Sydney BARBER
Rank: Private
Number: 3014
Unit: 1/7th Battalion MANCHESTER REGIMENT
Date of Death: 10 August 1915
Age: 20
Cemetery: Redoubt Cemetery, Helles, Turkey

Before the war, Sydney lived with his parents, Mark & Elizabeth, in Cheadle Hulme. The 1901 Census shows them living at 30 Acre Lane. He had two older brothers, Samuel and Charles, and an older sister, Janey.  He enlisted, in Manchester, into the Territorial Battalion. His service number suggests he joined up in late 1914 or early 1915 and, no doubt, went to Gallipoli as one of a draft of replacements for casualties from the early weeks of the campaign - most notable a very costly attack on 4 June.

On 6 August, a major attack was ordered which was to act as a diversion for further landings elsewhere on the peninsula at Suvla Bay. A bombardment of the enemy started at 2.30 pm and at 3.50 pm the attack commenced.

The Battalion was not scheduled to go into action until the next day and was resting away from the front line. At 8pm, "A" and "D" companies were urgently ordered forward to assist a battalion of the Worcestershire Regiment. They moved as quickly as they could through the unfamiliar trench system to where the Worcesters had started their attack. The information was vague. The Worcesters had gone "over the top" many hours earlier and had disappeared. They were believed to be holding captured trenches. The night was dark and the Manchesters only had a rough idea of what direction the Worcesters had taken. As they left their trenches, they were met with heavy fire, but pressed on across No Man's Land - already littered with dead and wounded.

They made it to the enemy front line trench and Captain Fawcus, commanding the attack, called out "Are the Worcesters there?" He was answered with a hail of rifle fire - the trench was still occupied by Turkish troops. The Manchesters sought whatever cover they could - taking refuge in small depressions in the ground. They regrouped and made their way back to their lines. They only found a handful of Worcesters sheltering in No Man's Land.

The fighting continued for several days and became known officially as the Battle of the Vineyard. It would claim the lives of 31 members of the Battalion. The Battalion's War Diary is now missing from its file at the National Archives and the details of the attack and the subsequent days are now lost. An account of the attack from the viewpoint of the 6th Battalion is here and the conditions would have been very similar for Sydney and mates, attacking alongside.

Sydney was the only one to die on 10 August and this was probably as the Battalion was being relieved. A Memorial service was held for him at Grove Lane Chapel on 12 September.

(Original research by John Hartley for the Cheadle & Gatley War Memorials website)

   
           
   
     
© 2006. Design and Layout are the property of Ihelm Enterprises Limited and cannot be reproduced without express permission.
 
Enter Search Phrase Here:(search may take up to 30 seconds) 
 
Close Search Window