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    CWGC Naming QUERY ..... Douglas Lionel BAKER

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    OK - so WHO of you would like a research CHALLENGE?



    Douglas Lionel BAKER (who died on 26 April 1941)

    the same as

    Douglas Lionel BAKER (who died on 26 April 1941)


    ????? Puzzled ??  Yes - of course you are. And so am I.

    BACKGROUND: I recently bought 5 medals to "Baker" - a WWI Trio to L/Cpl Herbert Lionel BAKER - a South African who served in the 4th Infantry, then in the 3rd Mounted Rifles and finally in the S.A.S.C. (MT). And I have his full personnel file from Defence HQ in Pretoria with all his details from when he enlisted on 1.9.1914 to when he was de-mobbed on 1.4.1919. He was married to Margaret Baker. All good so far.

    AND with this trio came a WWII PAIR (consisting of the Defence Medal and the War Medal) as well as the Medal / Condolence Slip (shown here) and issued to a WOII D.L. Baker (for two medals), as well as two medal boxes (shown here) addressed to a Mrs H.L. Baker (the mother of Douglas Lionel Baker). The initials of "H.L." were those of her husband (and Douglas' father, Herbert Lionel) - as it was customary to address the spouse of a married couple in those days by the initials of the husband. You will see that the Bakers resided in the town of Gwelo - in Southern Rhodesia.

    I then did some further genealogy research and found that a Douglas Lionel Baker was born on 11 August 1916 to a Herbert Lionel and Margaret Baker. Now if you go to the CWGC website, and search Douglas Lionel Baker and the date of death, you will find ONE Douglas Lionel Baker, who died (and was buried) in KENYA on 26 April 1941. NOW THIS IS WHERE the matter starts to get a bit fuzzy, shall we say. IF you KNOW how to use the modern CWGC website, you will know that they are being very thorough, and are even allowing us to obtain COPIES of the actual DOCUMENTS filed for the deceased person, the subject of the search. The PROBLEM with the papers for Douglas Lionel Baker, is that the MAIN search shows him to be No. 6296009 Warrant Officer Class II (Company Sergeant Major) Douglas Lionel Baker of the 1st Battalion, "The Buffs" - Royal East Kent Regiment.

    NOW, if you examine the supporting filed papers you will find that THREE of the five papers refer to W.O.II D.L. Baker of the Royal East Kent Regt. BUT the other two papers refer to a C.S.M. Douglas Lionel Baker of the Rhodesia Regiment, attached to the 3rd Company of the 4th King's African Rifles. WHY??? WHY??? WHY???. Is this the SAME person??? (And remember that the WWII pair, and the Medal Slip (for WOII D.L. Baker) and addressed to Mrs H.L. Baker came WITH the WWI Trio to H.L. Baker - who we KNOW was the father and mother of D.L. Baker). SO: Are we talking about the SAME D.L. Baker???  Why does the CWGC refer to TWO different units in their records? We must ASSUME that D.L. Baker lived with his parents prior to WWII IN RHODESIA. Did he enlist and serve with the Rhodesia Regiment, later Attch. to the K.A.R. - and then (for whatever reason) found himself with the Buffs -  and for whom he was serving when he died. (And we don't know how, or why he died -  he was just 24 years old).

    IS Douglas Lionel BAKER the Douglas Lionel BAKER???  And WHY is he??  Or not?  There is a little something for you guys to get your head around..........................  Comments and opinions most welcome.  One possible suggestion (from a collecting friend) was that it IS the same Douglas Lionel Baker, and that upon his death, BOTH Regiments he served with submitted their papers to the CWGC.         (From the David Bennett Collection)

    D.L. Baker - medal pair.jpg

    D.L. Baker medal slip 1939-45.jpg

    Medal Box - D.L. Baker.jpg

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    Interesting indeed.  While truth is stranger than fiction, and two men with identical names and ranks is not at all improbable, especially such a common surname, the two having died on the same date would be quite a coincidence.  I suspect that they do refere to the same men and that either he was attached to the Buffs for some reason or that two men of simlar rank and name have been conflated by War Graves.

    It isn't possible to tell from the CWGC site whether the two documents shown - the Register and the Graves Registration report are compiled one from the other or from a common source.  If the latter, a clerical error may simply have been perpetuated. Other than that, I have nothing to offer other than the obvious: look elsewhere for evidence that this S.A. soldier was attache dto the Buffs when he died.  

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