7514 Private Peter James Barker.

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1st Battalion East Lancashire Regiment.

Awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal in the London Gazette of 1 April 1915 (wrongly gazetted to 6093 Private James Barker).

Barker was a native of Burnley, Lancashire,

The citation for the Distinguished Conduct Medal published in the London Gazette reads, "For conspicuous gallantry, ability and general good work on numerous occasions, especially at Le Gheer on 17 January, 1915, in voluntarily assisting another man in extinguishing a fire caused by German shells. This work was accomplished in full view of the enemy, under heavy rifle fire, machine-gun and shellfire. He was previously employed in erecting wire entanglements every evening, 80 yards from the enemy".

The Burnley Express of 27 February 1915 reported, VETERAN WINS THE D.C.M. BURNLEY SOLDIER'S GLORIOUS DEEDS. Private James Barker, a Burnley veteran, has, for bravery at the front, been recommended for the Distinguished Conduct Medal. To Captain F.W. Steele, he has recently written, "I am proud to inform you that I have been awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for putting out a fire under maxim gun and shell fire. I should like to know whether any other National Reserve man has got the same."

In a letter to his wife, who lives at 8, Swainbank Street, Burnley, Private Barker says, "I have some good news to tell you. I have just been awarded the D.C.M., for putting a fire out at our company headquarters. I was under machine-gun and big gun fire. The headquarters was set on fire by a shell busting inside the building." Private Barker, who is 38 years of age, served seven years with the colours with the 1st Battalion, Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, and nine years on the reserve. He was in India three years, and whilst out there was called onto active service in South Africa. He then went through the Boer War, and received the following medals, and decorations : Queens South Africa Medal clasps, Defence of Kimberley, Paardeburg, Johannesburg, Diamond Hill, King's South Africa Medal clasps South Africa 1901 and South Africa 1902. At Paardeburg he was wounded in the knee. As soon as the present war broke out he was anxious to re-enlist. "It doesn't matter" he told his wife "I can't rest. In shall have to have a pop." He endeavoured to enlist in his old regiment, but was put into the 1st Battalion, East Lancashire Regiment. When he first enlisted he was 18 years of age.

On the 19th January he wrote to his wife, "We are fighting on the Yser and at Ypres. The Prussian Guard are in front of us. We have had heavy losses, but they have been four to our one. You get very little sleep, up to your knees in water and wet through. I went over to the Germans on Christmas day. I exchanged cigarettes for cigars and rum. They wanted us to play them a football match." Private Barker then says that he has been mentioned in despatches.

He then tells his wife that on December 13th he had a slice of luck, "We were out digging trenches" he writes, "When we had finished we fell in on top of the trench. A bullet passed through my right breast pocket, my small book and writing material, through my waist-coat jersey and out of my left breast pocket, knocking of the pocket buttons, without touching me at all, thank God. I don't think I shall be nearer getting shot than that.. I am sending you one of the envelopes and postcards the bullet passed through. I look for a letter from you every week in the least. You know there is a mail here every day. You are only about 400 miles from the scene of operations. I write you a letter every time I get a chance."

In the last letter received by his wife he says, "We are having very wet weather out here just now. We keep expecting better weather, but it his a long time coming. I dare say we shall all be back in two or three months, those that do not get shot. We have some very hard work to do before this war is finished, but we are hoping to pull through. I got your letter and papers this morning. You do not want to wait for me writing, as I can't write when I want. I am on active service now, not in a drawing room." A further report, much the same as the above appears in the Burnley Express of 13 March 1915.

Medal Index Card (MIC) shows, 7514 Corporal P. J. BARKER, East Lancashire Regiment, later 89411, Private, Labour Corps and 34344 Corporal, Northamptonshire Regiment was awarded the 1914/15 Star, British War and Victory Medals.

The MIC for his DCM shows 7514 Private J. BARKER, 1st Battalion, East Lancashire Regiment. LG 1 April 1915. The regimental number - 6093 - has been crossed out and replaced by 7514.

38720 Corporal Peter James BARKER, 12th Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment was killed in action on the 23 May 1917 and is buried in La Targette British Cemetery, Neuville St. Vaast, France. The CWGC records he had won the DCM.