Vere Walter Thomas BARLOW

BARLOW, Vere Walter Thomas

Service Number: 5036
Enlisted: 17 November 1915, Enlisted in Adelaide.
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 10th Infantry Battalion
Born: Koolunga, South Australia, 20 June 1891
Home Town: Adelaide, South Australia
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Painter
Died: Wiltshire, England, June 1927, cause of death not yet discovered
Cemetery: Not yet discovered
Show Relationships

World War 1 Service

17 Nov 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, SN 5036, Enlisted in Adelaide.
25 Mar 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 5036, 10th Infantry Battalion
25 Mar 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 5036, 10th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Shropshire, Adelaide
30 Sep 1919: Discharged AIF WW1, Private, SN 5036, Discharged for being physically unfit (blind in right eye)

Help us honour Vere Walter Thomas Barlow's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Glenunga International High School

World War 1 was, up to when it occurred, the bloodiest conflict in human history. Beginning in 1914, the war resulted from a rapid boost in military power across the continent, and the inevitable tensions caused by this. The war killed 17 million people and wounded another 20 million people. 60 000 of those killed were Australians, roughly 14 percent of the 416, 809 who enlisted. Those who signed up were motivated by a variety of different factors, from simple pride through to the supposed moral imperative to defend King and Country.  Leaving on the promise that this conflict would be over fairly quickly and with only the most minimal bloodshed, these men and women eagerly put their names down to be sent off overseas into the horror of war.

One of these many people was Vere Walter Thomas Barlow. Not a great deal is known of his early life. He was born in Koolunga on July the 20th 1891 (Rootsweb, 2017), to father Charles Barlow and mother Mildred Chapman (Rootsweb, 2017). He had several siblings, those known being Leslie, Victor, and Royden, a police constable in later life. He found work as a painter before the War. His brother Leslie enlisted for the War in 1914 and served at Gallipoli, and survived. He returned home in 1917 after an ankle injury he acquired on duty forced him to retire from army service (NAA, B2455).

Barlow was 24 when he enlisted in the army on November the 17th 1915 in Adelaide, South Australia (NAA, B2455). He was given a clean bill of health, and served at the Second and First Depot, before proceeding overseas to France through the camp at Parham Downs on the 15th of August 1916. On the 25th of that same month, he joined up with the Tenth Battalion in France. Here he served briefly, before being discharged to hospital on October the 26th 1916, where it was discovered that he was blind in his right eye (NAA, B2455).

The official from the hospital attributed this to long before the war, claiming it was macula disease. However, this opinion was not shared by the medical board. They placed the blame for the condition on an event in the War, though did not specify what exactly that event was. It is difficult to know who was truly right. It could be theorized that the doctor who diagnosed the condition as being acquired prior to the war was trying to avoid paying Barlow a pension that would ensue if it had resulted from the war. Whoever was actually right in this apparent disagreement, they both agreed that Barlow was no longer fit for active service, but was still in a condition that would allow him to serve in the Home Guard in England. (NAA, B2455)

And serve he did, from when he was diagnosed through to the 30th of September 1919, when he was discharged for good. During this time, on the 10th of March 1919 he married Phoebe Maria nee. Griffith, in England. He was living in Sutton Veny, and she in Wiltshire. It can be presumed that Vere moved in with his wife, as it seems that Wiltshire was where he remained for the rest of his life after the war. All that is really known about the rest of his life is that he died in 1927, sometime between May and June, at the age of 35. The cause of his demise remains unknown, as does his final resting place.  What became of his widow is also a mystery.