Frederick John BARKER
Rank: Private
Number: 33813
Date of Death: 17 February 1917
Age: 19
Cemetery: St Patrick's Cemetery, Loos, Pas de Calais, France

Frederick was named after his father who worked as a clerk for one of the railway companies. In 1901, the family was living at 33 Clarendon Street, Stockport. Frederick, senior, was then aged 39. His wife, Ada, was 35. They had two children – Mary, aged 6 and Frederick, who had been born in Heaton Norris, was 4.

Young Frederick enlisted in June 1915 joining the Royal Army Medical Corps as a clerk at 2nd Western General Hospital in Whitworth Street, Manchester. He was there for nine months, before transferring to South Midland Division Cyclist Company with which he trained at Weston-super-Mare, Salisbury Plain, Cheltenham and Chisledon. At the end of his training, he was assigned to the North Lancashires and went overseas in early December 1916.

On 12 February 1917, Frederick and his comrades started another tour of duty in the front line trenches at a position known as Maroc (near the village of Grenay, 15 kilometres south east of the French town of Bethune). It was to be a quiet tour of duty and the Battalion’s War Diary records nothing of note. On the 17th, the Battalion was relieved and returned to billets. The Diary notes only “Thaw has commenced and trenches and roads are in a deplorable condition”.

The times of reliefs were often known to the opposing sides and it was commonplace for there to be artillery shelling at these times in the hope of catching men out in the open and away from the protection of the trenches. This tour was no different. One man had been killed on the day when they started the tour and, on the 17th, Frederick and Frederick Saul (from Essex) were killed.

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