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Alfred Robert Baker (Ch) 191009, Yeoman of Signals.


Alfred was born on 25th July 1881 in Dover, Kent to parents Robert and Alice who had him baptised on 4th December at St Mary the Virgin Church, Dover. He was recorded ten years later on the 1891 census living at 2 Mount Pleasant, St Augustine, Canterbury, the oldest of five children. He attended school and was aged nine - his father worked as a brewer’s drayman to support his growing family.


On 20th October 1896 he joined the Navy as a Boy 2nd Class, transferring from the training ship HMS Warspite. He was recorded as being 5’6” tall when fully grown, with light brown hair, blue eyes, a fair complexion and had tattoos of cross swords on his right forearm and an anchor on his left forearm. His service record follows:-


HMS IMPREGNABLE - 20/10/1896 - 23/10/1896, entered at Boy 2nd Class

HMS LION - 24/10/1896 - 07/02/1898, rising to Boy 1st Class on 29/07/1897

HMS PEMBROKE - 08/02/1898 - 28/07/1898

HMS AGINCOURT - 29/07/1898 - 15/01/1899

HMS PEMBROKE I - 16/01/1899 - 17/01/1899

HMS SANS PAREIL - 18/01/1899 - 03/05/1899

HMS PEMBROKE I - 04/05/1899 - 12/10/1899, rising in rating to Signalman on 25/07/1899

HMS PEMBROKE III - 13/10/1899 - 05/04/1900

HMS PEMBROKE I - 06/04/1900 - 18/04/1900

HMS ARGONAUT - 19/04/1900 - 30/06/1900

HMS EMPRESS OF INDIA - 01/07/1900 - 13/09/1901, rated as 2nd Class Signalman on 10/11/1900

HMS CAESAR - 14/09/1901 - 21/10/1901

HMS VINDICTIVE - 28/10/1901 - 16/04/1902, rising to Leading Signalman on 16/04/1902

HMS PEMBROKE - 17/04/1902 - 13/06/1902

HMS GALATEA - 14/06/1902 - 10/02/1903

HMS DIDO - 11/02/1903 - 28/10/1903

HMS PEMBROKE - 29/10/1903 - 11/11/1903

HMS ALBEMARLE - 12/11/1903 - 13/01/1906, rated as 2nd Class Yeoman of Signals on 02/03/1905

HMS PEMBROKE - 14/01/1906 - 20/02/1906

HMS WILDFIRE - 21/02/1906 - 22/10/1906, rated as Yeoman on Signals on 25/04/1906

HMS PEMBROKE I - 23/10/1906 - 16/02/1907

HMS AMPHITRITE - 17/02/1907 - 20/02/1907

HMS COCHRANE - 21/02/1907 - 17/02/1908

HMS BACCHANTE - 18/02/1908 - 02/05/1910, his profile photo possibly taken while serving aboard this ship.

HMS PEMBROKE I - 03/05/1910 - 27/10/1910, rated as Yeoman of Signals on 06/09/1910

HMS GANGES - 28/10/1910 - 20/08/1911 (Alfred may have done some teaching here as it was the depot for Boy Telegraphists learning the trade).

HMS PEMBROKE - 21/08/1911 - 04/09/1911

HMS FALMOUTH - 05/09/1911 - 04/08/1913

HMS PEMBROKE I - 05/08/1913 - 30/03/1914

HMS VANGUARD - 31/03/1914 - 09/07/1917, serving aboard during the Battle of Jutland.


His family were featured in the Kentish Gazette and Canterbury Press, 5th February 1916 showing how many of the family were serving during the Great War. Alfred had four brothers who were serving in either the Royal Navy or Army - his father had previously served in the Rifle Brigade.



Following the ship’s destruction and heavy loss of life, including Alfred’s, his Star, Victory and British war medals were issued to his father, along with his pension.


He is remembered on the Chatham Naval Memorial and locally on the Canterbury war memorial.


#140 - 37/843


Sources:


England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837-1915 Free BMD

England, Select Births and Christenings, 1538-1975

1891 England Census

Royal Navy Registers of Seamen's Services, 1848-1939 National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; Royal Navy Registers of Seamen's Services; Class: ADM 188; Piece: 326

British Army and Navy Birth, Marriage and Death Records, 1730-1960 National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; Admiralty: Naval Casualties, Indexes, War Grave Rolls and Statistics Book, First World War.; Class: ADM 242; Piece: 007 (1914 - 1919)

CWGC Register

Royal Navy and Royal Marine War Graves Roll, 1914-1919 TNA Series: ADM 242/7; Scan Number: 0165.

Naval Medal and Award Rolls, 1793-1972 Class: ADM 171; Piece: 95

World War I Pension Ledgers and Index Cards, 1914-1923 Western Front Association; London, England; WWI Pension Record Cards and Ledgers; Reference: 735/11ppE


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