Plymouth, Devon left half William Baker began his career in local Devon football with Green Waves in 1901. After four seasons with the club, during which he also played for both the Devon County and Cornwall County sides, he left to play in the United States and for De Beers in South Africa. On returning to Devon he rejoined Green Waves before signing for Southern League Plymouth Argyle in 1909, making his Southern League debut in a 2-0 home defeat to Queen’s Park Rangers that September.
Baker immediately became a first team regular and went on to make 209 appearances over the next six seasons, scoring his solitary career goal in a 1-2 home defeat by Bristol Rovers in October 1910, and made his last appearance on 1st May 1915 in a defeat at Southend United, after which, peacetime football having been suspended at the season end with the onset of the First World War, he left for active service. The Argyle handbook described him as “possessed of inexhaustible energy and indomitable pluck”.
Baker joined the 17th Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment, which became known as the Footballers’ Battalion because it contained a plethora of talented footballers. Sadly on October 22nd 1916, at Serre, Northern France during the Battle of the Somme, 33-year-old Sgt. Billy Baker made the supreme sacrifice for his country. Awarded the Military Medal, he is commemorated in the Sucrerie military cemetery at Colincamps.