Alfred Arthur Barge

Date of birth:
6th January 1893
Place of birth: Lambeth, London
Service No.: 455260
Rank: Private
Regiment / Division:
Canadian Infantry (Eastern Ontario Regiment)
Battalion: 2nd Battalion
Died:
27th September 1918 aged 25 years
Death location: France

 

Life before the War

Alfred was born on 6th January 1893 to Edward William (1853 – 1899) and Eliza Barge (nee Fry 1963 – 1902). His parents were married at Portsea Island, Hampshire in 1891. Alfred and Harold were baptised on 16th September 1896, at St Luke’s Church, Westminster and in the same year they attended St James’s and St Peter’s School (mixed infants)

On 1st November 1900, at 5.30pm, Arthur was admitted to the Westminster Union Workhouse, but there is no record of Harold being there.

Arthur’s siblings were:

Emily (1887 – 1893)
Emily was baptised at St Luke’s Church, Westminster on 9th November 1887.

Harry Edward ( 13/02/1890 – 1972)
The 1911 census shows that Harry was working a barman and living at The Crown pub, 244 Commercial Road, Landport, Portsmouth. He served as a Steward in the Merchant Service during the First World War. The entry from the National Roll of the Great War read:

‘BARGE H. E., Steward, Merchant Service.
He volunteered in February 1915, and throughout his war service did duty with his Majesty’s “Q” Boats. Whilst on board H.M.S. “Antrim” and “Viola” he was engaged on secret work against enemy submarines and rendered valuable services. He holds the Mercantile Marine War Medal and the General Service Medal, and was demobilised in February 1919.
27, Wilton Street, Southampton’

‘Q’ ships, also known as ‘Q’ boats, were heavily armed merchant ships, with hidden weaponry. They were used to lure submarines into making surface attacks and then opened fire to sink them.

The UK, Naval and Award Roll. 1793 – 1972 shows that Harry also received the 1914 -1915 Star and Victory medals.
Harry married Margaret Florence Lawrence (24/01/1895 – 1983) in Southampton in 1918.

William (1899)
William was baptised on 1st November 1899 at the Parish of St Matthews, Fulham, London.
The 1911 Census shows that he was living at a children’s home in Portsmouth. A definite death record cannot be found, but there was an Andrews Newspaper Index Card for a record for a William Barge which read:

‘TAYLOR, otherwise BARGE, – John Taylor, otherwise William Barge, late of Kent War Agricultural Executive Committee Hostel, High Halstow, Sharnnal-street, near Rochester, who died September 2 1947’
There is also a probate for him dated 28th August 1948, leaving his effects to H.M. Solicitor General and the England & Wales Death Index states that he died aged 48 years.

This maybe William as it is possible that he had been adopted and changed his name, but this cannot be proven.

On the 1891 census Alfred’s family was living at 7 Broadwall, West Southwark. His father’s occupation was a chicken butcher.

By the time that the 1901 census was taken Alfred was living with his widowed mother and brothers at 8 Copper Street, Portsmouth. His mother was working as a washerwoman.

Alfred was included in a large party of about 400 children from a Barnardo’s home, who were sent to Canada. He sailed from Liverpool on 17th July 1902 aboard S S New England. The ship arrived in Boston on 25th July 1902 and the passenger list states: ‘Special Party in transit to Canada’

The 1911 Canadian Census shows that Alfred was living with William E Hemmings and his family in Muskoda, Ontario, and was working as a labourer.

Military History

Alfred was working as a farmer when he enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force, in Lindsay on 9th August 1915. His attestation papers state that his brother William was his next of kin, giving William’s address as Melton Children’s Home, Portsmouth.

Alfred embarked from Montreal on 12th November 1915 and disembarked at Plymouth, England on 23rd November. He joined the 39th Battalion at West Sandling Camp in Kent and remained in this regiment until the 7th December 1916, when he transferred to the 64th Battalion. Alfred continued his training and was admitted to hospital on several occasions with minor injuries during this time.

On 27th May 1917 Alfred was drafted to the 2nd Battalion and left for France on 29th May.

He was admitted to the 8th Canadian Field Ambulance, at Noeux Les Mines, on 22nd August 1917 with a gunshot wound to his neck and returned to his unit on 24th October. Alfred was granted two weeks leave in March 1918 and rejoined his unit in the field on the 21st March.

He was killed in action on 27th September 1918, but the entry from the National Roll of the Great War records the incorrect date:

‘BARGE A.A. Private, Canadian Overseas Forces. Volunteered in August 1914 he served on the Western Front from June 1916 until October 1918 with the Canadian Expeditionary Force. He fought in many battles of importance and was killed at Lille on October 27th 1918 during the Advance of the Allies. He was entitled to the General Service and Victory Medals.
27, Wilton Street, Southampton’

On Alfred’s casualty card it states:

‘During Military Operations before CAMBRAI, this soldier was acting as a Company runner and was about to leave with a despatch when he was hit in the body by an enemy machine gun bullet and almost instantly killed’

Alfred was awarded the Victory and British War Medals and these were sent to William Hemmings of Ontario.

The Plaque and Scroll were sent to his brother Harry at 27 Wilton Street, Southampton.

Alfred is buried at Ontario Cemetery, Sains-Les-Marquion, grave reference: II . A. 7. He is one of 144 Canadians who were originally buried here, the majority of whom were from the 2nd. 3rd and 4th Battalions. The cemetery was made at the end of September 1918 after the capture of the village on the 27th September by the Canadian Division. After the Armistice the cemetery was enlarged by graves from other nearby cemeteries.

Sains-Les-Marquion is a village which is located on the Arras to Cambrai road and the cemetery is about a kilometre south of the village.

 

Researcher: Jackie Chandler
Published: 26th October 2015
Updated: Insert date

 

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