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
Pte 32732 Comenius Talmash Pembrey Baker
- Age: 27
- From: East Barnet
- Regiment: The King's (Liverpool Regiment) 19th Btn
- K.I.A Sunday 30th July 1916
- Commemorated at: Thiepval Memorial
Panel Ref: P&F1D8B &8 C.
19th Battalion Diary 30th July 1916
MALTZ HORN FARM
BATTLE begun. ZERO hour 4:45 am. The Battalion reached its objective, but suffered heavy losses, and had to evacuate its position owing to no reinforcements.
Everard Wyrall gives details of the attack in his book "The History of The King’s Regiment";
"The 2nd Attack on Guillemont- 29th July 1916 the 89th Brigade the 20th King's were to attack on the right and the 19th on the left. During the evening of the 29th the night was dark and foggy when the Battalions moved off and the 19th with Lt Col G Rollo commanding, when passing the South east of the Briqueterie they were heavily shelled first with H E and then with a new kind of asphyxiating Gas shell which had curious results, at first it had no nasty effect but about 8 hrs later men began to fall sick with violent headaches and pains in the stomach. All ranks had to wear gas masks which in the darkness and mist made the going terribly difficult. It was indeed wonderful that they were able to reach their Assembly point at all. But they did and by 2.45 a.m. on the 30th July 1916 the Btn was assembled having suffered about 30 Casualties on the way up ready for the Zero hour at 4.45 a.m.
It is known that the two left Companies of the 19th under Capt. Dodd and Capt. Nicholson advanced in touch with the 2nd Royal Scots Fusiliers on their left although they suffered many casualties from Machine gun Fire did not encounter many Germans and reached their final objective about the time allocated, beginning at once to dig in south of the orchard on the South east corner of Guillemont.
On the left of the 19th the Scots Fusiliers most gallantly forced their way through Guillemont to the eastern side of the village but were soon overwhelmed by the enemy and few returned.
At 8 a.m. finding that the village was not held the two left Companies of the 19th received no word from the rear or either flank believed themselves to be totally isolated so were forced to fall back and dig in, their position being untenable.
At midday the effective fighting strength of the 19th Btn was just 7 Officers and 43 other ranks"
When darkness fell on the battlefield the 30th Division held a line from the railway on the eastern side of Trones Wood , southwards and including Arrow Head Copse, to east of Maltz Horn Farm. On this line the division was relieved by the 55th Division during the early hours of the 31st July.
Casualties in the 19th Battalion were 11 Officers and 435 Other Ranks
The events of 30th July 1916 were regarded at the time as Liverpool’s blackest day. There follows an extract from The History of the 89th Brigade written by Brigadier General Ferdinand Stanley which gives an indication of the events of the day.
Well the hour to advance came, and of all bad luck in the world it was a thick fog; so thick that you couldn’t see more than about ten yards. It was next to impossible to delay the attack – it was much too big an operation- so forward they had to go. It will give some idea when I say that on one flank we had to go 1,750 yards over big rolling country. Everyone knows what it is like to cross enclosed country which you know really well in a fog and how easy it is to lose your way. Therefore, imagine these rolling hills, with no landmarks and absolutely unknown to anyone. Is it surprising that people lost their way and lost touch with those next to them? As a matter of fact, it was wonderful the way in which many men found their way right to the place we wanted to get to. But as a connected attack it was impossible.
The fog was intense it was practically impossible to keep direction and parties got split up. Owing to the heavy shelling all the Bosches had left their main trenches and were lying out in the open with snipers and machine guns in shell holes, so of course our fellows were the most easy prey.It is so awfully sad now going about and finding so many splendid fellows gone.
His mother appealed for information in the Liverpool Post and Mercury and in the Social Gazette, London on 2nd September 1916. An appeal for information was also printed in John Bull, on 23rd September 1916:
“32732 Private C.T.P. Baker, No.1 Platoon, No.1 Company, King’s Liverpool Regiment. Missing since July 30, 1916.”
(John BullH was a popular weekly magazine with the largest circulation of any weekly in the world.)
“Any prisoner of war, returned from Germany, who may have heard of Private Comenius T.P. Baker, King’s Liverpool, reported missing on July 30, 1916, is asked to communicate with his mother, Mrs. Baker, 51 Ennismore Road, Stanley, Liverpool.”
The CWGC entry for the Memorial miss spells one of his christian names as Talmach.