"The Bartons" consist of three villages, two of them with their own parish churches, and one of them tiny. In the west is Westcott Barton and in the east, the tiny Steeple Barton. Between the two is Middle Barton, which is mainly residential and has no parish church.

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FIRST WORLD WAR

HENRY BASSETT (known as Harry) was serving as a Private with the 25th (Service) Battalion (Tyneside Irish), The Northumberland Fusiliers when he was killed in action on 7th April 1918 during the Battle of Lys. He was aged 30 and is commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial, having no known grave.

He was the son of James and Annie of Middle Barton and had worked as a jobbing gardener. He married Mary Long in Steeple Barton in January 1915. He enlisted into the Training Reserve Battalion in Burnham, Hertfordshire in the autumn of 1916. He was then posted to the Northumberland Fusiliers on the Western Front, part of 34th Division.

From March 1918 the Battalion was held in  reserve in camp at the town of Ervillers, south of Arras. On 21st March the expected German Spring Offensive began in an effort to win the war before the Americans arrived. With troops released from the Eastern Front by the surrender of Russia, the Germans attacked in overwhelming numbers accross the old Somme battlefields, inflicting heavy casualties on the Allies. The Battalion was subject to heavy artillery bombardment of high explosive and gas shells. The Battalion marched north to the town of Erquinghem-Lys arriving on 31st March, were they were again in held in reserve and subject to heavy shelling. Private Bassett was killed in the bombardment on or after 7th April, his body was never recovered.

FREDERICK CARPENTER was serving as a Private in the 6th (Service) Battalion, The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry when he was killed in action on 3rd September 1916 during the Battle of the Somme. He was aged 21 and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, having no known grave.

He was the son of John and Ruth Carpenter and was born in Middle Barton. His mother died in 1900 when he was 6 and he and his siblings spent time as inmates of the Woodstock Union Workhouse. In 1911 they were now living with their father in South Street, where Fred worked as an under carter. He enlisted into the Ox and Bucks in Oxford. His sister Ruth had married William Keen in 1915 and both men enlisted together and died on the same day in the same action.He landed with the 6th Battalion in France on 22nd July 1915, under orders of the 20th (Light) Division. 

They saw action in the Battle of Mount Sorrel, when the Germans in an attempt to divert troops away from the Somme,  captured high ground on the Ypres Salient. The Division helped retake the hill on 12th June 1916. From 15th July 1916 they were involved in The Battle of Delville Wood. This was an operation to secure the British right flank, while the centre advanced to capture the higher lying areas of High Wood and Pozières. After the Battle of Albert the offensive had evolved to the capture of fortified villages, woods, and other terrain that offered observation for artillery fire, jumping-off points for more attacks, and other tactical advantages. The mutually costly fighting at Delville Wood eventually secured the British right flankAt the beginning of September the Battalion was in reserve positions near the town of Albert when they received orders to advance and attack the village of Guillemont. Private Carpenter was killed during that attack, one of 230 killed, missing and wounded from the Battalion that day.

HORACE VAWN CASTLE was serving as a Private with the 36th Battalion, TheMachine Gun Corps (Infantry) when he was killed in action on 8th September 1918. He was aged 20 and is buried in Wulverghem-Lindenhoek Road Military Cemetery.

He was the son of Moses and Anna Castle of North Street, Middle Barton. He had enlisted into the Royal Berkshire Regiment in Oxford, before transferring to the Machine Gun Corps.

WILLIAM JOHN CLACK was serving as a Private with the Machine Gun Company (Cavalry) when he died on active service on 31st December 1917. He was aged 19 and is commemorated on the Chatby Memorial in Alexandria, Egypt, his body never being recovered for burial.

