Every Name A Story Content

Barrett, A., Sgt., 1917

Anthony Barrett

On the Vimy Memorial, Pas de Calais, France is the name of 436343 Sergeant Anthony Barrett serving with the 1st Battalion Canadian Infantry who died 19/08/1917.

Jean Longstaff has submitted the following:-

Born on 4th January 1872 Anthony was the fifth of the fourteen children of Irish couple Thomas and Mary (McElinn) Barrett and he was brought and went to school in Byker. His siblings were Sabina, Bridget, Edward, John, Maria, Catherine, Sarah, Winnifred, Ellen, Martin, James, John and Thomas. By 1891 he was working as a labourer and living in lodgings with the McCallum family in Diana Street, Newcastle, and four years later he married Margaret Ann Hind, a leather worker, from Elswick.

Living in Brighton Avenue, Gateshead, Anthony worked as a railway porter, and their first child also named Anthony was born in 1899, followed by Sabina in 1901, and then Agnes and James before the family emigrated to Canada in 1907 and settled initially in the Nicola Valley, British Columbia where Anthony worked as a miner, and where Winnifred was born. In 1909 Anthony applied for a land grant near Entwhistle, Alberta and the family moved to live and farm there by the time the 1911 Canadian census was taken. Their other three children, Margaret, Robert and John were all born on the farm, John after his father went overseas with the army.

On 11th January 1915 Anthony enlisted with the 51st Battalion in Edmonton and having mentioned his time in the Northumberland Volunteers and named his wife as his next of kin, he became Private 436343 in “D” Company and spent the summer with them at Sarcee Camp, Calgary. The 51st Battalion sailed on the SS Missanabie, arriving in Liverpool at the end of April 1916 and then on to camp at Bramshott, Hampshire.

Posted to the 1st (Western Ontario) Battalion, part of the 1st Infantry Brigade, 1st Canadian Division at the beginning of June Anthony and the other drafted men joined their new unit at Mount Sorrell a week later. Three months later during the fighting at Courcelette Private Barrett was wounded in the right thigh and invalided to England and admitted to hospital in Edinburgh, where he was discovered to be overage. One of his medical boards showed his age as "44" (too old for service), but his military age as "40".

Although his wound healed well, he did not return to France until the following May, and within days of rejoining the 1st Battalion at Coupigny Huts, he was promoted to platoon sergeant. It was during fighting near Lens that Private Anthony Barrett was killed. The Battalion War Diary states “on the night of 20th/21st August 1917 this NCO was in charge of his platoon in the front line, his officer having become a casualty. The Lewis gun post was blown up and all the crew were casualties. This NCO went back to company HQ and got a stretcher bearer party together and cleared all casualties from the advanced post. When bringing in the last man a shell caused several casualties with Sergeant Barrett being wounded. He then took one wounded man on his back and carried him towards the dressing station and was entering the station when he was killed by an enemy shell”.

Margaret Barrett and family moved to Edmonton after the war, and she then moved to Vancouver in about 1946, where she died in 1951.

Anthony Barrett’s name does not appear on any local war memorial.

In Canada he is remembered on their Virtual War Memorial and in their Book of Remembrance.

Canadian Book of Remembrance
Canadian Virtual Memorial
The CWGC entry for Sergeant Barrett

If you know more about this person, please send the details to janet@newmp.org.uk