Gunner Alfred George Barber, 3rd Reserve Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, died on 30th May 1919 in the Hospital of St Cross, Rugby. Canon Downing, who kept notes on men from Knowle who enlisted, had noted that he died as a result of injuries after being kicked by a horse whilst in France. In fact, thanks to recent research by the local history team from Knowle Society, it’s now known that he died from “tuberculosis of hip” and “lardaceous disease” and is buried at Clifton Road Cemetery, Rugby.
Alfred George Barber was born in Knowle on 27th January 1899. His birth was registered under his mother’s maiden name of Griffin and he is recorded on the 1901 census as living in Knowle with his mother, Annie (aged 19) and her parents, Edwin (a farm bailiff) and Amelia Griffin.
Annie married Alfred George Barber in Knowle Parish Church on 20th August 1903 and the couple went on to have three daughters – Evelyn Mabel (born 1904), Ellen Mary (born 1905) and Kathleen Annie (born 1908). The 1911 census shows 12-year-old Alfred living in Knowle with his parents Alfred and Annie, his sisters, and his maternal grandparents. He is recorded with the surname Barber.
He grew up in Knowle and was a member of Knowle Scout Troop, as well as joining the Knowle Volunteer Rifle Corps in 1915.
In June 1915, Alfred Barber joined the 3rd South Midland Brigade, Royal Field Artillery as a trumpeter, giving his address as Barrells Hall, Ullenhall and his age as 16 years and 145 days. Although the minimum age for overseas service was 19, boys aged 14-17 could join up as musicians such as buglers and trumpeters. Alfred served for three years without seeing overseas service, and was discharged in July 1918 as no longer physically fit for war service owing to a tubercular right ankle. He was granted a pension by the Army owing to his illness being as a result of his military service.
His grave was unmarked until the Knowle Society’s research led to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission accepting him as a war casualty in November 2014 and erecting a military pattern gravestone in October 2016.
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