Date of birth: 1895
Date of death: 1946
Regiment: Army Service Corps
Service number: M2/076098
Ted must have joined up in 1915 because he has the 1914-15 Star, sometimes mistakenly called the Mons Star, amongst his Campaign Medals. He joined the Army Service Corps as a driver on the 5 April 1915 and became Private. E. Baines M2/ 076098. Nine days after his enlistment he was on active service in France.
The A.S.C had the dangerous job of taking supplies, including ammunition, to the forward positions. But at least they did not have to suffer the horrors of trench warfare.
He was lucky right up until 1918. And then, on the 28 March 1918, he was captured. I know the date because I have the letter written to his mother by his sergeant with an addition by an officer. This is what it says;
France 19. 4. 1918
Dear Mrs. Baines,
I expect you have been anxiously awaiting a letter from Ted. I take this the first opportunity I have had to write to you but I deeply regret the necessity of having to do so as I have to send you rather bad news as your son Ted was reported missing on the 28th of March. I was not with him at the time but we have very good reasons indeed to believe that he is a prisoner of war in the hands of the enemy and I believe unwounded.
I think that you will hear from him in Germany but it will take at least four months for a message to get through from him and I have good hopes that before so very much longer than that you will have the joy of seeing him back in Wakefield. As sergt of the 232 A.F.A.B. Park Section I can only tell you how sorry I am to have to send you this news and I deeply regret that Ted could not have been with us to the end of the struggle out here.
When you hear from him, give him all good wishes and sympathy from his friends in 232.
I remain in sympathy,
Yours very sincerely,
Dear Mrs. Baines,
In censoring the enclosed letter as the officer commanding 232 A.F.A. Brigade, I regret that I have to confirm my Sergeant’s statement. Your son’s lorry was one of 18 in charge of an officer and they were taking ammunition up to the advance areas, about 4 weeks ago. There has been nothing heard of the column since and I can only surmise that they ran into the German lines and were captured. Pray do not be despondent. You will probably hear from your son in due course, who I am confident is merely a prisoner. I regret very much I have to lose the services of so capable and hard-working soldier.
Believe me with all good wishes,
P. John Jacobs, 2nd Lt.
I don’t know what you think but copy typing these letters has made me realize how personal they are. This, to some extent, was a feature of the First World War. Men from the same place joined up together and were kept together. Hence the “pals” battalions; so perhaps there were other young men from Wakefield in 232 Coy. A.S.C.
By 1918, the Germans had dealt with the Russians which enabled them to transfer troops to the Western Front greatly outnumbering the Allies.
On the 21st March 1918 the Germans launched a massive offensive and made large gains. The offensive became known as the First Battle of the Somme 1918. On the 28th March, the day of my father’s capture, the Germans attacked Arras, the capital of the Pas de Calais Region. So it seems reasonable to assume that my father was captured in that attack.
I have his four good conduct stripes, his shoulder A.S.C badges, and his medals and a framed letter sent to all returning P.O.W’s by the King.
I also have a very small but elegant badge which, if my memory serves me correctly, I was told that the M.P. for Wakefield had had struck and presented to all returning P.O.W’s. If that is correct it shows, I think, the care of Wakefield for its sons. The reverse of the medal
is inscribed “ Presented by Col. Sir E. A. Brotherton Bart. M. P. for Wakefield”.
He died in 1946 when I was 12 years old and he did not talk much about his time in the army but some things I do remember.
He told me once that when he was in his prisoner-of-war camp, there were some other nationalities including French and Russians. He ended his captivity by working on a farm but I cannot remember whereabouts this was. Presumably conditions were better than in the camp where the prisoners were given very little food. He told me that they lived on very weak soup and black bread. I don’t know that we can blame the Germans too much because, at that stage of the war, they had very little food themselves.
My father, Edward Baines always known as “Ted”, was born in 1895, a member of the Baines family of Horbury. His father had been disowned by his family for a very good reason and his mother Emma had moved them to a house in Gills Yard, Northgate, Wakefield where my father was living when he joined up.
My mother and father married in 1927. She was born in 1900. Her maiden name was Lily Cartwright and she came from Normanton. She was a teacher and I think that I have heard a story that they met when he was the driver of the bus on which she used to travel to school.
When I was born in 1934 they were living at Covert Coat House, Hightown, Castleford. By that time my father had become the Chief Inspector of the bus company, J Bullock & Sons. They were very large in the area with depots in Wakefield, Castleford, Doncaster, Leeds, Selby and Featherstone.
Shortly after I was born, my parents moved to a house in Pinfold Lane, Methley. My father’s office was in Castleford and he became extremely well known in the West Riding area.
When WW2 broke out he tried to rejoin the army much to my mother’s disgust. He would have been 44 at the time and may have had a drink or two beforehand, but he failed!