William Baker

Date of birth: 1885
Place of birth: Fawley
Regiment / Division: Mercantile Marine
Vessel: SS Arcadian
Rank / Service No: Fireman
Died: 15th April 1917, aged 32 years
Commemorated: Tower Hill Memorial


It has not been possible to determine William’s parents or any siblings, because of the commonality of the surname.


It is known that he married Alice Margaret Marrett in Southampton in 1910.

The couple had a son, William, who was born in 1910 but unfortunately passed away in 1915.


It is probable that William was away at sea at the 1911 Census, because it is known that Alice was boarding with the Williams family at 17 Victoria Street, St. Mary’s.


Alice was born in St. Mary’s in 1883 but it is not known when she passed away. It is probable that she married one Sidney C. Durham in 1920.



Arcadian was built in Barrow-in-Furness in 1899 and was requisitioned by the Admiralty in 1915.

She was converted into an armed merchant cruiser and was pushed into service as a troop ship in the Meditteranean.


Arcadian was, for a time, the HQ of General Sir Ian Hamilton in the early weeks of the Gallipoli campaign.


On the 15 April 1917, Arcadian was en route from Salonika to Alexandria with a company of 1335 troops and crew.


In the southern Aegean Sea, she was hit by a torpedo fired from UC-74. The troops had just completed a boat drill and this enabled 1058 souls to be rescued by the accompanying destroyer.


Arcadian sank in only 6 minutes, so it was very good fortune that so many survived.


233 Army personnel were lost, plus 10 naval ratings and 34 crew members.



Researcher: Mark Heritage
Published: 22nd November 2016


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