Oswald Cecil Jeffrey Baylis
Oswald Cecil Jeffrey Baylis was killed in action on 2 May 1915; seven days after “D” Company, 2nd Battalion AIF, his unit, landed at what became known as Anzac Cove on the Gallipoli Peninsula.
Oswald Baylis was born in Orange on 5 November 1890 to John Godfrey Baylis and Isabella Sarah Baylis (nee Frost). He had two siblings, Augustus and Edith (who later married Arthur Sara). He attended Orange East Public School and according to newspapers of the day was an employee of the NSW Railways.
Although his time had expired, Oswald Baylis had already been part of the 3rd A.I.R. based at Lithgow when he enlisted in Sydney on 22 August 1914. He embarked on HMAT Suffolk A23 on 18 October 1914 and landed in Egypt on 8 December.
D Company formed part of the second and third wave of landings on the Gallipoli Peninsula. Thirty one officers and 937 other men carrying 70 pound back packs scrambled down rope ladders and packed, like sardines, into the landing craft which slowly make their way to the beach. Disembarking under heavy fire, they were greeted with the carnage of the dead and wounded of 3rd Battalion lying nearby. For seven days, Baylis, along with others of his ilk, endured the relentless gun fire and shelling in the trenches of Anzac Cove inflicted by Turkish Forces pushing back the upward advance.
His mother, now a widow, was notified of his death, but it was not until the end of 1917 that she received his personal effects which comprised of a scarf, cards, gift tin, wrist strap and an eye bandage. In 1967 Oswald’s nephew, Arthur Keith Sara, who saw service in WWII as member of the 2nd AIF, claimed his medals: the British Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal. He stated he would be very proud to have them.
Oswald Cecil Jeffrey Baylis is remembered on Panel 16 of the Lone Pine Memorial at Gallipoli, Orange East Public School Honour Roll and in Newman Park Orange, where his name appears on a plaque commemorating former Orange East Public School students who were killed in action.
* Sharon Jameson, 2016