Horace Arthur (Boof) BAKER

BAKER, Horace Arthur

Service Number: SX7433
Enlisted: 2 July 1940, Adelaide, SA
Last Rank: Lance Corporal
Last Unit: 2nd/8th Field Ambulance
Born: Brighton, South Australia, 21 March 1920
Home Town: Brighton, Holdfast Bay, South Australia
Schooling: Glenelg Primary & Thebarton Technical College, South Australia
Occupation: Self employed plumber
Died: Emphysema, Brighton, South Australia, 17 April 2005, aged 85 years
Cemetery: Centennial Park Cemetery, South Australia
Memorials:
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World War 2 Service

2 Jul 1940: Involvement Lance Corporal, SN SX7433
2 Jul 1940: Enlisted Adelaide, SA
9 Nov 1945: Discharged 2nd/8th Field Ambulance
28 Dec 1945: Embarked Australian Army (Post WW2), SN SX7433

Biography

Horace Arthur was the first of two sons born to Arthur Robert, a veteran of the ANZAC landing and recipient of the Distinguished Conduct Medal and Kathleen (known as May) Davy. He was named after his late uncle, Horace Frank Charles, who was killed in action in France in August 1916 and his father. His younger brother Jack also served during WW2 with the 2/8th AIF in the 133rd Heavy Anti Aircraft Battery.
Horace's great grandfather Henry and his three brothers migrated from Durham, England in 1840 aboard the sailing ship Diadem and each had purchased 20 acre blocks of land in New Glenelg SA where they established market gardens. He grew up on a section of these properties situated on Adelaide Rd, (now Oaklands Rd) that his father Arthur still farmed throughout his childhood.
At the age of fifteen Horace left Thebarton Technical College and worked as a storeman for five years at Woolworths Glenelg, until volunteering for army service in June 1940.

After being sworn in at Wayville on the 2nd July, 1940, being issued with uniforms etc and spending a night sleeping on a straw palliasse, Horace and a group of the new recruits were marched off to a sheep pavilion (which he described as very appropriate) to partly form the 2/8th Field Ambulance. He said that life then developed into a series of route marches, squad drills, first aid lectures, vaccinations in, top teeth out, short haircuts and cold showers. On the 18th October the unit moved to Woodside camp, fifty men to each wood and iron hut for more training.
On the 28th December the unit marched to the Oakbank railway station, travelled to Melbourne and boarded the Mauritania setting sail the next day. Other ships in the convoy were, HMAS Canberra, Queen Mary, Aquitania, Dominion Monarch and Awatia. The convoy set sail from Perth on the 5th of January, 1941 and disembarked in the Suez Canal on the 30th and for the next six weeks Horace's unit moved between camps at El Kantara, Khasa and Amyri.
Whilst in Alexandria, Horace and other unit members were on day leave and were constantly pestered by hordes of starving children begging for money, food or anything else they could get. At one point an employee from a local bakery was transferring a tray of buns to another premise, held in one hand and balanced precariously on his head out of reach from the horde of begging children following him. The boot of an Australian soldier flew through the air, hit the bakers tray and not one of the buns hit the ground as the children caught them mid air and scampered off for a feed.

On the 15th March the unit boarded the Ulster Prince and sailed to Tobruk arriving inside the perimeter on April 7th following a series of moves through the desert. Horace's main duty during the siege was as a stretcher bearer, but other duties included digging in and setting up hospital tents, carting water and supplies, acting as an ambulance orderly and loading patients onto ships for repatriation. He finally left Tobruk on the British mine layer HMS Abdul on October 21st.
Following Tobruk the 2/8th spent time in Amyria staging camp, Julis camp, Hill 69, Aleppo, Faherzia, Chekka, Alexandria and El Alamein before embarking on the Queen Mary in January 1943 for Australia and some well earned leave.
Two months later the unit moved to the Atherton Tablelands for jungle training before doing an eight month stint in New Guinea. Then it was back to Australia for a brief period of leave and then twelve months of training and exercises back in the Tablelands. April 1945 it was back to New Guinea for six months and following the declaration of peace, Horace eventually headed home to Australia on the Kinimbla on the 22nd October. He was officially discharged on the 9th November and after serving five years, four months and one week was officially a civilian again