He was the son of  Samuel and Elizabeth Clack having been born and lived at Spelsbury Road, Charlbury, working as a butcher's errand boy. He was living with his parents in Wescot Barton when he enlisted into the 3rd/1st Queen's Own Oxfordshire  Hussars. He was embodied into the Machine Gun Corps and on 17th December 1917 boarded His Majesties Troopship Osmanieh at Southampton. She was carrying troops and a large party of medical staff to Alexandria, Egypt, over a thousand in all. At 103o, on Monday 31st December, as she was approaching the swept channel leading to Alexandria she struck a mine laid by German U-Boat UC 34 under the command of Horst Obermuller at the entrance to the harbour which exploded on the starboard side. She sank very quickly taking with her Lieutenant Commander D.R. Mason her captain, 2 officers, 21 crew members and 167 troops and eight nurses.

He is not on the village war memorial.

FREDERICK WILLIAM CONSTABLE was serving as a Private in the 16th (Service) Battalion , The Lancashire Fusiliers when he was killed in action on 4th November 1918 during the Second Battle of the Sambre. He was aged 26 and is buried in Landrecies British Cemetery.

He was the son of William and Elizabeth Constable, of Home Farm, Middle Barton and had worked as a farm pupil at Hill Lodge Farm in Milton under Wychwood. He had enlisted into the Royal Army Service Corps before being transferred to the Lancashires. 

As part of the 32nd Division the Battalion took part in the final advance through Picardy. One of the obstacles facing their advance was the 60 foot wide n Canal and the flooded ground around it. The XIII and IX Corps reached the canal first. German guns quickly ranged the attackers, and bodies piled up before the temporary bridges were properly emplaced under heavy fire. The 1st and 32nd Divisions of IX Corps lost around 1,150 men in the crossing, including celebrated war poet Wilfred Owen and Private Constable.

His younger brother John had died in 1917 from the effects of his wounds.

JOHN CONSTABLE was serving as a Private in the 4th (Reserve) Battalion, The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshite Light Infantry when he died as a result of his wounds on 19th February 1917 at home. He was aged 23 and is buried in Steeple Barton St Mary Churchyard Cemetery.

He was the son of William and Elizabeth Constable, of Home Farm, Middle Barton and had worked as a baker's assistant. He had enlisted into the 4th Battalion in September 1914 and arrived in France to join  the 1st/4th Battalion on 25th June 1915. The Battalion was involved in the opening action of the Somme Offensive in the Battle of Albert from 1st July 1916. They also fought at Bazentin, Pozieres and Ancre during the campaign, and at some point he suffered serious wounds and was invalided back to England.

ALBERT EDWARD HAWKINS was serving as a Private with the 17th Battalion , The Machine Gun Corps when he died of his wounds on 4th April 1918. He was aged 28 buried in St Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen.

He was the son of Stephen and Martha Hawkins, of Jacob's Yard, Middle Barton. He was enlisted into the Yorkshire Regiment in Bishops Auckland before transferring to the MGC.

As part of 24th Division the 17th MGC  were based around the town of Albert in March 1918. On 21st March the expected German Spring Offensive began in an effort to win the war before the Americans arrived. With troops released from the Eastern Front by the surrender of Russia, the Germans attacked in overwhelming numbers across the old Somme battlefields, inflicting heavy casualties on the Allies. Private Hawkins was wounded during the attack and died in hospital in Rouen.

Stephen and Martha Hawkins lost two sons in the First World War.

ERNEST JAMES HAWKINS was serving as Gunner with 108th Heavy Battery, The Royal Garrison Artillery when he died of his wounds on 19th April 1917. He was aged 39 and is buried in Duisans British Cemetery, Etrun.

He was the son of James and Harriet Hawkins of Duns Tew Road, Steeple Barton. He worked as a farm labourer and was also a part-time soldier with the Oxford Militia. On 4th December 1915 he enlisted into the Royal Garrison Artillery, joining the reserves. In Spring 1916 he married Elsie Timms in Steeple Barton, he already had two daughters with her and a third was born later that year. He was mobilized as a Gunner on 25th March 1916  and served with the 163rd Heavy Battery before being sent to France. He joined 108th Heavy Battery in the field on 3rd September 1916. They were in action during the Battle of Arras when Gunner Hawkins was wounded by a shell, suffering wounds to his left side and a fracturedh femur. He died in 8 Casualty Clearing Station in Etrun.

