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Charles Oxtoby Barker. Rank: Gunner. Service No: 733 Regiment: Royal Garrison Artillery, West Riding Bde. Date of Death:01/03/1916

Charles Oxtoby Barker.
Rank: Gunner. Service No: 733
Regiment/Service: Royal Garrison Artillery, West Riding Brigade.
Date of Death: 01/03/1916
Grave Reference: North-East of Church.
Cemetery: Clifford (St. Luke) churchyard

Commonwealth War Graves Commission:,%20C%20O
York Casualty Roll of Honour: has the following entry:
“Barker, Charles Oxtoby Gunner 733, West Riding Bde., Royal Garrison Artillery. Died 21st February 1916. Buried Clifford (St. Luke) Churchyard, North-East of Church. Charles Barker was born in Barkstone Ash and enlisted in York. Commemorated in The King’s Book.”
Charles Oxtoby Barker was born on 23rd July 1891 in Barkston Ash, Appleton Roebuck to Robert William Barker and Martha Jane Barker.
Known as Charlie, he was a footman prior to the outbreak of war. He was unmarried and lived with his three brothers, his grandmother and his parents at the Rose and Shamrock Inn, Boston Lane, Clifford, Boston Spa, which was run by his parents.
Charlie enlisted in York in May 1915 and joined the West Riding Heavy Battery, (RGA-TF) Royal Garrison Artillery, regiment 99434, as a gunner.
Charlie died on the 1st March 1916, following an accident on the 21st February 1916. The accident was reported in “The Morpeth Herald And Reporter” on Friday, March 3, 1916, as follows:
An inquest was held at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle, on Wednesday night, respecting the death of Charles Oxterby Barker (24), a signaller in the 2nd/1st West Riding Heavy Artillery Battery, who resided at Clifton, Boston Spa, and who died in the first Northern General Hospital early on Wednesday morning. It was stated in evidence that Barker, who was stationed at Blyth, had been used to horses all his life, prior to enlisting in May last, being first footman to the Archbishop of York. On the morning of February 21st the horses were taken out for exercise on Blyth sands, Barker riding one horse and leading another. It seems that the led horse had been pulling rather heavily, and the horse on which he was riding then stumbles and rolled over him. He sustained a fractured spine, and died from pneumonia following the injuries. The jury returned a verdict of “Accidental death.”
The 1st Northern General was a Territorial Force General Hospital in Newcastle. 104 officers and 1420 other ranks were treated there.
The death entry for that quarter is:
Deaths from quarter Jan-Feb-Mar 1916
Name:Charles O Barker
District:Newcastle upon Tyne
Ref:Volume 10B Page 65
“The Kings Book” is “The King's Book of York Heroes” which is held at York Minster, with information about 1441 men associated with the town and photos of all but 19.
In the facsimile of the Book, held at Explore library, York (which has no photographs), his name is mentioned on the last page as one of the entries that was too late for publication in the Yorkshire Herald of 1920.
At “The Old Palace” (the York Minster library), they have a reduced copy of the book, which has photocopies of the photographs. I obtained a copy of the original photograph.
The inscription says “Gunner, Royal Garrison Artillery. Aged 24 years. Born at Barkston Ash. Last resided at The Palace, Bishopthorpe. Died 1st March, 1916, at Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, as the result of an accident.”
He’s listed on the Clifford war memorial and on the ) with the online (incorrectly spelt) entry:
SERVICE NUMBER: 733. REGIMENT: Royal Garrison Artillery West Riding Heavy Battery.
BORN: Tadcaster. ENLISTED: York. RESIDENCE: Clifford.
GAVE HIS LIFE: 01/03/1916. AGED: 25.
CEMETERY: Clifford St Lukes Church. GRAVE: Enterance to Church.
Charlie is mentioned as “Charles Barker” in the Roll of Honour at St. Andrew's Church, Bishopthorpe, of “Names of men from this parish on active service for their King and Country” although not on the Bishopthorpe War Memorial outside the church.
He is probably listed on that village’s Roll of Honour due to his time spent as footman at the bishop’s palace prior to the outbreak of war. In the 1911 census he is listed as a footman. Someone has placed an asterisk against his name and the handwritten footnote at the bottom of the scroll has the key for the asterisk as “Died from accidental sickness”.
He’s listed on with the entry:
“C O BARKER was a Gunner during World War 1 and died in 1916”.
He would have been entitled to a death plaque which would have been presented to his father Robert William Barker. The death plaque has survived to 2016, as it was passed from sister Ada L. Barker to her daughter Daisy Parker (nee Boddy), to her son Derek, who’s wife passed it directly to grandson Christopher Gilmore, born about 1994.
On the “Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914-1919” website, his details are:
Name: Charles Oxtoby BARKER
Initials: C O
Birthplace: Barkstone Ash, Yorks
Enlisted: York
Regiment, Corps etc.: Royal Garrison Artillery
Battalion etc.: West Riding Heavy Battery. [RGA - (TF)]
Number: 733
Date died: 1 March 1916
How died: Died
Theatre of war: Home
Following his death, his probate was published on the 14th April 1916 and the entry was as follows:
Name: Charles Oxtoby Barker, Probate Date: 14 Apr 1916, Death Date: 1 Mar 1916, Death Place: Yorkshire, England, Registry: Yorkshire, England:
Barker Charles Oxtoby of The Palace Bishopsthorpe Ainsty of York a signaller Royal Field Artillery died 1 March 1916 at Newcastle Administration York 14 April to Robert William Barker innkeeper. Effects £127 19s. 11d.
His estate would have been worth about £6770 equivalent in 2010.
After the war, Charlie’s family moved to Methley and his parents (Robert William Barker and Martha Jane Barker) became the publicans of the Rose and Crown public house there.
They were buried at Methley in St Oswald's Church graveyard behind The Rose and Crown, next to the back wall of the public house.
The Parish Priest, at St Luke’s Parish Church, says that his church is very proud of their hero and each Armistice Day they lay wreaths and wooden memorial crosses at his grave.
I am the grand nephew of Charles Oxtoby Barker. I have a number of images that can be uploaded, including the war penny, grave, war gratuity payment document, image of the scroll at Bishopsthorpe, war memorials, image from the Kings Book, entry from the Morpeth Herald.

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  • Keith_H commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Hello Grant

    Your "life story narrative" is acknowledged. This forum is just a means to an end, and it will be destroyed in a few days time. What will continue, as a Permanent Digital Memorial is the database, which is the happy ending.

    Here is the profile that has been created for this Home Service soldier

    To this end, please do enhance the entry in the database, so that future generations can benefit from your knowledge. Please do amend any incomplete naming details.

    Kind regards
    IWM Volunteer

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