29th April 1915

32-year-old Captain (Temporary Acting Major) Godfrey Barker was killed on 29th April 1915, serving in Gallipoli with the Drake Battalion, Royal Naval Division, Royal Marine Light Infantry (R.M.L.I). He was the fourth son of Colonel Sir Francis William James Barker (1841-1924) and Charlotte Jessie (nee Foster) and was born in Malta on 13th January 1883. He attended King’s Edward School, Birmingham before going on to the Royal Naval College, Greenwich.

He was gazetted Second Lieutenant with the R.M.L.I. on 1st September 1901 and was promoted to Lieutenant on 1st July 1902. In the 1911 census, he is recorded as a Lieutenant in the Royal Marines at Deal, Kent. He became a Captain on 1st September 1912, exactly eleven years after his first commission. An announcement was made by the Admiralty on 13th January 1914 to the effect that Captain Barker had been placed on the retired list at his own request. His retirement lasted for only eight months. He rejoined the Colours on 13th September 1914, just over a month after was was declared, and he saw action the following month at the siege of Antwerp with the Portsmouth Battalion (Officer Commanding MGs Royal Marine Brigade). On 9th November 1914 he was appointed Temporary Major, then going to the Dardanelles as Adjutant of the Drake Battalion.

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26th April 1915

Described as “a Dorsetshire Man” in the announcement of his death in the Leamington Spa Courier of 7th May 1915, Edward Nugent Bankes was actually born on 3rd October 1875 in Wraysbury, Buckinghamshire, and his father, grandfather and great-grandfather were all born in London. However, Edward’s great-grandfather, Henry Bankes, was MP for Corfe Castle for almost 50 years, and Edward’s grandfather, George, was also MP for the same district for some 13 years.

Edward was a 6x great-grandson of Mary, Lady Bankes (1598-1661), who defended Corfe Castle against Parliamentary troops for two years during the English Civil War 1643-5. The castle was demolished by order of Parliament in 1645 but the fortunes of the Bankes family were restored with the return of Charles II in 1660. Rather than restore the ruined Corfe Castle, the family seat for the next 400 years became a newly-built property at Kingston Lacy, Wimborne Minster, Dorset (which has been in the care of the National Trust since 1981).

The local connection with the Bankes family is that, in 1906, Edward Nugent Bankes married his first cousin once removed, Lettice Adelaide Digby (1882-1953), eldest daughter of Charles Wriothesley Digby (1859-1908), of Meriden Hall, Warwickshire. Charles’s mother, Adelaide, was a younger sister of Edward’s father, Henry Hyde Nugent Bankes.

Image of E N Bankes
Captain Edward Nugent Bankes (1875-1915)

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25th April 1915

Having emigrated from England to Australia in about 1912, sculptor Percy Walker Corser joined the Australian Infantry of the Australian Imperial Force (A.I.F.) on 14th August 1914, aged 27 years and five months. He was killed at Gallipoli eight months later on 25th April 1915.

He was described in contemporary newspapers as the youngest surviving son of architect Benjamin Corser and his wife, Frances Emily (née Walker), which is especially interesting, as Percy actually had a twin brother.

His twin brother, Sydney Montague Corser served as a Gunner in the Royal Field Artillery during the First World War. He later became a bank official and died in 1976, aged 89. The twins were born at Olton on 3rd March 1887. They had two older brothers, Robert (born 1884) and Charles (born 1886), a younger sister, Phoebe (born 1889) and a younger brother, Inglis (born 1890).

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