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1st Day Somme KIA Trio Plaque

1914-15 Star Trio, Memorial Plaque, 10710 Pte Fred Barker, 2nd Bn Duke of Wellingtons West Riding Regt, Killed in Action 1st July 1916, 1st Day Battle of the Somme. Wounded Hill 60

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SKU: J8746 Category:
Origin: United Kingdom
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1914-15 Star, British War and Victory Medal Trio, Memorial Plaque, 10710 Private Fred Barker, 2nd Bn Duke of Wellingtons West Riding Regiment, Killed in Action 1st July 1916, 1st Day Battle of the Somme. 



Memorial Plaque embossed: “FRED BARKER”


Fred Barker, was born circa 1893 in Leeds, where he signed up for the war.


Son of Joseph and Emma Barker of 3 Ravensburgh Street, Kirkstall Road, Leeds.


Landed to fight in France on 24th November 1914, amazingly this was only 1 day after the cut-off for the 1914 Star, which qualification period ended at Midnight 22-23rd November 1914.


He was killed in action on the deadliest day of the war for the British Army, the First Day of the Battle of the Somme.


He was also a survivor of an earlier “Gun Shot Wound to the Head” on 18th April 1915, with C Company, 2nd Batt, West Ridings. A “Capture of Hill 60” Casualty.

He was taken into hospital around 19th April and spent over a month undergoing treatment.




“On 18th of April 1915, in a successful assault on the high ground hill at Hill 60, the Battalion suffered 421 casualties, 15 of them Officers.” “The 2nd Battalion West Ridings was also at the battle of Hill 60, during which the British launched a massive bombardment, followed by an assault that led to vicious hand-to-hand fighting.”


An account from the History of the Regiment by JJ Fisher reads:




Towards evening, the Dukes still holding out, it was decided to make a counter attack, supported by artillery. The Yorkshire Light Infantry was brought up, and at 6 o’clock the Dukes, as full of fight us ever, with bayonets fixed, were away over the parapet of their battered trench, followed by their fellow-countrymen of Yorkshire. The Dukes and the Yorkshire Light

Infantry were followed by some of the K.O.S.B.’s and the Queen Victoria Rifles, a London Territorial battalion, that did magnificently in the fighting at Hill 60, one of their subalterns, 2nd Lieut. Woolley, winning the Victoria Cross. B Company of the Dukes on the right reached the German trenches with only slight casualties.


C Company in the centre had to cross open ground, and of the hundred men who charged only Captain Barton and eleven men got into the German trench, where, notwithstanding their small numbers, they killed or routed all the Germans there. 


D Company on the left had likewise to traverse the open, and lost all its officers in its passage of the heavily shelled zone, but with the help of the gallant H.L.I it managed to secure the trench. Hill 60 was ours once more.


Some fine deeds of gallantry were performed on that sombre hillside. Privates Behan and Dryden of the Dukes got separated from their company, but charged a German trench single- handed, killing three Germans there and capturing two others. When they were reinforced by a detachment of their comrades without an officer, Behan took command with great ability.

Both men were rewarded with the D.C.M. All that day, April 19th, heavy Fighting continued.


The Germans swept the hill with a terrific bombardment, and their bombers sent over incessantly into our trenches. Some of the shells fell dangerously close to the brigade headquarters, but the brigadier, who seemed to bear a charmed life, both now and afterwards at Ypres, escaped untouched. Not so his staff-captain, Captain Egerton, who was struck in the forehead by a

splinter of a shell as he sat at the door of his dug-out a few yards away from the general, and was instantly killed, By this time the 13th Brigade was exhausted by the spell of hard fighting.

The arrival of another brigade released the 13th, which went to its rest billets away from the firing line, leaving the East Surreys and the Devons to hold the hill.”


The war diary entry which was very extensive for this day at Hill 60 notes his company’s day:


“C Company charged over about 50 yards of open ground and suffered heavily, Captain Barton and 11 men reaching the German Trench, however were sufficient to take it and put to fight the German Garrison of it. Privates Behan and Dryden reached the the trench killing 3 Germans, capturing it and drove away the remainder (Behan was recommended for the Victoria Cross and Pte Dryden for DCM) Captain Barton and the remainder occupied the German Trench.”


12413 Private B. Behan, got downgraded to a DCM it seems, but did get a Russian Order of St George presented by King George V for “Conspicuous gallantry, initiative and ability on the evening of 19th April 1915 during the taking of Hill 60, Private Behan and another man (Dryden) became separated from their company, and they at once attacked a German trench by themselves, killing 3 mne, capturing 2 and dispersing the remainder, Subsequently when reinforcements reached them without Officers or NCOs Pte Behan took command, and led the charge with great ability and complete success.”