40 Sergeant Charles Edwin Barker from Wirksworth; 2VB, 1/6th, 2/6th, 9th, 29th and 15th Battalions – the complete story

Charles Edwin Barker was born in Wirksworth in 1880 & the youngest child of Henry & Alice Barker of 17 West End. By 1911 he was a letterpress printer in the family business; “A Barker & Sons” Printers & Newsagents. He had an elder sister (Mary Jane) & Brother (John William).

1898 – 1910

Charles enlisted into 2VB N & D 11th March 1898 with number 5035. He was awarded a Proficiency Badge on 23rd October 1902. By 1902 he had been promoted to Sergeant.

Charles Barker with ‘Duke I’

There are two photos from his time with the 2nd Volunteer Battalion, both featuring ‘Duke I’ the Battalion Mascot.

The first was from the Summer Camp at Castleton in 1905 and addressed to his sister…

“HPH [High Peak News] arrived all right. Just had dinner (3-30) after combined operations with Regulars. We are timed to start from here at 11-45”

The second picture was taken in Wales at either Conway (1906) or Towyn (1907) Camps. The large man in the middle is 146 Sergeant Drummer William Bramwell and I believe the man to his left is possibly Charles Barker.

Charles enlisted into 6th Battalion on 1st April 1908 with regimental number 40. He is recorded on the Nominal Role of E (Wirksworth) Company 1908-10 and serving with No. 3 Section of the Left Half Company. Territorial Force Efficiency Medal awarded in 1910.

Charles served in the in Territorial Force Reserve from 20th December 1910 until 4th August 1914.

August 1914 – December 1915

Embodied Service with the 6th Battalion from 5th August 1914 (he actually served with 2/6th Battalion), and there are two very interesting pictures taken in May 1915 whilst the 2/6th Battn were in the Luton-Dunstable area.

280 Col.-Sgt. John Henry Platt, Lieut. Holmes (currently no more info), Charles Barker, Lieut. Harry Davidson Orr (from Chesterfield) and an unknown Sgt
Charles Barker, Lieut. John Marsden Chandler (from Ruddington, Notts) and Lieut. Harry Davidson Orr (from Chesterfield)

Charles transferred to the 9th Provisional Battn on 12th June 1915 (presumably because he did not sign an Imperial Service Agreement).

“but nearly all the NCOs who had returned from the 1/6th declined to do so, some for good and sufficient reasons…”

“The later proceeded to a Provisional Battalion on the Essex coast, while the Imperial Service men marched to Dunstable where they went into camp under canvas”

[Battalion History 1961]

The 29th Provisional Battalion was station on Essex coast around Finton-on-Sea, Walton-on-the-Naze and Brightlingsea. Headquarters were at Wivenhoe close to Colchester.

It would appear that Sergeant Charles Barker and men of the 9th Provisional later 29th Battalion Sherwood Foresters provided a guard for Brightlingsea (Bateman’s) Tower. The men are armed with Japanese Type 38 Arisaka rifles.

Charles married Louie Jane Storer Bunting on the 23rd June 1915 at Belper.

Charles and Louie 1915

Charles was discharged from 29th Provisional Battn at Wivenhoe on 23rd December 1915 as ‘time expired’.

1916 – 1918

Charles was called up for Service on 22nd July 1916 He was posted the 6th Reserve Battalion on 25th July, made Sergeant & numbered 5671.

When 6th Res Battn merged with 5th Res Battn he was renumbered 6290 on 1st Sept 1916.

Charles was finally renumbered 202776 following the Spring 1917 Territorial Force renumbering scheme.

Army Service Record

Charles was posted to 1/7th Battalion on 11th March 1917. He proceeded to France on 13th March 1917 and reverted to Private.

Arrived at 14th IBD on 14th March 1917.

Posted to 15th Battalion Sherwood Foresters on 3rd April 1917 and joined them in the field on 7th April 1917.

Army Service Record

Retained substantive rank of Sergeant.

Admitted to 106 FA, 55 CCS and 1st AGH on 9th-16th June 1917.

Joined 14 IBD on 12th October 1917.

Re-joined 15th Battalion ‘in the field’ on 27th October 1917.

Killed in action on 22nd April 1918 in the attack on the German positions near Aveluy Wood, France.

105th Brigade War Diary
Trench Map

Louie Jane received a pension, they had no children.

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