Harold BAXTER

Harold BAXTER

Per his military service record (regimental no. 4730), Harold Baxter was born at Illford, Essex, England.[1]  He gave his age as 22 years and 4 months [although he was several years younger], his marital status as single, and his occupation as a farm labourer.  His description on his medical was height 5 feet 9 inches tall, weight 11 stone, with a medium dark complexion, blue eyes, and dark hair. His religious denomination was Methodist.

He completed his medical examination on the 10th October 1915 at Gilgandra and was attested by Captain Nicholas on the 9th October 1915 at Gilgandra. He claimed to have had no previous military service.

After completing the Coo-ee March he went to Liverpool Camp as reinforcement for the 13th Battalion.

On his embarkation roll his address as time of enrolment was Euronga, Gilgandra, N.S.W., and his next of kin is listed as father, [Mr J.] Baxter, 727 Romford Road, Manor Park, Essex, England.

Private Baxter departed Sydney on the HMAT A15 Star of England, along with many of the other Coo-ees, on the 8th March 1916. On the 19th April 1916 he transferred to the 45th Battalion in Egypt.

On the 2nd June 1916 Private Baxter left Alexandria aboard the Kinfauns Castle bound for France, arriving at Marseilles on the 8th June 1916.

Private Baxter survived the fighting on the Somme unscathed, however on the 22nd November 1916, near Guedecourt, France, he was one of 3 members of the Battalion killed during a intercompany relief by a heavy German artillery barrage that also wounded 7 other members of the Battalion.

He is buried at Bancourt British Cemetery, at Bancourt, France.  His age at death was listed as only being 20 years of age on his headstone.

Harold Baxter headstone, Bancourt British Cemetery (Photograph: S & H Thompson 2012)

Harold Baxter headstone, Bancourt British Cemetery (Photograph: S & H Thompson 2012)

His name is also listed on the Cooee March Memorial Park Gateway (Gilgandra).

Research note:  His Birth Certificate lists his date of birth as 14th May 1897, so he was only 18 years and 4 months when he enlisted on the Coo-ee March.  He was only 19 years and 6 months old when he died.[2]

[1] NAA: B2455, BAXTER H

[2] General Register Office Birth Certificate, Harold Jubilee Baxter, Ilford, County of Essex, 14 May 1897, son of James Aram Baxter and Rhoda Baxter formerly Kilner.

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