Walter Baines is one of the men named on the Bottesford ‘church list’ of WW1 Servicemen. His brother Charles Baines served with the East Lancashire Regiment and sadly died of his wounds while in captivity on the 28th May, 1918.
Walter Baines was born on the 6th October 1887 and baptised a month later on the 6th November, in Bottesford, the youngest child of John Baines, who came from Newark, and his wife Fanny, born in North Collingham. In 1891, John Baines was employed by Mr Arthur Hickson as a miller and the family lived at Grantham Road, close to Easthorpe Mill. There were five children: Florence (aged 13), George (11), Elenor (8), Charles (6) and Walter (3).
By the spring of 1901, the family home was at 2, Grantham Road, Bottesford, Leicestershire. George was now 21 and was employed as a miller, like his father. Thirteen year old Walter would have still been a scholar. He had been awarded a Leicestershire County Council Junior Scholarship in 1899, when his results placed him 3rd in the county.
Mr Collett, the head teacher of Bottesford village school, kept records of the successes of his pupils. He recorded that Walter Baines gained a County Senior Scholarship worth £40 pa for 3 years, tenable at Cambridge. He was also awarded an Exhibition after sitting the Open Entrance Exam at Downing College, Cambridge. He duly went up to Cambridge on the 29th September, 1906, and went on to gain an M.A. Cantab.
In 1911, Walter Baines, aged 23, had left the university and was living at Hatherley House, Hatherley Road, Cheltenham, where he had become an assistant master at Dean Clore School.
It has not been possible to locate Walter Baines’ service records. There are very many medal index cards for men with this name, and it has not been possible to determine which refers to the man from Bottesford.
It is likely, bearing mind his education and duties as a school master that he joined the Officers Training Corps and became a Commissioned officer. A search of several MIC records found only one candidate, a second-lieutenant in the Royal Garrison Artillery, and a fragmentary service record provided only as a brief transcription also identifies a Lieutenant Walter Baines in the RGA. However, neither contains links to Bottesford that would confirm that this is the soldier we are seeking to identify.
Life after the war
John Henry Baines, Walter’s father, died on the 24th November, 1917, aged 68. His mother, Fanny, died on the 5th January, 1924, aged 74.
In the 1939 register there is a record of a Walter Baines, a bachelor school master born on the 2nd October 1887, living at 7 Laburnum Terrace, Pinfold Lane, Repton. This may well have been the man from Bottesford, indicating that he never married.
Walter Baines died on the 15th November, 1957, aged 70, and was buried in Bottesford.