1 Aug 2010 07:59 UTCSun 1 Aug 2010 - 7:59 am UTC
I bet that Myo’s eyes lit up when he saw the title, having immediately jumped to the conclusion that my question concerned the piano-playing duo whose act was transformed following the introduction of a gorgeous chanteuse, one Susie Diamond?
Sorry, Myo, but my question concerns the two real-life St Barbe Baker brothers: Richard (1889-1982) and Thomas Guillaume (1895-1951?). Both are listed in the 1901 UK Census when they were living in South Stoneham, Hampshire. They have now been immortalised by entries in the Wiki. However, in some archives, their surname appears as ‘Baker’ or ‘Barbe-Baker’.
Richard, a conservationist known as ‘The Man of the Trees’, gets many mentions in the TDA - The Times (of London) Digital Archive, including an Obituary. He also published his autobiography: ‘My Life, My Trees’ in which he reported that, sometime after WWI, ‘I went to Wiesbaden to join my younger brother Tom who had married an Austrian, a famous tennis player and linguist’.
Richard failed to mention the year but he reported that the British and French occupation armies were still there. Then the times were very bad and 250,000 marks were the equivalent of five pence in English currency.
Richard also reported that, when he returned to London, he found a summons waiting for him after his pet Serval (an African Tiger Cat) had attacked a fellow diner in the Café Royal. The incident occurred on 10 March 1923 and the case was reported on 10 November 1923. This suggests that Richard had met Tom between these dates and therefore that Tom had got married some time previously.
My question offers two alternatives:
1: Whom did Tom marry and when?
2: Where, when and how did Tom die?
Wiki claims that he went to Jersey (The Channel Islands) which seems likely and then asserts that he committed suicide in 1951. However, the suicide and the date reported clearly refer to James Larratt Battersby, so no confidence can be placed in these latter claims.
(The only source quoted in Wiki is: Simpson, A.W.B. In the Highest Degree Odious: Detention Without Trial in Wartime Britain but this doesn’t help.)
A Researcher can Answer either alternative or both which would take us into Tip Territory. However, if one Researcher answers one part and another the other, then the second will be awarded his/her own Question.
1 Aug 2010 15:41 UTCSun 1 Aug 2010 - 3:41 pm UTC
Here are the results of my research so far. Please let me know concerning which details you would like to find further information.
According to a previous version of the Wikipedia article on Thomas the name of his wife was Olive:
Revision as of 07:48, 5 August 2007:
and here, as well:
But this information (that Olive was name of Thomas’ wife) has since been corrected.
According to the "revision as of 17:08, 27 June 2010" the name of Thomas’ wife was not Olive, as clarified on this page:
I suppose you will be able to look at the records mentioned (Kew)?
I did not find the birth of a son registered in 1939 - but the birth of a son registered in 1940 (Jan-Mar), and of two other sons after the war (in 1946 and 1947). The maiden name of the mother of all of these three sons was Skinner:
This could be the wife of Thomas. However, it is not an Austrian name. Possibly Thomas married a second time.
The death of a "St. Barbe-Baker, Thomas G." was registered in Brighton 1966 (Oct-Dec). He was 71 years old and, therefore, could be the person in question.
These details are not yet available on
as you can see here:
But you’ll find this information on
Do you have access to this website?
I suppose it would be easy for you to find further details of Thomas’ death as he died within the district of Brighton. But should you require further information I shall try to find it.
1 Aug 2010 16:25 UTCSun 1 Aug 2010 - 4:25 pm UTC
Brilliant, Q21, Very Many Thanks. I much appreciate your having got on the case.
I have seen St B B's files in The National Archives and I've also got a copy of his son's Birth Certificate. He was born in November 1939, although his birth wasn't registered until 2 Jan 1940.
His other two children are news to me!
The mother of #1 son was indeed Muriel St B B (nee Skinner) but, evidently, he had been previously married to an Austrian tennis player and linguist in the early Twenties. Maybe she was a Flapper or a Jazz Baby?
However, a friend has now pointed out that an "Austrian" back then might now be considered Hungarian or Czech. And, of course, they could have married anywhere, Probably an impossible quest - even for you.
I suspect that the deleted Wiki reference to Olive was the proper correction a mistake, as there was an Olive Baker who was otherwise well known in certain circles pre-WWII.
Yes, I do have access to Ancestry and I'll happily accept that he popped off in Brighton, as you have reported. A lot of rascals finish up in these parts.
I now consider that both my Questions are fully answered, so please proceed to an AnswerFound!
All the Best
2 Aug 2010 05:22 UTCMon 2 Aug 2010 - 5:22 am UTC
Thank you very much for accepting the results of my research as an answer.
I continued trying to find some information on Thomas’ first marriage, but without success. His first wife could indeed have come from any place within the former Austrian-Hungarian Empire.
I would like to add that on <Ancestry.com> searching for "Barbe Baker" and "Barbe-Baker" will not lead to identical results. Including a hyphen or not does make a difference.
Buy the way, you’ll find Thomas’ birth when searching for "Thomas Guillaume Baker" and his father’s marriage when searching for "John Richard St B Baker":