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Robert Barrett was born in Staffordshire in about 1886, the son of Robert and Alice Barrett. By 1891 they were living at 128 Bilston Street, Wolverhampton (the son Robert being listed as “Bob”), together with Robert’s siblings Florence, George, Alice and Sarah. By 1911, Robert (still “Bob”) is living with his widowed mother at 57 Melbourne Street, along with two sisters, Rose and Clara, and five boarders. Robert was a bootmaker finisher. Robert married Edith Guest in Tipton, Dudley on 19 October 1913. They had a son, Robert Leslie, on 16 November 1914. They later moved to 3 Riches Street, Whitmore Reans, Wolverhampton.

On 23 Jul 1916, Robert enlisted in the 10th Battalion of the North Staffordshire Regiment (number 29119), when his address was given as 55 Furnace Parade, Tipton. He served in France from 15 May 1917 onwards, and was transferred to the 1st Battalion of the Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Regiment (number 71928), on 5 June 1917. Robert was killed in action on 31 July 1917. He is commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial.