Frederick William Barton

Tank Corps
Date of death 
8 August 1918
Age of death 
Cross Road
Woodford Bridge
Address source 
1901 Census
Cemetery / Memorial 

Born in 1893 at Mapleton near Ashbourne in Derbyshire, son of Woodford born William George (General Labourer) and Alice Barton. 1901: With his family at Cross Road Woodford Bridge. 1911: A Private soldier, at the Regimental Depot, Kempston Barracks, Bedford. He is also recorded as having the trade of Painter.

Having joined the regular Army before the war, it is said with local man Harold Shuttle, Barton was sent to France in August 1914. 10 days later he found himself engaged at the Battle of Le Cateau, during which Harold Shuttle was killed.

A number of men moved Regiments during the Great War, and Frederick Barton proved the point. He had joined the Bedfordshire Regiment rising to the rank of Corporal, before moving into the Cyclists Corps as a Lance Corporal. He later transferred to the Machine Gun Corps as a Private, and was finally posted to the 2 Tank Corps where again he became Corporal. The latter move was not exceptional because tanks were largely crewed by men of the Machine Gun Corps.

During the night of 7/8th August 18 tanks were deployed just north of Villers-Bretonneux in front of attacking infantry Battalions. The noise of about 2000 guns at 04.20 on 8th August heralded the Battle of Amiens, and the “Hundred Days Offensive” The infantry advanced behind the tanks which themselves were protected by a creeping barrage. The attack was successful thanks in part of foggy weather, but by mid afternoon the fog and mist had burned off, and German gunners began hitting the newly exposed tanks. Firm resistance at Bayonvillers was overcome and widespread British gains were consolidated, with large numbers of German troops surrendering.

Unfortunately Frederick Barton appears to have been in one of those tanks which were successfully targeted by German artillery.

Rsearch by Adrian Lee, Local Historian


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Woodford Times