Albert John Barson, maternal relative: Passchendaele September 1917

Albert was born in the Islington workhouse, St Marys, Islington, Middlesex during July 1883.

Albert John was Killed in action during the Battle of Passchendaele on 27th September 1917. His regiment was part of the 46th Division supporting the Canadians attacking Hill 70 at Lens, France. His passing is recorded on the Tyne Cot Memorial to the Missing, which forms the north-eastern boundary of Tyne Cot Cemetery, which is north east of Ypres town centre.

Albert John was related to me as the husband of a first cousin of the wife of an uncle of wife of a first cousin twice removed. The actual lineage is as follows:

  • Albert John Barson (1883 - 1917) - husband of 1st cousin of wife of uncle of wife of 1st cousin 2x removed
  • Emily Mary Maud Williamson (1881 - 1957) -wife of Pvt Albert John Barson
  • Thomas Williamson (1863 - 1923) - father of Emily Mary Maud Williamson
  • Samuel Williamson (1817 - 1866) - father of Thomas Williamson
  • Edward Williamson (1840 - 1919) - son of Samuel Williamson
  • Emma Rose Williamson (1883 - 1961) - daughter of Edward Williamson
  • James Bierton (1879 - 1949) - husband of Emma Rose Williamson
  • Ellen Owen (1855 - 1928) - mother of James Bierton
  • Albert Bierton (1867 - ) - son of Ellen Owen
  • Laura Bierton (1888 - ) - daughter of Albert Bierton
  • Ernest William Sheward (1885 - 1918) - husband of Laura Bierton
  • William Sheward (1859 - 1906) - father of Ernest William Sheward
  • Richard Sheward (1817 - 1870) - father of William Sheward
  • Herbert Sheward (1843 - 1906) - son of Richard Sheward - my maternal great grandfather
  • Mary Louisa Sheward (1880 - 1967) - daughter of Herbert Sheward - my maternal grandmother
  • Alice May Priday (1917 - 2009) - daughter of Mary Louisa Sheward - my mother
  • William G Hyde - me

His Family

Albert John Barson's father was Joseph a carpenter according to Albert's marriage certificate. Albert's mother is not recorded.
Albert married Emily Mary Maud Williamson (1881 - 1957) at St John, Upper Holloway, London on 30 March 1907. Albert was a Vulcanite Polisher (vulcanite was a hard, polished vulcanized rubber used for combs, buttons, and electrical insulation).
Albert & Emily set up home at 4 Dagmar Terrace, Islington, London and in 1910 their only son, Albert Williamson Barson, was born.
When Albert enlisted in the Army his address was shown to be 12 Barttledean Rd, Highbury, Middlesex and his occupation was listed as Engineer.
Emily remarried at the end of WW1 and became Mrs George Simmonds.

His Regiment

Albert John enlisted in the 2nd/7th Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regiment) duriung March 1915 when that Regiment was based at Braintree, Essex. He was a private with Service number 72129. He was 31 when he enlisted.
The 2/7th (Robin Hood) Battalion was a Territorial Force and were originally formed at Nottingham as part of the Notts & Derby Brigade of the North Midland Division. They moved initially to Harpenden and then to Braintree where they maintained a depot for new recruits.
The Regiment was mobilised for war on 25 february 1915 and landed in France that same year.

On 12 May 1915 the North Midland Division formation became the 46th Division which engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
1915 - The German liquid fire attack at Hooge, The attack at the Hohenzollern Redoubt.
1916 - The diversionary attack at Gommecourt.
1917 - Operations on the Ancre, Occupation of the Gommecourt defences, The attack on Rettemoy Graben, The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, The attack on Lievin, The Battle of Hill 70.

On 31 January 1918 there was yet another reshuffle and the 2/7th Battalion become the 7th Battalion and transferred to the 178th Brigade of the 59th Division and they took part in the following actions during the early part of 1918 - The Battle of Bapaume, The Battle of Bailleul, The First Battle of Kemmel Ridge.

