Percy Clement BARBER MM

BARBER, Percy Clement

Service Number: 1992
Enlisted: 14 September 1915, Melbourne
Last Rank: Corporal
Last Unit: 2nd Division Artillery
Born: Cudgewa, Victoria, Australia, 1888
Home Town: Fitzroy, Yarra, Victoria
Schooling: Cudgewa State School, Victoria
Occupation: Gripman
Memorials: Cudgewa War Memorial
Show Relationships

World War 1 Service

14 Sep 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 1992, Melbourne
28 Jan 1916: Involvement Private, SN 1992, 4th Light Horse Regiment
28 Jan 1916: Embarked Private, SN 1992, 4th Light Horse Regiment, HMAT Themistocles, Melbourne
11 Mar 1916: Transferred AIF WW1, Private, 2nd Divisional Ammunition Column
20 Sep 1916: Transferred AIF WW1, Gunner, 2nd Division Medium and Heavy Trench Mortar Batteries, AIF
3 May 1917: Wounded AIF WW1, Gunner, SN 1992, 2nd Division Medium and Heavy Trench Mortar Batteries, AIF, WIA - GSW right shoulder
25 Nov 1917: Promoted AIF WW1, Corporal, 2nd Division Medium and Heavy Trench Mortar Batteries, AIF
2 Mar 1918: Transferred AIF WW1, Corporal, 3rd Division Medium and Heavy Trench Mortar Batteries
5 Jul 1918: Honoured Military Medal, Recommended for actions taken previous day with the 3rd Australian Medium Trench Mortar Battery AIF at Ville-sur-Ancre, near Albert. Awarded 21-10-1918 London Gazette.
15 Feb 1919: Transferred AIF WW1, Corporal, 2nd Division Artillery, Headquarters
29 May 1919: Embarked AIF WW1, Corporal, SN 1992, 2nd Division Artillery, Headquarters. RTA per 'Rio Negro', disembarked Melbourne 18-07-1919.
13 Sep 1919: Discharged AIF WW1, Corporal, SN 1992, 2nd Division Artillery, Headquarters

Percy Barber

Percy Clement Barber was born on the 16 August, 1888, at Cudgewa, Victoria. At the time of his birth, his father, John Thomas (1846 to 1934), was 44, and his mother, Ellen Ann, nee Pearce (1854 to 1891), was 34. Percy would have six brothers and one sister. Their names were John Henry Barber (1871 to 1945), William Joseph Barber (1876 to ?), George Thomas Barber (1879 to 1957), Charles Barber (1873 to 1959), Samuel Walter Barber (1882 to ?), Alfred James Barber (1886 to 1956) and Elizabeth Anne Barber (1872 to 1952) .

On the 14 September, 1915, Percy enlisted in the AIF (Australian Imperial Forces) at Melbourne, Victoria. He was given the service number 1992 and was put on strength with the 14th Reinforcements for 4th Light Horse Regiment.

Upon enlistment, Percy was 5 foot 9 inches (175 cm) and weighed 174 lbs (79 kg). His complexion was given as fair, eyes blue and hair brown. Percy’s records show that he had distinctive marks including a vaccination mark on his left arm, a mole on his neck and three scars on his right knee. His religious denomination was given as Presbyterian. At the time, Percy was a single, 27-year-old gripman living in Nicholson Street in Fitzroy, a Melbourne suburb. His trade, a gripman, was another name for a person who drove a tram.

Percy embarked on HMAT A32 Themistocles on the 28 January, 1916, sailing from Sydney. The trip would take him across the Great Australian Bight to Fremantle, on to Colombo, in Ceylon, before finally disembarking at Suez, at the southern end of the Suez Canal, in Egypt. Percy had not long been in Egypt when he was transferred to the 2nd Division Ammunition Column based at Zeitoun, northeast of Cairo. His stay in Egypt was not to be a long one when he found himself, along with his unit, embarking on a troopship at Alexandria bound for Marseilles in the south of France and the Western Front.

Upon arriving in France he was remustered as a driver, but then on 19 September, 1916, he asked to be remustered as a gunner with the 2nd Division Trench Mortar Brigade.

It was well known that Australian troops were not renowned for their spit and polish, or their adherence to military doctrine. Clearly, Percy agreed with this as on the 13 December, 1916, he was arrested for “conduct to prejudice good order and military discipline” in that he failed to salute an officer. For this he was awarded 2 days of Field Punishment Number 2. This involved Percy being handcuffed, or kept in irons for a period of time, not exceeding two hours in any one day.

On the 3 May, 1917, Percy was wounded in action, suffering from gunshot wounds to his right shoulder. Over the next month he would be transferred to a number of different medical facilities, including the 3rd Casualty Clearing Station, the 5th Australian Field Ambulance, the 9th General Hospital and the 2nd Convalescent Depot in Rouen, France.

A week’s leave in England from the 22 to the 29 September, 1917, allowed Percy to get away from the horrors of the Western Front and enjoy some time seeing the sights of London and sleeping in a real bed. Percy would also experience one week of leave in Paris in 1918. After returning from leave in England he was promoted to Corporal.

The image below shows a medium trench mortar crew in action in a farmhouse 400 metres from the German front line on 29 May, 1918. The man loading the mortar is Percy.

On the 27 July, 1918, Percy was awarded the Military Medal. The actions by which Percy received this medal is noted in C.E.W. Bean’s Official History of the A.I.F. in France, Volume VII:

“It was noted that part of this battery (4th Medium Trench Mortar Battery) brought up rations by daylight. Despite the shelling the battery fired 170 rounds during the operation. The 3rd M.T.M. Bty., on the left flank, had bombarded the wire of the second German line north of the Bray-Corbie road during the afternoon with 112 rounds - at zero hour it fired 37 more. In the 4th Bty. Bdr C.F. Clark and Cpl. G.T. McLennan, and in the 3rd Cpls. S.A. Price and P.C. Barber were conspicuous for their work both in carrying and in action.”

On the 29 May, 1919, Percy embarked on the HMAT Rio Negro at Davenport, disembarking at Melbourne on the 22 July, 1919. He was finally discharged from the AIF on the 13 September, 1919. For his service during the war he was awarded the Military Medal, the British War Medal, and the Victory Medal.

Records indicate that Percy married Charlotte Agnes Wyatt in 1919. They would have six children during their marriage, four girls and two sons, one of who was Stanley George Barber (1924 to 1972).

Percy passed away on the 20 June, 1954, and was buried at Corryong, Victoria.

Extract from "Light Horsemen of the Upper Murray", Year 5 and 6 Project, Corryong College.

Showing 1 of 1 story