Barrett, George Arthur. Died 1st Jul 1916

George Arthur Barratt [or Barrett on some of his military records] was born in about 1892, and his birth was registered in the first quarter of the year. He was baptised on 11 May 1892 at St Andrew’s Church, Rugby, at the same time as his elder sister Dorothy.   They were then living at 11 Earl Street, Rugby.

In 1901, George was living with his family at 23 Stephen Street, Rugby. His father, Frederick Thomas, b.c.1867 in Rugby, was a House Painter. His mother, Constance Irene, née Cosby, was born in about 1873 in Brighton. George had an older sister Dorothy Grace, born in Hillmorton and younger brother Leslie, born in Rugby.

George attended St. Matthews School, and before the war worked for Messrs. A Frost & Son as a ‘machine minder’, and he would be the ninth employee from the firm to be killed in the war.[1]

By 1911 the family had moved to 17 Stephen Street, Rugby and George was a ‘Machine Minder at a Printing Works’. His father was now a Signal Painter, working for the L&NW Railway. Sister Dorothy was an Electric Lamp Operator at BTH and there were now three additional siblings, Cyril Frederick, Reginald Walter and Marjorie Irene.

During the war, in 1916, his father died [spelled Barrett] and his widowed mother later moved to 57 Bridget Street, Rugby.

His obituary[2] suggests that ‘… he enlisted in August, 1914, and was drafted to France in the following February. A month later he was dangerously wounded at the battle of Neuve Chapel, and for some time his life was despaired of.

George joined the 1st Battalion of the Rifle Brigade, as Rifleman, No:Z/451. The Battalion was part of the 11th Brigade in the 4th Division. The following movements and actions are advised for the 1st Battalion.[3] [4] As no medal card has been found, there is no more exact date for when George crossed to France and whilst it was suggested that he was in France in early 1915 for the Battle of Neuve Chapel (10–13 March 1915), this doesn’t seem to have been an action in which the 1st Battalion took part!

04.08.1914 Stationed at Colchester as part of the 11th Brigade of the 4th Division.

18.08.1914 Moved to Harrow School.

4th Division was held back from the original British Expeditionary Force by a last minute decision to defend England against a possible German landing. The fate of the BEF in France and the lack of any move by the Enemy to cross the channel, reversed this decision and they proceeded to France.

23.08.1914 Mobilised for war and landed at Havre and the engaged in various action on the Western Front including;

During 1914 – provided infantry reinforcements at the Battle of Le Cateau.   Then the Battle of the Marne, The Battle of the Aisne, The Battle of Messines and the attack on Ploegsteert Wood. The Battalion took part in the Christmas Truce 1914.

During 1915 – The Second Battle of Ypres.

During 1916 – The German gas attack at Ypres, the Battle of Le Transloy; moved south and were in action during the Battles of the Somme.

His death was ‘presumed’, aged 23, on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, 1 July 1916. His body was not found or identified and he is remembered on Pier and Face 16 B and 16 C. of the Thiepval Memorial.

The Thiepval Memorial, the Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, bears the names of more than 72,000 officers and men of the United Kingdom and South African forces who died in the Somme sector before 20 March 1918 and have no known grave. Over 90% of those commemorated died between July and November 1916. The memorial, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, was built between 1928 and 1932 and unveiled by the Prince of Wales, in the presence of the President of France, on 1 August 1932.

The CWGC record confirms that he was the son of Mrs. C. I. Barrett, of 57, Bridget Street, Rugby. She received his war gratuity of £4-3-7d on 30 July 1917, and £8-0-0d on 16 September 1919.

It must be assumed that he was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. He is also remembered on the Rugby Memorial Gates.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

 

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This article on George Arthur Barratt was researched and written for a Rugby Family History Group [RFHG] project, by Anne Rogers and John P H Frearson and is © Anne Rogers, John P H Frearson and the Rugby Family History Group, June 2016.

[1]       Rugby Advertiser, 22 July 1916.

[2]     Rugby Advertiser, 22 July 1916.

[3]       http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=198101.

[4]         http://www.wartimememoriesproject.com/greatwar/allied/battalion.php?pid=6862

27th Mar 1915. Rugby Volunteer Training Corps

RUGBY VOLUNTEER TRAINING CORPS.

TWO DIFFICULTIES ELUCIDATED.

