Thomas Edwin BAIRD

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BAIRD, Thomas Edwin

Service Number: 831
Enlisted: Not yet discovered
Last Rank: Lance Corporal
Last Unit: 43rd Infantry Battalion
Born: Hundred of Dutton, SA, 23 March 1896
Home Town: Eudunda, Goyder, South Australia
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Cinematograph Operator
Died: Killed in action, Belgium, 31 July 1917, aged 21 years
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Eudunda War Memorial, Eudunda and District WW1 Roll of Honour, Menin Gate Memorial (Commonwealth Memorial to the Missing of the Ypres Salient), Truro War Memorial, Truro and District Roll of Honour
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World War 1 Service

9 Jun 1916: Involvement Private, SN 831, 43rd Infantry Battalion, Third Ypres
9 Jun 1916: Embarked Private, SN 831, 43rd Infantry Battalion, HMAT Afric, Adelaide
31 Jul 1917: Involvement Lance Corporal, SN 831, 43rd Infantry Battalion, Third Ypres

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Biography

Son of Alexander BAIRD and Sarah Ann nee WILSON

Biography contributed by Trinity College

Thomas Edwin Baird was born on the 23rd of March 1869, in South Australia. He was the son of Alexander Baird and Sarah Ann Baird, nee Wilson, and the brother of John Oliver Baird who was also in the military.

When he enlisted, Thomas was a 'cinematograph operator' and his family lived near Eudunda in South Australia. 

Thomas enlisted at the A.I.F in Adelaide on 17 February 1916. He departed Adelaide on the 'Afric' on 9 June 1916.

He was later promoted from Private to the position of Lance Corporal. As a Lance Corporal, he was responsible for a section or a small group of men, ensuring the men carried out their personal duties such as washing, shaving, and polishing their boots. He was also responsible for reporting any man that may look sick and make sure the man sought assistance.

Thomas Baird was part of the 43rd Battalion, which was raised in Australia in early 1916. The battalion was made up of mostly South Australian men that wanted to help their country and allies win the war. His fellow soldier and mates said about him in his death letter that he was “a man who would do anything for his country”.

The Battalion landed briefly in Egypt and then went on to Britain for further training. After training the 43rd Battalion experienced mumps epidemic. In early December 1916, the 43rd Battalion landed on the Western front, where they spent most of their time bogged in the bloody trench warfare in Flanders in 1917.

Thomas was killed in the bloody trenches of Warneton on the 31 July 1917; killed by a German sniper whilst he was doing his duty as a Lewis gunner. He has no known grave. Among the belongings sent to his father were souvenirs of his brief time in London before travelling to France and a book about Stonehenge.

He is now remembered at the Ypres memorial in Europe.

His brother, 5953 Lance Corporal John Oliver BAIRD, 4th Motor Transport Company, returned to Australia, 18 July 1919.

 

Sources

https://s3-ap-southeast-2.amazonaws.com/awm-media/collection/RCDIG1063441/document/5651128.PDF

http://anzaccentenary.sa.gov.au/about/south-australian-regiments-and-battalions-1914-18/

https://rslvirtualwarmemorial.org.au/explore/people/128418

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