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On this website it mentions:

William Henry Baker

And states he was using an alias and his original name was Albert Budd. To quote the site:

William Henry Baker, he served under an alias, his real name being one Albert Budd, was born in Brighton, Sussex, and having worked as a labourer and seen service with the 3rd Militia Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment, then attested for service with the British Army at Chichester on 17th February 1905, joining as a Private (No.8187) the Royal Sussex Regiment. Baker then deserted on 10th June 1905, but rejoined a month later, and having been tried and convicted of desertion, was sentenced to imprisonment and 25 days hard labour on 24th July 1905, with all of his prior service forfeited. Returned to duty on 17th August 1905, on 9th October 1905 he was posted to the 2nd Battalion, and then sent out to Malta on 10th February 1906. Posted to Crete on 30th April 1906, and then to India on 1st February 1907, on this date he transferred to the 1st Battalion.

Appointed to Drummer on 4th January 1910, Baker was in India on the outbreak of the Great War, he then saw service during the operations on the North West Frontier during the Tochi Rebellion from 17th August 1915, in the operations which lasted through to 10th October 1915. Remaining in India for the duration of the war, Baker was then posted back to the North West Frontier for service during the Third Afghanistan War, being present on operations from 6th May 1919. Admitted to hospital on 9th August 1919, he was then posted home from India on 22nd September 1919, and posted to the Depot.

Posted as a Drummer back to the 1st Battalion on 13th February 1920, he then saw service with the Army of the Rhine on occupation duty in Germany from 3rd March 1920. Posted back home to the Depot on 7th January 1922, Baker was permitted to extend his service to complete 21 years on 20th February 1922, and was appointed to Lance Corporal on 10th July 1922.

Permitted to extend his service beyond 21 years on 9th January 1925, Baker was eventually discharged on 25th August 1927, having been awarded the Army Long Service and Good Conduct Medal in Army Order No.388 of 1924. Confirmed as his full entitlement.

I can confirm that an Albert Budd was born in 1887 in Brighton.

Birth Entry

My wife's grandfather was born in Peshawar and his father was William Henry Baker. And according to the birth certificate his fathers private number was 8187 too.

How can I verify all these presented facts of that article about his military service and the use of an alias?

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If he served through to 1927, then his service record, which would have much of the information quoted, will still be held by the Ministry of Defence, and a copy can be obtained (cost £30).

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/requests-for-personal-data-and-service-records#service-records-of-deceased-service-personnel

  • Thanks. I am just looking at that link and it mentions: "Subject to the payment of an administration fee of £30 per record and provision of a death certificate (except where death was in service), certain information can be provided from the records of service of service personnel on request under the publication scheme." It implies I need to send a death certificate too and I do not have this. Not yet any way. – Andrew Truckle Mar 4 at 10:15
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    @AndrewTruckle The Army Personnel Centre appears to be the responsible body, and that site has some further contact details. A Family History UK site appears to have more, including an email for the office (no idea if that info is still valid though). Although the death cert is probably mandatory, it might be worth contacting them to check if that is really required for someone born in 1887. – AndyW Mar 4 at 11:19
  • It looks like it is not needed if they died over 116 years ago. – Andrew Truckle Mar 4 at 11:38
  • Although there is a bit that I don't understand - specifically, the full information is not released until 25y after the death - some forms appear to be judged confidential and will not be released until that 25y is up, unless the permission of the next of kin is obtained. If no death certificate is provided, is that 116 + 25 before all the data can be revealed to anyone without NoK permission? Probably... – AdrianB38 Mar 4 at 13:24
  • @AndyW I sent an email to the Army Personnel Centre and they replied saying their records do not go back that far. They have directed me to the national Archives instead. So I have sent them an email now. – Andrew Truckle Mar 6 at 17:00
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Just to add some things about the chap in the text. He has a Medal Index Card (MIC) on Ancestry - search for

Name: William H Baker

Regiment or Corps: Royal Sussex Regiment

Regimental Number: L/13431

Set Exact matches = No

The Ancestry record reads:

Name: William H Baker

Regiment or Corps: RoyalSussexRegiment (should be 3 words of course)

Regimental Number: L/8187, L/13431

The MIC itself shows that he had 2 numbers in the Royal Sussex - L/8187 and L/13431 - I have no idea what the L stands for or why he had 2 - judging by the MIC, L/8187 came first and then L/13431.

