Friday, 16 May 2014

16th MAY1915 – ON THIS DAY IN ROYAL WELCH HISTORY CSM F Barter won VC, 1915 At Festubert, France

CSM F Barter won VC, 1915
At Festubert, France, CSM Barter, with eight men, seized and held 500 yards of trench and captured over 100 prisoners. ‘He acted with the utmost speed and with confident leadership, the men following him, catching some of his reckless enthusiasm as he bombed his way along the trench ... He forced 3 officers and 102 men to surrender to his swift and fearless attack, and also found and cut no less than eleven mine leads ...’. He was awarded a VC.
CSM (later Capt.) Frederick Barter, V.C., M.C.
Frederick Barter was born at 60 Daniel Street in Cathays, Cardiff, on17 January, 1891, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Barter. Educated at the Crwys Road Board School, Cardiff he joined the Royal Welsh Fusiliers on 4 December, 1908, as No. 3908 and later transferred to the Special Reserve of the RWF. Some of the occupations held by Frederick were with the Cardiff Wagon works as a Collier and as a Porter with the Great Western Railway. Prior to the outbreak of World War One he was working as a stove repairer for the Cardiff Gaslight and Coke Company, and when war was declared he soon found himself once more with the colours, this time as a Special Reservist with the first Battalion RWF.
Barter's military service record in the Great War and after ran as follows:
He was a Company Sergeant Major in 1914 and served in France 1914-15. He became a 2nd Lieutenant on 26th August 1915. between 10 May 1916 and 29 December 1916 he was at the Western Command Bombing School as a Temporary Lieutenant. and after this was in France between December 1916 and February 1917. He was then transferred to the Indian Army in March 1917 and served with the Queen Alexandra's Own Gurkha Rifles, North-West Frontier Province, at Kohat as a Brigade Bombing Officer. He was then in Palestine with the 2/3rd QAOGR wth the rank of acting Captain. On 16 May 1918 he relinquished his current commission in favour of a permanent Captaincy with the Indian Army but was invalided back to Britain with fever in 1919 and subsequently retired with the rank of Captain in 1922. During the Second World War Barter served as a Major in command of the 4/7th Company of the 4th Middlesex Home Guard.
His Victoria Cross was awarded after, on 16 May, 1915, for an act of bravery at Festubert, in France. His VC citation in the London Gazette read as follows: "For most conspicuous bravery and marked ability at Festubert on 16th May, 1915. When in the first line of German trenches, company sergeant Major Barter called for volunteers to enable him to extend our line and with eight men who responded he attacked the German position with bombs, capturing 3 German officers and 102 men along with 500 yards of their trenches. He subsequently found and and cut eleven of the enemy's mine leads, situated about 20 yards apart."
Capt. Barter was decorated at Buckingham Palace by King George V on 12 July, 1915.
For his Military Cross, the citation in the London Gazette of 26 July 1918 reads:
"For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty when ordered to make a flank attack.He led his two platoons up a precipitous hill, and turned the enemy's flank. Then, placing one platoon with two Lewis guns to command the enemy's line of retreat, he gallantly led an attack with the other platoon from the rear and flank, killing or capturing practically the whole garrison."
Curiously, at El Kefr, Palestine, for a herioc act of gallantry on 10 April, 1918, Rifleman Karanbahadur Rana was awarded the Victoria Cross for saving Barter's life.
He was married on 13 May1925 to a divorcee, Catherine Mary Theresa Mclaren (nee Wright) of the Heathfield Hotel, Waldron, who died in 1944. They had no children. In 1928 he joined the AEC as a labour manager located at Southall, Middlesex, after trying several business ventures. Barter died at St. Annes Nursing Home, Canford Cliffe, Poole, Dorset, on 15 May 1953 and was cremated at Bournemouth Crematorium.
In his honour, two places at Wrexham bear his name. One is known as Barter Road and the other at Hightown, Wrexham, is called Barter Court.

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