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Staff on service, WWI

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This year, the world reflects on the centenary of the outbreak of World War One, a war that claimed the lives of 16 million people and left a further 20 million injured.

It was during the Great War, in 1917, that Barclays & Co Ltd established itself under the new name Barclays Bank Ltd. Several regional banks joined the Barclays family during the war years and as we look back we remember those colleagues who worked so diligently to ensure that Barclays was in a position to support economic recovery post-war.

But most importantly, we salute the 645 young Barclays colleagues who gave their lives in battle.

Lieutenant HS Davy - a second Lieutenant in the 2nd Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles - was the first Barclays staff member to be killed in action in 1915. Like many of his fellow soldiers, Lt Davy was not a career soldier. He was better qualified for his role as a clerk at the Barclays Head Office in Lombard Street but when called to duty, Lt Davy - and so many other extraordinarily young men around the world – responded. 

This sense of responsibility, expressed so personally by so many individuals during the war years, is something that should never be forgotten. And the stories of the First World War serve as a reminder that great though the challenges we face today are, previous generations have overcome far greater ones. 

The story of World War One as experienced by Barclays and its people can be found in a range of documents and artefacts held in our archives in Manchester. In this video Barclays Chairman, Sir David Walker, discusses some of the most poignant artefacts with Barclays Archivist, Maria Sienkiewicz. I encourage you all to join me as we take this time to reflect on the events of the past.

In May 2014 a group of Barclays colleagues visited the Menin Gate in Ypres, Belgium, a memorial to the thousands of soldiers who lost their lives in World War One. In the video below, Chris Lee recounts his experience of visiting the war graves and gives an explanation of Barclays’ own memorial to the colleagues who gave their lives during the war years.

Antony Jenkins

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