Radcliffe on Trent WWI Letters
John (Jack) Barry

All photographs and letters courtesy of the family

John Barry was always known as Jack. He enlisted on 13th August 1914, age 19 as a Gunner in the 14th Heavy Battalion, Royal Garrison Artillery. He was wounded in action at La Boiselle on 24th June 1916 then discharged unfit for war service, following an injury to his foot.

The photo of him was taken in No. 3 War Hospital, Reading

To read more about John Barry click here

Jack Berry in hospital bed

A.H. Woolley wrote to Jack in hospital expressed sympathy for his plight along with the hope that his injury might allow him to remain at home for the duration of the war. Jack recovered but had to wear a specially-made boot for the rest of his life.

July 23rd 1916

Dear Barry

I was just starting on a journey here when your letter arrived or would have written sooner.

We are all distressed to hear that you have been so severely wounded, but it is good to know that the danger of losing your foot is now past.

We do hope that you will be able to get about without any lasting infirmity.

If it leaves you with just enough limp to keep you out of that Hell deliberately planned by the Hohenzollern devils & their associate fiends then your mother & father will not be altogether sorry that it is just as bad as it is.

I am delighted to know your health generally speaking is “splendid” & I can see that your spirits are just as good from the way you write. That’s the best of all lad!

Well we shall be right glad to see you back when you are fit & able but don’t be in too big a hurry. You’ll need to be patient I am sure with a foot like that when you need to get about. You are not exactly an “airy fairy” you know.

Mrs Woolley has been staying here for her health & I came for the weekend to fetch her home.
She joins with me in kindest regards & best wishes

Yours sincerely
A H. Woolley

Click on letters below for larger image

Jack Barry letter from Woolley
Jack Barry letter from Woolley

The medical report while he was in No. 3 War hospital, Reading, describes the seriousness of his injuries:

Copy from medical case sheet No 3 Reading War Hospital

July 6. 16
Disease. S Wd (shell wound) rt foot
14 months @ E.F. in France June 27th wounded shell burst @ La Boiselle
Large gaping suppurating wound through metatses in right foot. 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th metatarsal, bones pulverized. Wound very foul.
Aug 11th
Wound has gradually cleared. No operation performed. A few pieces of dead bone have separated and been removed. Extension and flexion of foot not best but probably some intersive of latter tendons of toes have been divided.
Aug 19th
Anaesthetic and operation
Wound explored and several pieces of loose bone removed. Wound plugged and drainage tube put through.
Sept 19th
Doing well. Some foot drop and inversion splint applied to correct position.
Oct 17th
Wound in division of foot healed, play left out of plantas wound

J H Barry Medical report