William Thomas Baker 1886-1918

627 Pte 43rd Battalion Australian Imperial Force

William Baker was born in Bridgwater in October 1886. He was the son of brickyard labourer William Tremblet Baker and Ellen Boyce, who lived at Somerset Bridge. In 1901 he had a younger brother Charles. In 1901, aged 14, William had joined his father working in the brickyards and he now had an additional brother and sister. In December 1909 William married Ellen Searle of Eastover, five years his senior, a machinist in a collars maker's factory. By 1911 they had set up their own home in 73 Polden Street, Bridgwater. Sometime between 1911 and 1916 William and Ellen emigrated to start a new life in Port Road Hindmarsh, South Australia.

From 18 February 1916 he was attached to the 1 March he took his training, before being assigned to the 43rd Battalion Australian Imperial Force. He arrived in France on active service on 25 November 1916. He was wounded in action in France on 28 January 1917 and spent time recovering in England, before returning to the front on 11 July 1917, where he served in Belgium.

During the Battle of Passchendaele , on the 4 October 1917 a t 6AM, near Zonnebeke, William's unit went over the top of their trench to attack German positions. Within five minutes William was shot and killed, then his body torn by a shell blast. His unit pressed on and took their objective and his body was buried in the open ground near where he had fallen the next day, where a padre officiated. His grave appears to have been subsequently lost; his name is instead on the Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres, Belgium. On 7 November 1917 the Bridgwater Mercury reported that 'Private Thomas William Baker of the Australians, though a native of Somerset Bridge, was killed in action on 4th October. His sergeant wrote to his parents with a striking tribute'. He was aged 32. With no grave in France to attend, his siblings added his name to his parents' grave in the Wembdon Road Cemetery, which was erected in 1930. In the October of 1917 when William was killed a total of 6673 Australians died and a further 13,328 were wounded.

Memorial Inscription in the Wembdon Road Cemetery, memorial 981: In ever loving memory of William Tremblet beloved husband of Ellen Baker who passed away September 3rd 1930 aged 65 at rest. Also Ellen beloved wife who died March 13th 1933 aged 69 years. Also William Thomas Baker beloved son killed in action in France October 4th 1918 aged 32. His end was peace.