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Fraser and Fraser has tracked down the relatives of a First World War soldier, following an appeal from a charity dedicated to raising awareness of some of the conflict’s lesser-known campaigns.
Sapper Sidney Baker of the Royal Engineers is buried in Turin, Italy, alongside 14 other British soldiers who died in the city during 1918 and 1919.
The “Turin Men” project arose after charity Away from the Western Front was contacted by Turin-based English teacher Emma Pace, who was trying to find out more the First World British soldiers buried in the city.
The charity then put out an appeal to see if the soldiers had any living relatives who could share any more information about them.
Fraser and Fraser’s researchers discovered that Sidney had lived in Pickering in Yorkshire and had worked both for a boot dealer and as a saddler’s apprentice.
He initially joined the South Lancashire Regiment before transferring to the Royal Engineers, with whom he was serving when he died on 2 May 1919, six months after the war had officially ended, at the age of 32.
We were also able to track down Sidney’s great nephew, Edward Baker.
“I knew of Sidney, who was my grandfather’s brother, but didn’t know very much about him except that they’d also had a sister and their father had been a tailor in Pickering,” Edward told us.
“Some in the family said Sidney had died of flu during the Spanish Influenza epidemic, but my grandfather always said his brother had lost his life in a railway accident, possibly when he was coming back home from the Middle East.”
In November last year a special service of commemoration was held in the Turin Town cemetery and Emma’s students laid remembrance crosses at the headstones of men whose stories they had studied in class. The British Consulate in Milan also sent a representative and the plan is to make this a regular event each November.
In addition to being commemorated in Turin, Sidney’s name appears on the war memorial in Pickering.