Arthur, Samuel and Septimus Harold Barlow

Arthur and Samuel Barlow were sons of Thomas Edward (1862-1947) and Elizabeth (née Davies, 1861 – 1914). The Barlows were a long-established Hoylake and Meols family, many of whom were fishermen. Due to his vast experience and qualification as a skipper of fishing smacks (gained in March 1901), Thomas Edward was known as “Captain Barlow”. On census night in 1901 his family were residing at 23 Shaw Street, Hoylake whilst he was on board the Felicity in Pwllheli Harbour on the Lleyn Peninsula in North Wales. Ten years later, he was on board the Pansy in Douglas Harbour on the Isle of Man. Along with his brothers Thomas and Frank, Samuel was also on board, working as the cook, at the age of 14. On that occasion Arthur was aged 11 and living in the family’s seven-roomed house at 10 Ferndale Road, Hoylake with his mother, two sisters, grandfather Thomas senior (aged 75) and uncle Joseph (aged 70). Both of the latter were retired fishermen.

Thomas Edward Barlow suffered grievously during the war years. Just before war began in 1914, his son Frank died at sea on 27th February and his wife died in Liverpool on 15th July. His grief and loneliness must have been somewhat assuaged by his marriage to Margaret Mary Tudor in December 1916. In 1918, he was master of the smack Anna-Maria. At the end of October he was informed that Samuel had died in hospital in London as a result of an illness contracted while serving in Ireland. The Deeside Advertiser reported that “… not more than an hour after the receipt of this painful message there came a telegram announcing that another son, Arthur, had been drowned at sea through the torpedoing of his vessel.” Samuel had been married for “a few months”. The newspaper then said that Thomas only had one son left; this was Thomas Junior, who was serving on a minesweeper. However, he had had another son, Alfred, by his second wife in 1917 and went on to have another, William Edward, in 1927, who sadly died at birth.

Arthur Barlow's Death Certificate

Arthur Barlow’s Death Certificate. Thanks to Kevin Holmes for providing it.

Samuel Barlow's Death Certificate. Thanks to Kevin Holmes for providing it.

Samuel Barlow’s Death Certificate. Thanks to Kevin Holmes for providing it.

Birth: 5th December 1899
Death: 18th October 1918, drowned at sea aged 18
Addresses: 23 Shaw Street, Hoylake (01) and 10 Ferndale Road, Hoylake (11 – 18)
Occupations: Fisherman and Merchant Seaman
Unit: Merchant Navy
Rank: AB
Commemorated and Buried: GH, H
Sources: BR, DA, FT, Censuses: 01, 11
Birth: 29th November 1896
Death: 25th October 1918, died of disease aged 21in London
Addresses: 23 Shaw Street, Hoylake (01) and 10 Ferndale Road, Hoylake (11 – 18)
Occupation: Fisherman
Units: Royal Army Service Corps and 3rd Cheshire Yeomanry
Rank: Private T/418604
Medals: Victory and British War
Commemorated and Buried: GH, H
Sources: BR, SDGW, MC, DA, FT, Censuses: 01, 11


Septimus Harold Barlow

Septimus Harold Barlow

There is no known link between the previous Barlows and the family of Septimus. His parents were Joseph (a farm worker and quarryman who lived between 1855 and 1935) and Elizabeth (née Adams 1853-1923), who both came from long established north Wirral families, most of whose members had been labourers and artisans. Septimus was the eponymous seventh of nine children – two girls and seven boys. By the time of Septimus’s death, the family had lived in Greasby and Frankby, but were then living in Ivy Cottage in Newton. Septimus began his working life apprenticed to a blacksmith, but later became a chauffeur, employed by a Mr. Rutter of Dawpool. On 4th December 1915, he joined the 14th Battalion of the Cheshire Regiment. He was noted as being of good physical development with a height of 5’ 8¾”; his chest measured 35½” with an expansion of 2½” and he weighed 140 lbs. He had a mole on his right buttock and a scar on the right side of his neck.

