BARRETT, Robert Lee
DIVISIONAL UNIT: 1st Canadian Infantry Division
2nd Infantry Brigade
8th Battalion - 90th Rifles (Royal Winnipeg Rifles)
Canadian Infantry Corps
SERVICE NO: 425645
RESIDENCE: Manitou – Manitoba.
DATE OF BIRTH: December 6, 1894
Blyth – Morris Township – County of Huron - Ontario
DATE OF DEATH: September 26, 1916 21 years – 9 months
CEMETERY: Courcelette British Cemetery – Courcelette –
Somme – France
XII A 7
PARENT: Mr. John Barrett – Rocanville - Saskatchewan
PARENT: Mrs. Grace Barrett – Blyth - Ontario
Occupation: Baker Religion: Presbyterian
Enlistment: Manitou – Manitoba – September 25, 1915
Enlistment Age: 20 years 10 months
Private Barrett arrived in England on the S.S. Lapland on March 25, 1916.
Private Barrett on June 18, 1916 transferred to the 8th Battalion and joined them in the field on June 29, 1916.
On September 26th, the 1st Canadian Division advanced onto the threnches in the valley in front of them. The objectives were Zollern Graben, Hessian Trench and were part of the enemy defences on the Thiepval Ridge.The Canadians took Zollern Graben and pushed their advance 600 yards north where Hessian Trench was. It took until the next day to fully have control of Hessian Trench. When the Canadians finally did have control of the trenches, the artillery barrages had left nothing more than shallow hollows which would be of no cover for the 1st Division.
On this day, the weather was clear and warm. At 12:35 pm the the intense artillery bombardment began falling on the enemy and the three attacking waves followed it in. Gradually the artillery lengthened out past the Zollern Trench. All waves reached their first objectives except “B” Company as their left flank was exposed to enemy fire. Artillery support was called for and received and they advanced and reached their objective.
In the advance to the second objective “B” Company needed assistance from 2 Platoons from the 10th Battalion. They were able to achieve their second objective which was Zollern Trench. They were ordered to garrison their position as this was the front for the night. There had been no further reports from “B” Company and no reports at all from “A” Company. This was the left of the front and this is where all the casualties were taking place. Then there was a report that “A & B” Companies had reached their final objective but had to retire to their second objective which was the Hessern Trench. The 11th British Battalion on their right were having a very difficult time of it advancing and as a result were behind. They could not advance past their first objective.
As a result of this the enemy had the high ground near Stuff Redoubt and used their machine-guns effectively causing sever casualties onto “A & B” Companies.
At 5 pm C” & D” Companies on the right of the front reached their final objectives which wass Regina Trench and they occupied it and set up trench blocks. The Battalion was able to capture a number of intact enemy machine guns and ammunition and they turned them around and used them on the enemy.
During the day casualties numbered 160 men killed, wounded, missing or captured.
It was during this advance when Private Barrett was killed in action performing his duties in the line.