William Thomas Baker RMLI (Po) 18278
William was born on 12th March 1897 in All Saints, Birmingham to parents Mary Ann and Thomas and baptised on 31st March 1897 at St Cuthbert Church, Wilson Green.
In 1901 he lived at 59 Foundry Road, Birmingham, aged 4, with his two younger sisters and one older brother John.
10 years later, noted on the 1911 census, the family still lived at the same address. Sadly one of William's sisters had died aged 4 in 1904 but he did have two younger brothers to help look after.
William was working at the time of the census as a stamper in an ironworks, aged just 14. He joined the Royal Marines, signing at the recruitment depot at Deal on 15th December 1914, aged 17, having left a job as a jewellers assistant. He was 5'8" tall with brown hair and eyes, with a sallow complexion.
William left Deal on 23rd June 1915 due to a transfer to Portsmouth Division staying until 11th November 1915. He then embarked to his first ship, the new light cruiser HMS CASTOR. He stayed aboard until 2nd May 1916 transferring to HMS VANGUARD on 3rd May 1916, just before the dreadnought's participation in the Battle of Jutland.
William stayed with the ship until her explosion, aged just 20 years old when he died. He was a chum of survivor and fellow Marine John Williams.
He was awarded the Star, Victory and British medals.
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1901 & 1911 England Census - Ancestry.com
Birmingham, England, Church of England Baptisms, 1813-1912 Reference Number: DRO 22; Archive Roll: 602
Royal Marines Registers of Service Index, 1842-1925
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)
Royal Navy and Royal Marine War Graves Roll, 1914-1919 TNA Series: ADM 242/7; Scan Number: 0173
WWI Pension Ledgers and Index Cards, 1914-1923 Western Front Association; London, England; Pension Record Cards; Reference: 716/08D