He was uncle to the tw0 Hawkins brothers who died in the war. His widow re-married in 1919.

GEORGE HENRY HAWKINS was serving as a Private with the 1st/13th Kensington (County of London) Battalion , The London Regiment when he died of his wounds on 17th January 1917. He was aged 29 and is buried in Merville Communal Cemetery Extension.

He was the son of Stephen and Martha Hawkins, of Jacob's Yard, Middle Barton and worked as a farm labourer. He was living in Egham when he joined the 7th Battalion, The Middesex Regiment, before transferring to the Londons. Under the command of the 56th (London) Division they saw action in phases of the 1916 Battle of the Somme. In early January the Battalion were in front line trenches near the village of Riez Bailleul. On 17th January Private Hawkins was part of a patrol sent out to no man's land to examine the German wire, in preparation for a trench raid. German artillery fire hit the communication trench they were in and he was mortally wounded, dying in a Casualty Clearing Station at Merville. 

Stephen and Martha Hawkins lost two sons in the First World War.

WILLIAM EDWARD HUMPHRIES was serving as a Private with the 8th (Service) Battalion, The Gloucestershire Regiment when he died of his wounds on 29th July 1917. He was aged 19 and is buried in Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension.

He was the son of William and Ellen Humphries of Jacobs Yard Middle Barton Steeple Aston Oxon and had worked as a farm as a boy. He enlisted into the Gloucesters in Oxford and joined the 8th Battalion on the Western Front. As part of the 19th (Western) Division they were involved in the Third Battle of Ypres from 7th June 1917, commencing with the Battle of Messines. On 23rd July the Battalion moved from their billets into the front line in the Belgium village of Oosttaverne and went to work digging communication trenches and improving defences. On 28th July at 0125 the Germans made a determined trench raid, which was repelled. Private Humphries was wounded in the attack and died the following day in a Casualty Clearing Station in Ballileul. 

WILLIAM KEEN was serving as a Private in the 6th (Service) Battalion, The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light infantry when he was killed in action on 3rd September 1916, during the Somme Offensive. He was aged 21 and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, having no known grave.

He was the son of Edward and Martha Keen of Fox Lane, Westcott Barton, and working as a garden labourer. He enlisted into the 6th Battalion after it was raised in Oxford in September 1914, one of Kitchener's new armies. On 12th January 1915 he married Ruth Carpenter, whose brother William died on the same day in the same action.

He arrived in France with the battalion on 22nd July 1915, coming under the orders of the 60th Brigade in 20th (Light) Division. heir first action was at the Battle of Mount Sorrel, 2nd-13th June 1916, where they fought along side the Canadians to recapture a hill with excellent views across the Ypres Salient. On 3rd September 1916 the Battalion were part of an attack on the village of Guillemont. They advanced from their trenches at 1200, following other Battalions, who had secured the first objective, a sunken road. The Ox & Bucks pushed through this to take the next sunken road, losing most of it's officers in the process and Private Keen. The village was eventually taken 3 days later. 

GEORGE FELIX KIRBY was serving as a Private with "B" company, the 14th (Service) Battalion, The Royal Warwickshire Regiment when he was killed in action on 23rd July 1916, during the Battle of the Somme. He was aged 21 and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, having no known grave.

He was the son of Felix and Marianne Kirby of North Road, Middle Barton and had worked as an assistant in the family grocery business.

