2ND LT. W. BARNES. R.F.A.
Will Barnes was born on 25 August 1894 in Todmorden, West Yorkshire, and baptised at Cross Stone St Paul on 7 October. His father was Samuel Barnes (b. 1857 in Todmorden), a self-employed slater. His mother was Martha Stott (b. 1859 in Franklin, Massachusetts, USA). Martha’s parents lived in the US from about 1855 to about 1865 before returning to Yorkshire. Sam and Martha were married in 1880 and they had nine children, though they lost two in infancy. The survivors were: Emily (b. 1880), Helena (b. 1882), Florence (b. 1889), Lucy (b. 1891), Harry (b. 1892), then Will, and finally Kathleen (b. 1896). About 1900, the family moved to Blackpool and in 1911 they were living at The Royd, Bispham, Blackpool. Harry was a bank clerk and Will was a surveyor’s apprentice. Both men would lose their lives in the War.
Will Barnes was in the Territorials before the War and when he joined the Royal Field Artillery he was first assigned service number 1302, and this was later changed to 680259. He served initially with “A” Battery of 276 Brigade and landed with 55th Division in France on 29 September 1915. He was promoted through the ranks to Bombardier then Sergeant and finally sent for officer training. He was commissioned on 5 January 1918. When he returned he was posted to “A” Battery of 26th Brigade. 26Bde was an Army artillery brigade and not attached to a Division and it appears not to have a War Diary for 1918. The memorial plaque to the Barnes brothers, in All Hallows church, Bispham, says Will was killed in action near Mons on 2 November 1918. Mons didn’t actually fall until the very last day of the War, and Will is buried at Quérénaing, which is about 40kms south-west of Mons, so the best we can probably say is that Will was killed in the final advance from Cambrai into Belgium. He was 24 years old.
Rank: Second Lieutenant
Service No: (previously 680259)
Date of Death: 02/11/1918
Regiment/Service: Royal Field Artillery, “A” Bty, 26th Bde.
Cemetery/memorial reference: A. 11.
Cemetery/Memorial: QUERENAING COMMUNAL CEMETERY
Additional Information: Son of Samuel and Martha Barnes, of "Lynton," Layton Lane, Blackpool.
Will’s older brother Harry was born on 22 August 1892 (so their birthdays were three days apart) and they were both baptised on the same day in 1894. When War broke out, though, they opted for different Regiments. Harry enlisted with the King’s Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment). He was assigned service number 11683 and posted to 6th Battalion. 6Bn sailed from Avonmouth on 17 June 1915, going to Gallipoli via Mudros. They landed at Cape Helles on 6 July 1915. They returned to Mudros on 31 July-1 August and then returned to Gallipoli at Anzac, on 5 August. Harry was wounded, probably at Anzac Bay, and evacuated to Egypt, where he died of his wounds on 7 October 1915. He was 23 years old. The family memorial says that Harry was a Corporal but this is not borne out by the military records.
Service No: 11683
Date of Death: 07/10/1915
Regiment/Service: King’s Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment), 6th Bn.
Cemetery/memorial reference: D. 98.
Cemetery/Memorial: ALEXANDRIA (CHATBY) MILITARY AND WAR MEMORIAL CEMETERY
Additional Information: Son of Samuel and Martha Barnes, of The Royd, Bispham, Blackpool. Born at Todmorden.