Poperinghe Old

Officers, N.C.O.s and Men of the 1st Battalion, Buried in Poperinghe Old Military Cemetery.

PictureThis cemetery contains a total of 451 Commonwealth burials (403 from the UK and 48 from Canada) + 2 from Germany. Of the Commonwealth burials 32 are “Known Unto God“.

The Cemetery contains 2 named soldiers of the Cheshire Regiment who both died of wounds.                      (Photo right: WW1 Cemeteries.com)

The town of Poperinge was in the hands of the British for most of the war. Although it was fairly close to Ypres, it was just out of range of almost all enemy guns. It became a base for Casualty Clearing Stations and it was there that these two men died, probably of wounds received during the First Battle of Ypres.

Click the links below to learn more about the 2 named soldiers of the 1st Battalion, Cheshire Regiment, buried here.


Private 9638 Herbert BARNES (A.R.?) – Company n/k

Grave: I.M.22.    Died of wounds: 16 or 18 November 1914      Age: 34

Personal: Herbert was born at 46 Cathcart Street, Birkenhead, Cheshire, in June 1879 (baptised on 15th at St. Paul’s, Birkenhead). He was the son of Robert (Marine Engineer) and Alice (née Finley) Barnes and had three older siblings, Alice, Edward William Joseph and Ernest (see Footnote below), and two younger sister, Maud and Margery Annie. (1881 Census RG 11/3579)

By 1891 (Census RG 12/2882) the family had moved to 129 Vittoria Street, Birkenhead, and the 1901 Census (RG 13/3389) shows Herbert living with his parents and younger sister, Maud, at 12 Lord Street, Birkenhead, and working – like his father – as a “Marine Engineer“.

By 1911 (Census RG 14/21966) Herbert had left home and his parents and Maud had moved again to 149 Bridge Street, Birkenhead. [N.B. That Census shows that Robert and Alice had been 41 years and had had a total of 16 children, only 5 had survived until then. Alice died later in the year, aged 62.)

On 13th September 1913 at St George the Martyr Church, Abbey Hey, Lancashire, Herbert married Cabella Phythian. They had a son, Edward, born in the June quarter 1913. [N.B. Cabella’s father’s name was recorded on the Marriage Certificate as Thomas Wootton (deceased). Another boy, Robert H. Barnes, was born in the June quarter 1914 with mother’s maiden name ‘Wootton‘.)

The ‘Register of Soldiers’ Effects‘ shows a “Debit Balance“, so nothing of his belongings were returned, despite Herbert making a “Will in favour of Mo(ther)”.

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Military Service: Currently Herbert’s Army records are unavailable, destroyed in Second World War bombing; all that is known is that Herbert enlisted at Chester.

His Medal Index Card is also unavailable and he does not appear on the list of the original 1st Battalion who arrived in France on 16th August so he had probably arrived with one of the contingents of reinforcements in September and October.

The Battalion took up its position in the trenches at Ypres on 4th November 1914 and between then and moving into reserve dugouts on the 20th they had 35 killed and 99 wounded.

It is most likely that Herbert was one of them and died at No 4 Clearing Hospital, in operation in Poperinghe from 31st October to 1st December 1914.

Herbert’s brother, Pte. 60987 Ernest Barnes, died of wounds on 5th September 1918, serving with the 23rd Battalion, Cheshire Regiment.

Larger memorial image loading...Larger memorial image loading...He had formerly served as Pte. 48698, Lancashire Fusiliers and was the husband of Bertha Barnes, of West End Council School House, Moss Street, Ashton-under-Lyne. He is buried in Grave I.A.7., Le Grand Beaumart British Cemetery, Steenwerck


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Private 7628 Luke HOPWOOD (A.R.) – ‘C’ Company

Grave: I.M.35.    Died of wounds: 24 November 1914      Age: 26

Personal: Luke was born in St Mary’s Parish, Stockport, Cheshire, in the March quarter 1888, the youngest child of John Thomas and Mary Jane (née Jones) Hopwood. In 1891 (Census RG 12/3316) he was living with his paternal grandparents, Luke and Elizabeth Hopwood, at 569 Middle Street, Chadderton, Lancashire. Luke’s mother, Mary, died at about the same time Luke was born.

