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Capt Arthur de Bells Adam (MC)
1885 - 1916

CPL David Wallace Crawford
1887 - 1916

Lce-Corpl John Joseph Nickle
1894 - 1916

Pte 17911 Morton Neill
1897 - 1916

Lieut Edward Stanley Ashcroft
1883 - 1918
Lieut Edward Stanley Ashcroft

Pte 300182 Joseph Baker

  • Age: 25
  • From: Skelmersdale, Lancs
  • Regiment: The King's (Liverpool Regiment) 18th Btn
  • K.I.A Thursday 6th December 1917
  • Commemorated at: Bedford House Cem Encl 4
    Panel Ref: Sp Mem.41
Joseph was born in the December quarter of 1891 in Skelmersdale the son of Henry Baker and his wife Grace (nee Carr).

His father, from Staffordshire, and his mother, born in Southport, married in Skelmersdale in 1889 and had six children.  Joseph was named after his paternal grandfather, a collier. He had an older brother William Thomas (who died in infancy), and younger siblings Eliza (who died at age 1), James, born in 1896, Abraham, 1906, and Henry, born in 1909.

The 1901 Census sees the family living at 25 Liverpool Road, Skelmersdale. His father is a gasworks labourer, Joseph is 9 and James 4. Living with them is his widowed maternal grandfather, James Carr, 61.

By the time of the1911 Census the family had moved to 31 Traverse Street, Parr, St Helens. By now Joseph, aged 19, is employed as a Drawer in a Coal Mine. He has 3 younger brothers, James, Abraham and Henry. His father is 42, a surface labourer at a coal mine, his mother is 43, James, 14, is a glass hand at a sheet glass works, Abraham is 5, and Henry is 18 months old. They have a boarder, 61-year old John Peareson, a coal mine locomotive cleaner.

His father died in 1913 aged 45.

Joseph enlisted in St Helens joining the Lancashire Hussars Yeomanry as Private 250170. The amount of the War Gratuity suggests that he enlisted soon after war was declared, in about November 1914.  The medal roll shows that he shipped overseas with the 1/1st Lancashire Hussars.  On completing mobilisation in August 1914 the battalion moved to Kent with the West Lancashire Division.  In April 1915, still in Kent, it transferred to the 2nd West Lancashire Division.  In October 1915 the regiment was split up.  Other squadrons shipped to France in late 1915;  “C” Squadron went on 14 November 1915 to join 35th Division at Salisbury Plain.  They landed in France at Le Havre on 1st February 1916, which would explain why no 1914-1915 Star has been found for Joseph.  They rejoined the 1/1st Bn on 10 May 1916 as VIII Corps Cavalry Regiment.

In July 1917 the regiment was dismounted and sent for infantry training.  Sixteen officers and 290 Other Ranks were absorbed into the 18th (Service) Battalion of the King’s (Liverpool Regiment) on 24 September 1917, when Joseph was given the regimental number 300182.  At this time the Pals battalions were in the Ypres Salient.

The Third Battle of Ypres (also known as Passchendaele) had begun on 31st July and continued until November.  

The 18th Bn War Diary records -

On 4th December the battalion moved up to front line trenches at Gheluvelt, No.3 Coy on right, No.4 Coy in centre, and No.2 Coy on left.  Heavy enemy shelling, all calibres and Minenwerfers. Several direct hits on R. Coy posts. Retaliation asked for but little response from our guns.  Casualties 6 killed, 6 wounded.

December 5 - Enemy opened heavy machine gun fire, and fired salvos of 77s on working parties. Heavy shelling, all calibres, consequent on movement being observed. Enemy M.G.s active along Bassevillebeek Valley. Casualties 2 wounded.

December 6 - Heavy bursts of fire on Bassevillebeek Valley for about 10 minutes.  Enemy very vigilant and invariably shelled movement around Bn H.Q. after dawn.  

During the night 6/7th violent bursts of fire 7.7 + 10.5 cm + 18cm were directed against Bn H.Q. vicinity, Dumbarton Wood and tracks. 

Casualties 3 wounded, 1 killed (Pte. 300182 J. Baker)

As the diary entry confirmed, Joseph was killed in action on 06th December 1917, aged 25.

He is commemorated at Bedford House Cemetery, No.4 Enclosure on a Special Memorial headstone which states that he is believed to be buried in the Cemetery. Each of the Special Memorial headstones bears the epitaph, written by Rudyard Kipling:


No.4 Enclosure is the largest in the cemetery; almost two-thirds of the graves are unidentified.

His mother Grace received his Army effects, including a War Gratuity of £15-10s.  The pension card, giving her address as 54 Grant Street, St. Helens, shows that she was awarded a pension of 8/6d a week from June 1918.

Joseph is commemorated on the St Helens Civic Memorial.

In 1939 his mother Grace, an old age pensioner, is still living at 54 Grant Street.  She lived through the Second World War, and died in late 1945 aged 77.

We currently have no further information on Joseph Baker, If you have or know someone who may be able to add to the history of this soldier, please contact us.