The present membership of the Volunteer Training Corps for Rugby is 235, More would, no doubt, have joined but for two points on which there has recently been information given of value to those interested in the movement. In the first place, men have been deterred from joining owing to the impression that they were not likely to be asked to perform any serious duties. With regard to this objection, we may state that the War Office has recently enquired from the Central Association of Volunteer Training Corps if the members of the various corps would do local patrol work, and how many men would be able to go away to undertake similar duties elsewhere. Further, that War Office has asked how many men would be able to go away for service in other parts of England in the event of invasion. Lord Crewe has expressed the hope that those corps would become a permanent organisation when the war is over, so that it may now be taken for granted that the value of such corps is recognised, and that those in authority are anxious to know what the members are able to do.

Another difficulty had been the declaration members are expected to sign. On this point Mr B B Cubitt, assistant secretary to the War Office, has written as follows respecting the declaration :—

“ This undertaking is not a mere formality, and the man signing it is expected to fulfil his obligation. If a man who may be called upon is not in a position to fulfil his engagement he can leave the corps.”

Mr Tennant, speaking in the House of Commons on March 1st, said : “ In cases where good and sufficient reasons are not shown a man ought not to be allowed to take the lesser obligation when he ought to fulfil the greater obligation of serving with the colours.” As to their powers, Mr Tennant pointed out that they could only use the power of persuasion. He also expressed appreciation of the self-sacrifice of the men who had joined the corps.

Col H R Vaughan, writing from the War Office on the question of railway men, points out that a railway employee, even if he joined a corps, could not be asked to join the Army unless he had the permission from his employers to go. There can be no doubt that the same condition applies equally to men who are engaged in Government contract work.

A County Committee for Warwickshire has now been formed by the Lord-Lieutenant and Col Wyley, of Coventry, has been appointed County Commandant.

ORDERS FOR NEXT WEEK.

RUGBY VOLUNTEER TRAINING CORPS.

“A” Company.

Till further notice.—No. 1 Platoon : Outdoor drill, Wednesdays (fall-in top Barby Road, town end), 8 0 p.m. Big School, Fridays (except Good Friday), 8.0 p.m.—No. 2 Platoon : Outdoor Tuesdays (fall-in top Murray Road, 7.30 p.m. ; Drill Hall, Thursdays, 8.0 p.m.- No. 3 Platoon : Outdoor Wednesdays and one other day as arranged.—No. 4 Platoon : Outdoor, Tuesdays (fall-in top Murray Road), 7.30 p.m ; Drill Hall, Fridays, 8.0 p.m.

Saturdays, fall-in 2.30 p.m top of Barby Road.

Shooting Range is open at Drill Hall, 7.30 to 9.30, every week-day except Saturday.

LOCAL WAR NOTES.

Seventy members of the Rugby Conservative Club are at present serving with the colours in various capacities.

It is estimated that the extra money put into circulation in Rugby during the stay of the soldiers was about £8,000 per week—probably more.

The 7th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment, which includes the Rugby Infantry Company, left Essex this week, presumably for foreign service.

Harold Loverock, second son of Mr Lewis Loverock, who has been in South Africa for the past three years, has joined the Natal Light Horse, and is at the Front in German South-West Africa.

Maurice Howkins, son of Mr W Howkins, of Hillmorton Grounds, who recently received a commission as second lieutenant in the 1st London Brigade Royal Field Artillery, has now been gazetted second lieutenant in the Royal Horse Artillery.

A son of Mrs Wheeler, of 135 Abbey Street, has been promoted to the rank of sergeant in the Oxon and Bucks Light Infantry (Cycling Section). He is at present at Bradford-on-Avon, Wilts. Mrs Wheeler has three sons serving their country—two in the Royal Warwicks and one in the Oxon and Bucks Light Infantry. The latter has served 7 1/2 years in Africa.

Pte Alfred Hawkins, of the Northamptonshire Regiment, son of Mr A Hawkins, of Harborough Magna, was wounded in the arm by shrapnel on March 11th, and is at present in a hospital at Rouen. His parents received a letter on Thursday, stating that he was progressing favourably.

