BARBER, Bertram

No. 5316, Sergeant, Bertram BARBER
Aged 35

Suffolk Regiment, 2nd Battalion
Killed in Action on Thursday, 30th September 1915

Born Lakenheath..registered Mildenhall Q4:1880 [4A:589].

1881 census...Aged 5 months, living at Undley Road, Lakenheath with his father- George BARBER [34], a general labourer born in Lakenheath and his mother- Rebecca (née PALMER) [30] born Lakenheath.

His father died in Q4-1889 (Mildenhall 4A:347) and his mother married George TURRINGTON in Q4-1890 (Mildenhall 4A:1330).

1891 census...Aged 10, living at Farrows Yard, Lakenheath with his step-father, George TURRINGTON [34] a labourer born in Lakenheath, and his mother. A 7 years old James TURRINGTON is recorded as a lodger.

1901 census...Bertram was not found in this census. Quite possibly he is in the Army somewhere. His mother and step-father had moved to Flempton Green, Flempton with their son George [9] born in Lakenheath.

1911 census... Aged 30, he is single, a Corporal in the Suffolk Regiment, stationed at the Depot at Out Risbygate, Bury St.Edmunds.His mother, stepfather and half brother George were in Flempton

In Q4:1912 He married Ethel BURROUGHS (Bury St.Edmunds Q4-1912 [4A:2001](b.17-8-1887) She was at 2 Ipswich Terrace, Bury St. Edmunds after his death. They had a daughter, Lily May BARBER (Bury St Edmunds Q4-1913 4A:1781) who sadly died 5th Feb 1918.

In the second attack of Bellewarde, a counter attack was ordered on the afternoon of the 30th September. An artillery bombardment of the mine crater, which was not very effective, ceased at 3:15 and three companies of the 4th Middlesex, 2nd Royal Scots and the 2nd Suffolks advanced. The commanding officer of "A" Company (Capt E C Smith) was killed immediately, but under Capt. De Castro the attack carried on. Despite heavy machine gun fire and bombing they managed to reach the edge of the crater, but were halted by un-cut barbed wire. 3 more officers were killed at this point and the attackers were forced to withdraw. Amongst the 120 casualties was Sgt B.Barber. The 4th Middlesex had 17 killed, the Royal Scots 7 and the 2nd Suffolks had 35 killed of which 20 have no known grave and are named on the Menin Gate in Ypres.

Although awarded the 1914 Star, no claim had been made for the Old Contemptible clasp or he never came under fire.
Since the 2nd Suffolks were heavily involved in the earliest battles in France, the former seems to be the case.
Since the clasp was not even instituted until 5 years after his death, his widow was probably quite oblivious of the situation.

family stone in Bury St.Edmunds - photo © WMR-91560

© Commonwealth War Graves Commission

No known grave
Bertram BARBER is commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Belgium, panel 21
also on the Flempton cum Hengrave memorial scroll.

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details