On 07 May 1918 the 7th Battalion was reduced to cadre (i.e. their numbers had been so devasted by the various actions that there was just a small group left to train up replacements).
On the 29th May 1918 the reformatted Battalion was transferred to the 30th Division.

On the 19th June 1918 they were transferred to the  66th Division.

On 15th August 1918 they were transferred to the 116th Brigade of the 39th Division and ended the war near Etaples.

Albert John Barson was Killed in action on 27 September 1917 during an action known as Hill 70, the attacks to support the Canadians who were attacing Lens, France in an action that started in mid August 1917.


Albert John Barson is on the recorded on theSherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regiment) panels on the Tyne Cot Memorial to the Missing.

The Tyne Cot Memorial to the Missing forms the north-eastern boundary of Tyne Cot Cemetery, which is located to the north east of the Belgium town of Ypres.

The names of those from United Kingdom units are inscribed on Panels arranged by Regiment under their respective Ranks.

The names of those from New Zealand units are inscribed on panels within the New Zealand Memorial Apse located at the centre of the Memorial.

Historical Information

The Tyne Cot Memorial is one of four memorials to the missing in Belgian Flanders which cover the area known as the Ypres Salient. Broadly speaking, the Salient stretched from Langemarck in the north to the northern edge in Ploegsteert Wood in the south, but it varied in area and shape throughout the war.

The Salient was formed during the First Battle of Ypres in October and November 1914, when a small British Expeditionary Force succeeded in securing the town before the onset of winter, pushing the German forces back to the Passchendaele Ridge. The Second Battle of Ypres began in April 1915 when the Germans released poison gas into the Allied lines north of Ypres. This was the first time gas had been used by either side and the violence of the attack forced an Allied withdrawal and a shortening of the line of defence.

There was little more significant activity on this front until 1917, when in the Third Battle of Ypres an offensive was mounted by Commonwealth forces to divert German attention from a weakened French front further south. The initial attempt in June to dislodge the Germans from the Messines Ridge was a complete success, but the main assault north-eastward, which began at the end of July, quickly became a dogged struggle against determined opposition and the rapidly deteriorating weather. The campaign finally came to a close in November with the capture of Passchendaele.

The German offensive of March 1918 met with some initial success, but was eventually checked and repulsed in a combined effort by the Allies in September.

The battles of the Ypres Salient claimed many lives on both sides and it quickly became clear that the commemoration of members of the Commonwealth forces with no known grave would have to be divided between several different sites.

The site of the Menin Gate was chosen because of the hundreds of thousands of men who passed through it on their way to the battlefields. It commemorates those of all Commonwealth nations, except New Zealand, who died in the Salient, in the case of United Kingdom casualties before 16 August 1917 (with some exceptions). Those United Kingdom and New Zealand servicemen who died after that date are named on the memorial at Tyne Cot, a site which marks the furthest point reached by Commonwealth forces in Belgium until nearly the end of the war. Other New Zealand casualties are commemorated on memorials at Buttes New British Cemetery and Messines Ridge British Cemetery.

The TYNE COT MEMORIAL now bears the names of almost 35,000 officers and men whose graves are not known. The memorial, designed by Sir Herbert Baker with sculpture by Joseph Armitage and F.V. Blundstone, was unveiled by Sir Gilbert Dyett on 20 June 1927.

The memorial forms the north-eastern boundary of TYNE COT CEMETERY, which was established around a captured German blockhouse or pill-box used as an advanced dressing station. The original battlefield cemetery of 343 graves was greatly enlarged after the Armistice when remains were brought in from the battlefields of Passchendaele and Langemarck, and from a few small burial grounds. It is now the largest Commonwealth war cemetery in the world in terms of burials. At the suggestion of King George V, who visited the cemetery in 1922, the Cross of Sacrifice was placed on the original large pill-box. There are three other pill-boxes in the cemetery.

There are now 11,956 Commonwealth servicemen of the First World War buried or commemorated in Tyne Cot Cemetery, 8,369 of these are unidentified.

The cemetery was designed by Sir Herbert Baker.