Lce-Corpl G A Barrett, of the 5th Rifle Brigade, an old St Matthew’s boy, who, as stated in the Advertiser last week, had been wounded, is at present in a hospital in England. We understand that he has been seriously wounded in the lungs, and some time will necessarily elapse before he makes a complete recovery. His father, Mr F T Barrett, of 17 Stephen Street, visited him last Saturday, and Lce-Corpl Barratt has since, written a very cheerful postcard. Lce-Corpl Barrett, who formerly worked for Messrs Frost, joined the army on the outbreak of the war, and had only been at the front a short time before he was wounded. A rumour gained currency during the week that he had succumbed to his wounds, but this, happily, proved to be untrue.

Pte Albert Batchelor, of the 2nd Royal Warwickshire Regiment, son of Mr and Mrs B Batchelor, of 34 Arnold Street, Rugby, is again an inmate suffering from wounds received at the Front. On Saturday, March 6th, he was wounded at 10.30 a.m, and lay 8 1/2 hours before receiving attention. He is now at the Sailors’ Rest, Ramsgate. Pte Batchelor, who is an old St Matthew’s boy, was previously incapacitated in October with a bullet wound in the neck and shrapnel in the knee. His brother Oscar is a despatch rider in Lord Kitchener’s Army.

Lce-Corpl Sidney Hubert Hadfield, 1st King’s Royal Rifles (third son of Mr J Hadfield, of 4 Charlotte Street, Rugby), who was seriously wounded in the right leg, by shrapnel near Mons at the commencement of the war, has arrived home for a short time. The unfortunate young fellow, who is only 26 years of age, has been in a London Hospital for the past six months, but, despite the best of attention, it is feared that he is doomed to be a cripple for life. His general health has also been adversely affected, and he has been sent home to effect, if possible, an improvement in this before undergoing an operation. He has served eight years in the army.

WAR CASUALTIES.

Regret will be felt in Rugby by many people to learn of the death of Sapper Ernest Lawrence Manton, of the East Anglican Royal Engineers. A native of Bedford, Sapper Manton, whose age was 24, was employed for a time at the B.T.H Works. He then took a situation in Coventry, though still residing in Rugby, journeying to business each morning. He was also engaged to be married to a Rugby lady, with whom much sympathy will be felt. The last letter received from him stated that he expected to take part in a big battle next day, and it was probably in the fighting at Neuve Chapelle that he was killed.

Sapper Manton was a member of Bilton Football Club, for whom he kept goal. During last summer he won first prize in a billiard handicap at the Regent Street Billiard Rooms, and for several months was a member of St Matthew’s Church Choir.

From a Bedford contemporary we learn that deceased was the younger of two brothers who were in the Royal Engineers. He had been in the Bedford Engineers for four years, and has resigned, but on the outbreak of the war he rejoined his old regiment, and went to the Front with the 1st Company. His mother received a letter from Second-Lieut O H Keeling, of the E.A.R.E, stating that her son was killed in action on March 10th. “ He was in my section,” the officer continued, “ and in him the section has lost one of the best of its men. I have heard something of the sacrifice he made when volunteering in August. He was always so cheery and ready to do his duty. Only last week he struck me particularly in this respect, when he was working in mud and water up to his knees—working at draining a trench that others might walk dry shod in it. Please let me offer my sincere sympathy to you in your great loss, but I hope your sorrow may be in some way lessened by the thought that he died for his country.”

RECRUITING AT RUGBY.

There has been a marked improvement in recruiting at Rugby during the past week, and 16 men have been attested. Suitable men are now required to be trained for non-commissioned officers in the 13th R.W.R ; and wheelwrights, shoeingsmiths, and saddlers are also wanted. Those who have enlisted this week are: Cavalry, S Dyson ; R.E, H Baines ; A S.C, H J Rowe, T Burns, R J Reaves, and H S Jude ; R.F.A, W G Fuller, J Cox and W Cox ; Northants, E Smith and G Southern ; 13th Gloucesters, W Moore ; Middlesex, A Page, R Philpott, and W A Walker ; Royal Welsh Fusiliers, W E Bennett.

REJECTED AT LEICESTER, ACCEPTED AT RUGBY.

The “ Leicester Daily Post ” for Wednesday remarks, with reference to the slackness in recruiting in that city, that it is stated that in Leicester and Leicestershire there have been a larger proportion of rejects than in other adjoining areas for medical reasons which to the would-be soldiers did not seem quite sufficient, and that from the beginning of the war up till now many men unable to enlist there have been accepted at Rugby.