As members of the unit got to know each other better, special friendship groups developed and these groups would go on leave together and generally hang around with each other where possible. Horace's group got christened the West End Gang which was later changed to the Dead End Kids. In typical Aussie fashion they all had nicknames, namely, Dogsy, Boof, Boong, Plumbum, Scrubby, Slam, Poppa, Dusty, Squeaker, Irritable and Longin.
Such was the bond that these diggers formed, most retained strong friendships throughout their lives and spent considerable time socialising with each others families

In March 1944 Horace returned to Adelaide for a couple of weeks leave and during this time his Great Aunties Doris and Ivy invited him around for a meal and asked what he would like to eat. In typical Horace fashion his response was ' a tall blonde '
This was not provided but as he put it, that night I met 'my Doom' as they had invited a young lady, Eileen (known as Tup) McCarron. Eileen and Horace spent time together during the rest of his leave, corresponded for the rest of the year and were married in January 1945 during his next leave. Eileen kept their letters in a shoebox all her life and we her children were directed that if anything happened to her and our father, they were to be burnt without being read. The content must have been fairly saucy and on their passing, despite the obvious temptation, we honoured her wishes.
Horaces's other often stated quote, which was probably pretty common amongst those serving at the time and relating to when returning on leave was ' when I get home, the second bang will be my kit bag hitting the floor'

Following his discharge, Horace (known as Os) undertook a plumbing course and spent his entire working life as a self employed plumber
Tup and Os built their family home at Hove, living there all their lives and raising four children, Bob, Max, Donna and Alannah and unfortunately lost another daughter Lanna at nine months of age.
Os had a very relaxed, laid back attitude towards life and was not a great timekeeper and because of this amongst family and friends was commonly referred to as 'the late Horrie Baker'
Financially, life was a constant struggle but Tup and Os made significant sacrifices to ensure their children missed out on nothing, sending them on school and sport trips, scout jamborees and family holidays etc. Os also volunteered to coach sporting teams his children were involved in as well as serving on committees of these sporting clubs
Many a time on game day for his sons hockey teams, he would unload all his plumbing gear from his Austin A40 utility, have Tup and the two girls in the cabin with him and the entire eleven players in the ute as no other parents were available to assist with transporting. Due to his previously mentioned timekeeping issues, the players were often crawling over each other putting on boots etc, before jumping out of the vehicle on arrival at the playing field and running straight on to commence play, just as the other team were thinking we weren't turning up and they had a forfeit

The majority of the family social life outside of sport involved picnics, barbecues etc with the extended family, the families of Os' army mates and also families of Tup's former work girlfriends
On Os' retirement at sixty, THEIR time had finally arrived and Tup and Os spent a considerable amount of their golden years travelling Australia with their caravan, with regular trips home to catch up with their children and grand children
They enjoyed a long and happy life with Os passing away in 2005 aged 85 and Tup in 2010 aged 87

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Biography contributed by Robert Baker

Contributed by Bob Baker

Horace Arthur was the first of two sons born to Arthur Robert, a veteran of the ANZAC landing & recipient of the Distinguished Conduct Medal and Kathleen (known as May) Davy. He was named after his late uncle, Horace Frank Charles, who was killed in action in France in August 1916 and his father. His younger brother Jack also served during WW2 with the 2/8th AIF in the 133rd Heavy Anti Aircraft Battery.

Horace's great grandfather, Henry & his three brothers migrated from Durham, England in 1840 aboard the sailing ship Diadem and each had purchased 20 acre blocks of land in New Glenelg SA, where they established market gardens. He grew up on a section of these properties situated on Adelaide Road, (now Oaklands Rd) that his father Arthur still farmed throughout his childhood.

At the age of fifteen Horace left Thebarton Technical College and worked as a storeman for five years at Woolworths, Glenelg, until volunteering for army service in June 1940.

After being sworn in at Wayville on the 2nd July, 1940, being issued with uniforms etc and spending a night sleeping on a straw palliasse, Horace and a group of the new recruits were marched off to a sheep pavilion (which he described as very appropriate) to partly form the 2/8th Field Ambulance. He said that life then developed into a series of route marches, squad drills, first aid lectures, vaccinations in, top teeth out, short haircuts and cold showers. On the 18th October the unit moved to Woodside camp, fifty men to each wood and iron hut for more training.

On the 28th December the unit was marched to the Oakbank railway station, travelled to Melbourne and boarded the Mauritania setting sail the next day. Other ships in the convoy were, HMAS Canberra, Queen Mary, Aquitania, Dominion Monarch and Awatia. The convoy set sail from Perth on the 5th January, 1941 and disembarked in the Suez Canal on the 30th and for the next six weeks Horace's unit moved between camps at El Kantara, Khasa and Amyri.

