1. Memorial:Ashford Cemetery, Kent3165
2. Book:The (1921) Masonic Roll of Honour 1914-1918Pg.115
3. Memorial:The (1940) Scroll - WW1 Roll of Honour37A GQS

Awards & Titles:

Distinguished Conduct Medal

Early Life :

Born New Romney, Kent.

Alf married Mercy Elizabeth E Baker (nee BEAN) at Ashford June 1903 (West Ashford 2A 1808). Alfred and Mercy resided at 204 Godinton Road, Ashford, Kent.

Family :

PLEASE NOTE This casualty was accepted for commemoration by the Commission recently.Please contact the Commission before planning a visit, for more information.

Service Life:


Unit / Ship / Est.: Army Remount Service 

Formerly 18th (Queen Mary's Own) Hussars

Action : Accident 

Accidents were a minor factor in the casualty list. Our definition is deaths resulting from activities that were not directly associated with 'active service'. We have excluded Naval Accidents which are seperately identified because of their numbers and impact. Many accidents involved the aviators, operating at the the limits of technology.

Sergeant Major Alfred (Alf) John BAKER DCM. Army Remount Service (A.R.S). Assistant Superintendant, Pluckley Remount Depot. Formerly (22 years) (55) 2nd battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment.

Alfred served 22 years in the 2nd Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment 17 of which were spent in India. He was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) by Lord Roberts in South Africa. He won the DCM during the Battle of Belfast (Boer war 1900-1902). It is recorded that he won this bravery award for rescuing an injured soldier whilst under heavy fire. In 1913 Alf was Drill Instructor for the Ashford Company, Kent National Reserve. When the Great War commenced Alfred volunteered for service overseas but was turned down due to his age. Instead he was enlisted into the Army Remount Service (A.R.S). Alfred was almost immediately appointed Assistant Superintendent of the Remount Depot at Pluckley.

The Remount Depots were run by the A.R.S but the vast majority of manpower was supplied by Army Service Corps (A.S.C) soldiers attached to the Army Remount Service. The Army Eastern area of command (which included Kent) had 6 Remount Depots staffed and run by the Army Remount Service in conjunction with the Army Service Corps (ASC). The personnel operating the Remount Depots were fulltime soldiers who in the main wore the badge of the Army Service Corps and to a lesser extent the Army Remount Service. Alfred Baker was a member of the Army Remount Service. These remount Depots looked after the horses that were used by the British army throughout Europe and the Middle East. Pluckley was chosen because it was in close proximity to Dover. Pluckley's depot was located close to the railway line possibly near or at the site of the old brickworks. The horses were transported by train to Dover and then put on ferries for the sea crossing. Once in France or Belgium they were taken to a forward remount depot for field deployment.

Detail :

Killed when he was thrown from his horse at the Pluckley railway station en route to the "Remount Depot". Reported in the Kentish Express on 27th February 1915. He fell in the road fracturing the case of his skull. Alfred was actually on duty when he had the accident. Alfred?s service records do not appear to now exist. Extensive searches at the National Archives have been made. The situation is made even more difficult by the fact that Alfred did not serve overseas and was therefore not entitled to any Great War medals. Because of this his name will not be on the medal index cards. There is however overwhelming evidence to support a case for belated commemoration. Alfred was a serving soldier and died when on duty. Buried Ashford Cemetery, Canterbury Road, Ashford, Kent. Grave reference ? 3165. On 25th April 2006 the Ministry of Defence (Army) finally APPROVED commemoration. Alf is soon to get a new military pattern headstone!

Alfred's death is not recorded by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission as a war casualty. His death should have been recorded as a war casualty because he was a serving soldier at the time of his death. The Army Remount Service was manned by experienced but elderly soldiers who were too old to serve overseas. It was custom for these men to use their former army ranks. The Army Remount Service had its own designated cap badge. The photo of Alfred shows him wearing a cap with this badge on it.

Citations & Commemorations :

  His DCM was gazetted in the London Gazette on 27th September 1901 (Army Order 15/02). The award was made for a deed during the Battle of Belfast action on the 27th August 1900. It is also recorded that Alfred was wounded in action on 24th August 1900. The 2nd Warwickshire Regiment sailed on the SS Gaul on 26th November 1899 bound for the South African Boer War. It arrived in the Cape on 16th December 1899. Upon reaching South Africa the battalion was placed in the 5th Division commanded by Sir Charles Warren. The Battle of Belfast was the last set piece battle of the war. On the outbreak of war in August 1914 Alfred proceeded to France where he assisted the BEF and French army with Remount advice. During a visit to a French forward Remount Depot Alf went to the aid of a wounded French officer under fire and was subsequently awarded a French Military Medal (MM)

"Although wounded, remained with his company collecting the wounded, and did not give in until he had issued the blankets to his men, and then only when his captain ordered him to go to hospital and have his wounds dressed, 27th August, 1900"

Masonic :

TypeLodge Name and No.Province/District :
Mother : Mooltan No. 1307 E.C.Bengal
Joined : St George No. 2170 E.C. Sri Lanka
Joined : Lord Charles Beresford No. 2404 E.C. East Kent
Joined : United No. 697 E.C. Essex
Joined : Stour No. 2305 E.C. East Kent

3rd April 1889
1st May 1889
21st August 1889

Alf was a lifelong Freemason Mooltan Lodge, Mooltan, India Passed for membership on 1 May 1889 and raised 31 August 1889. At this time Alf was 26 years of age and he gave his occupation as a British Soldier. St George Lodge, Colombo, Ceylon (2170) Joined lodge 6 November 1893. His home address was given as Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand. His occupation was given as Sergeant Royal Warwickshire Regiment. Lord Charles Beresford Lodge, Chatham, Kent (2404) Joined 23 June 1896. Resigned 31 March 1899. United Lodge, Colchester, Essex (697) Joined Lodge 14th March 1900. Resigned December 1902. Occupation given Colour Sergeant, Royal Warwickshire Regiment. Stour Lodge, Ashford, Kent (2305) Joined 15 January 1914. His final entry states "Killed in Action 17 February 1915".

Source :

The project globally acknowledges the following as sources of information for research across the whole database:

Additional Source:

Last Updated: 2017-09-09 08:34:26