Herbert Barnard was born in Chelmsford, served in the army before the war, married and had ten children, lived in Victoria Road, re-enlisted and was killed in Gallipoli at the Second Battle of Krithia in May 1915. A half-brother was killed in the Second World War.
Herbert was born in Chelmsford on 27th December 1874, the son George Barnard (1849-1923) and Susan Barnard (nee Coxhead) (1845-1892). Both parents had been born in Chelmsford.
They had married at St. Mary’s Church, Chelmsford (now the Cathedral) on Christmas Day 1872. At the time Herbert’s father was aged 23, a labourer, resident in Chelmsford, and the son of Nathaniel Barnard, a labourer. Herbert’s mother was aged 28, resident in Chelmsford, and the daughter of Henry Coxhead, also a labourer. Herbert’s parents’ siblings Thomas Barnard and Eliza Coxhead also married at St. Mary’s Church, Chelmsford, on 27th May the following year. Herbert was baptised there on 28th March 1875.
Herbert’s siblings were George Henry Barnard (born 1874) and Daisy Florence Barnard (born in 1876).
The 1881 census found 7 year-old Herbert living in a terraced house at 17 Victoria Road, Chelmsford with his parents and siblings (part of a site set to be developed as a Waitrose supermarket). All had been born in Chelmsford. Herbert’s father was a labourer. Ten years later the family were also at the same address, though by then Herbert was absent having joined the army.
Aged 18 years and three months Herbert attested on 25th March 1890 at Warley to join the Essex Regiment for short service (five years with the Colours and seven in the Reserve. His army service record shows that he was five feet four and three-quarters inches tall, weighed 126 pounds, had a 33 inch chest, a fresh complexion, blue eyes and light brown hair and was a member of the Church of England. He was a labourer with good physical development. He passed his medical the same day and having spent time at the regimental depot at Warley he was transferred to the 1st Battalion of the Essex Regiment on 1st July 1890 serving as Private 2880. He moved to the regiment’s 2nd Battalion on 7th March the following year, going overseas to serve in Cyprus on the S.S. City of Richmond. There he suffered poor health, latterly with glaucoma, and he returned home as an invalid on 31st July 1892. After further suffering from asthenopia and hypermetropia he was discharged on 13th September 1892, having served for two years and 173 days.
Herbert’s mother died in 1892, aged 47 and his father married Annie Rees in 1894; the couple producing a half-brother for Herbert, Johnny Rees ‘Jack’ Barnard (born in Chelmsford in 1895) who was to die while serving in the army in 1941.
Herbert married Margaret Buck on 27th June 1896 at All Saints’ Church in Springfield. At the time Herbert was aged 22 and employed as a sawyer. His bride, who had been born in 1871 in Springfield, was aged 25. Both bride and groom lived in Springfield. The couple had four Springfield-born children by 1901; Charles Sidney Barnard (born on 25th July 1896 and christened at Springfield Holy Trinity Church on 20th September 1896), Daisy Victoria Barnard (born on 3rd July 1897 and christened at Springfield Holy Trinity Church on 19th August 1897), Minnie Lily Barnard (born in 1898) and Dorothy Ethel Barnard (born on 10th October 1900 and christened at Springfield Holy Trinity Church on 29th April 1901).
In 1896 Herbert was employed as a sawyer; in 1897 and 1901 a labourer. Later in 1901 the census found Herbert, a 27 year-old bricklayer’s labourer, living with his wife and four children at 1 Bottom View, Springfield Hill, Springfield.
Over the next decade or so the couple had a further five Chelmsford-born children: Grace Florence Barnard (born 1905), Herbert Stanley Barnard (born 1907), George Francis Barnard (born 1909), Nathaniel Barnard (born i1910), and Phyllis Kathleen Barnard (born 1912). A tenth child had died by 1911, 1910 and 1913 street directories recorded Herbert at 17 Victoria Road, and he was listed there in the 1911 census, with his wife and eight surviving children. He was employed as a carter to a spirit merchant. His eldest son was a gas work fitter’s labourer. He later worked as a plasterer.
Herbert rejoined the army at the outbreak of war. He served as Private 3/2384 in the 1st Battalion of the Essex Regiment. The battalion was part of the 88th Brigade in the 29th Division and had been in Mauritius at the outbreak of the war. It returned to England in December 1914.
In March 1915 Herbert’s battalion was based in Warwickshire. It moved to Avonmouth on 21st March 1915 and embarked on S.S. Caledonia on the first part of the journey to capture the Gallipoli peninsular in Turkey from Turkish forces.
Private, 1st Battalion, Essex Regiment
The battalion, including Herbert arrived in Alexandria, Egypt on 2nd April 1915 and after a few days in Egypt sailed to Mudros Harbour, which was reached on 16th April 1915. There they practised landing techniques, before setting sail for Gallipoli on the evening of 24th April 1915. They arrived off Cape Helles just before dawn the following day, and left their mother ships to land in smaller boats at ‘W’ Beach on the peninsula's south-western tip.
After landing the battalion moved forward and took part in an successful afternoon attack on Turkish forces on Hill 138 with the 4th Battalion of the Worcestershire Regiment. Enemy counter-attacks during the night were repulsed. The following day was spent consolidating those positions prior to an advance towards the inland village of Krithia which began in the late afternoon of 27th April 1915. That evening the battalion entrenched two and a half miles from the village. The following morning an attempt was made to capture the village from the Turks, but progress was halted a mile from it by enemy forces and the battalion was driven back to the trenches that had been vacated that morning. The battalion lost 14 killed, 76 wounded and 33 missing, many from machine gun fire in what was later known as the First Battle of Krithia.
The last two days of April were spent reorganising and on 1st May 1915 the battalion went into reserve at Morto Bay. That night the battalion, and the whole of the Allied front line was subject to a heavy attack by Turkish forces which was eventually repulsed. Herbert’s battalion suffered 14 killed, 31 wounded and five missing. The dead included the commander of the battalion.
The 1st Essex went into reserve on the evening of 5th May 1915, but the following day was ordered to move forward to occupy a ridge one mile south-west of Krithia as part of an unsuccessful attempt to capture the village, later known as the Second Battle of Krithia. Over the next three days the battalion lost five officers wounded, 15 other ranks killed and 137 wounded. Among the dead was Herbert who was killed in action on the opening day of the battle, 6th May 1915. Two other Chelmsford men, Thomas James Wilkinson and Cyril John Bird, died in the same battle.
Herbert has no known grave and is commemorated at Helles Memorial in Gallipoli, Turkey, on the Civic Centre Memorial, Chelmsford and by the Chelmsford Parish Great War Memorial in Chelmsford Cathedral.
The 1st Battalion of the Essex Regiment was eventually evacuated from Gallipoli in January 1916 to Egypt, before sailing to fight in France in March 1916.
Herbert was entitled to the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, and Victory Medal.
His widow was still listed at 17 Victoria Road in the 1918 register of electors. On 23rd December 1922 Herbert’s widow married William Henry Wright at Chelmsford Cathedral. The marriage was part of a double ceremony in which Herbert’s daughter Dorothy married Arthur Frederick Cornell.
Herbert’s widow eventually died in 1950 having lived at 17 Victoria Road for more than 50 years.
Herbert’s father died in 1923, aged 73.
Herbert’s cousin’s son. Samuel Allen Barnard was killed while serving in the Royal Navy in 1917 and is commemorated on the Civic Centre Memorial, Chelmsford.
Herbert’s half-brother Johnny Rees ‘Jack’ Barnard fought in both World Wars. He died on 20th December 1941 in a middle eastern hospital following an illness, aged 46.