Biography

Birth date: 1893
Birth place: Australia: New South Wales, Sydney, Rydalmere
Death date: 02 March 1917
Death place: France
Final rank: Sergeant
Service number: 3019 - First World War, 1914-1918
Units:
  • 3rd Australian Infantry Battalion
  • 18th Australian Infantry Battalion

Cecil Charles Harpur Baldwin was born at Rydalmere, New South Wales, in 1893, the grandson of Australian poet Charles Harpur. Preceding his First World War service he was a member of the senior cadets and the militia units St George's Rifles and the Legion of Frontiersmen. The 22-year-old clerk and accountant enlisted with the Australian Imperial Force on 16 August 1915, and he departed Sydney with reinforcements for the 18th Infantry Battalion aboard HMAT Suevic on 20 October 1915.

In February 1916 Baldwin was transferred to the 3rd Infantry Battalion, which was sent to the Western Front. Among his regular duties, he wrote of listening in the trenches at night for enemy movement and patrols. He wrote to his mother several times during his time on the front, taking great effort to portray a positive experience as to mitigate her worrying. Baldwin signed off most of these letters with the phrase, "Don't worry, be happy." The battalion's first major action in France was at Pozières in July and August of 1916. There Baldwin was awarded the Military Medal for bravery in the field during the battle. In November he was wounded in action with a gunshot to the left arm.

On 1 March 1917 Cecil Baldwin was killed at La Barque near Bapaume during an early morning raid by a Prussian Guards unit. He was killed instantly by a sniper's bullet as he emerged over the parapet of his dugout. Baldwin was described by his fellow B Company soldiers as being a "very fearless man" and "one of the bravest men that ever stood". He is buried in France at the Warlencourt British Cemetery.

Rolls and Awards

Roll of Honour

  • Rank: Sergeant
  • Date of Death: 02 March 1917
  • Unit: 3rd Australian Infantry Battalion

First World War Embarkation Roll

  • Rank: Private
  • Date of embarkation: 20 December 1915
  • Place of embarkation: Sydney

Australian Red Cross Wounded and Missing Files

  • Rank: Sergeant
  • Unit: 3rd Australian Infantry Battalion

Honours and Awards (Recommendation) : Mention in despatches

  • Unit: 3rd Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Honours and Awards (Recommendation) : Military Medal

  • Unit: 3rd Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Honours and Awards (Recommendation) : Military Medal

  • Unit: 3rd Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Honours and Awards (Recommendation) : Military Medal

  • Unit: 3rd Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Honours and Awards : Military Medal

  • Unit: 3rd Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Collection Items

Private Record

Baldwin, Cecil Charles Harpur (Sergeant, b.1893 - d.1917)

Collection relating to the First World war service of 3019 Sergeant Cecil Charles Harpur Baldwin MM, 3 Battalion, Western Front. Collection consists of six letters written by Baldwin to his mother, in which he describes his experiences including 'listening' duty in the trenches at night; laying... Maker: Baldwin, Cecil Charles Harpur

2DRL/0324 (With records)

Digitised Collection

Letters relating to Cecil Charles Harpur Baldwin, 1916-1918

Letters relating to the First World War service of 3019 Sergeant Cecil Charles Harpur Baldwin, 3rd Infantry Battalion. In a series of letters to his mother, Baldwin details his experiences whilst serving with 3rd Battalion on the Western Front. He describes 'listening' duty in the trenches at...

RCDIG0000912

Timeline

Date of birth 1893
Date of embarkation 1915-12-20
Date of recommendation honour or award 1916-08-23
Date of recommendation honour or award 1916-09-07
Date of death 1917-03-02
Date of recommendation honour or award 1917-03-04