George Ernest Anthony BAKER DCM

BAKER, George Ernest Anthony

Service Number: 882
Enlisted: 31 August 1914, Adelaide, South Australia
Last Rank: Lance Corporal
Last Unit: 10th Infantry Battalion
Born: Dulwich, South Australia, 4 January 1895
Home Town: Birkenhead, Port Adelaide Enfield, South Australia
Schooling: Le Fever Peninsula State School
Occupation: Deckhand
Died: Killed in Action, France, 8 April 1917, aged 22 years
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Villers-Bretonneux Memorial (Australian National Memorial - France)
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World War 1 Service

31 Aug 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 882, Adelaide, South Australia
20 Oct 1914: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 882, 10th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
20 Oct 1914: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, 882, 10th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Ascanius, Adelaide
25 Apr 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 882, 10th Infantry Battalion, ANZAC / Gallipoli
5 Dec 1915: Honoured Distinguished Conduct Medal, ANZAC / Gallipoli
23 Jul 1916: Wounded AIF WW1, Private, 882, 10th Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières
8 Apr 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Lance Corporal, 882, 10th Infantry Battalion


Mrs. E.E. Baker, of Charles Street, Paddington, formerly of Birkenhead, has been officially notified that her only son, Lce. Cpl. George Ernest Anthony Baker, D.C.M. of the 10th Battalion, was killed in action in France on April 8. He enlisted on August 31, 1914 and left South Australia on October 20 of that year. He was wounded at the landing of Gallipoli, and again in France. Lce. Cpl. Baker was well known at Port Adelaide. He was first employed in the local telegraphic office and then at the Port Adelaide Central Ferry. He was held in high esteem by him many friends. At the time of his death he was 22 years of age.


Distinguished Conduct Medal

'For conspicuous gallantry at Anzac, Gallipoli Peninsula, on 7th November 1915. One of the enemy's shell fell in the gun pit, exploded seven rounds of 18-pdr ammunition, and set fire to the brushwood, threatening a magazine. Private Baker was one of a small party which beat out the fire, regardless of the danger of being blown up by the explosion of the magazine.'
Source: 'London Gazette', Supplement
Date: 15 March 1916

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Biography contributed by Saint Ignatius' College




 George Ernest Anthony Baker born on 4th of January 1895 in Dulwich South Australia. The son of George Alexander Baker and Elizabeth Squire Baker. With no other siblings, Baker grew up as an only child. He and his family moved down to the coast for his father’s work sometime during Baker’s early childhood. Baker attended Le Fevre Peninsula School until grade 7 or around his early teens. He then went on to attend Peninsula High School until around the age of 17. It was around this same time that his father fell ill. When he was 18 his father passed away and he was employed as a deckhand at the Port Adelaide dock in order to continue to provide for the family. Being a deckhand at the time involved cooking, cleaning, painting, maintenance and assisting with other menial jobs on the ship assigned to the deckhand.


Wanting to get away from home whilst still providing for his mother, Baker was one of the very first to sign his name and is found within the first 500 names of the Morphettville enlistment sheet, even without any sign of having trained previously with cadets or other underage military training. After receiving permission to join the war from his mother as he was underage, he left his home on the South Australian Peninsula sometime from early to mid-August. This would have been around days after the announcement of the formation of the 10th battalion and a mere fortnight after Australia declared it was joining World War 1. He trained at the Morphettville Camp and was part of Company B. From there Baker left on the ex-passenger liner HMAT Ascanius, the first dispatchment of South Australians soldiers of the war. The ship after a brief stop in Albany went onto Alexandria with the first deployment of 10th battalion soldiers to Alexandria, Egypt where he underwent further training with company B, the rest of the 10th battalion and the 9th and 11th battalions mainly comprised from soldiers from Queensland and some from Western Australia.


Baker landed on the Gallipoli shore sometime on the second day. In Company B, 367 were seriously wounded and killed from the 10th battalion in the first two weeks at Gallipoli. Baker himself was wounded around a week into service at Gallipoli receiving a wound to his left forearm at the first ridge. He returned to the Gallipoli Peninsula in June and served in the reserve trenches with shorter periods of time spent in the front-line trenches for the final five and a half months of the Gallipoli campaign. Towards the end of the Gallipoli campaign in early December around a week before the ANZACS would evacuate under the cover of dark from Gallipoli Baker and some of his comrades put out a fire in the gun pit, caused by a Turkish shell, which threatened to reach a magazine fo 300 18-pounder artillery shells. The possibility of what could have occurred from the fire catching onto the magazine would’ve been disastrous and could have cost many lives and maybe jeopardised the evacuation that was only a week away. This act of bravery in spite of the danger at hand resulted in Baker receiving a Distinguished Conduct Medal awarded on 31st of December 1915 and noted in the Chronicle and the London Gazette.


 Baker then returned to Alexandria to train with the heavily changed and reinforced B company, after the disaster that was Gallipoli. Four months later Baker disembarked with the first detachment of company B on the 3rd of April 1916. Baker was then wounded again on 23rd July of 1916, this time more seriously with a piece of shrapnel entering his upper thigh and left eye. This was at the battle of Pozieres, the first action on the western front for Australian forces and the most disastrous in terms of the numbers of men lost in such a short time. Baker left the battle field to return to England for surgery on his left eye on the 15th of August 1916 in Folkstone AIF hospital. Baker spent the next four months here before re-joining the 10th Battalion on the 18th of January 1917.


It was two days after re-joining the battalion that Baker was promoted from private to lance corporal his first promotion of the campaign. It was on the 8th of April 1917 Baker was killed on the front. Baker was one of about forty casualties in the Battalion on this day during an advance against German positions.


Baker was a brave, courageous and brilliant soldiers. In the face of danger and risk he put himself out ahead of everyone else. When Baker was told his war was over and was pushed back by serious injuries he returned to keep fighting. Baker persisted and fought until there was battle left to fight. George Ernest Anthony Baker embodied all of the qualities of an ANZAC; bravery, mateship, selflessness, initiative, discipline and endurance all throughout his service. Baker is one the losses that is most tragic because he fought for so long for so much only to be killed so tragically. It feels like a story cut short for a soldier that had so much. Baker is the image of an Anzac and will forever be remembered as a great man and a great soldier.










Son of George Alexander BAKER and Elizabeth nee SQUIRE

Awarded Distinguished Conduct Medal