He was living in West Bromwich when he enlisted into the 14th Battalion, one of Kitcheners new armies. He arrived in Boulogne with his Battalion on 15th November 1915 and as part of the 5th Division. In March 1916 they took over a section of front line between St Laurent Blangy and the southern edge of Vimy Ridge, in front of Arras. This was a lively time, with many trench raids, sniping and mining activities in the front lines. When the Franco-British offensive opened on the Somme on 1st July 1916, the 5th Division was enjoying a period of rest and re-fit and was in GHQ Reserve. However, this restful time was not destined to last and they moved into the Somme area. They first went into action on 14th July 1916 in the attacks on High Wood. The wood sits on ground that gave the occupier militarily vital observation south to the Montauban ridge, east to Delville Wood and north east towards Flers and Guedecourt. The British made a breakthrough on the 14th, but the Germans had recovered  and were now manning the “Switch Line” trench system which ran through the back of the wood. Both sides fought tenaciously to possess the wood. On 21st July they took up positions in trenches in the south corner of Delville Wood. On 23rd July at 0950 they launched an attack on German lines, however the preliminary bombardment was ranged incorrectly and the German defences left untouched. The advancing troops were cut down by heavy machine gun fire and were forced to withdraw back to their starting points.  The Battalion suffered heavy casualties of  40 killed, 243 wounded and 195 missing incuding Private Kirby.

FREDERICK JOHN LUING was serving as a Private in the 2nd Battalion, Princess Charlotte of Wales's (Royal Berkshire) Regiment when he was killed in action on 2nd December 1917.  He was aged 37 and is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial, having no known grave.

He was the son of William and Emma Luing of Steeple Barton, where he worked as a farm labourer. Later he moved to Oxford where he lived with a cousin, and worked as a gardener. He married Elizabeth Jarvis in Oxford in December 1913 and enlisted into the Berkshires there a couple of years later. In 1917 the battalion as part of the 8th Division had taken part in the Third Battle of Ypres, between July and November. Private Luing was killed during a trench raid on German Lines on 2nd December 1917.

JENNER STEPHEN CHANCE MARSHALL was serving as a 2nd Lieutenant with "B" Company, The 2nd Battalion, The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry when he died of his wounds on 23rd September 1914. He was aged 19 and is buried in Ypres Town Cemetery.

He was the son of Jenner and Grace Marshall who had lived at Westcott Barton Manor. He was educated at Charterhouse and the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst and was gazetted 2nd Lieutenant with the 2nd Ox and Bucks on 13th September 1913. He arrived in France with his Battalion on 13th August 1914, under the orders of the 2nd Division. On 23rd they marched to the town of Paurages where they were held in reserve in the town square during the Battle of Mons. They were then involved in a fighting retreat back to the eastern outskirts of Paris. On 31st August they crossed the River Aisne, from 5th September turned to face the Germans and in the First Battle of Marne halted their advance, and pushed them back some 50 miles. Then then went on the offensive in The Battle of the Aisne from 13th September. 

WILLIAM JAMES PARSONS was serving as a Private in the 2nd/1st Buckinghamshire Battalion of The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry when he was killed in action on 22nd August 1917 during the Third Battle of Ypres. He was aged 36 and is commemorated on the Tyne Cot memorial, having no known grave.

He was born in James and Jane Parsons having been born in London. His parents ran "The Fox Inn" in Westcott Barton. He moved back to London where he worked as a builders's labourer. He then enlisted into the 19th Hussars on 30th January 1902, for 7 in years in the colours and 5 in the reserves. He served in South Africa from 29th February 1902 until 9th February 1904. He was discharged on 8th September 1905, after buying himself out for £18. In 1911 he married Winifred Tubby in St Giles in Oxford and they lived in Waterperry, where he was working as a postman.  

At the outbreak of war he was recalled for service and joined the 2/1 Buckinghamshire Territorial Battalion. They were on home service after being mobilized in 1915, guarding 14 miles of the Essex coastline defences. They moved to Salisbury Plain in February 1916 and after further training arrived in France on 21st May 1916. On 19th July 1916 they were involved in the disastrous diversionary attack at Fromelles. Such were the casualties suffered that the 61st Division, of which they were apart, were withdrawn and undertook only trench holding duties until 1917.