Whilst in Alexandria, Horace and other unit members were on day leave and were constantly pestered by hordes of starving children begging for money, food or anything else they could get. At one point an employee from a local bakery was transferring a tray of buns to another premise, held in one hand and balanced precariously on his head out of reach from the horde of begging children following him. The boot of an Australia soldier flew through the air, hit the bakers tray and not one of the buns hit the ground as the children caught them mid air and scampered off for a feed.

On the 15th March the unit boarded the Ulster Prince and sailed for Tobruk arriving inside the perimeter on April 7th following a series of moves through the desert. Horace's main duty during the siege was as a stretcher bearer, but other duties included digging in and setting up hospital tents, carting water and supplies, acting as an ambulance orderly and loading patients onto ships for repatriation. He finally left Tobruk on the British mine layer HMS Abdul on October 21st

Following Tobruk the 2/8th spent time in Amyria staging camp, Julis camp, Hill 69, Aleppo, Faherzia, Chekka, Alexandria and El Alamein before embarking on the Queen Mary in January 1943 for Australia and some well earned leave.

Two months later the unit moved to the Atherton Tablelands for jungle training before doing an eight month stint in New Guinea. Then it was back to Australia for a brief period of leave and then twelve months of training and exercises back in the Tablelands. April 1945 it was back to New Guinea for six months and following the declaration of peace, Horace eventually headed home to Australia on the Kanimbla on the 22nd October.
He was officially discharged on the 9th November and after serving five years, four months and one week was officially a civilian again.

As members of the unit got to know each other better, special friendship groups developed and these groups would go on leave together and generally hang around with each other where possible. Horace's group got christened the West End Gang which was later changed to the Dead End Kids. In typical Aussie fashion they all had nicknames, namely, Dogsy, Boof, Boong, Plumbum, Scrubby, Slam, Poppa, Dusty, Squeaker, Irritable and Longin.

Such was the bond that these diggers had formed, most retained strong friendships throughout their lives and spent considerable time socialising with each others families

In March 1944 Horace returned to Adelaide for a couple of weeks leave and during this time his Great Aunties Doris and Ivy invited him around for a meal and asked what he would like to eat. In typical Horace fashion his response was ' A tall blonde 'This was not provided but as he put it, that night I met ' my Doom ', as they had invited a young lady, Eileen ( known as Tup ) McCarron. Eileen and Horace spent time together during the rest of his leave, corresponded for the rest of the year and were married in January 1945, during his next leave. Eileen kept their letters in a shoebox all her life and we her children were directed that if anything happened to her and our father, they were to be burnt without being read. 

Following his discharge, Horace ( known as Horrie or Os ) undertook a plumbing course and spent his entire working life as a self employed plumber. Tup and Os built their family home at Hove, living there all their lives and raising four children, Bob, Max, Donna and Alannah and unfortunately lost another daughter Lanna at nine months of age.

Os had a very relaxed, laid back attitude towards life and was not a great timekeeper and because of this amongst family and friends was commonly referred to as ' the late Horrie Baker '

Financially, life was a constant struggle but Tup and Os made significant sacrifices to ensure their children missed out on nothing, sending them on school and sport trips, scout jamborees and family holidays etc. Os also volunteered to coach sporting teams his children were involved in as well as serving on committees of these sporting clubs. Many a time on game day for his sons hockey teams, he would unload all his plumbing gear from his Austin A40 utility, have Tup and the two girls in the cabin with him and the entire eleven players in the ute as no other parents were available to assist with transporting. Due to his previously mentioned timekeeping issues, the players were often crawling over each other putting on boots etc, before jumping out of the vehicle on arrival at the playing field and running straight on to commence play, just as the other team were thinking we weren't turning up and they had a forfeit.

The majority of the family social life outside of sport involved picnics, barbecues etc with the extended family, the families of Os' army mates and also the families of Tup's former work girlfriends.

On Os' retirement at sixty, THEIR time had finally arrived and Tup and Os spent a considerable amount of their golden years travelling Australia with their caravan, with regular trips home to catch up with their children and grandchildren.

They enjoyed a long and happy life with Os passing away in 2005 aged 85 and Tup in 2010 aged 87.

 

 

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