BARRELL, Ernest Gibbons M.C. and Bar


Major, Ernest Gibbons BARRELL M.C.and Bar
Aged 28


Machine Gun Corps
formerly Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry
Died of his Wounds on 15th February 1922


Ernest Gibbons BARRELL was born in Potton, Bedfordshire on 5th October 1894 (Biggleswade Q4-1894 3B:322), son of Anthony Ernest and Amy BARRELL (née GIBBONS).

1901 census...Aged 6, he was at The Square, Witney, Oxfordshire with his father Anthony E BARRELL [37] draper and house furnisher, born Great Ashfield, Suffolk; his mother Amy [36] born Malvern, Worcs.; sisters Dorothy M [7] born Potton and Florence A [1] born Witney; brother Thomas W [4] born Witney.

1911 census...Aged 16, he was in Wallingford, Berkshire at Messrs Pettit, St Mary's Street, Wallingford as an assistant draper

He married Margaret Emily DAWE in Witney in Q4-1919, who is named in his will, at The Bungalow, Witney.

The family firm still continues (2106) as Wesley-Barrell in Witney and other towns and cities in UK.


Originally No.2697, Private, of "F" Company, Oxford and Bucks Light infantry, in which he enlisted in Oxford on 1st September 1914. He was commissioned w.e.f 20th March 1915. At that time he was 20 years old, 5 feet 9 inches tall (175.3 cm), chest 33" to 35.5" (83.8 to 90.2 cm), blue eyes, black hair, previous to military, a student.

16th October 1916 he was 2nd in command of his company and on 4th July 1917 promoted to acting Captain, i/c 103 Company. He was gazetted 1st January 1918 Military Cross:-
T/Lt. (A/Capt.) Ernest Gibbons Barrell M.C. M.G.Corps.
For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during an enemy attack. Under heavy fire he continually made personal reconnaissances to get in touch with the situation. He sent back most valuable information at a time when most of the signal wires were cut. He did splendid service.

He was promoted to Acting Major in February 1918, and wounded in action by an enemy aircraft on 26th June 1918 near Amiens. This gunshot wound (penetrating chest) him resulted in attending No.54 Field Ambulance, then via 41st C.C.S. to No.5 General Hospital, Wimereux before being evacuated to UK on HM Hospital Ship "St.Andrew".
Admitted to Hall Walker Hospital, Regents Park, London on 14th July 1918, sent to Somerville (3rd Southern General Hospital, Oxford on 29th October 1918 from where he was discharged to home on 22nd November 1918, pending discharge. From then on it seemed there was a continual battle with the Army to obtain a war or wounded gratuity and after his death his widow struggled to obtain a refund of death duties, which seems to have been unsuccessful.

He was awarded a bar to the Military Cross but the date is illegible on his documents.

He was discharged as a result of his wounds, to The Square, Witney, Oxfordshire, (silver war badge No. 314445) and died on 15th February 1922. The note below clearly indicates a medical opinion that his wounds were responsible for his death. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission however have a cut off date for the Great War of 31st August 1921. The gap between his wounding and death was deemed too long to satisfy the Inland Revenue when asked to refund death duties.

His medals were sold for £1,800 at auction (DNW) on 30th March 2011.







Ernest Barrell is buried in Witney, Oxfordshire

He died outside of the dates accepted by CWGC



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