In 1917 the Battalion were involved in actions on the Ancre and cautiously persued the Germans in their strategic withdrawal to the Hindenburg Line. On 18th August they were involved in the Battle of Langemarck, a phase of the Third Battle of Ypres. Private Parsons was killed in action in an attack on German positions near the Belgium village  of Frenzenberg, west of  Ypres.

WILLIAM DANIEL PROFFITT was serving as a Sapper with the 173rd Tunnelling Company, The Royal Engineers when he was on killed in action 5th July 1916. He was aged 26 and is buried in St Patrick's Cemetery, Loos.

He was the son of  William and Ellen Proffit, of Jarvis Yard, Westcot Barton having been born in Oxford, He had worked as a shepherd whilst living at the Turnpike in Middle Barton. He enlisted into the 4th (Reserve) Battalion, The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in Oxford, He was mobilized into the 10th Battalion of The Gloucestershire Regiment and arrived in France with them on 8th August 1915. He then transferred to the 173rd Tunnelling Company of The Royal Engineers.  

The tunneling units were occupied in offensive and defensive mining involving the placing and maintaining of mines under enemy lines, as well as other underground work such as the construction of deep dugouts for troop accommodation, the digging of subways, saps (a narrow trench dug to approach enemy trenches), cable trenches and underground chambers for signals and medical services. In January 1916, the 173rd Tunnelling Company moved to the Hulluch-Loos area. The unit began sinking shafts and driving galleries to counter an enemy mining initiative immediately to the south and east of Loos. From January 1916 to April 1917, 173rd Tunnelling Company waged war underground on three levels ("Main", "Deep", "Deep Deep") in the Hill 70 - Copse - Double Crassier area of Loos.

NIGEL MALCOLM STEWART RIACH was serving as a Private in the 14th (Service) Battalion of The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders when he died of his wounds on 30th September 1918. He was aged 19 and is buried in Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery.

He had been born in Barton Abbey to parents Malcolm and Marion Riach, his father was a retired Lieutenant-Colonel in 2nd Battalion, Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders, and had been awarded brevet Colonel. The family moved to Bandram House in Saline, Fife shortly after his birth. They were living in Chacombe Grrange near Bath when Nigel Riach enlisted into the A & SH in Taunton.

After the 100 days offensive the Allies launched a spearhead attack on German defences on the Hindenberg Line in the Battle of St Quentin Canal. Private Riach was wounded in this action at St Eloion 29th September 1918 and died the following day in a Casualty Clearing Station in Lijssenthoek.

JOHN EDWIN SMITH served as a Private with the 1st/4th Battalion, The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry when he died due to the effects of his wounds on 23rd July 1919. He was aged 35 and is buried in Steeple Barton St Mary's Churchyard.

He was born in Steeple Barton to parents John and Martha Smith and had worked as a roadman. He was the half brother of William Keen who died in 1916, above. He was working as a general labourer when he married Ethel Gibson in Middle Barton Methodist Church on 23rd February 1914. They lived in Westcott Barton and had a son together.

He enlisted into the Ox and Bucks Light Infantry in Oxford on 7th December 1915 and joined the reserves. He was mobilized on 8th June 1916 and sent to France to join the 1/4th in the field on 17th December 1916. After the Somme Offensive of 1916, the Germans retreated to pre-prepared defences on the Hindenberg Line from February 1917. They operated a scorched earth policy, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake. The 1/4th were one of the Battalions that cautiously pursued the Germans until halted by the outer defences of the Hindenberg Line. Private Smith was wounded in action on 19th April 1917, with gun shot wounds to the left arm and causing compound fractures to his humerus. He was evacuated home on 3rd May 1917 and was treated in hospital in Oxford. He was discharged from the Army on 18th September 1918, being no longer physically fit for war service and awarded the Silver Badge. His record stated he was of "very good character". He died at home as a result of his injuries.

CHARLES BERNARD STEVEN was serving as a Private with the 10th (Service), The Lincolnshire Regiment when he was killed in action on 12th October 1917 during the Third Battle of Ypres. He was aged 21 and is buried in Cement House Cemetery, Langemarck, Belgium.

