Lieutenant Gilbert Richard Barnard died of malaria on 22nd July 1918 whilst serving with the 1st Battalion, Cape Corps, South African Forces. Born in Tanworth on 10th October 1897, he was the third of the five children (four boys, one girl) of parents, Rev. Gilbert William Barnard and Beatrix Amy (née Staunton) who had married at Meriden in 1894.
Rev. Barnard was the vicar at St Patrick’s Church, Salter Street from 1889-1906 until ill-health forced him to retire to a living at Leonard Stanley, Gloucestershire. All five of his children were born whilst he was at Salter Street. The two youngest – twins George Patrick and Robert Hugh – were baptised at Salter Street by their father on 5th April 1902.
Gilbert was educated at Winchester 1911-1915 before moving to South Africa to take up farming. He was commissioned into the Cape Corps in 1917, and was wounded on 10th November 1917. Whilst recovering, he sustained a bout of malaria, which he never quite shook off. He went with the regiment to Egypt and then Palestine, being taken ill during a march on 21st July 1918, and dying from malaria the following day. He was 19 years old. Further information is on the Winchester College site.
His three brothers are also known to have served with the Armed Forces. Eldest brother, William Louis (1896-1953) became a Lieutenant-Colonel in the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, whilst George Patrick (1901-1985) became a clergyman and served as a Chaplain to the Forces during the Second World War. His twin, Robert Hugh, died in 1943 whilst serving as a Captain with the Gordon Highlanders.
Lieutenant Gilbert Richard Barnard is commemorated at the Jerusalem War Cemetery and is also listed locally on Salter Street war memorial. An individual plaque in his memory is also at the Church of the Ascension, Tidmington.
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