Arthur Wilfred BALDWIN

Poppy

BALDWIN, Arthur Wilfred

Service Number: 2288
Enlisted: 8 June 1913, Enlisted at Blackboy Hill, WA
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 16th Infantry Battalion
Born: Nhill, Victoria, Australia, 1893
Home Town: Tumby Bay, Tumby Bay, South Australia
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Farmer Labourer
Died: Killed in action, Gallipoli, 1 August 1915
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Lone Pine Memorial to the Missing, Tumby Bay War Memorial
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World War 1 Service

8 Jun 1913: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 2288, 16th Infantry Battalion, Enlisted at Blackboy Hill, WA
15 Jun 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 16th Infantry Battalion
25 Jun 1915: Involvement Private, SN 2288, 16th Infantry Battalion, 'ANZAC' / Gallipoli
25 Jun 1915: Embarked Private, SN 2288, 16th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Wandilla, Fremantle

A Soldiers Story

Bill was born in Jun1894 at Nhill (Vic). Very little is known of his family other than his parents died very early in his life and he was then made a ward of the State of South Australia. He had no siblings.
He was informally adopted by William Ross Blacker of Lipson when he was 11 years of age and came to Lipson to live and work with Blacker; he remained in this employ until a few months before he enlisted, when he went to WA to work in the gold mines. At time of enlistment he listed his occupation as "farm labourer" and his Next of Kin (NOK) as William Ross Blacker of Lipson, Tumby Bay.
He enlisted at Black Boy Hill (WA), then was sent to Narrogin (WA) for processing and undertook his initial training in this area before being posted to 6th Reinforcements/ 16th Battalion (Bn) on 8 Jun 1915. A few weeks later he embarked on HMAT "Wandilla" at Fremantle (WA) bound for Alexandria (Middle East) for further training before arriving at Gallipoli on 2 Aug 1915 and being taken on strength by his Bn.
The 16th Bn was raised on 16 Sep 1914, six weeks after the outbreak of the First World War. Three-quarters of the Bn were recruited in Western Australia, the remainder in South Australia. The recruits were first united when the Bn trained together in Victoria before embarking aboard HMAT “Ceramic” on 26 Dec 1914; after a brief stop in Albany (WA) the Bn proceeded to Egypt, arriving at Alexandria in Feb 1915. In this location the Bn combined with its parent Brigade, the 4th Brigade, and became part of the Australian and New Zealand Division, where they undertook further training. The 4th Brigade landed at Anzac Cove, Gallipoli, late in the afternoon of 25 April 1915.
Within a week after the landing, the 16th Bn was thrown into the attack on Bloody Angle suffering very heavy casualties. From May to Aug 1915 the Bn was involved in establishing and defending the front line of the ANZAC beachhead.
In Aug1915 the 4th Brigade, including 16th Bn, attacked Hill 971. It was just prior to this attack that Bill joined his unit. The hill was taken at great cost, although only for a short time, before Turkish reinforcements forced the Australians to withdraw. It was during this action that Bill was posted as Missing in Action (MIA) along with a further 4 members of 16th Bn
The Bn served at Gallipoli until the evacuation in December 1915
It was not until the 23 Sep 1917 that a Court of Enquiry at Rouen (France) found that "he was killed in action (KIA) on the day that he had been posted as missing". The NOK was not informed of these findings for a further 12 months.
There then followed a number of letters from Army to the NOK. Firstly the Army wrote to the Police Station at Tumby Bay in Dec 1920 requesting assistance in finding the NOK of the soldier; this was answered by the police and Blacker stating that replies had been sent to all their correspondence. A second letter, dated 6 Jan 1921, required the NOK to give a Statutory Declaration stating that he would care for the medals and other items released into his care and would surrender same if required. Another letter received on 7 Jul 1921 from the War Graves Commission requested detail of any items the soldier may have been carrying, to help identify his remains. It went on to say: "regret very much ... we have so far (not) been able to obtain any trace of (his) lasting resting place."
He is among the many who have no known resting place at Gallipoli. He is commemorated on the Lone Pine Memorial and his name is also recorded on the Tumby Bay Memorial.

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Biography contributed by Carol Foster

His foster father, William Ross Blacker of Tumby Bay, South Australia was listed as his Next of Kin 

Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal