The AIF Project

Alexander Herbert BARBER

Regimental number2582
Place of birthYass, New South Wales
AddressChurch Street, Yass, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation36
Height5' 6.5"
Weight126 lbs
Next of kinSister, Mrs Mabel Isabel Caswell, 30 Vernon Street, Strathfield, Sydney, New South Wales
Previous military serviceServed in the 6th Regiment, Imperial Bushmen, Boer War.
Enlistment date18 July 1915
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll18 July 1915
Place of enlistmentLiverpool, New South Wales
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name17th Battalion, 6th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/34/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A14 Euripides on 2 November 1915
Rank from Nominal RollCorporal
Unit from Nominal Roll55th Battalion
Other details from Roll of Honour CircularEnlisted 18/7/15 - 17th Bn, 6th Reinforcements. Taken on strength, 55th Bn, 16/2/16. Promoted Corporal, 20/2/16.
FateKilled in Action 20 July 1916
Place of death or woundingFromelles, France
Age at death37
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsV.C.Corner (Panel No 11), Australian Cemetery, Fromelles, France
Panel number, Roll of Honour,
  Australian War Memorial
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

Allotted to and proceeded to 55th Bn from 5th Training Bn, Zeitoun, 16 February 1916; joined 55th Bn, Tel el Kebir, 16 February 1916.

Promoted Corporal, 20 February 1916.

Embarked Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 19 June 1916; disembarked Marseilles, France, 29 June 1916.

To School of Instruction, 10 July 1916; rejoined unit, 15 July 1916.

Posted missing, 20 July 1916.

Previous report of missing, now, 28 July 1916, to be reported as 'Killed in Action, 20 July 1916'

Statement, Red Cross File No 220701, 194 Sergeant L.C. WOOD, 55th Bn (patient, No 9 Red Cross Hospital, Calais), 19 October 1916: He was killed at Fromelles on the 19th July. I saw his body. A lot of bodies could not be brought in and were buried as unknown.'

Second statement, 2722 Sergeant C.R. MALLERSON, C Company, 55th Bn, 26 August 1916: 'I saw him lying on the ground in a badly wounded condition at Fleurbaix during the charge on July 19th. He appeared at his last gasp. A shell or shrapnel had struck him. I got lost at this point and haven't the faintest idea what part of the battlefield he lay on, but am certain as to his identity, and condition.'

Third statement, 2018 Pte J.C. SALISBURY, 55th Bn (patient, 1st Australian Auxiliary Hospital, Harefield, England), 27 September 1916: 'Shot through the throat lying down and ot a move in him July 19th at Fleur Baix ... '

Fourth statement, 3264 Corporal John CHARTERS, 55th Bn (patient, 3rd Southern General Hospital, Town Hall, Oxford, England), 9 November 1916: 'I saw Cpl. Barber (B Coy. VIII plat.) lying dead on the German parapet on the morning of July 20th at Fromelles. I know it was him , as I saw the stripes on his arm and recognised his face. A number of men saw him. We had taken the trench the evening before, but we had to retire that morning to our original front line. Cpl. Barber was left behind when we came back. He was killed by machine gun.'

Fifth statement, 2870 Pte J.J. GARRAD, 55th Bn (patient, 1st Southern General Hospital, Stourbridge, England), 22 November 1916: 'On the 20th July 1916. [ic] at Furmelles [sic] I saw Cpl. Barber lying dead on the gorund. He had been shot through the head and killed whilst going across No Man's Land.'

Sixth statement, 3169 Corporal W.R. SMITH, 55th Bn, 28 February 1917: 'On the night of July 19th [19]16. He was with a party or [sic] workers, digging a sap from our old front line to the captured one. During a spell he saw a wounded officer in No Man's Land, & jumped out of the sap to assist him. It was while he was doing this that he was shot through the neck. He died shortly afterwards, and did not seem to be in much pain. I am not certain as to his burial but I heard from my mates that his body was recovered, and was buried in a little Military Cemetery on the road from Sailly to Bac-St. -Maur, with others that fell in that attack.'

Seventh statement, 1304 Pte E.W. BELL, 55th Bn (repatriated Prisoner of War), 7 December 1918:'By a confusion of orders we were digging a communication trench in No Man's Land. He got two Machine Gun bullets at the base of the neck. 3 of us were standing together, and heas the only one hit. We carried him back to an old communication trench nearer our lines than the Germans. We did not think he as mortally wounded. We left him as we had orders to go into the German lines.'

Statement, Red Cross File No 230405, 3948 Pte A.V. WATTS, B Company, 55th Bn (patient, 1st Birmingham War hospital, England), 16 October 1916: 'Informant states that at Vermelles [sic] on July 20th at 6.30. p.m. the Company were temporarily retiring to cover pending the "lifting" of our gun range when the Cpl was shot through the left shoulder and elbow. Informant helped to carry him to the temporary trench and assisted to bandage him, leaving another (slightly) wounded man to look after him when the Company again advanced. Informant was told afterwards that the Cpl. had died of wounds.'

Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, BARBER Alexander Herbert
Red Cross Files Nos 220701 & 230405

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