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IMG_2003This blog post has been prepared by one of our volunteers, Ann Eales.


Private J Baker is mentioned in the Express and Star on 26th January 1916. This photo accompanied the article.


Private J Baker of the 1/6th South Staffordshire Regiment whose home was at 47 Froynell Street Willenhall, has been killed in action. Private Baker joined the Territorial Force about eighteen months ago and went to France in June 1915.

Private Baker was a very willing soldier and no task was too difficult for him to attempt. He was popular with his comrades and officers alike.

At the time of the 1911 Census, a John Baker was living at 47 Froynell Street, Willenhall. The Medal Card of John Baker (number 2254) shows that he went to France on 25th June 1915, and, sadly, was Killed in Action on 13th October 1915. There would have been time for the bad news to get home, and for the above article to appear in the Express & Star on 26th January 1916.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission website has this information :-

BAKER, JOHN Rank: Private, Service No: 2254, Date of Death:14/10/1915, Regiment/Service: South Staffordshire Regiment, 1st/6th Bn.  Panel Reference: Panel 73 to 76. Memorial: LOOS MEMORIAL

The list of the names on the Willenhall War memorial includes a “J Baker.”  At Andrew Thornton’s impressive website, Staffordshire’s Territorials and the Assault on the Hohenzollern Redoubt, 13th October 1915, includes a detailed account of the fighting, and a list of names of all of the men who fought in this battle. The list includes “2254 Private John Baker Willenhall KIA 14/10/15.”

John Baker was christened on 3rd June 1896 at St. Giles’, Willenhall. The Baptismal record shows his Birth Date as 14th May 1896, “Father William Baker Mother Mary.”  A search was made on FreeBMD for any indication of John Baker marrying, but no record was traced.

At the time of the 1901 Census the Baker family was living at Court, 1, Froynell Street, Willenhall, Wolverhampton, the household consisting of W Baker, Head, age 37, Occupation Brass Pad Lock Maker, Mary Wife age 35, Frederick W age 11, Helen K age 9, Edith H age 7, John L age 4, and Mary L age 2. The family was Willenhall born.

By the time of the 1911 Census the Baker family lived at number 44 (they must have moved to number 47 subsequently) Froynell Street, Willenhall, Wolverhampton, and members of the household listed in the order: William Baker, Head, age 47, Occupation Locksmith, Mary Wife age 45, Frederick son age 21, Locksmith, Helen daughter age 19, a clerk at a Brass Foundry, Edith daughter age 17, at home, Lily daughter age 13, Doris daughter age 8, John son, age 15, Lock Maker, and Herbert, son, age 2. All members of the family were born at Willenhall. The census form also records 12 children of the marriage, of whom 8, being those recorded on the form, survived.