John Roland Baker was born in Dudley in 1896. By 1901, he was living with his family at 171 March End, Wednesfield. Alongside himself, the household consisted of his father John Baker, mother Mary Ann Baker, sister Dorothy May, and brothers Harold and William Edmund Norman. His name in the 1901 census was listed as John “Rowland”. He was taught at St Martin’s School Bradley. By 1911, the family are at 8 Bank Street, Bilston, and John is now living with his step-father Thomas Elton, mother Mary Ann Elton, step-brother Thomas Arthur Elton, brothers, Harold, William Edmund Norman, Stanley, John Frederick and Edgar Ralph Baker. John’s father had clearly died in the interim period, although his death must have been registered outside Wolverhampton as I have been unable to find it. In any case, Mary Ann Baker remarried to Thomas Elton in 1910. By 1911, John Roland Baker has become a galvanizer, and was employed at the Bradley works of J. Sankey and Sons.
Baker enlisted in the 13th Battalion of the King’s Liverpool Regiment (number 235123). He was killed in action on 27 September 1917, and an article in the Midland Counties Express on 10 November 1917 reported that his “officer says of him that he was a very fine soldier, and they felt his loss very much in the platoon and company.” He is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial, as well as on the Roll of Honour at Bradley Memorial, Bilston, and the Sankey War Memorials, now at St Leonard’s Church, Bilston.