Ernest Hubert Baker (MM)
Serial No. 350
30th Battalion & 54th Battalion
Ernest Hubert Baker (MM) - Information
Ernest was born in Thirlmere to Hubert John and Ester Baker. He later resided in Fassifern with his family, where he worked as a telephonist. When he was just 18 years old, he signed up in Liverpool on the 18th of July 1915. He became a Private with the 30th Battalion, and was then sent overseas. He departed Sydney on the 9th of November 1915 upon the HMAT Beltana.
Ernest landed in Suez in mid December. After joining his unit for further training, they were shipped to the Western Front in June 1916. The 30th Battalion was then introduced to the horrors of fighting on the Western Front during the Battle of Fromelles on the 19th of July. Helping to supply the frontline troops, they were soon brought into action suffering many casualties. Under strength, they spent the rest of the year manning this section of the line. On the 2nd of January 1917, Ernest was sent to England to attend the Senior Officer’s School in Aldershot. He rejoined his unit on the 4th of April 1917. After the Germans withdrew to the Hindenburg Line, the 30th Battalion occupied Bapaume as they followed them to their new position. Then in mid September, Ernest was transferred to the 54th Battalion. He joined them just as they commenced their assault on the Germans at Polygon Wood, during the Third battle of Ypres. He was then transferred back to the 30th Battalion in mid December.
In 1918, German High Command launched their Spring Offensive on the 21st of March. The Allies were pushed back, loosing most of the ground that cost so much blood in 1916 and 1917. The Australian Corps helped to halt the advance, and began nibbling back at the German line. The 30th Battalion attacked them at Morlancourt in late July and participated in the Battle of Amiens in August. Ernest was then promoted to Lance Corporal on the 16th of September. At the end of the month, the 30th Battalion were in the area of Nauroy. During heavy fighting against the Hindenburg Outpost Line, all Senior NCOs and Platoon Officer were wounded or killed. Ernest then took charge of two sections, later taking command of the Platoon. He led his men most tactfully, holding the frontline and sending out patrols to locate enemy machine gun posts that had them pinned down. Resulting in an enemy artillery barrage, Ernest quickly got his men to safety. For his brave actions, Ernest was recommended for the Military Medal. In late October, he was detached to Corps School, returning to his unit the day the Armistice was signed and the war ended. Ernest remained with his unit, until he was sent back to Australia on the 5th of April 1919. He was awarded the Military Medal on the 14th of May.