Private 22293 David Baxter

Killed in Action on Thursday, 20th April 1916, age 39.
Commemorated on Panel 18 and 63 of Basra Memorial, Basra, Iraq.

9th Bn., Worcestershire Regiment. 39th Brigade of 13th Division.

Son of Mr William and Mrs Eliza Baxter, of 244 Toll End Road, Ocker Hill, Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Tipton, Resident: Unknown.

First landed Balkans, 15th September 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/1655395/

Genealogical Data

1901 Census
16 Eagle Lane, Tipton, Staffs.
Boarding at 16 Eagle Lane, Tipton with Peter and Catherine Hickman
David Baxter (24, Bargeman, born Tipton).
His parents, William and Eliza, were living nearby in Toll End Road, Tipton.

1911 Census
58 Bridge Road, Toll End, Tipton, Staffs.
William Baxter (63, Brick Maker, born Wednesbury), and his wife Eliza (58, born Dudley), and 4 of their 12 surviving children: David (34, Boatman, born Tipton), John (25, Stationary Engine Driver, born Tipton), Mary Ann (21, Sausage Filler, born Tipton) and Hannah (16, at home, born Tipton).

Personal Data

It is possible that David Baxter was a friend of Martin Melia who was killed on 7th June 1916 also serving with the 9th Royal Warwicks. They had enlisted at the same time as their Army Numbers which were just 2 different, were the same age, and lived quite near to each other.

After David's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £9/19/11d (9 pounds, 19 shillings and 11 pence); this was paid to his father, William, in April 1918. His War Gratuity was £3/0/0d (3 pounds exactly), this was also paid to father in October 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that David had enlisted within the previous 12 months.

A pension of 7/6d (7 shillings and 6 pence) per week for life was awarded to David's mother, Mrs Eliza Baxter living at 244 Toll End Road, TIpton. This pension ceased in January 1928 on the death of David's father, WIlliam Baxter, Eliza had pre-deceased her husband.

Action resulting in his death

The 9th Worcesters were in 39th Brigade of the 13th (Western) Division, and landed in Gallipoli in July 1915. When David Baxter arrived as a reinforcement on 15th September 1915, most of the Gallipoli campaign battles had already been fought.

The Gallipoli campaign was abandoned, and the 9th Worcesters were evacuated in January 1916. They were transported via Mudros, Eygpt, then on to Basra in early March 1916. At this stage General Townshend's forces had been besieged in Kut for 2 months, operations in this theatre were with the sole aim of relieving the garrison at Kut.

Attacks by the 13th Division along the north bank of the River Tigris had been successful at Hanna and Falahiya positions, but the third attack, at Sannaiyat, had failed badly on 9th April. A continuation of this attack seemed impossible, so the focus moved south of the Tigris to Bait Isa.

The 3rd Indian Division successfully took Bait Isa on 17th April, but strong counter-attacks on that evening as it became dark caused the 3rd Indian Division's line live to break. The 9th Worcesters were able to advance and stem this breach by the morning of 18th April. Kut was still besieged so the resumption of the advance was imperative.

The attack was planned for early in the morning of 19th April. Unfortunately the river level rose, and during the night the Turks were able to flood the ground in front of the Worcesters. The advance was impossible, with men sinking up to their armpits. Attempts were made over the 19th and 20th April to find a route through the marsh, but it was impassable. The advance was abandoned and the Worcesters relieved on the night of the 20th. Further attempts in the next week to reach Kut also failed, and the garrison surrendered on 29th April.

William Baxter was killed in action on 20th April during the attack at Bait Isa. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Basra Memorial.

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