Wetherby War Memorial - The Great War 1914 - 1918

Lance-Corporal Fred Barton

Gunter, R B N
Durrant, C M
Weston, C G
Kelly, K G
Armitage, G J
Durrant, H M L
Hargreaves, J P
March, G
Dukes, W
Fowler, R
Westerman, H
Kirk, J C
Wiggins, T A
Telford, G
Harper, J W
Alexander, H W
Mason, T F
Wilkinson, W
Brown, C
Adkin, J
Barton, F
Hobman, A
Webster, A E
March, E A
Miller, G
Hannan, E
Utley, G
Walker, F
Bygrave, E W
Chapman, E
Varley, N W
Bowen, F J
Byrom, F
Backhouse, S
Dalby, M
Crossland, A
Crossley, J S
Dean, R
Frost, A E
Hodgson, F H
Holt, J
Hood, W H
Hill, W
Kitchen, T
Linfoot, E
Metcalfe, J C
Marsden, J
Pawson, W
Precious, G
Scutt, T G
Wiggins, J
Walker, E
Wood, A
Young, T
Pratt, W
Taylor, H
Dawson, G W
Lister, J
Binge, T
Atack, G
Durham, E F
Precious, G R
Wheelhouse Smith, W
Backhouse, H
Swann, J W
Burnsides, G A
Coles, W
Kelly, H W
Miles, J G
Tapsell, K

1st/5th Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment
Died Thursday 25th April 1918, age 22

Cemetery : Tyne Cot Memorial, Zonnebeke, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium
Grave Reference of Panel Number : Panel 42 to 47 and 162

Son of Emmanuel and Annie E. Barton, of 3, High Cliff Terrace, Wetherby, Yorkshire.

Fred was born at Kirk Deighton near Wetherby, the son of a farm cattleman.

In 1913, Fred was residing at Farm Cottages, Stockeld Park, near Wetherby. His occupation, prior to enlistment, is stated as 'Gardener,' in the employ of Mr. R.J. Foster J.P.

Enlisting in the 5th West Yorkshire Regiment in June 1913 as a pre- war Territorial Force soldier aged 17 years, Fred was initially numbered on enlistment as Private 1451. Promoted to the rank of Lance-Corporal, he was renumbered in early 1917, as was the whole of the Territorial Force, his number becoming 200183.

Mobilization and operations on the Western Front.

After an intial period of trench familiarisation in the Laventie Sector, the Division was re-designated as the 49th (West Riding) Division on the 12th May, 1915. Serving in the Ypres Salient for the remainder of 1915, the battalion moved south in 1916 to take part in the Allied offensive on the Somme. It was whilst the battalion was in action at Thiepval that Fred suffered a Gun Shot Wound to his right shoulder. The exact date and circumstances are unclear as to how and when he sustained this wound as the battalion held portions of the German Front Line until the 2nd July. A newspaper account dated July 1916 reports that: "Private Barton and Private Skelton are also reported wounded. Official news of the former has been received, but not in the case of Skelton." Authors note: Private Harry Skelton, 1424, of Bank Street, Wetherby.
Admitted to the 3rd Canadian General Hospital located at Boulogne on the 3rd July, Fred was evacuated to the U.K. on the Hospital Ship 'Jan Breydel' on the same day. After a period of convalescence in the U.K. during which he was posted to to the 5th (Reserve) of the West Yorkshire Regiment, Fred was deemed 'fit' to return to the Western Front and embarked at Folkestone on the 16th January, 1917 arriving at Calais on the same day.

Rejoining the 1/5th Battalion of the West Yorkshire Regiment on the 20th January 1917 whilst the battalion was located at le Souich, north of Doullens, the 1/5th Battalion, in Division, moved back to the Laventie Sector at the end of February. It was whilst in this latter area that Fred was granted 'Proficiency Class 1.' This would suggest that Fred, whose roll in the battalion was 'Bomber,' had an increase in pay due to this skill (he was previously granted 'Proficiency Pay Class 2 in August 1915).

In mid July, the Division moved to trenches in the Nieuport Sector on the Belgium coast. It was whilst holding these positions that they were subjected to a terrific bombardment by the enemy of "Yellow" and "Blue" Cross' gas shells, casualties in the 1/5th battalion being particularly heavy, "B" Company, in reserve, being effectively put out of action.

On the 1st October, the 49th Division began to move towards the Ypres Salient in preparation for operations due to take place on the 9th October at Poelcappelle. Surviving this attack that claimed the life of many men from the Division, Fred was granted leave to return to the U.K. on Christmas day, 1917 whilst the battalion were occupying positions in Divisional Reserve at Ypres. Returning to the Front on the 8th January 1918 whilst the battalion was holding trenches in the Zonnebeke Sector, the 1/5th battalion, in Brigade, were were relieved on the 13th and moved to camp in the Staple area. It was whilst the battalion was in this location that Fred was promoted to the rank of Lance-Corporal.  The Division remained in the Salient during the German Offensives of March and April 1918. It was during the latter month, that the 1/5th Battalion, in Division, found itself holding a defensive position north of Wytschaete in the 'Vierstraat Line,' in preparation to halt the German advance. It was during the attack by the enemy on these positions, that Fred was posted 'missing, believed killed.'

Tyne Cot Memorial

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