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Horace Llewellyn Barden

Private 8853 Horace Llewellyn Barden, 2nd Battalion, Wiltshire Regiment

 

Horace was born in Inkpen in 1893, the son of Alfred Joseph Barden and his wife Elizabeth (née Hopkins). Alfred was an incomer (from London) who was working in Inkpen as a bricklayer or brick cutter (shaped bricks were a feature of better houses of the period), Elizabeth was a local girl. They raised a large family of eleven children (George was the sixth child, third of their six sons).

 

In 1911, aged 17, Horace was working as a gardener, still living with his mother in Inpkpen. The family had been split when Alfred got a job in London as a master builder; for some reason the family did not go with him. In 1914 Elizabeth moved to Newbury with the younger children. They lived at Litchfield House, Queen’s Road and later 48 Russell Road. Alfred made regular trips back to see the family. Horace also moved on, enlisting in the Wiltshire Regiment. He was posted to the regiment's 2nd Battalion.

 

When war was declared on 4 August 1914 his battalion, the 2nd Wiltshires were stationed in Gibraltar. They were immediately brought home and attached to the 21st Brigade, 7th Division with whom they crossed to Zeebrugge, landing on 7 October.  Already the German’s had advanced too far for the Division to fulfil its original task of helping in the defence of Antwerp. Instead they found themselves holding river crossings to ensure there was a clear path for the retreating Belgian Army.  Once the Belgians were through the Division moved west to the town that can be found on modern maps under its Flemish name of Ieper, but is better known in British history as Ypres or ‘Wipers’.  The First Battle of Ypres in October/November 1914 was the defence of the town against the initial German advance. The 7th Division was at the forefront of the battle.

 

War Diary, 2nd Battalion, Wiltshire Regiment – 24 October 1914
Belgium, Beselare:  About 5.30am ( just before daybreak ) the enemy attacked in a very superior force but were driven back with heavy loss. They attacked again, and after about 2 hours of almost continuous fighting in which the enemy lost hundreds in killed and wounded, they broke through the lines having previously contrived to come around on our left through trenches that had been vacated with the exception of about 30 NCOs and men mostly from trenches on right the remainder of Battalion were either killed or captured, a large number being captured. Cpl Alderton who had escaped from trench on left of BECELARE road together with Privates Dunn Holister and Jones being apparently last to leave the trenches, gathered stragglers together and formed a rear guard to Brigade ambulances by opening out in skirmishing order. On arrival at 7th Divisional HQ he was met by Cpl Bull, and in the evening the APM took party numbering 26 back to Brigade HQ where they met Cpl Richens and 50 men which included about 12 Lance Corporals. The majority of these men had been driven from their trenches by artillery fire the previous evening. The Quarter master hearing that Lieut Macnamara was wounded visited him at the field hospital and afterwards about 4pm collected the 50 men above mentioned taking them to Brigade HQ and was informed that no news of Battalion had been received since early morning. NOTE : special mention should be made of the gallant worth of Capt Comyn, the medical officer and stretcher bearers who for the last three days and nights were continuously handling wounded or burying dead.

 

Horace Barden's name on Newbury War Memorial

Horace Barden's name on Newbury War Memorial (lower middle)

The battalion was shattered, two days later the diary reported that they were down to two officers and 250 men under the command of a 2nd Lieutenant.  Horace died on 24 October along with so many of his comrades.  His body was never recovered; his name is remembered on Panel 53 of the Menin Gate, Ieper’s memorial to over 54,000 men who lost their lives in the fighting around the ‘Ypres Salient’ who have no known grave. 

 

Locally he is remembered on Newbury Town War Memorial, alongside his brother George who died fighting with the Australian Infantry Force in 1917.

 

Thanks to Karen Newbury for her help researching the Bardens

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 Died this day:
15 December 1916
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