Sydney Fredrick Baker

WWII

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Sydney Fredrick Baker's story

My name is Gail Toomath, my father was Sydney Fredrick Baker. WX 10673. He joined A.I.F. Claremont from Kalgoorlie. In April he moved to Northam. I saw my father in 1942 when I was 3 years of age. He then sailed to Middle East. In his diary my father has written:

Jan 1942: Moved to Syria. A beautiful country. Plenty of money and beer. Joint anti-malaria unit here. Much freedom. Syrians very friendly and trusting (peanuts), Arak. Anaseed. Cherry Brandy, peppermint, rhum almaza. In great nick. Lebanon very beautiful but mountainous. Syr. Great Holiday resort. Company area- Barkhoun met Amos and his daughter Budrea.

Soon after I went to live in Boulder with my grandmother, before coming to Perth to work in 1954, aged 15. I never knew that my father was living in Geraldton, and that he married Ada and they had three sons, which I never saw till 1955. I saw my father in Hollywood Hospital about 1971. He went back to Geraldton and died in 1972.

I never knew my father had a diary. He gave to my brother Geoff, who gave me a copy for my 60th birthday. On the last page of his diary my father has written two verses:

Beef steak when you’re hungry
Whiskey when you’re dry
Fivers when you’re broke,
Heaven when you die (S. B. Italy 1943)

Beef steak puddings when you are hungry
Vino when we are dry
Lire when we are broke, and
Our freedom before we die (S. B)

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