Saturday, September 18, 2010

23331 Pte William H Baddock, 3rd Bn, Grenadier Guards

Private Baddock is the most prolific entrant in Nurse Oliver’s album with five entries. Unfortunately he never elaborates on his own designation, simply recording himself as “W Baddock” or “Private Baddock”. He writes:

Pte Baddock
3 Grenadier Guards

[drawing of Grenadier Guards cap badge]

Wounded at Neuve Chapelle 1915

This page is shared with entries from G/4780 Lance-Corporal Edward Burnage of the 2nd Royal Sussex Regiment and Private S F Brown of the 2/9th Middlesex Regiment. He elaborates more on the Neuve Chapelle wound in another cartoon entry accompanied by text as follows:

Pte Baddock
3rd Grenadier Guards

Wounded at Neuve Chapelle 1915

I wish the wench who nursed me
The best of luck today
I’ll try to repay her kindness
In a soldier’s humble way


Hit on Dec 24th with Rifle Grenade
Went back to trenches where was bandaged up
Taken to dressing station. Wounds bound and stitched etc.
Finally put on hospital ship for England, Arrived England Dec 29th
Arrived at Dyke Road Hospital, Brighton. Operation performed.


Private W Baddock is 23331 Private William H Baddock who, according to one of his two medal index cards (MIC) held at the National Archives, arrived in France on 20th October 1915. His number indicates that he would have joined the Grenadier Guards between March 4th and March 10th 1915. (This MIC - recording details of his 1914-15 Star - notes his name as W H Baddock, the second - recording the award of the BWN amd VM - notes him, incorrectly, as William H BRADDOCK).

On Thursday 30th December 1915, The Sussex Daily News described the arrival of the hospital train carrying Private Baddock (and Private Burnage)


… There was a greater percentage of ‘cot’ cases than has hitherto been known in a trainload to Brighton. In all, the cases numbered 170, and no fewer than 89 of these required to be transferred by stretcher. They had all come from France and were all Britishers. They landed at Dover and were conveyed by a Great Western Red Cross train via Norwood Junction to Brighton… a large number were sent to the 2nd Eastern General Hospital in Dyke Road where the Christmas decorations will provide a bright and gaily coloured environment.

Baddock and Burnage both receive mentions in The Sussex Daily News of 8th January 1916. Under the headline: WOUNDED AND SICK SOLDIERS - THE LATEST ARRIVALS AT BRIGHTON, Burnage and Baddock are both listed under the “Other Units” section. Baddock’s number is given as A23331 and his regiment, mistakenly, as the 3rd Coldstream Guards.

On Friday 14th January, The Sussex Daily News reported a motor smash at Chailey:


What might have proved an extremely serious accident occurred close to the Chailey Parish Room on Wednesday evening, about 6:30pm, when two motor cars crashed into each other. Owing, probably, to the new lighting regulations, the drivers could not see each other till too late. One car, containing wounded soldiers, was coming from the Lewes direction, and the other was a baker’s car. The bonnets of both met and both cars were smashed, broken glass flying around. One man was thrown into the road, but had a marvellous escape, as did all the occupants. No bones were broken, but, naturally, there were cuts and bruises, and all had a bad shaking. It was altogether an extraordinary escape for everyone concerned.

In the East Sussex News on the same day, a concerned reader had had his letter published by the editor:

Sir. The new order with regard to lights on motor cars and motor cycles has greatly increased the danger on the country roads. The average pedestrian on the country walks in the road, especially at night time and we – for I am one of the average as a rule walk on the wrong side of the road. The danger is therefore great and I am writing to you, as your valuable paper is very widely read in the country districts, so that perhaps we country folk may be warned to keep to the path at night time… W J Wilmshurst, Ringmer.

On the following page, the paper also covered the motor smash at Chailey:


When returning from a concert at Barcombe on Wednesday evening, a motor car, containing several soldiers and driven by Mr Best of Chailey, came into collision with the delivery car of Mr S B Richards of Barcombe, driven by J Elphick. The accident happened on the Chailey Road, near the Parish Room. Both cars were damaged and several of the occupants were injured.

Private Baddock also covered the accident in one of his entries in Nurse Oliver’s album. Quoting from “The Sussex News” he wrote:

Motors Collide At Chailey.

A party of wounded soldiers proceeding from a concert in a motor car, collided with a Bakers car belonging to Richards Barcombe. The men were cut and bruised and one man broke his artificial leg. - Sussex News

Then, underneath the headline, HOW IT APPEARED, ACCORDING TO ACCOUNTS,TO Pte BADDOCK. GRENADIER GUARDS, he drew a cartoon of the event. Named soldiers in the illustration are Private Burnage, Private Lister and Private Savourin [sic] who is saying, “I’ve broke my leg. There’s 19 quid gone. Oh dear!”

On Friday 21st January 1916 Baddock gets a mention in the Sussex Daily News in connection with a concert in aid of blinded soldiers:


In aid of St Dunstans Home, London, for soldiers blinded through the war, an enjoyable concert was held in the Chailey Parish Room on Wednesday evening. The programme was nicely varied… wounded soldiers contributing three items.

… Gunner Davis and Private McCann each had to give a well deserved encore, and Private Baddock, in spite of a badly wounded head, gave some extremely clever ‘lightning sketches’ on the blackboard, illustrating some topics of the day, as for instance, ‘Lord Derby’s Christmas box for the Kaiser’, ‘Bottled up in the Kiel Canal’, ‘A captured British General’ (Omnibus) &c.

This is the last appearance that Private Baddock makes in the Sussex Press and there are too many census possibilities to positively identify him from the initials W H. I assume, as there is no indication of a Silver War Badge on his medal index card, that Private Baddock rejoined his regiment after recuperating from his wounds.

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