Arnold Rennie Baker 28 August 1917

Arnold Rennie Baker was the third son of the Baker family, born in March 1894 in Wolverhampton, where his father was a boot manufacturer. He entered New House in May 1908 and left in April 1912, when Henry Hale was the Housemaster. He played for the School hockey team, and for the 2nd XV, and played ruby and cricket for his House alongside Frederick Milholland and Geoffrey Donaldson, who would also die in the War. In his last year, New House reached the final of the House rugby, losing to Llewellyn Jones’ Dryden. Arnold Baker’s acting career at Oundle was pretty low-key; he only managed a walk-on part amongst 11 gentlemen, ladies, watchmen, friars etc in Much Ado About Nothing.

When war came he joined the Royal Flying Corps. The School Memorial Book claims that he was reported missing on 28th August 1917 and it was presumed that he was killed on that date. However, the official military records and his gravestone opt for 16th August 1917, so that date is perhaps more likely. It seems that he came down behind enemy lines during the Passchendaele Offensive as he was buried at Lincelles Communal Cemetery near Lille which was in German hands from October 1914 until October 1918.

Arnold Baker was 23 years old at the time of his death. On his headstone his grieving parents inscribed the words: “He gave all and freely.”

C Pendrill
Yarrow Fellow