William Pollock Barker (1919-1940)

An ongoing project to commemorate and research the lives of those who appear on war memorials and rolls of honour in the local area, who served in the military, or whose deaths were linked to conflict.
William Pollock Barker (1919-1940).jpg


William Pollock Barker was born on 14 March 1919 at Longwood, the son of son of Edith Barker.

His mother married Harold Chadwick on 22 May 1920 at St. Mark, Longwood.

At the time of the 1921 Census, the family was residing at 2 Greenhill Road, Longwood. By 1939, they had moved to 156 Leymoor Road, Longwood, and William was working as a cloth finisher at Parkwood Mills. Previously he had worked at Acre Mills in Lindley.

He attended Longwood Methodist Church.

He served in the Hallamshire Battalion of the York & Lancaster Regiment and took part in the failed Namsos Campaign of April to May 1940 in Norway.[1] During the subsequent evacuation, Barker died on 3 May 1940 when the HMS Afridi was was hit by German dive bombers.[2][3]


Huddersfield Examiner (11/May/1940):


Prominent Young Longwood Methodist

A prominent member of the Longwood Methodist Church, Private William P. Barker, of 156 Leymoor Road, Golcar, is among those who lost their lives when the destroyer H.M.S. Afridi sank off Norway while escorting troopships on Friday. Official news that he had been killed in action was received at his home on Monday night.

Private Barker, who was twenty-one in March, was called up for military service last October. Before joining the Army he was working as a finisher at Parkwood Mills, Longwood, where he had been employed for about three years. Previously he was with Messrs. Joseph Sykes Bros., Acre Mills, Lindley, where he had gone on leaving school.

He was a native of Longwood and was educated at Goitfield School. He had taken an active part in the affairs of Longwood Methodist Church, of which he was a member, was secretary of the primary department of the Sunday School, and a member of the Young Men’s Bible Class. He was a member also of the Methodist Tennis Club.

“He was a fine young fellow — one of the best,” commented the Rev. A. E. Riley, minister of Longwood Methodist Church, to an “Examiner” reporter. “Everyone liked him, and I cannot speak too highly about him.”

It was at Easter that Barker was last home on leave, and then, according to his mother, he was in good spirits. In letters which reached his home on Thursday and Friday of last week he said he was well.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission



Notes and References

  1. Wikipedia: Namsos campaign.
  2. Wikipedia: HMS Afridi (F07).
  3. A report of Lindley engineer George Swift's experiences of the Namsos evacuation can be found in the Huddersfield Examiner (11/May/1940).