Samuel Benjamin Barnes
Contributed by: Barry Barnes, on 2008-11-10
|First Name||Samuel Benjamin|
|Year of Birth||1895|
|Year of Death||1916|
|Place of Wartime Residence||Hanwell, Other|
Samuel Benjamin's Story
Samuel Benjamin Barnes - known as Sam and named after his grandfather - was born on 17th June 1895 at Sutton, Surrey. He was the first of two sons and six daughters for Thomas (of Charlwood, Surrey) and Frances (formerly Ellis of Little Horsted, Sussex). Sam's brother, George Frederick, was my father.
I will not return
The family moved to Hanwell, Middlesex, when Sam was 11 and he learned to play the violin. When he was 14 he started work as a house painter for his father who was a builder.
Sam was a thin lad when he was attested for four years into the 1st / 8th Middlesex Regiment Territorial Force at Ealing on 5th October 1914. Throughout his short service Sam held the rank of Private and his Regimental Number was 3638. It is stated on his attestation form he was rejected for Kitchener's Army on eyesight.
After a brief period of training Sam served in Gibraltar from February 1915 for five months. He sailed for five days aboard HT Nessian to Marseilles, France, where he disembarked on 23rd July 1915. His Army papers state he 'Joined Battn in The Field' five days later; he stayed in France with his unit for the next 14 months.
When Sam left home he remarked to his family that he would not return; sadly, his prophecy was correct. While fighting for his country at The Battle of the Somme, Uncle Sam was killed by a sniper on 15th September 1916. His name is commemorated at The Thiepval Memorial on Pier and Face 12 D and 13 B. (Historical information about The Thiepval Memorial is on the web site for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.)
His Army papers state he was Ã¢ÂÂkilled in action, that he served for 1 year and 347 days, and he was awarded the Star, British War Medal, and Victory Medal. I do not know what happened to these three legacies of Uncle Sam, whereas I do have copies of receipts his father, Thomas, and his sister, Lily, signed when his Star and Victory Medals were received.
I have the Scroll of Commemoration that was sent to each family who lost their son(s). This Scroll - surely the last official memory to Samuel Benjamin Barnes - was framed by my father. It hung on the wall of the entrance hall in the family home at Hanwell for 60 years until the death of my father when the scroll was passed into my care.
Samuel Benjamin Barnes, my uncle I never knew, so sadly departed life on that fateful 15th day of September 1916. Denied the opportunity to return to England to marry and raise his family, he will forever be remembered with love and respect for his ultimate sacrifice that we can live freely. Lest we forget.