Lance Corporal William Thomas Barnes


William Thomas Barnes was born on 29 September 1886 at Great Malvern, Worcestershire. On the outbreak of war in August 1914 he was living with his wife Katherine at 1 Hungerford Road, Holloway, London.

Barnes enlisted in the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons around September 1914 (No.9676).

When the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment was formed in June 1916, serving as corps cavalry to X Corps, a regimental headquarters was appointed, comprising a lieutenant-colonel as commanding officer, and 39 officers and men. This establishment, including Lance Corporal Barnes, arrived from England at the beginning of July 1916.

In September 1916 Barnes was treated for several days at the 18th General Hospital, having contracted influenza.

In August-September 1917 the 2nd NIH Regiment was disbanded and its men were transferred to the Royal Irish Fusiliers, an infantry regiment. Most, including Barnes, were transferred on 20 September and posted to the 9th (Service) Battalion – renamed the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion – joining it in the field at Ruyaulcourt five days later. Barnes was issued regimental number 41466 and posted to B Company.

He was wounded during the Battle of Cambrai, probably in the fighting for the village of Moeuvres on 22 and 23 November 1917, or south of Marcoing from 3 to 16 December. The injury was not severe, however, and he was back with his battalion by early 1918.

Barnes was one of the many posted as missing following the 9th (NIH) Battalion's fighting withdrawal from St Quentin from 21 to 28 March 1918 during the German spring offensive. It was later learned that he had been captured, unwounded, on 27 March at Erches, near Roye, when much of the battalion had been overwhelmed by the fast-moving German advance. He remained a prisoner until the end of the war, held at camps in Stendal and Altengraben.