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Baker, Albert (Alfred Arthur)

There is an ALBERT BAKER on the Hawarden War Memorial, but I cannot find any definitive facts on him, i.e. CWGC Database, Flintshire WW1 Index Cards,  etc.   Was this another case of a wrong transcription onto the war memorial whose real name was Alfred?   I have other cases where this has happened.

For that reason I have included Albert, or Alfred because when I looked at the book “Soldiers Died in the Great War.  Royal Welsh Fusiliers Volume 28” it said Alfred enlisted in Queensferry, therefore the logic is that he was living around here, and if so he deserves to be listed on one of our War Memorials.    I cannot find him locally on the 1911 census, so he may have come here for work after the 1911 census.

A. Baker

This is what I have on Alfred:-“Soldiers Died in the Great War.  Royal Welsh Fusiliers  Volume 28” BAKER, Alfred. RWF.2nd/4th Bn.L/Cpl. Reg. No.9667 Enlisted Queensferry,, Flintshire (No place of Birth) Died at home. 26th July 1916.

I then started my research on the proviso that the wrong name had been transcribed and added to the War memorial, remembering that there was no official list, names were put forward by friends and family often handed to the vicar of the church.   So this is the story of Alfred Arthur Baker, who in any case died and enlisted in Queensferry, so his name should be on the memorial.   If anyone knows of an Albert Baker who died and was from the area, please get in touch and I will try to find him, although up to now it has been impossible, all roads leading back to Alfred Arthur Baker.

UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919 about Alfred Baker, tells us that he died at Home* and enlisted in Queensferry, Flintshire.  * Home often meant the UK, not necessarily his “home,” with family.

Alfred Baker in the UK, Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects, 1901-1929 tells us he died of Heat Stroke and confirms the regimental details above, but was not awarded any medals that I can find, as presumably he was not in the service long enough.  The sole Legatee was his father Alfred who was paid £2.2s 6d on the 17th November 1916.   For probably the same reason he was not entitled to his War Gratuity – “Not admissible” was written in his entry.

I enlisted the aid of the Army Forum:- 1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=233379#entry2327756) and had a reply from Hywyn, many thanks to him, it explains where Alfred (Albert) was and why he did not get any War Gratuity, as he was never abroad, indeed he was only in the Army a short while before his death, see below as his Regtl. No. suggests that he enlisted in May 1916 and was dead by 26th July 1916, literally a few months.   I have also been told by other Forum members that he could have been on exercises as a few years ago some soldiers died on exercise in the Breacon Beacons.

Hywyn wrote:- His RWF number was issued first week May 1916. – The 2nd 4th Bn RWF were engaged on Home Defence duties as per below. They were at Bedford when he died. They did not go overseas.

(from Long Long Trail) – 2/4th (Denbighshire) Battalion
Formed at Wrexham in September 1914 as a home service (“Second line”) unit. Moved to join Welsh Division at Northampton on 22 November 1914. Moved in December 1914 to Cambridge.
22 April 1915 : attached to 203rd Brigade, 68th Division at Northampton. Moved to Bedford in July 1915, Aldeburgh in November 1916 and Henham Park (Halesworth) in May 1917. Finally moved to Yarmouth in October 1917. March 1918 : disbanded.
 

I found death certificate registered in Bedford for an Alfred Baker (Vol 3b, Page 279) in the September quarter of 1916.

I then found on “Find a Grave” on Ancestry the grave of Alfred Arthur* BAKER and I contacted the “Friends of Park Cemetery Ilkeston” [friendsofparkcemetery@gmail.com] and Beverely kindly answered my request for information on Alfred.  * Alfred Baker had a brother Arthur who was 9 years older than Alfred.

Hi Mavis, I have some more info on Alfred Baker:

He died as the result of undertaking a route march of 14 miles followed then by a six (illegible word) marathon the following day, he collapsed and died soon after. The newspaper article states that he was working as a bricklayer in Queensferry when he enlisted.  

My experience of our local cenotaph is that the names on it were just taken (on the whole) from the local newspaper, followed by a plea at the end of the war to the public if they thought someone was missing of it. On our cenotaph there is an error where a soldier was thought to be dead (telegram received stating so) only for his wife to receive a letter from him as PoW, this was not then corrected by the editor of the paper.

If you need a photo of Baker there is one in the paper I could scan for you – Beverley – which she did, many thanks Beverley.   Thanks to also to Beverley, she searched the newspapers and scanned the following entry.

