Lieutenant and Quartermaster Thomas Alfred Barns



Thomas Alfred Barns was born on 14 December 1874 at Fosbury, Hungerford, Berkshire, a son of Philip John Barns, farmer.

He enlisted in the 4th Hussars on 24 August 1894 (No.3657), over the following years seeing service in India 1896 to 1905 and South Africa 1905 to 1909, and rising to the rank of sergeant.

In December 1910 he was posted to the permanent staff of the North Irish Horse as a sergeant and ten months later was promoted to squadron sergeant-major. He was awarded a Long Service and Good Conduct Medal in April 1913.

On 17 August 1914 he embarked for France with A Squadron of the North Irish Horse, remaining there, apart from some periods of leave, throughout the war. On 29 January 1915 he was promoted to Warrant Officer Class II, and on 10 May 1916, when the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment was created, he was made acting regimental sergeant-major. He was mentioned in despatches on 30 April 1916.

At the beginning of 1917 Barns was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant and posted to the Army Service Corps, joining No.33 Labour Company (Railways) at Le Havre. On 24 May 1917, however, he transferred back to the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment, with the rank of quartermaster and honorary lieutenant.

During October 1918 he reported sick with lumbago and was shipped home. He applied to join the Army of Occupation after the war, but was rejected on medical grounds. Barns was demobilized on 1 April 1919 and relinquished his commission on 1 September 1921.

The above image is from a photograph of North Irish Horse sergeants in 1912 - full picture here.