Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthJanuary 27, 1882
Place of BirthClaines, Worcestershire
Marital StatusMarried
Next of KinLaura Barley, wife, Keewatin, Ontario
Trade / Callingpainter
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number820649
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion141st Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at EnlistmentKeewatin, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentApril 25, 1916
Age at Enlistment34
Theatre of ServiceCanada
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathOctober 15, 1953
Age at Death71
Buried AtSea View Cemetery, Gibsons, British Columbia

Barley, Bertie Tomlinson

Although he gave his place of birth as Worcester on his attestation papers, Bertie Tomlinson Barley was born on 27 January 1882 in Claines, Worcestershire in England, a small community outside of the city. His father John Barley was from New Brighton, Cheshire while his mother Eleanor (Ellen) Pardoe was from Claines. The couple married in Claines in 1873. Both John and Ellen had worked in the glove making industry until the family moved to nearby Astwood where John found employment as a railway watchman. Known children born to the family were Rose (1876), Walter John (1879), Bertie, Thomas Howard (1884), Nellie (1888), Marjorie (abt 1892), Royal George (1894), and Ida Kathleen (1899).

By the 1901 England census, while living at home with his parents and siblings, Bertie was working as a sheet maker.  During the 3rd quarter of 1904 Bertie married Laura Susannah Tearne, with the marriage registered in Worcester. Laura, daughter of Albert and Susan (née Matthews) Tearne, was born in Worcester in 1884. For the 1901 census she  had been  working as a live-in servant for the Henry Roberts family in Worcester. Bertie and Laura gave birth to their first child Cecil Albert in July of 1905.

Bertie was found on the passenger list of the Lake Erie that arrived in Montreal on 6 October 1907. His destination in Canada was Keewatin in northwestern Ontario as he had found employment as a packer at the Lake of the Woods Milling Company. According to the 1921 Canada census, Laura and Cecil also immigrated to Keewatin in 1907. Other children born to the family were Nada Lillian (1908), Iris Ellen (1911), Gladys Hazel (1912) and Betty (1915).

Bertie signed two sets of attestation papers, the first in Port Arthur, Ontario with the 52nd Battalion on 5 July 1915, occupation given as boatbuilder. A week  later he was discharged as being unfit for service. He next signed with the 141st Battalion in Kenora on 25 April 1916, occupation given as painter. Along with a number of other local fellows, Bertie left for the 141st Battalion’s headquarters in Port Arthur, Ontario on August 1st, a large crowd gathering at the train station in Kenora to see them off.  In October he was promoted to Corporal and in December he attended a school of instruction. However by  the end of February  of 1917 Bertie was found medically unfit for service due to defective eyesight, ‘without his correction (glasses) at near or far his vision is useless for a soldier’. His discharge was dated 26 February 1917 in Port Arthur.

The 1921 Canada census found the Barley family living on 10th Street in Keewatin with Bertie working as a painter at a boat works. At only age 9, in early January of 1923 their  daughter Gladys died. Bertie and Laura eventually moved to British Columbia where Bertie worked as a boatbuilder. Cecil and Nada both married and moved to British Columbia as well.

Predeceased by Laura in 1948 in Port Kells, Bertie died on 15 October 1953 in Half Moon Bay on the sunshine coast of British Columbia. He is interred in the Seaview Cemetery in Gibsons. At the time he was survived by his second wife Agnes.

Bertie’s brother Royal served with the 3rd Battalion of the Worcestershire Regiment and was reported as killed in action on 13 October 1914. His sister Ida had immigrated to Keewatin in 1919 and married John Henry Kelley who went overseas with the 52nd Battalion and served with the 1st Battalion in France.

Bertie Tomlinson Barley is commemorated for his service during the war on the Lake of the Woods Milling Company Roll of Honour plaque, the Municipality of Keewatin plaque, and on the St James Anglican Church plaque, all found in Keewatin.

by Judy Stockham

grave marker photo: Ken McMillan on

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