CWG: Private Ernest Baker

Private Ernest Baker

Ernest Baker’s early life is a bit of a muddle; Born in 1878 in Somerset, it’s a challenge to unpick specific details, as there are two Ernest Bakers, both of whom have parents of the same name – Henry and Sarah – and have siblings with similar names too. Was Ernest’s father, therefore, a thatcher from Meare near Glastonbury or a travelling draper from Taunton.

In fact, it was a newspaper article from April 1915 that helped unlock the confusion.

The Taunton Courier and Western Advertiser confirmed that Ernest’s full name was Ernest Bond Baker, and that his father – who had passed away by the time of Ernest’s death – was from Bishop’s Hull, a village near Taunton.

This would seem to confirm, therefore, that his father was a travelling draper.

Ernest was one of ten children. His father died when he was only fifteen years old, by which time Ernest had left school and found employment as a basket weaver, a trade which was prevalent on the Somerset Moors.

Sarah, a widow at only forty, took in laundry to make ends meet. Of Ernest’s two older brother, one had passed away as a teenager, while the other had gone on to have a wife and family of his own. It was left to Ernest, therefore, to remain at home and support his mother and younger siblings.

Ernest met and married local butcher’s daughter Bessie Glover in 1900, and the couple went on to have seven children. After a spell living in Wiltshire, the young family moved back to Somerset, settling in Bridgwater, where Ernest continued to ply his trade.

Ernest’s military service records are lost to time; he enlisted in the Somerset Light Infantry, joining the 5th Battalion at some point early in the war (certainly before October 1914). Private Baker’s battalion seems to have been part of a territorial/reserve force, and he was based in his home town of Taunton.

In early April 1915, Ernest fell ill, and was admitted to the Voluntary Aid Detachment Red Cross Hospital in Yeovil, suffering from bronchitis and pneumonia. Sadly, the lung conditions were such that he was succumb to them, and he passed away on 16th April 1915. He was just 36 years old.

Ernest Bond Baker lies at rest in St Mary’s Cemetery in his home town of Taunton, Somerset, the same cemetery where his father and brother were buried.

Private Ernest Baker

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s