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WW1 Casualty: Private 1587 Harold Baines -

Private 1587 Harold Baines

Prescot Reporter 04/06/1915

Unit/Regiment 1st/5th Bn., South Lancashire Regiment
Date of Death 09/05/1915 Age at Death 21
& Reference
Menin Gate
Panel 37
Census Details 1901 census -

Harold Baines, aged 6, son of Alfred (36) and Margaret (34), lived at 30 Warrington Road, Prescot. Also there are John (14), James (12), May (3) and Frank (1)

1911 Census -
Living at 13, Carlton Street, Prescot, were 46 year old Alfred Baines and his wife Margaret (44), and their children James W (22), Harold (16), May (13), Harry (7), and Alfred (4).
Birth/Marriage/Death Registrations Birth Registered Q4/1894, Prescot, 8b, 689
SDGW – Where Born Prescot, Lancs
Enlisted Prescot
How Died Killed In Action Theatre of War France & Flanders
Research Ref. No. P010

Service Details

Harold Baines was born in Prescot on 7th September 1894, the son of Alfred and Margaret. He was a pre-war Territorial, joining the 1/5th Bn of the South Lancs around 1912.

The 5th Battalion, South Lancashire Regiment, had just started its annual training in camp when war broke out in August 1914. It was sent to Edinburgh until October, then moved to Tunbridge Wells until February 1915. It was then ordered to France, sailing on the 13th aboard s.s. King Edward., arriving at Le Havre the same day.

Over the next few days the battalion marched to billets at Le Bizet, and then undertook instruction in trench warfare. The system was for companies from a battalion to be attached to other battalions for spells in the line, before the sector was allocated to the battalion on its own. In addition to the trench duty, the battalion undertook its share of pioneer work and training in rapid fire.

The Battalion was moved around regularly without seeing action, until 28th April when it was moved to Vlamertinghe, Belgium in readiness to take part in the 1st Battle of Ypres, which had started on the 22nd.

On 2nd May, the Germans launched a violent attack, accompanied by a cloud of chlorine gas, and the battalion was moved into the line for the first time. On 3rd May, it was moved to the new line in front of Wieltje, and then on the 4th it was again moved to Shell Trap Farm. At dawn, they engaged the Germans but by 4pm the enemy was within 400 yards of the British lines, from where they began a heavy bombardment of the British.

More shell fire continued through the next day, culminating in heavy concentrated fire about 5 p.m. which resulted in a considerable number of men being buried, many of them killed and wounded. The enemy fire continued until midnight and four attempts were made by the Germans to take the farm, but all were repulsed.

At 2 a.m. on the 6th, the Battalion was relieved and moved to La Brique, having incurred considerable casualties.

On the 8th May, the battalion was once more sent up to the Wieltje sector as it was thought that the enemy had broken through, but it proved to be a false alarm and on the 9th it returned to La Brique, leaving 'C' Company and a machine-gun detachment at Wieltje. It is assumed that Acting Sergeant Lloyd and Privates Baines and Bishop were involved in this action as they are all reported as Killed in Action on this date. None of them have a known grave and all are remembered on the Menin Gate

A list of Prescot men reported killed which appeared in the Liverpool Daily Post on 31st May 1915

The Manchester Evening News of 24th May 1915 reported Pte Baines death, along with other local men John Ackers and Thomas Henry Bishop

Harold Baines' Medal Index Card confirming his entry to France on 13th February 1915, which entitled him to the 1914-1915 Star in addition to the Victory Medal and the British War Medal. It also records him as Killed in Action on the 9th May 1915.

The Register of Soldiers Effects lists Harold's father as his next of kin

Announcement in the Prescot Reporter, 14th September 1917

Private Baines inscription on the Menin Gate

Harold's service is commemorated on the EFD Roll of Honour

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