Contributed by: Stephen Barker, on 2008-11-08
|Year of Birth||1893|
|Year of Death||1917|
|Regiment||East Lancashire Regiment|
|Place of Wartime Residence||Barnton, Cheshire|
At the outbreak of war he was employed in the production of glue with the Weaver Refining Company. When in mid November 1914 the East Lancashires were once again recruiting in nearby Northwich, Jack went with his friend Fred Norrey to join up. Fred, who lived four doors away from the Barkers, was also twenty three. He had attended the same school and worked as a farm labourer. When the harvest was gathered in, the two hoped that they were going to join their many Barnton friends who had been recruited for the 7th East Lancs. Almost two platoons were formed from the local Brunner Mond chemical works in early September 1914. It was not to be. Jack Barker was promoted to Lance-Corporal in early 1916, full corporal soon after the attack at Pozières and Lance-Sergeant after the assault on the Redan Ridge. He went on leave early in 1917, bathing in the tin bath in the back yard on his arrival home, while his mother removed his lousy and filthy kit. His commanding officer took up the story in a letter to his parents:
It was on the night of February 27th that I took your son to erect wire entanglements. We had just reached the place where we were to do the work, when a machine gun opened fire, and most unfortunately a bullet struck your son just below the heart. The stretcher bearers were on the spot, but could do little for him. He is buried in the Maroc British Cemetery, the last in a row of 8th Battalion soldiers.
A year after his death the family placed a few words in the local paper, lines which might have stood for many:
Sleep on, dear Jack, in a soldier's grave.
A grave we shall never see,
But as long as life and memory last,
We shall remember thee.
Ever remembered by his mother, father, sisters and brothers. 96 Church Road, Barnton