SKELTON - IN - CLEVELAND
"WE WILL REMEMBER THEM"
20319 L/Cpl HERBERT GEORGE BALDWIN.
23rd [Tyneside Scottish] Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers.
Formerly 6245 Army Cyclist Corps.
Died, aged 22, as a Prisoner of War, 12th November 1917.
Born at Shipdham, nr Dereham, Norfolk.
Husband of E Baldwin of 1 Harker St, Skelton Green, N Yorkshire.
Tournai Communal Cemetery Allied Extension.
Herbert was born on the 7th September 1895 at Shipdham, near East Dereham, Norfolk.
He was probably illegitimate.
1901. Herbert is age 5 and living on a Farm at Watton Rd, Shipdham, Mitford, Norfolk. He is recorded as a Step-son.
His Step-father is Arthur Fitt, age 28, a labourer on the farm.
His mother, Harriet, age 25, was also born in Shipdham.
He has a step-sister Rose, age 3.
1911. Herbert, now 15, is recorded as Gardener, Domestic and living with the family at Little Hale, Shipdham.
His Surname is given as Fitt. Thomas Baldwin, a Baker, probably his mother's brother is living with them.
It is possible that Herbert came to Skelton to work as a Gardener at Skelton Castle, as did two other lads named on the Skelton War Memorial.
His medal card shows that he was an early Volunteer for service in the War and that his wife, E Baldwin, applied for his medal, the 1914/15 Star on the 28th June 1920.
She was then living at 1 Harker St, Skelton Green, N Yorks.
This address is confirmed by the records of the German prison Camps.
Herbert's Medal Card shows that he first went to France on the 9th September 1915 and confirms that he was then in the Army Cyclist Corps and later the Northumberland Fusiliers.
The Army Cyclist Corps was formed in 1915 to encompass 14 existing Cyclist Battalions.
As the first units went overseas, they were broken up as divisional companies serving in something of a reconnaissance role.
Herbert was very likely with the 50th Northumbrian Division at Ypres when he was first sent abroad in 1915.
At some point Herbert was transferred to the Northumberland Fusiliers and promoted to Lance Corporal.
Transfers often occurred after a man was wounded and re-posted on recovery.
The 23rd Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers came under orders of 102nd Brigade, 34th Division and first went to France in January 1916.
The 34th Division fought in 1916 in the later Battles of the Somme.
In April 1917 it took part in the British offensive at Arras.
The British attacked East of Arras from April 9th to May 16th against the formidable Hindenberg Line, to which the Germans had made a strategic withdrawal earlier in the year.
This operation was part of a larger plan by the French General Nivelle who attacked further South on the Aisne at the same time.
Herbert Baldwin was captured by the Germans on the 29th April 1917 at Oppy, a French village, which lies about 5 miles North East of Arras.
He died in captivity at "gefangenlager [prison camp] Lazarett [hospital] Museum, Tournai" of Tuberculosis/Pleurisy on the 12th November 1917.
His German Prison Camp records are shown below.
Herbert is buried in the Tournai Communal Cemetery Extension, Belgium.
Tournai was in German possession throughout the War apart from the very end. The cemetery contains burials from many other sites that were gathered in after the War.