The information displayed here is at the time of death.
Alfred Barker was born 1 January 1892 at Brotton Yorkshire and was brought up in Guisborough, Yorkshire. He was educated there at Prior Pursglove College, 1906-1909, where he excelled academically and on the sports field. He attended Bede College to train as a teacher 1912-1914, passing the Preliminary Certificate in April 1912 gaining distinctions in three subjects, and in March 1913 won a first class certificate in Divinity. Barker also captained the college football team. After the outbreak of war Barker enlisted in 1/8th Battalion Durham Light Infantry as Private 1941. He was killed in action, aged 23, during the Second Battle of Ypres. While the Commonwealth War Graves Commission reports his death as having occurred (or officially been confirmed) on 26 June 1915, The Bede magazine, on the other hand, reported his death in action before 31 May, and he may indeed have fallen during the battalion’s first engagement at Gravenstafel Ridge in the last week of April, in which he certainly fought. The battalion was heavily engaged in late April, but the 8th Battalion’s official history by Major E. Hardinge Veitch and its War Diary report late June 1915 as having been a period of quiet. Another 8 DLI soldier, Private Robert Stafford (see below), is also reported as having been killed in action on 26 June, however there is clearer evidence in Stafford’s case that he was known to be missing on 26 April, and officially reported killed in action between 28 April and 26 June, and it’s likely Barker’s case was the same. A fellow soldier described Barker as ‘noble-hearted’, and the circumstances of his death ‘glorious but tragic’ (The Bede, December 1916). He has no known grave and is therefore commemorated on the Menin Gate at Ypres. He is also remembered on the war memorial at Guisborough, at Prior Pursglove College, and the Bede College 1914-1918 cross, plaque, and Roll of Honour.
36 Bennison Street, Guisborough, Yorkshire
Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium
Guisborough war memorialPrior Pursglove College war memorial
Bede College 1914-1918 Cross, Plaque, and Roll of Honour
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Clive Bowery; David Butler; Joyce Malcolm
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