• Great Uncle Harry

It was July 29 1916; The Battle in Pozieres had begun only a week before; In No Man’s Land, three men lay dead. One of those men was Private Harold Harry Baker. There is not much known about Harry Baker. He is an Unknown Soldier, lying buried somewhere in the fields of Pozieres, France. Harry Baker was born in 1888, Brisbane, Queensland. In his enlistment record he is described as being of a dark complexion, blue eyed and with dark hair. After he was born, his family moved to Emerald, OLD. It was there that his father, Alfred, absconded. So Emily moved Rockhampton with her two children Annie Louisa and Harry. On the 7th December 1889, Emily was found destitute. So the Police Magistrate took Annie Louisa and put her in the Rockhampton Orphanage. On the 16th of December 1889, one year old Harry was put into the Rockhampton Orphanage by the Police Magistrate. Harry Baker’s real name was John Thomas Baker. But when he was signed in to the Orphanage, Emily, now mentally ill, wrote his name down as Harry Baker and his birth place as Ceylon! (Modern-day Sri Lanka). The Orphanage didn’t know any better, so they called him Harry, and it stuck; he was called Harry for the rest of his life. (That explains his putting his name as Harold Harry Baker on his war/enlistment records). In 1889 Emily Baker, was sent to the Goodna Asylum, on the banks of the Brisbane River. Harry was in the Orphanage until 1893, when he was boarded out to a Mrs. Elizabeth Watts, living on Lower Dawson Road, Rockhampton. He lived there till 1894 when he was sent back to his Mother who had recovered and was now living in Brisbane. In 1901 Emily moved to Mt. Whitestone taking Harry with her. There she found a job as a nanny for two little boys of Mr and Mrs William Ford. Sometime in 1902 Mrs Ford died. And a year later William Ford married Emily. Two years later in 1905 Emily died. Harry was only seventeen. Sometime between 1906 and 1914, Harry Baker moved to Townsville, QLD. In his war/enlistment records it hints that he may have been living with a certain W.T Barryman. It was in Townsville that he took up the job of Fireman. At the age of twenty-six, Harry enlisted into the A.I.F on July 9th 1915. He was five ft. two in., and weighed 151 lbs. In his war/enlistment records Harry put down that he was twenty-eight. I don’t know why, but I calculated from his birth year to 1915 and he was 26 when he enlisted. Just before the 2nd Division (Harry’s division, he went out as a Gunner) left port, a Farewell party was thrown for them. Harry left for Suez, Egypt on November 16th 1915 on the ‘Port Macquarie’ from Melbourne. Harry arrived in Suez on December 18th. On January 21st 1916 Harry was transferred to the 5th F.A.B (Field Artillery Battalion). A month later on the 13th he transferred to the 25th Australian Infantry Battalion at Tel-el-Kebir. Harry then left for Marseilles, Alexandria France. He arrived on March 19th 1916. On July 29, 1916, Harry and two other Soldiers were in No Man’s Land (We don’t know why), they were all shot dead and their bodies were never retrieved by the Australian/British Troops. (Because of the heavy shelling by the Germans, they couldn’t get to them). That is where Private Harold Harry lies. An Unknown Soldier in an Unknown grave, Known only to God. Like many other brave men, Harry fought for his country and died for his country. The other two Soldiers that were killed with him were: Private Pritchard and Corporal MacDonald