BARLIN COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION
Pas de Calais
General Directions: Barlin is a village about 11 kilometres south-west of Bethune on the D188, between the Bethune-Arras and Bethune-St. Pol roads, about 6.5 kilometres south-east of Bruay. The Communal Cemetery and Extension lie to the north of the village on the D171 road to Houchin.
The extension was begun by French troops in October 1914 and when they moved south in March 1916 to be replaced by Commonwealth forces, it was used for burials by the 6th Casualty Clearing Station. In November 1917, Barlin began to be shelled and the hospital was moved back to Ruitz, but the extension was used again in March and April 1918 during the German advance on this front. The extension contains 1,095 Commonwealth burials of the First World War, 2 being unidentified. There are 63 French and 13 German burials including 2 unidentified.
Victoria Cross 8916 Private John Cunningham. VC, 2nd Bn. Leinster Regiment, 16/04/1917, aged 29. Plot I. A. 39., Son of Johanna and the late Joseph Cunningham, of Stradavoher St., Thurles, Co. Tipperary. The second son lost to a widowed mother in the war.
Citation: An extract taken from The London Gazette, dated 8th June, 1917 records the following: "For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty when in command of a Lewis Gun section on the most exposed flank of the attack. His section came under heavy enfilade fire and suffered severly. Although wounded he succeeded almost alone in reaching his objective with his gun, which he got into action in spite of much oppositon. When counter-attacked by a party of twenty of the enermy he exhausted his ammuntion against them, then, standing in full view, he commenced throwing bombs. He was wounded again, and fell, but picked himself up and continued to fight single-handed with the enemy until his bombs were exhausted. He then made his way back to our lines with a fractured arm and other wounds. There is little doubt that the superb courage of this N.C.O. cleared up a most critical situation on the left flank of the attack. Corporal Cunningham died in hospital from the effects of his wounds."
Shot at Dawn: Company Quartermaster Sergeant W. Alexander, 10th Bn. Canadian Expeditionary Force, executed for desertion on 18/10/1917, plot 2. D. 43.
The mass pardon of 306 British Empire soldiers executed for certain offences during the Great War was enacted in section 359 of the Armed Forces Act 2006, which came into effect on royal assent on 8 November 2006.
Casualty Details: UK 410, Canada 679, South Africa 5, Germany 13, France 63, Total Burials: 1170
25269 Battery Serjeant Major
George Henry Archer
147th Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery
07/07/1917, aged 30.
Son of Mr. and Mrs. Archer, of Kent; husband of Mrs. E. B. Archer, of 23, Fredrick St., Neyland, Pembrokeshire.
Plot II. C. 11.
We mourn his loss from two of his Great Nieces Lynda and Yvonne
Picture courtesy of Lynda Thorne
Thomas Walter Henry Field
137th Heavy Battery,
Royal Garrison Artillery
19/09/1917, aged 25.
Son of Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Ernest Field, of Plymouth; husband of Stephanie Grace Field, of "Cricketers Cottage," Littlewick Green, nr. Maidenhead, Berks.
Plot II. D. 19.
Thomas died when his oldest son Cecil Thomas Field (my father) was just 2 years old, and before his second son Thomas Walter Douglas Field was born, so his family never knew him.
Picture courtesy of grandaughter Jill Wilby (nee Field)
Tyneside Z/3461 Able Seaman
Robert Gray Mackie
Hawke Bn. R. N. Div.
Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve
21/06/1916, aged 20.
Son of Alexander and Euphemia Mackie, of South Shields, Co. Durham.
Plot I. J. 11.
Picture courtesy of Doris Moffet Sayer nee Clark great niece of Robert Gray Mackie