Roll of Honour

Percy W. Baker

Percy William Baker was born in Felstead in 1895. The son of Thomas and Emma Baker. 

In 1901 the family lived in Broadway (now Stebbing Road)
Thomas Baker - 37 - Gardener
Emma Baker (ne Hatley) - 36 - Laundress (died 1st quarter 1905)
Percy Baker - 6
Arras Memorial. courtesy www.britishwargraves.co.uk

Percy's mother died early in 1905 when Percy was just 10 years old.
His father married Ellen Pasfield in 1906.

In 1911 the census records the family the Old School House, Felstead:
Thomas Baker - 46 - Gardener - born Felstead
Ellen Baker - 46 - Housekeeper - born Felstead
(Thomas and Ellen are shown as having been married 4 years)
Percy Baker - 16 - Carman - born Felstead
Gertrude Percy - 21 - Servant Domestic - Born Stebbing
Jessie Southall - 16 - Laundry Maid - born London

Percy served as Lance Corporal 12247 with 'C' Company the 1st Battalion of the Essex Regiment.

He was killed aged 22 on 14th April 1917. He is remembered at the Arras Memorial. (photograph of memorial courtesy www.britishwargraves.co.uk)

 

A Bad Day for the Essex Regiment and Felsted
Battle of Arras - 14 April 1917

At 05.30 on April 14, the 1st Battalion, Essex Regiment and the Newfoundland Regiment began its advance behind a creeping barrage. Although some men were lost to enemy machine-gun fire, the Regiment soon reached its first objective - Shrapnel Trench. Troops found this deserted and proceeded to Infantry Hill. By 07.30, with both of their objectives taken, the two regiments began to secure their positions.

At about 08.00, the Germans began a strong counterattack. It soon became apparent that the Germans had used an elastic defence. With the Essex and Newfoundland Regiments in a salient, the Germans were able to attack them on three sides. Soon the Germans were able to move in behind the two Regiments and "pinch" them off from the village of Monchy-le-Preux, the location of their headquarters behind the British Lines. After fierce fighting, most of the Essex and Newfoundland men were either captured or killed.

Such were the casualties in killed and prisoners that both units became ineffective and were briefly amalgamated for convenience as the "Newfoundessex" , continuing until drafts were received to rebuild both Battalions. For the 1st Essex it was the third time in its history that it had been virtually destroyed.

Felsted Casualties on 14th April 1917
Company Sergeant Major Sidney Radley
Lance Corporal Percy Baker
Private Joseph Chalk