Edward Barber, V.C., of Tring


Announcements of The award of his V.C.

Edited from British Newspaper Archive

 Bucks Herald, 24th April, 1915




1st Grenadier Guards, awarded the V.C. for bravery at Neuve Chapelle. He ran in front of a grenade company and threw bombs with such effect that numbers of the Germans at once surrendered. When the company came up Barber was found quite alone, with the enemy surrendering all round him. He is only 22 years of age.

The announcement we were able to make last week that Private Edward Barber, of the Grenadier Guards, had been awarded the V.C. for conspicuous bravery at Neuve Chapelle was confirmed in Monday's "London Gazette.”

Edward Barber and his family are well known in the town, and the greatest interest was manifested when it was announced that a Tring man had won the highest military honour that the King has the power to bestow, many being the stones recalled by his former friends and schoolmates of Ted Barber’s sayings and doings. Mr. and Mrs. Barber have three other sons serving with the colours — Alfred Barber, R.A.M.C; William C. Barber, 1st Herts (Territorials); and Ernest Barber, 2nd Herts (Territorials). The two first-named have been at the front for some weeks.

Some interesting details of Private Barber's career are given in an interview with his parents, published in Wednesday’s Daily Express:

All Hertfordshire is proud of its new V.C., Private Edward Barber, of the 1st Grenadier Guards, who is a Tring man. I found his parents living in a modest cottage in Miswell-lane, with clumps of spring primroses blooming gaily in the little front yard.

Barber’s father is employed in the local gas works, and the V.C. himself was a bricklayer's labourer before he joined the Army at the ago of 18. Curiously enough, both the father and mother are short of stature, while Private Barber is a giant of 6ft. 2½ins.

“Although are all very proud of ‘Ted,’ said his mother, “ I think none of us is a bit surprised that gained the Victoria Cross. Even as boy Ted never feared anything or anyone, and would go through with a thing he had decided on, whatever the opposition. He was a rare fighter with his fists, too, and woe betide the boy, whatever his size or age, who offended him or any of his friends in his presence. I do not say that he was not full of mischief, but in school and out of it he was sometimes blamed for things he did not do. He had his schooling at the Church School here, and did quite well.’’

Mrs. Barber pointed to stack of bright-coloured boys' prize books which decorated one side of the small window. The inside covers of the books bore such inscriptions "Awarded to Edward Barber for diligence and attendance. Tring Boys' National School, 1903-4,” and "Awarded to Edward Barber for regularity and conduct. 1905-6.”

“Ted was 21 years of age last June,” his mother continued. It will remembered that the official statement said that Private Barber “ran speedily” in front of his grenade company and threw bombs on the enemy.

"Several people have asked us if Ted was fleet of foot," said Mrs. Barber. "He certainly was, and as a little boy he could run like hare. He was also a fine swimmer. We have heard nothing from him about Neuve Chapelle, or the act which won him the Cross.”

"I knew Ted Barber well,” the local hairdresser told me, "and he certainly was a rare lad for pluck and mischief. Swimming on Sundays in the reservoir of which Lord Rothschild, as lord of the manor, had the reserved rights, was one of his exploits. But there was nothing bad or mean about Ted. He was just chock-full of mischief.”

Private Barber's relatives and friends are much disturbed by two messages from the front about the new V.C. One letter, from an N.C.O., states that Private Barber has been killed a German sniper's bullet. Another soldier has written from the front to say that the V.C. is among the missing.

Official confirmation both reports however, is, up to the time of writing, lacking.

Liverpool Daily Post, 22nd April 1915


April 2015


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