Rank or Title
Date of Birth
Date of Death
5 Nov 1918
War time / or Pre War occupation
Place of Birth
World War I Address
Place of Death
War Memorial Location
Soldier or Civilian
Sec Lieut Frank Hubert Barton, Royal Fusiliers, attached Royal Irish Rifles, was killed by a high explosive shell while leading his men into action in France on November 5th, 1918. The War Office had at first recorded his death as accidental.
Lieut-Col W. W. Chard (Royal Fusiliers) wrote to widow Ethel Agnes Barton, living at Beccles in Suffolk: “Your husband was with the Trench Mortar Battery for the advance starting on the 4th. He was attached to my battalion with two mortars. I last saw him about noon on the 5th when he was busy getting up his teams to take on German machine guns.
“He was killed at the same time as another officer by a high explosive shell. Death was instantaneous. We buried him in a small orchard on the Bry-St Waast road, about 1,000 yards outside the latter village. It is too cruel that at a time such as this, with peace in sight, that such a life should be taken.”
Another officer, Lieut Roberts, wrote that Sec Lieut Barton was buried by the men he led. A temporary cross was erected and proper particulars of his grave taken. “'Old Bart', as we liked to call him, was one of the best. Your husband lies facing the enemy, just outside a village named La Flamengrie, near the town of Bavay.”
Frank was a son of George Newton and Mary Barton, of 117 Havelock Road, Luton. George Barton was headmaster of St Matthew's School, High Town.
Born in Luton in 1888, Frank had been a pupil at St Matthew's, and subsequently became a student teacher at the Pupil Teachers' Centre in Waller Street, Luton. He was then trained at Saltley College, Birmingham, in 1908-09 and obtained a double first class in his final examination in secular and religious knowledge.
Leaving college, he took up a position as assistant master at Stowupland, Suffolk. At the time of the 1911 Census, Frank was lodging with another assistant teacher, Ethel Agnes Lemon, and her widower father Charles in Suffolk. In July 1915 he was to marry Ethel in Suffolk, and had been granted home leave just before his death.
From Suffolk, Frank became English master at the Junior Technical School, Ponders End, under the Middlesex Education Authority. While in this post he studied for a London University Metriculation exam, but never completed the course as he joined the Army voluntarily in September 1914.
With a good knowledge of military drill, he rapidly advanced in the ranks and served for two years in England. He saw active service in France in 1917, and was recommended for a commission for service in the field at Bullecourt.
Returning to England, he was trained as a Cadet at Fleet in Hampshire, and then posted to Ireland as Second Lieutenant in the Royal Fusiliers. Subsequently he was attached to the Royal Irish Rifles, and on April 20th, 1918, was sent to France for a second and final time.
[Strangely, Frank is included on the Luton Roll of Honour under the name Sec Lieut Henry Frank Barton, of 117 Havelock Road, and on the Luton War Memorial as H. F. Barton. Birth, marriage and military records name him as Frank Hubert Barton.]