Trooper Eric Victor Baker, 6368, 2nd Mounted Brigade, 7th South Africa Horse
Born 1897 died 16 August 1916, at the age of 19, at Turaini
and is remembered with Honour at Dar Es Salaam War Cemetery.
Son of Mr. William B (died 1920 at the age of 66) and Mrs. Elizabeth M Baker (died 1954 at the age of 84), Church Street, Wellington, Cape Province, they are buried in the Champagne Graveyard – Drakenstein. It is not known if he had any brothers or sisters.
Eric Baker enlisted in 1916 and embarked on HMS Himalaya (an Armed Merchant Cruiser and troopship) at Durban on 17 June 1916 bound for Kilindini Harbour, Mombasa, Kenya.
Durban and at sea.
Lat -29.87, Long 31.02
1.30pm: Commenced embarking troops.
3.15pm: Finished embarking troops.
4.50pm: Unmoored and proceeded, course N68E.
8.0pm: Pos. 29 34S, 31 27E
He disembarked on 25 June 1916.
At sea to Kilindini and at sea.
Lat -4.05, Long 39.68
8.0am: Pos. 4 25S, 39 41E.
8.40am: Sighted HMS Vengeance proceeding South.
9.52am: Anchored, Kilindini.
2.0pm: Landed troops.
4.20pm: Weighed and proceeded, Southerly courses.
He died of Measles on 16 August 1916 after less than 2 months in action. But had travelled some 450 km, presumably on Horseback since landing at Kilindini.
The 2nd Mounted Brigade was part of the South African Overseas Expeditionary Force (SAOEF). They were part of the 1st. East African Division under command of Major General Hoskins. They advanced from the borders of Kenya, south into German East Africa and captured Morogoro on 26th. August 1916.
During the advance from Mount Kilimanjaro to the Central Railway, the South Africans undertook the longest forced march of the First World War. After pausing to reorganize, the South African forces drove the German across the Rufiji river. In all, they marched 800 kilometres through some of the worst terrain in the World.
While the South African forces in German East Africa suffered relatively few casualties from enemy action, they were ravaged by tropical diseases. South Africa sent 43 477 men to German East Africa. 75 per cent of the South African force were evacuated, suffering malaria, dysentery and the more virulent forms of tick fever.
He was originally buried in the Mhonda Mission Cemetery in Turaini, which would have been used as a Hospital. Many of the other causalities listed in this cemetery died of sickness or disease.
In 1968, all the casualties from this and many other smaller cemeteries were moved to the newly established Dar Es Salaam War Cemetery as it was no longer possible to maintain the original burial places.
He would have been awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal, it is not clear if his parents applied for them.