Second World War - Lynsted Memorial Project
Ernest Charles BAKER (of Teynham)
b. 16th May 1918
Youngest of the four children, and only son, of Arthur Ernest and Clotilda Baker of 10 Station Road Teynham (previously of Peanes Cottage Cellar Hill), Ernest was born on 16 May 1918.
The circumstances of Ernest's death is not known, but at the time his regiment had joined with the 7th Armoured Division (The Desert Rats) in the Western Desert Campaign. [Note: The fateful actions in which Ernest took part and lost his life are described in Official Despatches - the Officer in Charge - General Cunningham - was removed from Command for his timid leadership and was replaced by General Norrie on 26th November - this was the day Ernest was killed. Ernest lost his life in a desparate resistance against Rommel's attacks and counter-attacks. Further detail of the actions surrounding Ernest's death appear later in the Despatch - Link at bottom of this page.
On 18 November, as part of Operation Crusader the whole of the 7th Armoured Division was concentrated on breaking through the German 21st Panzer Division. However, the XXX Corps commander, Lieutenant-General Willoughby Norrie, aware that the 7th Armoured Division was down to 200 tanks, decided on caution. During the wait, in the early afternoon of 22 November, Rommel attacked Sidi Rezegh with the 21st Panzer and captured the airfield. Fighting was desperate and gallant: for his actions during these two days of fighting, Brigadier Jock Campbell, commanding the 7th Support Group, was awarded the Victoria Cross. However, the 21st Panzer, despite being considerably weaker in armour, proved superior in its combined arms tactics, pushing the 7th Armoured back with a further 50 tanks lost.
Ernest is buried in Halfaya Sollum War Cemetery that lies on the main coast road from Mersa Matruh through to Libya, and is on the east side of Halfaya Sollum, approximately 12 kilometres from the Egypt/Libya border.
Ernest does not appear on the local memorials.
- London Gazette Despatch covering 1st November 1941 to 15th August 1942 [No.38177] - Middle East