Birkenhead News 11th November 1916

Birkenhead News 11th November 1916

The Birkenhead News of 11th November 1916 (above), typically and in order to encourage others to do likewise, celebrated the fact that all seven Barlow boys were in the armed forces. Septimus is the only one who died on active service. He was mobilized and posted on 31st January 1916 and joined the 12th Battalion of the Cheshire Regiment on 19th November 1916; this was part of the 22nd Division and the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force. He seems to have been a good soldier because he was promoted firstly to lance corporal and then to corporal in early 1917. On 2nd July 1917, he was reduced to private, but became a full corporal once more on 4th December 1917. However, on 19th June 1918, Septimus requested his own demotion. The reason for this was his deteriorating health: he had been admitted to hospital suffering from malaria in December 1917 and in January 1918 and he was now suffering from dysentery which had begun two days earlier. On 20th June 1918 he entered the 42nd General Hospital in Salonika. There was a relapse of his malaria and he was suffering from pain and frequent bowel movements. In the doctor’s words, he was “rather ill” and “…weakness and exhaustion were marked, and the stools invariably consisted of mucus alone or bloodstained mucus. Gradually sinking, he died at 10.40 pm on 31st July 1918.” An autopsy revealed the sorry state of the poor man’s body: there were “many haemorrhages and ulcers in the intestines, while the spleen was dark in colour and enlarged to twice its normal size.” It was clear that Septimus had fallen victim to the soldier’s oldest enemy – one who was much more destructive than any human adversary – disease – the cause of most of the deaths of soldiers in campaigns all over the world, since the beginnings of organised warfare.

Septimus Barlow's "Death Plaque" on the family grave in Frankby Churchyard. Thanks to Heather Chapman for providing it.

Septimus Barlow’s “Death Plaque” on the family grave in Frankby Churchyard. Thanks to Heather Chapman for providing it.

The Grave of Joseph and Elizabeth Barlow in Frankby Churchyard. Thanks to Heather Chapman.

The Grave of Joseph and Elizabeth Barlow in Frankby Churchyard. Thanks to Heather Chapman.

Birth: c.1896
Death: 31st July 1918, died of disease aged 22
Address: Frankby (01); Ivy Cottage, Newton (11); and Dawpool Garage, Dawpool (15)
Occupations: Apprentice Blacksmith (11) and Chauffeur (15)
Units: 12th and 14th Battalions Cheshire Regiment
Number: and Rank Private and Corporal 33404
Medals: Victory and British War
Commemorated and Buried: GH, WK, F, Greece: Salonika: Lembet Road Military Cemetery 1472
Sources: BR, CWGC, SDGW, MC, SR, BN, DA, Census: 01, 11


6 thoughts on “Arthur, Samuel and Septimus Harold Barlow

  1. Arthur & Samuel Barlow were my great uncles.

    In addition to the memorials which you mention, Ordinary Seaman,(882966) Arthur Barlow’s name is also recorded on the Naval Memorial at Plymouth Hoe, Devon. Panel 30, listed under ‘Men Deck Department’. (His body was never located, and therefore has no known grave) The vessel on which he was serving when torpedoed was the M.F.A. “Industry”.

    Samuel Barlow is buried in St John’s Churchyard, Seaton Hirst, Ashington, Northumberland, and has a CWGC Headstone marking his grave. He died at Fulham Military Hospital, London of Influenza and Pneumonia (All too common in 1918).

    • Thank you very much Kevin for adding this information. This is exactly what I would like people to do, thereby making this a “live” resource which brings the people back to life as much as possible. Are you related to the Holmes chaps as well? My great grandmother was Louisa Holmes.

      • You’re very welcome, an excellent site. I’ve done a vast amount of research into my Barlow Genealogy, but it’s wonderful, as a great nephew of these brave men, seeing their memory being kept ‘alive’ in this way. Do you happen to know what date the write up of their deaths appeared in Deeside Advertiser, would be very keen to obtain a copy of this entry, to add to my own collection. I’m afraid I can’t claim any kinship to the Holmes ‘chaps’. My Holmes line stems from North Wales. I am however related to the two Beck gentlemen, from their decent from the Thomas Beck and Jane Little marriage. I should also point out that Thomas Edward Barlow’s, youngest son by his second wife (William Edward Barlow 1927) did not die at birth, but passed away in 1998 aged 71 years.
        An excellent resource keep up the good work.

      • Dear Kevin, Thanks very much for the extra information and for the encouragement. I will email the articles to you.

  2. Hi Kevin, The above record of the family mentions my Dad; William Edward Barlow, dying at birth??. It was Dad’s older brother Alfred who sadly died at the age of 23. William Edward passed away @ 2000; after raising a family of 3 boys; myself being the eldest.

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