Charles Daniel Baker was born and brought up in Colchester. Prior to the First World War he served with the Royal Navy. In 1922 he married in Colchester and soon afterwards moved to Chelmsford where he worked for the General Post Office's engineering department. He was fatally injured in May 1943 when his home in Lynmouth Avenue, Chelmsford was destroyed by a German bomb during the 'Chelmsford Blitz'. He died a month later. His wife was killed outright.
Charles was born in Colchester on 10th July 1887, the son of Samuel Lacey Baker (1855-1933) and Hannah Baker (nee Baillie) (1850-1929).
In 1891 the census found three year-old Charles with his parents and four siblings at 4 Military Road, Colchester. At the time his father was a carman. A decade later Charles, aged 13, was living with his parents, three siblings and a nephew at 5 Military Road in Colchester. His father was then a labourer.
In 1904 Charles joined the Royal Navy and the 1911 census recorded Charles, aged 23, serving as an able seaman on the destroyer H.M.S. Rother in Harwich Harbour.
In 1922 Charles married Elizabeth Last in Colchester. Within a year or two Charles joined the General Post Office’s engineering staff at Chelmsford, for whom he would work until his death.
In 1938 Charles was in charge of a gang of G.P.O. workers in Fourth Avenue, Chelmsford when one of them, 29 year-old Arthur Hermann Flexman, was killed when the 32 feet high telepraph pole he was attached to broke at ground level plunging him to the pavement where he sustained fatal head injuries. By then Charles and Elizabeth were living at 39 Lynmouth Avenue, Chelmsford.
In the early hours of 14th May 1943 Chelmsford experienced what was to prove to be its heaviest air raid of the war. In a sharp attack that lasted for just over an hour, the German air force, the Luftwaffe, dropped a large number of high explosive, incendiaries and parachute landmines which caused extensive damage to residential, commercial and industrial properties in the town, and led to the deaths of more than 50 people including Charles and his wife.
They lost their lives as a result of one of a pair of 250 kg high explosive bombs that fell either side of Lynmouth Avenue. One of the bombs exploded at number 37 their neighbouring property, just twelve feet from a brick surface shelter. Charles’ wife, who was in the shelter, was killed when the wall nearest the bomb collapsed on her.
Charles was severely injured and died from his injuries at Chase Farm Hospital, Enfield, Middlesex more than a month later, on 22nd June 1943.
The bomb left a crater 19 feet across by just 2 feet deep and left numbers 31, 33, 35, 37, 39 & 41 damaged beyond repair, while number 43 was seriously damaged.
Charles was buried in grave 5423 at Chelmsford Borough Cemetery on 28th June 1943. A local newspaper reported:
THE LATE MR. C. D. BAKER.—The funeral of Mr. Charles Daniel Baker, of 39 Lynmouth Avenue, took place on at the Writtle Road Cemetery. The deceased, who was severely injured in a raid in which his wife was a victim died in Hospital at Epping. Although native Colchester, had lived in Chelmsford for 20 years, and was the on the Post-oftice engineering staff.
Charles Daniel BAKER, Civilian
Fatally injured during an air raid at 39 Lynmouth Avenue, Chelmsford. Aged 55
The Rev. E. H. O Bennett (assistant priest of St. John's) officiated the interment. The mourners were Messrs. William and George Baker, brothers; Mrs. L. Turner sister, Mrs W. Baker, sister-in-law; Mrs. Harkness and Mrs. C. Howell, nieces.
Others present included Messrs. W. J. Snelling. A. G. Walker, and H. J. Roxby (Inspectors, Chelmsford Branch). R. C. Chambers and P. Fouisham (Inspectors, Southend branch), C. W Parker. W. E. R. Parmenter, F. Euston, F. W. Lloid (staff. Chelmsford Branch), J. Dalelry (Southend) and J. Flindell (motor mechanics, representing the Post-office engineers), and Mr. and Mrs. Linnett.—The undertakers were Messrs. J. Andrews and Son, Duke Street."
Charles left an estate valued at £1,556 6s. 7d.