TROOPER ARTHUR JAMES BAKER 14/08/1916 – 01/06/1994 –
‘B’ Squadron 3rd CARABINIERS PRINCE OF WALES’S DRAGOON GUARDS
The next year, Trooper Arthur James Baker (known as ‘Gary’ to his comrades due to his similarity to the film star Gary Cooper of that era), would be departing as for Sailkot, India.
(i4. See full photographic records for ‘B’ Squadron collated by my Grandfather covering this time in India up to the outbreak of WW2. Some key photos are,:- the arrival of the Carabiniers at Sailkot train station in tropical uniform; final mounted parades; scenic photos of areas of the Khyber Pass and what is now Pakistain; the arrival and testing of the Vickers light tanks as part of the mechanisation process in 1938 – how my Grandfather learnt to drive. Also, note newspaper clipping announcing the 3rd Carabiniers journey to India and their ‘wooden horses’ they will not be taking)!!!
(For some reason there does not appear to be many, if indeed any photographs during WW2. The only photograph that can be dated to that time for sure is the title photo of my Grandfather showing him in his Scouting role, now Corporal Baker, posing next to a more modern mid 1940’s jeep/truck, no doubt he used for his Scouting and mapping role. He actually sent this photo back to his mother as a greeting card. (N/B, he was documented in Feathers & Carabinier in 1937 as being promoted to L.Corpral-unpaid)
Fate would now once again step in when after visiting a bazaar (maybe ever documented in some of the market scenes in the photos) my Grandfather and his friends enjoyed some ice-cream (nowadays a big no, no in India and other parts of the world knowing what we do about tropical disease)!!! This is how he believes he and his mates caught Typhoid, which indeed killed his mate. My Grandfather was lucky to survive on two counts, both the illness and missed ending up in Burma due to hospitalization and convalescing in India.
After completing 12 years with the Carabiniers, the whole time in India, he returned to Great Britain in 1947 and left the army. He married and settled in North Woolwich employed by the Port of London Royal Group of Docks for the remainder of his working life.
He often mentioned how he loved his army days, particularly his horse, and how lucky he was during WW2. He also mentioned how he admired the Gurkhas he served with and was given as a gift the Kukri, which he left to me, together with his stirrups & spurs, as well as the photo album. (see all photos. Regarding his stirrups and spurs and note how well-worn they are, as well as how he removed the ‘stars’ on the spurs as he felt this was too cruel to his horse).
He always had a fondness for his time with the Regiment and in particular India and its people and the adventures, and friends, he had during those 12 years with the 3rd Carabiniers ‘B’ Squadron – just like the stories from the old man in the park that set him on this journey and thus enabled this wonderful documented history that my Grandad Jimmy looked after and shared with us…
King George’s Jubilee Trust – Official Programme of the Jubilee Procession