1918-2008: Ninety Years of Remembrance

Soldier Record

George Frederick Barnes

Contributed by: Barry Barnes, on 2008-11-14

George Frederick Barnes
First Name George Frederick
Surname Barnes
Year of Birth 1898
Year of Death 1980
Regiment Lancashire Fusiliers
Place of Wartime Residence Hanwell

George Frederick's Story

George Frederick Barnes, my father, was born on 10th October 1898 at Hammersmith, London. He was the second of two sons and six daughters for Thomas (of Charlwood, Surrey) and Frances (formerly Ellis of Little Horsted, Sussex).

When George was 9 the family moved to Hanwell, Middlesex, where he was Baptised on 28th May 1909. On his 14th birthday he started work as a wallpaper hanger and painter for his father who was a builder. Sam, his older brother by three years was already working as a painter for their father. George worked in the building industry until he retired in 1965.

George was attested on 9th September 1916 and transferred to the Army Reserve until he was called up for service on 16th February 1917. On Christmas Day 1917 he made his will on a small piece of paper issued by the army that had WILL printed at the top. He bequeathed 'the whole of my property and effects' to his mother; on the back of his will (not his handwriting) his father was noted as his next of kin.

He barely spoke of his short service in the three regiments where held the rank of Private. His Regimental Number was 0990 in 3 Hampshire Regiment, 47861 in the 2 / 8 Lancashire Fusiliers and he was also in the Somerset Light Infantry. From one comment he made I believe he spent time in France. He was discharged in Hampshire and transferred to the Army Reserve on 16th October 1919.

His Army papers state that he was awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal and I have these two legacies of my father. I also have his Defence Medal from WWII when he served in Number 2 Platoon of his local Home Guard from 12th June 1940 to 31st December 1944 per his certificate of service.

George's brother, Sam, and his cousin, George William, were both killed within two weeks of each other in 1916 in different theatres of war. Like them, my father will forever be remembered with love and respect for his wisdom to my sisters and me and for his valuable contributions in both World Wars to defeat the enemy so that we can live freely.

George attended the British Legion Festival of Empire and Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall, London, on 11th November 1931 in the presence of their majesties the king and queen. Printed in the programme is ˜The British Broadcasting Corporation has arranged for the Programme to be broadcast from 8 p.m. to the Empire and the United States of America'.

I have my father's treasured programme from that evening to celebrate the remembrance of fallen kin and comrades; his ticket is glued inside. He was so moved by this unique gathering that he wrote inside the front cover:

'This is a Souvenier Programme of one of the most moving spectacles I have witnessed. Only those who served in the Great War can fully realize what it means for about 10,000 Ex-Service Men to gather together and sing the songs that were popular during the Period of the Great War 1914 - 1918. The petals pasted below were a few of the hundreds of thousands that were showered down as we stood to the singing of ˜The Supreme Sacrifice. Each represents a dead hero. G Barnes Nov 1931.'

Below his words he pasted four red petals similar in shape to that of an inverted teardrop.

The photograph above was taken whne George Barnes was 16 years-old.

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