The AIF Project

Archibald Hardie BARKER

Regimental number2783
Date of birth16 March 1898
Place of birthWest Melbourne, Victoria
Other NamesHardy
SchoolTrinity Grammar School, Kew, Victoria
Other trainingHealesville College, Victoria
ReligionChurch of England
Address152 Green Street, Richmond, Victoria
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation18
Next of kinMother, Mrs A E Barker, 11A Thanet Street, Malvern, Victoria
Previous military serviceServed in the Senior Cadets (Compulsory Military Training scheme), Richmond, Victoria.
Enlistment date19 June 1915
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll19 June 1915
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name5th Battalion, 9th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/22/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A16 Star of Victoria on 10 September 1915
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll46th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 6 August 1916
Place of death or woundingPozieres, Somme Sector, France
Date of death6 August 1916
Age at death18.5
Age at death from cemetery records18
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsAustralian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux, France

Villers-Bretonneux is a village about 15 km east of Amiens. The Memorial stands on the high ground ('Hill 104') behind the Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery, Fouilloy, which is about 2 km north of Villers-Bretonneux on the east side of the road to Fouilloy.

The Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux is approached through the Military Cemetery, at the end of which is an open grass lawn which leads into a three-sided court. The two pavilions on the left and right are linked by the north and south walls to the back (east) wall, from which rises the focal point of the Memorial, a 105 foot tall tower, of fine ashlar. A staircase leads to an observation platform, 64 feet above the ground, from which further staircases lead to an observation room. This room contains a circular stone tablet with bronze pointers indicating the Somme villages whose names have become synonymous with battles of the Great War; other battle fields in France and Belgium in which Australians fought; and far beyond, Gallipoli and Canberra.

On the three walls, which are faced with Portland stone, are the names of 10,885 Australians who were killed in France and who have no known grave. The 'blocking course' above them bears the names of the Australian Battle Honours.

After the war an appeal in Australia raised £22,700, of which £12,500 came from Victorian school children, with the request that the majority of the funds be used to build a new school in Villers-Bretonneux. The boys' school opened in May 1927, and contains an inscription stating that the school was the gift of Victorian schoolchildren, twelve hundred of whose fathers are buried in the Villers-Bretonneux cemetery, with the names of many more recorded on the Memorial. Villers-Bretonneux is now twinned with Robinvale, Victoria, which has in its main square a memorial to the links between the two towns.

Panel number, Roll of Honour,
  Australian War Memorial
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: George Edwin and Ada Emma Barker, Newcastle, New South Wales. Born at Melbourne
Other details

Chaplain K.T. Henderson wrote: 'Your son was killed in action while defending Pozieres Ridge, a feat of endurance and heroism perhaps the finest that even Australian troops have ever performed. A cross was placed on his grave.'

The incident was described by fellow member of the AMP Society's staff: 'They say that all soldiers are heroes, but some are more so than others. It was at 5 p.m. on Aug. 5 that our boys were engaged on fatigue work, and, although it was hell, the lads stuck to their jobs, as Australians always do. We were carrying provisions to our lads in the front line, and as I reached my destination with my load, Archie and another lad in my platoon followed me. On our trip back we got it hot from Fritz's artillery. A high explosive shell landed right on us. Archie and another lad were killed by the concussion. Archie was liked by all in 'A' Coy., and died a noble death helping the boys who had done such good work the previous night.'
Sources'Australia's Fighting Families', Section I, p. 4.

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