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In the Middle East
Ginty

Name: Baker G.
Service No: NX11495
Rank: Tpr.
Unit: 9

Brief History (HERE)

VALE: 11/04/ 2012

GARNET (GINTY) BAKER

Born at Heron's Creek in 1916 second eldest of a family of eight.  Ginty grew up on the isolated family farm milking cows before walking to school and ploughing fields and working on farm machinery after school.

He joined the army in 1940 where he served in the 6th Division Cavalry Regiment, his first day of action was in Bardia., where he was assigned to ambulance duty.  The division libeated Bardia.  He went on to fight in Syria and Palestine.  His experience with machinery proved invaluable when the unit captured enemy tanks.

After the war he worked hard to achieve personal attributes, putting himself through the Leaving Certificate and then other courses to finally become Health and Building Inspector for Warringah Council where he spent his working life.

FROM HIS FAMILY EULOGY ................."Dad's beautiful garden in Cromer was his passion and as long as he had a book to read, a cryptic corssword to fill and a garden to play in with his pets he was happy.  Dad had some outstanding qualities, he accepted everyone for what they were and rarely criticized or judged folk.  He touched the lives of many people, this gentle man"

(Details required)

This record copied from A.W.M. WW2 NOMINAL ROLLS

NameBAKER, GARNET 
ServiceAustralian Army 
Service NumberNX11495 
Date of Birth29 Apr 1916
Place of BirthHERONS CK, NSW 
Date of Enlistment28 Mar 1940 
Locality on EnlistmentHERONS CK 
Place of EnlistmentPADDINGTON, NSW 
Next of KinBAKER, ALFRED 
Date of Discharge8 Jun 1945
RankTrooper 
Posting at Discharge37 AUSTRALIAN INFANTRY TRAINING BATTALION 

 

A LETTER FROM GINTY

(Cavalry News 64, December 1999)

Early in 1941, camped outside Benina near Benghazi I was afflicted with a condition known by the medical profession as Parafirmosis, which necessitated a hurried trip to the hospital, 7 AGH in Benina.

I was greeted by an army surgeon nonchantly flourishing a scalpel with which, in due course (and probably light heartedly), he performed a small amputation that qualified me for an endorsement on my visa to Israel in future years.

I had emphasised that I was very attached to that part of my anatomy, but the surgeon insisted that the remedy was circumscribed and in the prevailing circumstances the operation could not be circumvented.

Enter Erwin Rommel and his panting Panzers so the hospital had to be evacuated.  We were loaded into ambulances and headed towards Tobruk in a convoy of mixed vehicles.  Several abortive bombings had walking wounded scrambling from ambulances to the surrounding terrain.

Because of my recent affliction I was unable to hug the ground as intimately as I would have liked, but the strafing was generally aimed at the escorting vehicles without red cross markings.

Arriving in Tobruk after a few more days of healing treatments I had to report to the officer in charge of organising the garrisoning of the area.

Upon explaining my position and that my Unit was back in Cairo he said he would authorise me to draw two days rations and hitch hike back to my Unit.

On the main road I managed to flag down an RAAF jeep with two Indian officers heading for Alexandria.  Near Alex we met the Regiment returning to the front, so I was duly absorbed back into the fold.

I sometimes reminisce that a small part of me left in Benina would have now turned to dust and would blow around the Sahara and so I wonder if that is what got up Colonel Gadafi's nose, and fostered his hatred of Israel and all their Jewish customs.

Ginty Baker

 

1999

LETTER TO BROTHER DUDLEY BAKER SEPTEMBER 1942
A party of us under the supervision of officers hired three taxis to take us to the beach last Sunday. We visited Gaza War Cemetery on the same day. The graves were laid out with geometrical precision each with a nice headstone while there were well-kept flowers and low hedges dividing the graves of men from different countries. I had no idea that the percentage of unknowns was so great. There are hundreds with the words underneath, Unknown Soldier or Known Unto God. There was a lot of fighting around Gaza in the last war. It's a dirty old place with but few civilised buildings.

I spent three days in hospital with sand fly fever together with a touch of flu. It left me weak and I am now recuperating. This is the first time I've cost the army anything for medical attention and let's hope it's the last.

Here I am ten days later feeling well again having been on parade for the past week. A party ofus went on leave yesterday to Tel Aviv. It was a beautiful trip as we had to pass over mountainous country. White and grey rock figure prominently on the hillsides, most of which are bare, while some have olives and cypress pines. The soil shows through a lot and after the rains come the now bare hills will sport a cover of greenery. Many hills are naturally terraced, some artificially with abundant olive trees. On these hills are seen many old stone villages, the grey rock making them look marvellously pretty and quite up to the picturesqueness portrayed in scriptural slides seen at home in lantern lectures.

In Jerusalem we had the advantage of an AIF club and went there to post a parcel. On seeing the address the postal sergeant said, 'Good  Lord I know your old man well!' He was Mr. Martin ofTaree. We took a guide to show us over the old city and passed through a great length of markets in a narrow street with buildings meeting in an archway overhead. Butchers display their goods in the open as do confectioners, fruiterers, mercers and drapers. We saw blacksmiths at work making wooden ploughs.

We came to the arch of Ece Homo (Behold the Man) where Jesus was brought before Pilate and awarded the wooden cross. We then followed the path of the cross and the places were pointed out where the bearer was pulled or fell down. These are called Stations of the Cross. In the Church of the Holy Sepulchre we saw hand wrought reproductions of these scenes worked in gold and silver and presented by the Russian nuns to the church. We saw where Simon offered his help; where St. Veronica met the bearer and offered condolences.

On entering the church we went into St. Constantine's basilica erected in memory of him being the first Christian emperor. Saw the tomb of Phillip, a famous crusader whose descendants still tend his tomb. There are many branches of tombs and chapels of worship for different sects and it rambles about underground like a rabbit warren. A crack in a rock was caused by an earthquake at the time of Jesus' last breath. It is actually rock of Calvary. The shrine of the Virgin Mary is a bust of her in wood decorated with half a million pounds worth of jewels.

 The actual tomb of Our Saviour which one has to bend down and crawl into, is of ltalian marble and hand worked. Some of the chapels run up sixty feet before the domed ceiling, which is marvellously  decorated, is seen. Outside the city we were shown the Jewish wailing wall where the Jewish people lament the glory of the departed kingdom that was theirs.

I still hold the rank of Sergeant and have become resigned to it. As yet I've received no communication  from home and once it starts I'll expect a steady stream. Don't forget that everything is news as we see nothing much Australian.  Give my love to everyone you see as I feel I'd be pleased to see absolutely anyone!

Garnet.

 



 
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