BAKER Frederick George
Regiment : 11th Battalion Australian Infantry Australian Imperial Force
Service number : 1310
Conflict : WW1
Date of death : 30th May 1916 aged 46
Place of death : La Cordonniere Farm, France
Buried : Rue-Petillon Military Cemetery, Fleurbaix, France, Grave I. H. 41.
Relatives : Son of Thomas and Mary Baker; husband of Rose Baker, of Lansdown Villa, Moorlands Rd., Malvern, England
Memorial : Malvern WW1 War Memorial
Also appears on : North Malvern Holy Trinity Church as George Frederick Baker
Appears in the Worcester/Worcestershire Roll of Honour Book for army casualties located in Worcester Cathedral as Frederick Baker.
George Frederick Baker was born in Great Malvern on 13th September 1870, the son of Thomas and Mary Baker. He married Rosa Jane Bailey in St Peter the Great, Worcester on 13th August 1893 and the couple had five children. Known to his family and friends as Fred Baker, he had previously served in the 2nd Volunteer Battalion Worcester Regiment and saw service in South Africa in 1901-2. He was working on liners to Australia at the outbreak of WW1 and enrolled with the Australian Imperial Force (A.I.F.) at Black Boy Hill, Perth on 17th November 1914. He subsequently saw service in Gallipoli and in July 1915 was commended for his role in taking a Turkish trench. Under Captain Leane a force of 200 men attempted to clear Turkish positions facing the ANZAC lines. Half of the men were killed or wounded.
In September 1915 he was invalided back to Britain suffering from Dysentry. He rejoined the A.I.F. after the withdrawal from Gallipoli and in April 1916 was sent via Marseilles to the area south west of Armentieres as part of the build up of forces for the Somme offensive. On the night of 29th/30th May 1916 their position was hit by a German Mortar shell killing 40 men, one of whom was Fred Baker, and injuring another 60. His Australian service record states that he was ‘killed in France’.
The information about La Cordonnerie Farm is from: http://www.ww1westernfront.gov.au/fromelles/index.html
A family member visited the cemetery in 2010 and found Fred Baker’s headstone among the group in Row H confirming this was the location where he died. The further information about the action against the Turks is from the Joint Imperial War Museum/Australian War memorial Battlefield Study, 2000.
Additional information supplied by a family member.
George Baker enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force on 17th November 1914 at Black Boy Hill, Perth, Australia. On his attestation paper he gave his place of birth as Malvern, Worcestershire, England, his age as 38 years and 1 month and his occupation as a gardener. His next of kin was his wife, Rosa Baker, Lansdown Villa, Malvern, England. He had previous military experience serving with the 2nd Worcester Regiment. George was 5ft 6 inches tall with a dark complexion, grey eyes and black hair.
He embarked on the “Itonus” at Freemantle on 22nd December 1914 and joined his battalion at Gallipoli on 28th April 1915. His service papers record the following extract from Divisional Orders:
“The Army Corps Commander wishes to thank the following Officers, N.C.O.’s and Men whose names have been brought to his notice, for the gallant and good work they performed on the night of July 31/August 1st in connection with the taking of a Turkish trench:-
… No 1310 Private G.F. Baker, 11th Battalion”
On 23rd September George was admitted to the hospital at Mudros, Greece and 3 days later he was evacuated to England on the hospital ship “Grampian” suffering from diarrhoea. He was admitted to the Southmead Section, 2nd Southern General Hospital, Bristol, England on 11th October 1915. Once recovered he rejoined his battalion in March 1916, embarking at Alexandria on 29th March 1916, arriving in Marseilles on 5th April 1916. George was killed in action on 30th May 1916. His wife was awarded a war pension for herself and the couples 2 daughters, Dorothy Maud Baker and Doris Mary Baker.
Reference for Australian Service Records: Barcode 3009671 Series Accession No 2002/05081482 Location Canberra
Accessed via: https://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/
Malvern News, 17th June 1916:
Pte F. Baker Australian Imperial Force, of Moorlands Road has been reported killed to his wife. He was an agent of the Prudential Insurance Company and a member of the Malvern Rifle Volunteers when the South African War broke out. He volunteered for active service and was accepted. He later became a slot collector under the Gas Department of the Urban District Council and subsequently a ships steward. He was in Australia on the outbreak of war and immediately joined up. In Gallipoli he took part in some desperate fighting until he was invalided home. Rejoining, he was soon at the front again and was in Malvern on a short leave only three weeks ago. Much sympathy goes to his wife and family.