Private 14/855 Joseph Frederick Barratt

 Barratt Joseph F 96 439x600

Killed in Action on Sunday, 23rd July 1916, age 28.
Buried in Grave X. D. II. at Caterpillar Valley Cemetery, Longueval, Somme, France.

'D' Company of 14th Bn., Royal Warwickshire Regiment. 13th Brigade of 5th Division.

Son of Hannah Drayton (formerly Barratt), of 11, Church Lane, Tipton, Staffs., and the late Joseph Barratt.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Birmingham, Resident: Tipton.

First landed France & Flanders, 21st November 1915.
Medal entitlement: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the Tipton Library Memorial.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/552587/

Genealogical Data

Birth of Joseph Frederick Barratt registered September quarter 1888 in Dudley.

1901 Census
11 Church Lane, Tipton, Staffs. (next to White Horse Tavern)
Joseph Barratt (48, Foundry Labourer, born Tipton), his wife Hannah (40, born Sedgley), and their 4 children: John William (17, Pattern Maker, born Tipton), Joseph Frederick (12, born Tipton), Ann May (10, born Tipton), and Lily (8, born Tipton).

1911 Census
11 Church Lane, Tipton, Staffs. (next to White Horse Tavern)
Robert Thomas Drayton (54, Ganger, born Maesbury, Salop) , his wife Hannah (50, born Sedgley), and Hannah's son from her first marriage: Joseph Frederick (22, Primary School Teacher, born Tipton).
(Joseph's father Joseph Barratt snr. died in June qtr 1905, and Hannah Barratt married Robert Drayton in March quarter 1907, Dudley)

Personal Data

Joseph Frederick Barratt is incorrectly commemorated on the Tipton Library Memorial as JJ Barratt. The 'Staffordshire Roll of Honour' had the name written as JF Barrott; the signwriter corrected the surname, but got the initials wrong!.

Action resulting in his death

The capture of the Bazentin Ridge on 14th July 1916 had not been fully exploited on the day and High Wood, although undefended for a time, had not been taken. This was to cost the 14th Royal Warwicks dearly. The Germans had fallen back to their newly-dug Switch Line which touched the northern edge of High Wood and it was the Switch Line that was targeted as the next phase of the assault.

On the 20th July, High Wood, Delville Wood and the high ground between were to be attacked. Units of the 7th Division advanced beyond Black Road (today's Longueval to Martinpuich road) and as they crested the rise towards Green Lane, they were cut down. They were forced to retire to Black Lane and it was here that the 14th Warwicks took over from them on the evening of 20th July.

On the 22nd/23rd July the assault on the Switch Line was to be made again. Between Black Road and the Switch Line lay Green Lane, occupied by German troops. This was the intermediate objective to be taken by the 14th Royal Warwicks, then the 2nd King's Own Scottish Borderers would carry on to the final objective.

The artillery barrage on Green Lane commenced at 8pm but had not been pre-registered and failed to find the target. The Warwicks rose to the attack at 10pm against unsuppressed opposition and were slaughtered. A few may have got into Green Lane, but if so they were never heard from again.

German machine guns from the east corner of High Wood, and the eastern end of Green Lane caught the Warwicks in enfilade. Additionally the German artillery bombarded the area between Black Road and Green Lane. All the survivors could do was to fall back to their start point in Black Road, and consolidate against a possible German counter-attack. The 14th Royal Warwicks suffered 485 casualties during the attack, of whom 194 were killed.

Frederick Barratt's body was not recovered, but was found during battlefield clearance in 1920. His remains were found about half way between the start point and Green Lane. He was re-interred in Caterpillar Valley cemetery within sight of the place he fell.

Newspaper Cuttings

Tipton Herald 5th September 1914
JF Barratt listed with those joining the Birmingham non-manual Battalion.

Tipton Herald 19th August 1916
J Barratt kia 22 - 23 ult. Private Joseph Frederick Barratt, Royal Warwicks (1st Birmingham Battalion). Dearly loved son of Mrs Drayton, 11 Church Lane Tipton.