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William Henry Charles Barber

Private TR/7/27397 William Henry Charles Barber, 52nd (Graduated) Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment


William Barber's grave in Shaw Cemetery

William Barber's grave in Shaw Cemetery

William was born in Newbury in 1900, the oldest son of Arthur Barber and his wife, Edith (née Palmer).  His father Arthur William Barber worked as an upholstery porter at a furniture factory, which, in relation to Newbury, suggests he worked at Elliott’s in Albert Road. When William was born the family were living at 3 Chestnut Court, a long lost alley off Bartholomew Street in the area now occupied by the Kennet Centre. The family was not a lucky one; William’s siblings Edith (1898) and  twins Albert Stanley and Dorothy (1906) all died within weeks of their birth. Apart from William, only Cissie Elizabeth (1902-1990) survived childhood.  By 1911 the family had moved one alley down Bartholomew Street to 1 Essex Place.


William’s war service did not last long - he would not have been called up until his eighteenth birthday in mid-1918.  He was enlisted into the 52nd (Graduated) Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, a training battalion that had0 a complicated history. The battalion began in 1914 as the 16th (Reserve) Battalion of the Gloucestershire Regiment before becoming involved in several reorganisations of UK based training units.  Between 1916 and 1917 it had been the 94th Battalion of the Training Reserve and the 274th (Graduated) Battalion with no regimental affiliation.


William joined the battalion in Norfolk in the late summer of 1918; on 9 November he died without completing his training at the Norfolk War Hospital at Thorpe St Andrews, Norfolk. His cause of death is not known, but the timing suggests that the ‘Spanish’ flu epidemic may have claimed another victim.


His death was announced in the local paper:


Newbury Weekly News, 14 November 1918 - Deaths


BARBER - Nov 9th, Pte William H C Barber, died at Norfolk War Hospital, Thorpe, Norwich, the dearly loved and only son of Pte and Mrs Barber, of Essex Plae, Bartholomew Street, Newbury, aged 18½ years.

    Around him are thine evelasting arms.


William Barber's name on Newbury War Memorial (lower right)

William Barber's name on Newbury War Memorial(upper left)

His body was returned to Newbury where he was buried on 20 November 1918 at Shaw Cemetery, Newbury (grave 2226 - above).


He is remembered on the Newbury town memorial, and on the parish memorial board and roll of honour in St Nicolas’ Church, Newbury.


Thanks to Karen Newbery for her help researching this casualty.


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 Died this day:
03 December 1943
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