John was born at Suffolk, England. Prior to the War he worked with his father on their farm at Rob Roy, west of Inverell. He enlisted at Inverell in January 1916, joining the First Contingent Kurrajong recruiting drive. He was a member of the Little Plain Rifle Club.
Whilst home on final leave before departing Australia, friends gathered to farewell him and make a presentation of a wristlet watch with illuminated dial. As a member of the 33rd Battalion, A Company, he sailed from Sydney on HMAT A74 Marathon in May 1916. His Battalion trained in England with the 3rd Division which was sent to France in November 1916.
During the Battle of Messines he was wounded and suffered shell shock which affected his speech and hands. John was admitted to a Casualty Clearing Station and then moved to hospital. A few months later he was transferred to England where the decision was made to return him to Australia as he was medically unfit for further service.
After arriving home, Private John Baker was given a Welcome Home in February 1918 when the Little Plain residents presented him with a handsome inscribed gold medal. His name is inscribed on the Mt Russell and Inverell Honor Rolls.
Photo: Courtesy IDFHG