Fred BARRATT
Rank: Driver
Number: 83355
Unit: 2nd Pontoon Park ROYAL ENGINEERS
Date of Death: 13 November 1917
Age: 34
Cemetery: The Huts Cemetery, Ieper, Belgium

The Barratts had lived at 40 Winifred Road for some considerable time. Alfred Barratt, a plumber, had married Sarah Ardern in 1876 and they had six sons listed when the 1901 Census was taken. Three of them, including Fred, were apprentice plumbers probably working with their father.

The Pontoon Parks of the Royal Engineers had been the bridging experts in the early days of the War, ready to assist the advance (or retreat) of the infantry by throwing temporary bridges across rivers, etc. As the fighting settled down into the stagnation of trench warfare, the need for this specialism decreased. In consequence, the men were employed on more general construction activities and, in the autumn of 1917, were building a large camp near Vlamertinghe, including huts, cookhouses, stables, etc.

At the beginning of the November the Company strength was 7 officer and 210 other ranks. They also had nearly 250 horses and 6 mules at their disposal which would draw the wagons. On the 17th, Fred and Driver W Lockey (from Bilston) were driving their wagons along the forward road to the east of Ypres when a shell exploded. Fred was killed. Lockey was badly wounded and died in a military hospital in Rouen on the 17th. The unit's War Diary notes also that their four horses were killed.

   
           
   
     
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