.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Dudley, Resident: Dudley.

First landed Egypt, 16th June 1916.
Medal entitlement: British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Not commemorated on any Tipton memorial, but commemorated on the Dudley Higher Elementary School Memorial, and the 'Men of Woodside' Memorial, both in Dudley.
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/897068/

Genealogical Data

1901 Census
14 St Luke's Terrace, Dudley, Worcs.
Joseph Baker (36, Steel Smelter, born Dudley), his wife Caroline (35, born Sedgley), and their 4 children: Harry (7, born Tipton), Nelly (5, born Tipton), Walter (3, born Tipton), and Frank (1, born Dudley).

1911 Census
44 Brettell Street, Dudley, Worcs.
Joseph Baker (46, Steel Worker - Caster, born Dudley), his wife Caroline (45, born Sedgley), and their 5 surviving children of 6: Harry (17, Part Time Student Teacher, born Sedgley), Nelly (15, born Sedgley), Walter (13, School, born Tipton), Frank (11, School, born Dudley), and Edith Agnes (7, born Dudley).

Personal Data

The Woodside Memory and History Group do a lot of fine WW1 research on the men of Woodside, Dudley. In an article in the 'Black Country Bugle' (September 26 2013) they pointed out that Walter's brother Frank also served with the Worcestershire Yeomanry in Egypt. Frank was killed in action at the Battle of Katia on 23rd April 1916; on that day 7 Officers and 81 Other Ranks of the Worcestershire Yeomanry were killed. Frank is shown as being 17 years of age, but it is possible that he was actually 16 years old (born September quarter 1899). For more details of the Battle of Katia, see the page for HN Parsons at: tiptonremembers.net/index.php/parsons-horace-norman

After Walter's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £10/10/7d (10 pounds, 10 shillings and 7 pence); this was paid to his mother and sole legatee, Caroline, in April 1919. His War Gratuity was £17/10/0d (17 pounds and 10 shillings), this was also paid to his mother in April 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that Walter had enlisted in approximately March 1915.

Action resulting in his death

The Worcestershire Yeomanry moved to the Imperial Mounted Division in February 1917 (re-designated as Australian Mounted Division in June 1917) as part of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force(EEF) under General Edmund Allenby. It left the Australian Mounted Division in May 1918 to become XX Corps Cavalry Regiment. The EEF's role evolved from a defence of Egypt to the invasion of Palestine which involved: the capture of Beersheba and Gaza in October-November 1917, entering Jerusalem on 11th December 1917, and Allenby's successful campaign of 1918, resulting in the defeat of the Turks at Megiddo, and the capture of Damascus, Beirut, and Aleppo, ultimately forcing Turkey's exit from the war.

Damascus was entered by Commonwealth forces on 1 October 1918. The first medical unit arriving the next day found the Turkish hospitals crowded with sick and wounded, and a few days later an epidemic of influenza and cholera broke out.

Walter Baker is recorded as 'Died' which generally means sickness or accident. The 2011 book "Mountains of Moab" by Victor Godrich says that Walter died of malaria in the German hospital, Damascus. He is buried in Damascus Commonwealth War Cemetery.

Newspaper Cuttings

Dudley Herald 8th December 1917
Joined the Yeomanry at 15.
While anxiously waiting news of their son (Trooper W. Baker), who is serving with the Worcestershire Yeomanry in Egypt, Mr and Mrs Baker received last week official confirmation of the death of their youngest son, Trooper Frank Baker, also of the Worcestershire Yeomanry. The only news hitherto obtained of his fate was contained in letters from his former comrades now prisoners in Turkey.
Trooper Frank Baker was killed (according to the War Office communication) on the 23rd April 1916, in the Battle of Katia, when the Yeomanry put up such a gallant fight against terrible odds.
Actuated by patriotism and the military ardour which swept through the country, he joined the Yeomanry in 1915, although he was then only 15 years old. He went out to Egypt, where he served until his death.
Trooper Baker was formerly a pupil at the Higher Elementary School, and prior to his enlistment was serving an apprenticeship as a Roll Turner under Mr Arnold at Messrs Roberts and Cooper, Great Bridge. He was an attendant at the Park Congregational Hall, and before joining up was engaged in secretarial work at the junior Sunday School.
Another son (Harry Baker) is training at Bedford, as a Signaller in the Royal Engineers.

Dudley Herald 7th December 1918.
Mr and Mrs Joseph Baker, of 44, Brettell Street, Dudley, have received information that their second son, Lance-Corporal Walter Baker of the Worcestershire Yeomanry, died in Alexandria (Egypt) on November 1st. The deceased, who was 21, joined up in October 1915, and sailed for Egypt in May 1916. He was in the battles of Gaza and Jaffa, and he had gone with the Yeomanry as far as Damascus, where he was taken ill. He was a pupil at the Dudley Grammar School for 4 years.
Lance-Corporal Baker was a brother of Trooper Frank Baker of the Worcestershire Yeomanry, who was killed at Katia, in Egypt on the 23rd April 1916. Another brother, Pioneer H. Baker is serving in the Royal Engineers, at St. Olave's, Yarmouth.

Tipton Herald 7th December 1918
Walter Baker, beloved son of Mr and Mrs Joseph Baker, who died in Egypt on November 1st.