Private 17760 Walter Thomas Baldock

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Photograph of Walter Baldock courtesy of Ruth Watkins. Further photos at the bottom of this page.

Killed in Action on Sunday, 10th June 1917, age 33.
Buried in Grave A. 29. at Irish House Cemetery, Heuvelland, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.

7th Bn., South Staffordshire Regiment. 33rd Brigade of 11th Division.

Husband of Mrs Lucy Baldock, of 16 High Street, Tipton Green, Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Tipton, Resident: Tipton.

First landed Balkans, 25th November 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, 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/105602/

Genealogical Data

Birth of Walter Baldock registered in September quarter 1883 in Dudley.

1901 Census
27 Castle Street, Tipton, Staffs.
Lodging in household of Richard Taylor.
Walter Baldock (17, Labourer, born Tipton).

Marriage of Walter Thomas Baldock and Lucy Paskin registered in March quarter 1906 in Dudley.

1911 Census
26 Walton Street, Tipton, Staffs.
Walter Baldock (27, Slag Works Labourer, born Tipton), his wife Lucy (25, born Tipton on 11th June 1884), and their four children: John (6, born Tipton on 18th March 1905), Walter (4, born Tipton on 20th November 1906), John Edward (3, born Tipton on 5th January 1909), and Elsie (8 months, born Tipton). Sadly Elsie died in January quarter 1915.

A further child, Lily, was born on 7th December 1913.

Walter's widow, Lucy, re-married in December quarter 1919 to Jabez Whitehouse. Jabez and Lucy were living at 16 High Street, Tipton, at the time of the 1921 Census.

Personal Data

Walter Thomas Baldcok is incorrectly commemorated as WJ Baldock on the Tipton Library Memorial (sign-writer error). He enlisted in March 1915, and landed in the Balkans on 25th November 1915 as a reinforcement at the latter stages of the Gallipoli campaign.

The 7th South Staffs served during the Battle of the Somme, mercifully avoiding action on the First Day of the Somme. By May 1917 they had arrived in Belgium, where Walter was killed during the Battle of Messines Ridge.

After Walter's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances of £6/9/11d (6 pounds, 9 shillings and 11 pence) was paid to his widow, Lucy, in November 1917. His War Gratuity of £10/0/0d (10 pounds exactly) was also paid to Lucy, on 29th November 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that Walter had enlisted in approximately March 1915.

Walter's widow, Lucy, received a Grant of £5 on 24th July 1917. She was then awarded a Widow's Pension of £1/8/9d (1 pound, 8 shillings and 9 pence) per week, effective from 31st Dectember 1917. Lucy married Jabez Whitehouse in September quarter 1919. Her Widow's Pension would have ceased on re-marriage but she would have been compensated by the payment of a lump sum, usually the equivalent to a year's pension payments. The pension payment in respect of her children would continue until their 16th birthdays.

Walter is remembered by his family and his grave had been visited by his family. In 2004 there was a touching hand-made cross at his grave, with the words "Grandad, quietly remembered by the family."

Action resulting in his death

The Battle of Messines Ridge began on 7th June 1917, for this battle the 7th South Staffs had been attached to the 16th (Irish) Division. The battle began at 3.10 am with the explosion of 17 mines which blew the top off the Messines-Wytschaete Ridge, killing approximately 10,000 defending German soldiers. All initial objectives were taken within 3 hours, and the 7th South Staffs moved forward at 3pm. The men were exhausted as they had advanced a considerable distance due to the success of the initial attack. The success of the day meant that the 7th South Staffs had only 2 men killed during the day when they advanced some distance but had little contact with the enemy.

On the 8th and 9th June the Germans counter-attacked unsuccessfully, and also shelled the British lines heavilly. On the 10th June, the 7th South Staffs were to be relieved at 10pm, but due to an advance by the troops on their right they were put at the disposal of 6th Lincolns in case of a German counter-attack. This did not materialise, but the German bombardment remained intense until 11.30pm.

It was on this day that Walter Baldock was killed, he is buried at Irish House Cemetery about 5 miles south of Ypres.

Newspaper Cuttings

Tipton Herald July 14th 1917
In casualty lists this week is the following - Killed: WT Baldock (Tipton) South Staffs.

Tipton Herald August 11th 1917
Among Tipton soldiers, the casualties as reported during the past fortnight have been heavy. They include - W.T. Baldock (South Staffs), H. Tunley (M.G.C.), V.J. Finch (Buffs, East Kent), Lance Corporal H.E. Lester (South Staffs) and Pte. G.E. Gardner (South Staffs).

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