BAKER, Harry Pursey
(Service number 184598)

First Rank Last Rank


Date 11 January 1898 Place of Birth Christchurch

Enlistment Information

Date 21 January 1918 Age 20 years
Address at Enlistment Box 19, Albury, South Canterbury
Occupation Farmer
Previous Military Experience 8th South Canterbury Mounted rifles - still serving
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin Mr G. T. BAKER (father), Box 19, Albury
Medical Information

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation New Zealand Expeditionary Force
Unit, Squadron, or Ship 40th Reinforcements
Date 10 July 1918
Transport Tahiti
Embarked From Destination
Other Units Served With Royal Flying Corps
Last Unit Served With

Military Awards

Service Medals
Military Awards

Award Circumstances and Date

No information

Prisoner of War Information

Date of Capture
Where Captured and by Whom
Actions Prior to Capture
PoW Serial Number
PoW Camps
Days Interned
Liberation Date


Date Reason

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

Post-war Occupations



Date 21 March 1960 Age 62 years
Place of Death Wangnaui
Memorial or Cemetery Cremated; ashes interred Aramoho Cemetery, Whanganui
Memorial Reference Rose Garden A, Row 13B
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

Harry Pursey Baker was born on 11 January 1898 at Christchurch, the second son of George Tom and Fanny Matilda (née Bartrum) Baker. He was educated at Albury School and went on to Pleasant Point School for high school level in 1911.

Harry enlisted for war service on 21 January 1918, just after his 20th birthday. He underwent the medical examination on 22 March 1918 at Timaru. He was a farmer and single, his address being Box 19, Albury, South Canterbury. He was serving with the 8th South Canterbury Mounted Rifles. His next-of-kin was his father, Mr G. T. Baker, Box 19, Albury. On 8 June 1918, H. P. Baker, of Albury passed, on a Caudron Biplane, for his ticket at the Sockburn Aviation School. He embarked with the 40th Reinforcements of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force per the “Tahiti”, leaving for Plymouth, England, on 10 July 1918. There, on 19 September, he was posted to the Royal Flying Corps, with service number 184598. His father was his next-of-kin – George Tom Baker.

Harry’s brother George married in England on 23 April 1919. “The wedding of Lieutenant George Bartrum Baker, D.C.M., M.M., New Zealand Expeditionary Force, son of Mr and Mrs George Baker, Albury, South Canterbury, took place in England lately, the bride being Miss Gwendolen Maude Osmond, daughter of Mr and Mrs W. W. Osmond, of Clarendon, Salisbury. Lieutenant Harry P. Baker, N.Z.E.F. and R.A.F. (brother of the bridegroom), was best man, and the Misses Joycelyn and Mary Osmond (sisters) and Phyllis and Mary Osmond (cousins) acted as maids of honour. After the reception Lieutenant Baker and his bride left for their honeymoon, which was spent in Bournemouth and London.” [Sun, 22 September 1919.]

Late in 1919 both Harry and his brother George were back home at Albury. “The ballot for the Clent Hills run, of 30,100 acres, in the Ashburton County, was held in the Provincial Council Chambers yesterday afternoon, the successful applicant being Harry Pursey Baker, of Cave, South Canterbury. He served in the Royal Air Force. There were 47 applicants, but through withdrawals and rejections by the Canterbury Land Board the number was reduced to 27. Most of the applicants who were rejected had not sufficient capital to work the property. The land is pastoral, though about 8000 acres are flat and undulating. The remainder is very steep and broken. The half-yearly rental is £282, and the term of the lease is 21 years.” [Ashburton Guardian, 25 March 1920.]

“A wedding took place at St. Marys Church, Timaru, on August 9, the Ven. Archdeacon Julius officiating. Miss Phyllis Margaret (Rita) Turner, only daughter of Mr and Mrs Turner, Smithfield, Timaru, was married to Mr Harry Pursey Baker, second son or Mr and Mrs G. T. Baker, Cave. . . . . . Mr Arthur Baker was best man. . . . . Mr and Mrs Baker left for Christchurch, on route for their home in Wanganui, the bride travelling in a smart navy costume with hat to match, and brown fur stole.” [Timaru Herald, 22 August 1923.] By 1925 Harry and Phyllis were farming at Mangamatu in the North Island. Harry Purser Baker died on 21 March 1960 at Whanganui, aged 62 years. He was cremated his ashes being interred at Aramoho Cemetery, Whanganui. When Phyllis died in 1988 at Rotorua, she was cremated there and her ashes interred with Harry’s.

H. Baker’s name is inscribed on the Albury Football Club’s Roll of Honour for the Great War 1914-1919 in the column headed "Returned". At least 69 members of the Albury football Club served in the war, 17 being killed in action.

Harry's older brother George Bartrum Baker, served with distinction in the Great War. George’s eldest son, Arthur Osmond Baker, was a lieutenant with the Royal Navy in World War Two and lost his life in the Mediterranean Sea in 1943. Arthur Bartrum Baker, a younger brother of Harry and George, also served in World War Two.


Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [11 December 2022]; NZ BDM Indexes (Department of Internal Affairs) [11 December 2022]; School Admission records (South Canterbury Branch NZSG) [11 December 2022]; Press, 10 June 1918 (Papers Past) [11 December 2022]; Royal Aero Clubs Aviators Certificate ( [11 December 2022]. UK, Royal Air Force Airmen’s Records ( [11 December 2022]; UK National Archives (Discovery) catalogue reference [11 December 2022]; Aramoho Cemetery record [11 December 2022]

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Researched and Written by

Teresa Scott, SC Genealogy Society

Currently Assigned to

Not assigned.

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