FATAL MARATHON

FUNERAL OF THE ILKESTON SOLDIER WHO DIED AT BEDFORD

The funeral of the late Lance-Corporal Alfred BAKER, 2/4th Royal Welsh Fusiliers, aged 31, whose home was in Granby Street, Ilkeston, took place on Sunday afternoon at the Park Cemetery.   The body was brought home by train from Bedford on Friday night.   The deceased, who was a nephew of the late Mr. Charles BAKER, who was manager at the Oakwell Colliery, was a bricklayer, and served his apprenticeship with the late Mr. T. HARPER, of Ilkeston, and he had worked in different parts of the country.   Not long before he enlisted he succeeded in passing his examination and qualified as an architect.   He was greatly esteemed by the members of his company, and his sergeant spoke highly of his industry and methodical conduct and the excellent condition in which he kept his kit.

Following a 14 miles’ route march at Bedford on the Tuesday before his death, he took part the following day in a six miles’ Marathon race, and after covering about 4 and 1/2 miles, he suddenly collapsed and expired within half an hour.

A sergeant in charge of six privates – who acted as bearers at the funeral – and a bugler from the deceased company accompanied the remains from Bedford.   The customary military honours were observed at the funeral.   The procession was headed by the Nation Reserve Band, which played the Dead March in “Saul” on the way to the cemetery.   The coffin, draped in a Union Jack and bearing the deceased soldier’s cap, was covered with beautiful floral tokens.   Members of the local Volunteer Corps in charge of Commandant W.B. SHORTHOSE, took part in the procession, and also provided the firing party under Sub-Commandant T. KERSHAW, the general military arrangements being carried out by Mr. Hugh MacKENZIE, who is the secretary of the National Reserve.   The burial service was read by the Rev. A.L. ROSE, of Holy Trinity Church.

The following wreaths were placed on the grave: “In loving memory of my dear son, from his sorrowing father”; Aunt Liza and family; Maggie & Charlie; Henry and Alice; “Love to dear Uncle, from Katharine”; ‘Hetty, Albert and Miriam; “In loving memory of our dear brother, from Florrie and Lewis (In France) and Tom”*; Mr. & Mrs. HOLLIS; Mrs. YARROW; Mr. & Mrs. A. CHURCHILL, also Mr. & Mrs. W. SHAW, Larklands; “With sincere Sympathy from the officers, N.C.O.’s and men of the “B” Company 2/4th Royal Welsh Fusiliers.”

*Florrie, age 7 & Lewis Wilfred, age 4 are seen on the 1881 census living with parents, Alfred & Fanny at 12 Gladstone St., Ilkeston, Derbys.   Also in the family were William Henry, 9, Arthur, 6 and Sarah Jane, 10 months

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission additional information: – Son of Alfred Baker, of 39, Granby St., Ilkeston.

Alfred was the son of Alfred and Fanny Baker and he first appears on the 1891 census living at 20 Gladstone St., Ilkeston, Derbys.   Head of the household, Alfred, 39, was a Coal Miner born Marpark or Marpool?   His wife Fanny was 39, their children were Arthur, 16, and Wilfred Luis, 14 who were Coal Miners, Jane, 12, Alfred, 7, George, 5 and Hella (sic) 6 months.

The 1901 census tells us that Alfred’s mother Fanny* had died age 43, as father Alfred was 49 and a Widower and worked as a Collier, below ground, Labourer, born in Heanor, Derbyshire.   Fanny possibly died in 1894 in the Basford registration district ( Vol 7b, Page 85) where the 1911 census was also the district.  She was only 43 years old.  They were then living at 12, Albat Street, Ilkeston, Derbyshire.  Also in the household was Alfred, 18 now a bricklayer and his brother George 13, a Coalminer Horse Driver, below ground.

*Alfred’s wife Fanny died, possibly in 1894 (Basford Vol. 7b  Page 85.) – (Registration of 1911 census was Basford).

1911 census shows Alfred as a boarder living at 3, Market Street, Ilkeston, County Nottinghamshire, Registration District Basford.   He was, 26, Single Bricklayer (Colliery) born Ilkeston, Derbyshire was 1 of 4 Boarders in the household of Emma STEVENS, a Boarding House Keeper, her mother, 2 children and a servant.

Alfred must have enlisted around May 1915 and as stated above, he was only in the Army a short while, but he is named on the Ilkeston War Memorial in the Market Place, Ilkeston. – , A. BAKER  (R.W.F.).

He is also remembered on the St. Ethelwold’s Roll of honour which is a screen to the left of the Altar, so again, presumably, he was a member of the congregation there.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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