Luke had three older sisters, Bertha, Annie and Clara and in 1901 the family were living at 64 Swan Street, Stockport, Cheshire. (1901 Census: RG 13/3298) Living with them is Minnie (née Hewitt) who father, John Thomas, married in the March quarter 1903. Thirteen year old Luke was employed as a “Cotton Operative“.

At the time of his enlistment in 1904 Luke was employed as a labourer in the Cotton Industry, he was 5′ 7” tall (1.70 m.), weighed 140 lbs. (10 st. 0 lbs.) had a ‘fresh‘ complexion, grey eyes and light brown hair. His religion was stated as Church of England.

On 26th March 1910 he married Eliza Howes at Portwood, Cheshire. In 1911 (Census RG 14/21350) Luke and Eliza were living at 14 Ducie Street, Chestergate, Stockport, and Luke was working in a Cotton Mill as a ‘Packer‘. They had two children, Annie (born 20th August 1911 and Alice Mary (born 27th July 1913).

With effect from 28th June 1915 Eliza received a pension of 18s. 6d (£0.925 – equivalent to about £125 per week today – 2023) for herself and the 2 children. In March 1915 Eliza had had Luke’s total effects returned to her, amounting to £4 16s 11d (£4.85 – about £650 today) and a further £5 (£315) War Gratuity followed in March 1921.

In the December quarter 1924 Eliza remarried John Swindells and they lived at 51 Borron Street, Portwood, Stockport. The 1939 Register shows them living at 98 Ladysmith Street, Stockport.

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Military Service: Luke enlisted at Stockport, Cheshire, aged 18 years 0 months, on 12th July 1904, after initially being in the 4th Battalion. His terms of service were 3 + 9 (i.e. 3 years active service + 9 years reserve), and was transferred to the Army Reserve list on 10th July 1907.

He was originally posted to the 2nd Battalion at Aldershot on 19th August 1904 and then transferred to the 1st Battalion at Lichfield on 22nd September 1904. On 15th May 1906 he was transferred again to Fleetwood. Between 26th August and 24th September 1906 he was in hospital at Fleetwood being treated for gonorrhoea.

His time in the service was not without its problems. On 20th October 1904 he broke out of barracks and was found drunk and disorderly and using abusive language, for which he received 10 days CB (confined to barracks). He broke out again on 12th August 1905 and on 24th June 1906 he was found to be “Drunk in a company hut” and ‘admonished‘.

Two months later, on 16th August he was absent from drill and received 14 days and again on 2nd March 1907 he broke out of barracks and was absent for 7 hours, receiving 8 days CB. On 4th March 1907, in the company of ‘Richard Clare‘, he was convicted of stealing a currant loaf to the value of 2½ d. from the Co-op Society Ltd. He was fined 15/- (£0.75) and sentenced to 15 days hard labour.

As a Reservist he was recalled to the 1st Battalion at the outbreak of War and his Medal Card shows he entered France 16th August 1914. During the Battle of Audregnies on 24th August his Company fought on the right of the line, under Captain W.E.L.R. Dugmore. (left)

In October 1914 he would also have been in action at Violaines and La Bassée.

Luke died from wounds received in action on 24th November 1914 at No. 4 Clearing Hospital, Poperinghe. (List No. 8111) and was buried in the Old Cemetery there. His Service Papers record the cause of death as “G.S.W. Head” (i.e. Gun shot wound to the head.)

The Battalion took up its position in the trenches at Ypres on 4th November 1914 and between then and moving into reserve dugouts on the 20th they had 35 killed and 99 wounded. It is most likely that Luke was one of them. In total he had spent 10 years 122 days with the Colours, the last 100 days in France.

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