war memorial at dusk, photographed by Michelle Cooper



Postcard from Harry to his brother William and wife Annie

postcard written by Harry Barton, courtesy Rosemary Wells


Dear Annie and Willi?

Just a line to let you know I am quite well and jolly. hoping these few lines will find you same. Will write long letter soon.

from your ever loving brother Harry. 


From Harry to his brother William. Letter written 21st June 1915

extract from letter written by Harry Barton, courtesy Rosemary WellsDear William,

Many thanks for your letter which I received quite safe. So very ()  to hear you and Annie and Georgie are quite well as it leaves me fine? the best of health.

So Will you have lost your mate. I daresay you miss him after working together for such a long time. I should like to know his address then I could write a line to him. I say William I am surprised to hear Charlie has passed for General Service, really I donít think he will like it for you know what Charles is, he cannot bear bosses, but we all have to put up with it.

Well Dear William we were in action the latter part of last week and am please to say I got away without a scratch for I can tell you it was warm. My old chum, the one that sat next to Dad the last Sunday in England, the one with eye glasses, was killed and several of my chums were wounded and missing. Still be got the Boches on the run. you know the old saying We never stopped running till we got home. Well William I am sure they followed that motto. And another thing there losses as you see by the papers were twice as much as ours. Dear William we received the following message from the General Commanding (Give me best wishes to the Gunners? they did splendid so you see we were there.

Well, William they say there is no humour in war but I could not help smiling when a small party of Boches were helpless, they nearly fell over themselves with eagerness to surrender. Well William I donít think this war will last long, the advance is killing them to hard and I keep having field cards from Ted so the old warrior is quite safe. Well William you ask me if I want anythink, I lost my small ? in the advance. But what I miss most is my mirror, it was a steel one. I extract from letter written by Harry Barton, couresty Rosemwary Wellsshould be please to have another one.

Well, Dear William we having a rest now and I might tell you well itís the life I like, plenty of adventure so donít let nobody worry about me. I had one or two narrow shaves but they will have to be quicker to catch me. Thatís all this time so will close with fondest love from your ever loving brother Harry. Give me best love to Annie and little Georgie

Good night dear brother. 

From Harry's brother, Trooper E. Barton, also on active service, to their brother William. Letter dated
28 October 1916

My dear brother Bill, I live in hopes to find you quite well pleased to say I ham quite well and feeling fine ..I am so very sorry to hear about poor Harry but I ham afraid Bill he was killed as he was not found by his RAM Corp but still he may have been found by some other party and taken to hospital as in the paper he was only reported wounded.

I wrote to the officer commanding his platoon and this is the letter he sent to me. I could not send it straight to mother so break the news as gently as possible. Tell her to hope for the best and say that the body was never found and by that the officers mean to say it is more than likely he was found by some other party and taken to hospital. I hope so with all my heart. If any more is heard he is going to write to mother
and me.



Look after mother and as much as possible. Of course mother will worry so much but let us all hope for the best. Poor boy died? like? (five words obscured) soldier, god we have lost some good boys out here, it is so awful really. But we are all doing well up here but it will not finish this year. Give my love to all roundand tell Mother to cheer up. Rather be happy and smile for to know he died for England so you and all can live in free choice (freedom?). So goodbye for the present, God bless you all, I remain your ever loving brother Ted. Love to Annie and George (word obscured)

From Harry's Commanding officer to Harry's brother. Letter dated 14th October 1916

letter from commanding officer to William, courtesy Rosemary WellsDear Barton, 

Your brother, I find, after making enquiries, was shot right through the body and the man in the ? gun team who was with him at the time saw him fall right back and flinging out his arms fall right back into a shell hole. He cried out ďMy GodĒ but nothing else. The gun of course had to go forward so the man could not stay with him and nothing more was seen of him. The RAMC know nothing of him.

letter from commanding officer to Harry's brother, courtesy Rosemary Wells


I did hope he might be found, he was a most excellent soldier and always cheerful, quite one of the best of my platoon. I am very sorry indeed both for your mother and yourself I really think he must have died. You had better break the news as gently as possible. You could (two words obscured) so much better than I.

There is still the possibility of his having been evacuated after all as all  the bodies were buried and he was not found and all the wounded were evacuated  I am afraid the chances are very small. If anything more is heard you and you mother will be informed immediately we hear it. 

Yours sincerely (name uncertain)

Harry's parents in later life, at 21 Peter Street, courtesy Rosemary Wells

Harry Barton's Parents, Edward and Emma

with grateful thanks to Rosemary Wells
see also Exhibition 06

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