Private Walter Baines – Lincolnshire Regiment

Private Baines was born in Gainsborough in 1886 and was a barber.

He married Gertrude Easter in 1908 and they had two sons. Gertrude died in 1914. In April 1915, Walter joined the Lincolnshire Regiment, only to be discharged three months later on medical grounds.

In October 1915, Walter re-enlisted and during his service suffered badly from frost bite and trench feet. Trench foot is caused by the feet being in constant damp and cold conditions and causes the feet to go numb and then swell.

Walter’s Trench Foot became so bad, he was brought back to England in November 1917 and had seven of his toes, including both big toes, amputated. The photograph below shows him in hospital at Cardiff.

Walter was discharged from the Army in July 1918. During his service, his two sons had been looked after by the Gainsborough Poor Law Guardians. His sons visited, and stayed with him, while he was at Cardiff. They were then taken in by Dr. Barando’s. They eventually went to work on farms in Canada.

Walter was discharged from the Army in July 1918, and was described as a ‘broken man’ who could hardly speak.

Walter was found drowned in the River Trent at East Stockwith in June 1920. He suffered from ‘depressed spirits’.

In an issue of ‘Gainsborough Life’ magazine, Peter Bradshaw wrote about a forthcoming exhibition for Remembrance Weekend. Peter asked for information about Private Baines and he was contacted by Walter’s grandson, John Baines, who lives in Canada.

Private Walter Baines
This photograph, kindly loaned to us by John Baines, shows John on the left (his Uncle) and Richard on the right (his father).