Horace Morgan Baker was born in Belgrave, Leicester on 27th October 1876 and was the son of a chartered accountant, Joseph Henry Baker (1851-1923) and his wife Louisa Jane Firth (1851-1934). A brother, Reginald Morgan, was born in 1883 but died the following year. Horace attended Milton College in Ullesthorpe as a boarder pupil, where the curriculum furnished “a thorough Classical and Commercial education.” He took part in many amateur dramatics performances (often playing women). Between 1892 and 1893 he attended Oakham School.
Home was at 64 Lower Hastings Street until May 1895, when the whole family moved to 9 Granville Road – Horace, his parents and two sisters Ethel Margaret (1879-1952) and Dorothy Joyce Muriel (1887-1966). The Bakers lived in comfort: The house at Lower Hastings Street was furnished with every modern convenience, including electric bells and speaking tubes, gas stoves, outside sun blinds and a bathroom.
After leaving school Horace followed in his father’s footsteps and worked for a time as an accountant’s clerk. He played cricket for Leicester Ivanhoe team in 1899. Then in 1902 he moved to Australia to study veterinary science at Sydney University and afterwards to the USA for further study at the University of Philadelphia. Horace returned to the other side of the world and married Australian woman Fanny Letitia Rowlandson (1881-) at Clare, Adelaide, on 16th August 1913. They lived at Sydney, Horace working as a lecturer in Veterinary Anatomy. He also assisted in the establishment of the University’s Veterinary Museum. They had no children.
Horace enlisted on 26th August 1914 as a Captain (Veterinary Officer) in the 3rd Infantry Brigade (Field Artillery) of the Australian Commonwealth Forces. He served in Egypt and France. In August 1915 he suffered gastro-enteritis at Alexandria. He was admitted to the 1st Australian General Hospital, Heliopolis (Egypt) with dysentery just two months later, and on 6th April 1916 was admitted to the 2nd Australian General hospital at Boulogne, France, with a scalp wound. This was a tented hospital which mostly dealt with battle casualties. He was transferred to Marseilles where he died on 11th April 1916 of pneumonia (probably a complication of his scalp wound). He was buried first at St Pierre Cemetery at Marseilles, and then reburied at Mazargues War Cemetery.
Joseph Henry and Louisa Baker continued living at 9 Granville Road until at least in 1916 (at The Grand Hotel, Granby Street in 1923). They attended St Martin’s as worshippers and in 1917 Louisa helped with St Martin’s stall at the Mayor’s fundraising bazaar, which raised money for the war effort. Dorothy was confirmed at St Martin’s in 1924.
During the war Horace’s wife Fanny remained in Sydney, living with her mother. Between 1930 and 1958 she lived in the same house at Woollahra, East Sydney, before moving to Fairfield, a western suburb. She died after 1963.
The Baker and Ridley memorial Prize For Animal Husbandry was founded in 1924 by the Veterinary Association of New South Wales in commemoration of the two captains and members of the association who died during the Great War.
Horace is remembered at Welford Road Cemetery, on the memorial to his parents Joseph Henry and Louisa Jane. The inscription reads:
AND ALSO HORACE MORGAN BAKER. SON OF THE ABOVE/WHO DIED IN FRANCE 11TH APRIL 1916 AGED 39 YEARS