|Date of Birth||October 15, 1897|
|Place of Birth||Port Elgin, Ontario|
|Next of Kin||Richard J. Barker, (Father), Kenora, Ontario|
|Trade / Calling||Clerk|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Battalion||No. 10 Canadian Field Ambulance|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Branch||Canadian Army Medical Corps|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Address at Enlistment||Kenora, Ontario|
|Date of Enlistment||September 17, 1915|
|Age at Enlistment||17|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||19451028|
|Age at Death||48|
|Buried At||Brookside Cemetery, Winnipeg, Manitoba|
|Plot||Section 24, Lot 1032, Grave 0|
Birth date and location: Richard John Alexander Barker was born John Alexander Barker on October 15, 1897, Port Elgin, Bruce County, Ontario, to Richard John Barker and Margaret Nelly (maiden name, Thomson). Richard/John may have begun using his father’s name, Richard, to distinguish himself from another John Alexander Barker (perhaps a relative), also born in southern Ontario. By the 1901 Census, the family had moved to Minnedosa, Manitoba and Richard/John, listed with his given name, John, now had a brother, Cyril Oswald, born 1900. Richard, the father, was working as a Railway Clerk. By the 1906 census, a sister, Mary Gertrude had been added to the family in 1903. The family’s faith was Church of England. According to the obituary of his mother, who died in Winnipeg in 1949, the family lived in Minnedosa, Manitoba for a period of time as well.
Early life: At some point, the family appears in Kenora, Ontario and, at the age of 18, Richard, as he was now called, was employed as a Clerk. At the time of his enlistment, he was single.
War experience: Richard enlisted at Camp Sewell, Manitoba, September 17, 1915, and was assigned to the #10 Canadian Field Ambulance, Canadian Army Medical Corps. He gave his father, Richard J. Barker, who was also living in Kenora by this time, as next of kin. Richard banked with the Bank of Ottawa, in Kenora, and, part way through the war, he made his mother his dependant. Upon enlistment, Richard had influenza and was treated in Winnipeg, but it was not serious.
Richard embarked at Saint John, New Brunswick, March 2, 1916, on the SS Scandinavian and arrived in Liverpool England, March 12. On March 14, he was transferred to the Military Hospital in Bramshott for adenoids and acute tonsillitis, although another of his records stated he was treated for bronchitis. On April 3, he embarked for LeHavre, France and on July 24, he was attached to the 1st Army Troop Company in the Field. He remained with them until he received a gunshot wound to the left shoulder on November 14, 1917. Richard was treated in Rouen then rejoined his unit February 2, 1918. A report of his wound was sent to his father, who was with the CPR Office in Kenora, and was also recorded in the Daily Miner and News. In June 1918, he was awarded a Good Conduct Badge for his services on the Field in France in September of 1917. He was returned to England on February 15, 1919. His service record states that on March 17th, Richard sailed on the SS Olympia out of Southampton for Canada; however, a passenger list for the Cretic has Private Richard Barker, of Kenora, sailing from Liverpool and arriving in Halifax on March 24th, 1919. He was discharged, due to demobilization, at No.2 Depot, Toronto, March 28, 1919. He received the War Service Badge Class ‘A’ Number 150507.
NOTE: Interestingly, in all but one mention of him in the Kenora Daily Miner and News, during the war years, he is referred to as J. Barker.
Life after the war: Richard married Jessie Ann Victoria Smith (born in Winnipeg in 1903) on February 3, 1924 in Winnipeg. She sometimes went by the name Victoria. They had two children, Donna and Lynne.
Date of death and burial location: Richard died of a heart attack on October 28th, 1945 at the Winnipeg General Hospital and is buried in Brookside Cemetery in the city. [Barker, Richard J.A., Burial Order #34259. Section 24 Lot 1032 Grave 0, Died 10/28/1945, and Buried 11/1/1945]. Victoria died October 21, 1959 and is also buried in Winnipeg in Garry Memorial Park (also known as Thompson in the Park Cemetery).
Note: John is this man’s given name; however, he used the name Richard John in his attestation papers and throughout most of his life. He is buried under Richard J A Barker.
By Susan (Hillman) Brazeau. In support of the Kenora Great War Project – honouring all who served, remembering those who died
Ontario Births 1869-1913 (ancestry.ca)
1901 Canada Census
1906 Canada Census of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta
Library and Archives Canada: Attestation Papers and Full Service Record
Find-A-Grave (gravemarker photo courtesy of Bocephus)
Winnipeg Free Press 1959
MyHeritage: Barker Family Research
Articles from Kenora Miner & News