Very interesting - despite being in India, he had the full set of 3 campaign medals. Normally someone serving in India throughout WW1 only gets the British War Medal. However, this guy is recorded as being in Theatre of War 5G (5G, well 6G normally!, apparently meant "Frontier Regions of India") from 17 August 1915 - presumably the Tochi Rebellion referred to in the text. This is before the end of 1915 so he gets the 1914-1915 Star as well as the Victory Medal, both of which you need to have been in a theatre of war to earn.

The MIC also records the issue of the Indian General Service AFGN? NWFF? 1919 Medal.

I can't see anything else on FMP or Ancestry, supporting the idea that someone has had access to the MoD's Service Papers for this chap in order to write up that text.

NB1 - this does confirm that he's not the Army Service Corps guy because his whole WW1 service overseas is on the Medal Index Card and there's no ASC on his MIC.

NB2 - the number 8187 (or prefixed variants of it) will occur in many, many regiments in WW1. In fact, it's possible that it appears several times in one regiment. The possibility, however, of two William Henry Bakers, both with 8187 as a number, is pretty slim.

NB3 - prefixes can easily be dropped so don't worry about one document saying L/8187 and another saying 8187.

As usual, I thought of something else after pressing Send. On FindMyPast, in their British India Office Births & Baptisms they have this record:

First name(s) William Alfred

Last name Baker

Birth date 31 Mar 1914

Baptism date 16 Apr 1914

Place Peshawar,St John

Presidency Bengal

Father's first name(s) William Henry

Father's last name Baker

Mother's first name(s) Eliza Kate

Mother's last name -

Archive reference N-1-404

Folio 188

Page -

Catalogue descriptions - Parish register transcripts from the Presidency of Bengal

Record set - British India Office Births & Baptisms

The full image shows the father to be a "Drummer 1st Batn Royal Sussex Regt" - no number though - so he does look like the chap from the text. Whether William Alfred Baker means anything to you, I have no idea, but just in case it does, I append this.

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    Yes - that is where it all started - William Alfred Baker is my wife's Grandfather. I have that B.I.O. Baptism entry and it was based on that that I requested the birth from G.R.O. which is where 8187 was mentioned. – Andrew Truckle Mar 4 at 15:10
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    I now it;s a typo ("8187") but I want to complain that I am now ear-wormed by youtube.com/watch?v=izQB2-Kmiic – ColeValleyGirl Mar 4 at 15:50
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    @AndrewTruckle - yes, the theory is that any soldier will only have one Medal Index Card for his campaign medals (Star, BWM and VM) - so any other card with those medals will be a different person. Also a single MIC should cover all the guy's service abroad in the Army in WW1 and nothing else, which also means that a 2nd card with different regiment, or number etc, will be for a different man. The only time I've seen 2 campaign medal MICs for the same guy, it was a case of confusion - 2 offices had started the process for the same guy, so each had a card - one was nullified. – AdrianB38 Mar 4 at 17:27
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    So just to be clear, the baptism gives you the name, rank, battalion and regiment. The corresponding birth certificate gives you the number. Given that that number will not repeat within the 1st & 2nd Battalions combined (they always share a number series in a Regular Army regiment), then you know that the text refers to your chap. The issue then simply becomes one of verification of the content of the text, rather than finding name, rank, number and regiment (believe me, many people can't prove that, thanks to the WW2 fire at Arnside St.) – AdrianB38 Mar 4 at 17:33
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    @AdrianB38 Most helpful. The London Medals company replied to me and stated they have all his service papers and that these papers refer to his originally being Albert Budd. So it looks to me the next thing is to use the link provided in the accepted answer. Since his service papers might even provide information about his marriage to Eliza as a next of kin may be? – Andrew Truckle Mar 4 at 17:39

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