Quorn WW1 Roll of Honour - Charles Ernest Barrett
Died 9th March 1917, aged 21
Marrying a Quorn girl
Charles Ernest Barrett was a grocer and the son of Sarah and Charles Barrett from Loughborough. His father had died when he was only three years old and his mother struggled to bring up their five young children on her own. On 9th March 1916, in St Bartholomew’s Church, Quorn, Charles married Alice Vivian Willday who lived at (what is now) 44 Leicester Road in Quorn. Charles was 20 and Alice was 22.
By this time, Charles had already enlisted with the Leicestershire Regiment (2nd Battalion) in June 1915, so he was not around when their baby daughter Gladys was born at home in Quorn, at the end of September 1916.
Three months after the marriage Charles had arrived in Basra, Mesopotamia. It is almost certain that he never saw Gladys at all, as his unit stayed in this area for many months. Charles was killed in action on 9th March 1917 as his battalion were advancing towards Bagdad. This was his first wedding anniversary. Charles’ name neither appears on the Quorn War Memorial or in the book of remembrance in the Church. Perhaps his link with Quorn was not considered strong enough, but he has been included in this book as his death was reported in Quorn Parish Magazine in May 1917. He is however commemorated on the Carillon War Memorial in Loughborough and the Basra Memorial in Iraq. Charles’ death was a double blow for his mother Sarah, as her eldest son, Walter had been killed just six months previously.
Alice must have been devastated at the loss of her young husband, but this was not the only heartache she had to bear. With medicine not being the science it is today, and the war continuing, Alice had to face one loss after another. Her 21 year old sister Sisey had died in 1912, her 29 year old brother Horace would die just a year after Charles in March 1918 and her eldest brother John, 10 months later in January 1919, from wounds he also received in Mesopotamia.
A year after Charles died, Alice placed an ‘In Memoriam’ notice in the Loughborough Echo:
“BARRETT – In loving memory of Pte Charles Ernest Barrett, who was killed in action March 9th, 1917, in the Persian Gulf.
Twelve months have passed since that sad day,
When one I loved was called away,
God took him home, it was His will,
But in my heart I love him still.
From his loving wife and child”
After the war
Sadly Alice’s suffering was not over; in Mar 1922, their daughter Gladys died aged 5˝. She is buried in Quorn Churchyard in an unmarked grave.
Alice lived with her parents until the late summer of 1927 when they both died within two months of each other. By this time Alice was engaged to William Henry Preston from Loughborough, the banns had been read and the wedding went ahead two weeks after her father’s burial. The couple continued to live at 44 Leicester Road, before moving in the 1930s to 25 School Lane. They lived in Quorn until after the Second World War, when they moved to Loughborough. They didn’t have any children and Alice died in 1972 aged 78.
Below - A newspaper photograph of Charles Barrett