Bareham. Reginald George. Sergeant, 13777. 11th Suffolks. Died 1st July 1916. From Steeple Bumstead.

Reginald George Bareham was born in 1894 in Steeple Bumstead in Essex where his father, George, was a farm foreman. His mother’s name was Emily. In 1901 they were still in Steeple Bumstead along with Reginald’s three older sisters, Kate, Grace and Winifred.

By 1911 the family had moved to Newton in Cambridgeshire; Kate and Grace had moved away and Winifred was a teacher in an “Elementary” School. Reginald was by then a horsekeeper, presumably on Hall Farm where his father was the foreman. Reginald married Florence Freestone in April 1915 and their son, Ronald, was born 8 days after Reginald’s death on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.

The description of Reginald’s army service, below, was written by Phil Curme as an introduction to a book written by Reginald’s son.

“Reggie Bareham volunteered in September 1914 and he would have fitted in very well. The son of a Farm Manager from the village of Newton, he was familiar with rural life. Over and above this however, he would also have been able to relate to the officers by virtue of an excellent education and his basic knowledge of classical literature – products of good parenting and the support of excellent role models. The fact that Bareham had reached the rank of Sergeant by the time that the Regiment deployed to France even though he had not served prior to volunteering is a clear indication that he was a soldier – and a leader - with potential.

 Reggie Bareham’s death on 1st July 1916 during the 11th Suffolks first major action stifled that potential most cruelly. He was never to meet his son Ronald (the author of this book) who was born seven days later. To compound the agony, at the time of Ronald’s birth, Reggie’s wife Florence had still not learnt of her late husband’s fate. Reggie Bareham is buried in Ovillers military cemetery, Contalmaison close to the spot where he was killed. Today the battlefield remains undeveloped and the landscape is not unlike the fields and hills of Cambridgeshire and Essex - places that Reggie would have been familiar with during his formative years.

 Reggie Bareham’s son, General Ronald R. Van Stockum (Florence remarried later in life), is now approaching his centenary year. He is a remarkable man. I first came to know Van a couple of years ago when he identified me as someone who could help provide information about the Battalion in which his father fought. Since then I’ve been hugely impressed by the thoroughness of his research and his thirst for insight. I’m also very grateful for the help Van has given me during my own post-graduate studies in military history. Van’s personal recollections from his extensive active service experience and his first hand views on command and leadership have been extremely valuable.”