He was the son of Robert and Mary Steven and was born in Warwick and worked as a permanent way man on the Great Western Railway. His connection to the Bartons is not clear. He joined the Royal Warwickshire Regiment in Warwick before being posted to the Lincolnshires. The Battalion was billeted in the village of Landemarck in early October 1917 and were engaged in road repairs after an attack on German lines. On 12th October a large formation of German aircraft bombed the village, One bomb fell on their camp killing Private Steven, and wounding two others.

HORACE PERCY STEWART was serving as a Private in the 6th (Service) Battalion, The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light infantry when he was killed in action on 3rd September 1916, during the Somme Offensive. He was aged 20 and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, having no known grave.

He was the son of Thomas and Lucy Stewart of Fox Lane, Westcott Barton, and working as a farm labourer. He enlisted into the 6th Battalion after it was raised in Oxford in September 1914, one of Kitchener's new armies. 

He arrived in France with the battalion on 22nd July 1915, coming under the orders of the 60th Brigade in 20th (Light) Division. heir first action was at the Battle of Mount Sorrel, 2nd-13th June 1916, where they fought along side the Canadians to recapture a hill with excellent views across the Ypres Salient. On 3rd September 1916 the Battalion were part of an attack on the village of Guillemont. They advanced from their trenches at 1200, following other Battalions, who had secured the first objective, a sunken road. The Ox & Bucks pushed through this to take the next sunken road, losing most of it's officers in the process and Private Keen. The village was eventually taken 3 days later. 

He joined up at the same time into the same battalion as Frederick Carpenter and Williiam Keen from the village, they all died on the same day in the same action.

FELIX FRANCIS GEORGE STOCKFORD was serving as a Private in the 1st Battalion, The The Queen's (Royal West Surrey Regiment) when he was killed in action on 13th April 1918. He was aged 19 and is commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial, having no known grave.

He was the son of Mark and Annie Stockford of Brook House, Westcott Barton. He enlisted into the West Surreys in Grays, Essex. On 7th April 1918 the Germans launched the second phase of their spring offensive with the objective of capturing Ypres, forcing the British forces back to the channel ports and out of the war. On 12th April Felix Stockford's Battalion were involved in the successful defence of the town of Hazebrouck, an important supply centre. He was killed in action near the village of Meteren, west of Hazebrouck.

WALTER ALLISON WOODRUFF was serving as a Private with the 1st/4th Battalion, The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry when he was killed in action on 16th August 1917, during the Third Battle of Ypres. He was aged 31 and is commemorated on Tyne Cot Memorial, having no known grave.

He was the son of William and Sarah Woodruff of Middle Barton and had worked as a farm labourer. He was living in Tipton, Staffordshire when he enlisted into the 2nd/4th Reserve Battalion of the Ox and Bucks in Oxford. Transferring to the 6th and then joining the 1/4 on the Western Front. In August 1917 the Battalion, under orders of the 48th (South Midland) Division saw action in the Battle of Langemarcke, part of the Third Ypres. He was killed in action on the first day when an attack on German postions west of Steenbeck was met by heavy machine gun fire.

SECOND WORLD WAR

WILLIAM HENRY BOFFIN was serving as Private with the Royal Army Ordanance Corps when he was killed in action between 22nd and 26th May 1940. He was aged 29 and is buried in Wormhoudt Communal Cemetery.

He was the son of Charles and Edith Boffin of Middle Barton. He was killed as the British Expeditionary Forcemade their fighting retreat towards Dunkirk.

FREDERICK JOHN SHIRLEY was serving as a Gunner with 115th Field Regiment, The Royal Artillery when he was killed in action between 28th May and 2nd June 1940. He was aged 21 and is commemorated on the Dunkirk Memorial, having no known grave.

He was the son of Frederick and Ruth Shirley of Middle Barton. He was killed as the British Expeditionary Force made their fighting retreat towards Dunkirk.