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Menin Gate, Ypres Menin Gate, Ypres
First Name: Alfred John Last Name: BARKER
Date of Death: 15/02/1915 Lived/Born In: Brompton
Rank: Private Unit: Middlesex3
Memorial Site: Menin Gate, Ypres

Current Information:




At the outbreak of war in 1914, the 3rd Middlesex battalion were in India but they soon returned home where they joined 85 Brigade of 28th Division. In late January, 1915, 28th Division arrived in France and being a regular division they were quickly put into the trenches which in the case of 85 Brigade meant water-logged positions south of Ypres near St. Eloi and Oosthoek. It was a far cry from the warmth of India and there were many cases of sickness and frostbite.

During the night of 14th-15th February 1915, the 3rd Middlesex battalion, including five platoons of 2nd East Surrey, had their trenches, “O” and “P” thinly manned whilst they dug a new line to the rear. The Germans took advantage and captured “O” Trench in a raid. The other battalions of 85 Brigadewere sent to reinforce but despite the efforts of 2nd East Kent (Buffs), the rest of 2nd East Surrey and some of 3rd Royal Fusiliers, the captured trench remained in German hands.

The next day, 15th February, 2nd East Kent (Buffs) were ordered to hold the Canal Bank south-east of Langhof whilst at 2.30pm, 2nd East Surrey and the remnants of 3rd Middlesex were  ordered to recapture ‘O’ trench. But with no artillery support and an advance over deep mud without guides, little progress was made and heavy casualties were sustained. One of these was Alfred Barker of 3rd Middlesex.

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