235129, Private, 25th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers. (Formerly 4992 Hertfordshire Regiment )
Died on the 28th April 1917 aged 27
Private William Henry Barker
William was born in Finsbury Park, London and was the Nephew of Ann Deamer of Little Wymondley, Hertfordshire. He is known to have lived at 3 Church Lane, Stevenage, and before joining the Army was employed by Ben Moules of Redcoats Farm, and was a well-known chorister at the Little Wymondley church.
He was initially enlisted, like many men, into the Bedfordshire Regiment with the Service Number 7216, but was later transferred to the Hertfordshire Regiment where his Service Number changed to 7536. Whilst serving with this unit he was wounded in the leg. On making a recovery he re-joined the Hertfordshire’s but was transferred again, this time to the Northumberland Fusiliers, where he served with several Battalions of the Regiment. Eventually, he was posted to the 25th Battalion, known as the "Tyneside Irish".
On the 28th April 1917 the Battalion were positioned near Fampoux. The battalion were ordered to attack German positions in the area and at 4.25am the assault began. However, as the men advanced they were subjected to devastating machine gun and artillery fire and the assault ground to a halt. At 11.00am the German troops counter-attacked and the battalion were unable to attain their objective. The Commanding Officer blamed the loss of the British objective on poorly trained drafts recently received from England.
William is believed to be buried in the London Cemetery, Neuville-Vitasse, France, and his name is recorded on a screen wall referenced as Wancourt Road Cemetery. No.2 Memorial. Panel 1.. The panels bear the names of casualties whose unidentified graves lay in the cemetery having been re-buried there after their original graves were destroyed by shell fire.
Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal