BARKER Frederick Ernest

Category: Military
Rank: Private SD/4806
Regiment or Ship: Royal Sussex Regiment
Service Number(s): SD/4806
Occupation: Milkman
Date of Birth: 1889
Place of Birth: Bexhill
Date of Death: 04.11.1918
Place of Death: Wargnies-le-Grand, France Place of Burial / Memorials:

His name is listed on the Vis-en-Artois Memorial and the Bexhill War Memorial

Address: 13 Salisbury Road, Bexhill

Photos and newspaper articles

Family Information

In the 1911 census the family were living at 20 Chandler Road;

Father: John born 1852 Bexhill
Mother: Lucy born 1866 Bexhill

Brother: Alfred John born 1893 Bexhill
Brother: Percy Albert born 1895 Bexhill
Brother: Frank Augustine born 1897 Bexhill
Brother: Reginald Clement born 1899 Bexhill
Brother: Lennard born 1901 Bexhill
Brother: Sydney born 1903 Bexhill
Sister: Florence born 1906 Bexhill
Sister: Ivy born 1910 Bexhill
Sister: Olive born 1910 Bexhill

Wife: Frederick married Mary Pauline Creasey 18 Jan 1913 at Bexhill
Mary Ellen [Creasey] born 12 May 1911
Violet Louisa Mary born 21 Dec 1912
Charles Leslie born 22 May 1915
Frederick Ernest born 30 Aug 1918 died 12 Nov 1918

First World War Experience

Attested 26 Aug 1915 at Hastings as SD/4806 [SD indicating numbering in the Southdown Battalions range] [his brother Reginald was given number SD/4807]

Assigned to the 14th Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment, the feeder battalion for the 11th, 12th and 13th Battalions Royal Sussex Regiment. He served with the regiment’s 11th, 3rd, 9th, 3rd,11th and finally 9th battalions.

He had four stints on the Western Front:

13 July 1916 – 25 Aug 1916

18 Jan 1917 – 09 Apr 1917

16 June 1917 – 06 Oct 1917

01 Apr 1918 – 04 Nov 1918

He was wounded various times during his service:

20 May 1916 treated for head wound

26 Aug 1916 treated for neck wound General Hospital Cardiff

04 Apr 1917 treated for trench fever at 2 Australian General Hospital Wimereux

29 July 1917 Hill 60 Shell shock. Blown down a dug out and stunned treated at 62 Casualty Clearing Station

27 Oct 1917 treated with Remedial exercise for Trench Fever at Leicester

16 July 1918 in hospital, one week

29 May 1918 treated for knee injury

08 Sep 1918 in hospital, one week

Barker is believed to be the last Bexhillian to lose their life before the Armistice. He was killed on 04 November 1918. Tragicallyhis wife Mary died the previous day, 03 November, back in Bexhill from influenza. Their youngest child, Frederick Ernest, died shortly after on 12 November from malnutrition aged 2 months.

The Bexhill Observer reported:

“A threefold bereavement has taken place in regard to a Bexhill family. Private F E Barker, Royal Sussex Regiment, was killed on the 4th inst. His wife had died of pneumonia on the 3rd and a baby boy only about 11 weeks old named after his father died on Tuesday.

Private Barker, whose home was at Salisbury Road, was the eldest son of Mr and Mrs John Barker of 20 Chandler Road. He was 28 years of age and his wife was 27. They leave three children, Nellie, Louise and Charlie, aged about 7, 5 and 3 respectively. The message as to his wife’s serious illness had not reached Private Barker at the time of his death.

His Lieutenant wrote to Mrs Barker; “I deeply regret to convey to you that your husband, Private Frederick Barker was killed in action on the morning of the 4th November. He acted in a most gallant and brave manner during the advance, and assisted me greatly by his pluck and cheery spirit. His death was instantaneous, and you can rest assured that he suffered no pain. In extending my sympathies in your bereavement, I must add that all the officers and men feel the loss more than I can explain”

Joining up in 1914, Private Barker had been twice wounded, and had trench fever. This was his fourth time in France. He was formerly well-known as a cricketer. Mr and Mrs John Barker had already lost another son and a son in law. Two other soldier sons, one sailor son, and a son in law in Strathcona’s Horse, are still serving.”

The circumstances of his death occurred during a frontal attack at commencing at 05:30 to gain crossings over the River Rhonelle. Enemy shelling, even before the attack, caused casualties. During the attack, enemy machine guns were very effective. That day, the 9th Battalion’s casualties were: Officers 1 Other ranks 135 [43 dead].

His surviving children appear to have gone into the care of Miss Parsons, 33 Sutherland Avenue, the legal guardian of Charles Leslie.  She held birth certificate details of the children. The details of the relationship between Miss Parsons and Frederick’s family are not known. She was sent his remaining effects – a damaged cigar case.

Additional Information

Four brothers also served:

  • Alfred John A pre-war Territorial with the 6th Sussex Royal Field Artillery. Medically discharged in 1914, he re-joined in 1915 the Labour Corps and had two periods of service lasting to the end of 1920.
  • Percy Albert died of wounds December 1914 serving with the Rifle Brigade
  • Frank Augustine served in the Royal Navy, wounded serving with HMS Agamemnon in the Dardanelles campaign.
  • Reginald Clement served with the 14th Royal Sussex Regiment and has the subsequent number [4807] to his brother Frederick, suggesting that they joined together.

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