Charles George Thomas Barnes:

Born 20th March 1895 ~ Died 5th July 1986:

Charles George Thomas Barnes was born on the 20th March 1895 to Charles and Elizabeth Barnes in Islington, North London. He was my grandfather's elder brother making Charles George Thomas Barnes my grand-uncle, however from here on I will refer to him as either Charles or 'Uncle Charlie'. I know very little about his early life between the time he was born till he enlisted in 1914. However, a great deal is known of his wartime service as his Army Pay Book and other papers survived in the safe keeping of Charles' nephew Colin.  

Charles George Thomas Barnes enlisted on the 29th August 1914, twenty-five days after war was declared - he was 19 years old. He joined up in the West Sussex seaside town of Worthing. As the 29th of August was a Saturday maybe he was on a day trip to the coast or maybe he was living and working in the area - perhaps the 1911 census might shed some light on this (it didn't Charles was only sixteen and still living at home).  He enlisted as Gunner 1597 in the 1/2nd Sussex, Royal Field Artillery (Territorial Force), part of the 1st Home Counties Brigade, 44th Division.  The 2nd Sussex was stationed in Brighton with the 1st Sussex at the time. Other batteries were based at Eastbourne, Hove, St. Leonards on Sea and Bexhill on Sea.

Charles' medal index card states that he entered the "Asiatic" theatre of war on the 9th December 1915, but this may be incorrect as his discharge papers show that he had one red chevron and four blue; the red chevron indicating service overseas in 1914 and the 1st Home Counties Brigade departed to India on the 29th October 1914 to be attached to the 5th (Mhow) Division of the Indian Army.  There are photo's of the gunners of the 2nd Sussex, including Charles taken in Mhow in 1915. If correct Charles would still only qualify for the 1914-15 Star as the 1914 Star was awarded specifically for service in France and Belgium between the 4th August and the 22nd November.  

In 1916, the 1/2nd Sussex was renamed as 'B' Battery and the other batteries were renamed also; the 1/1st Sussex became 'A' Battery, the 1/3rd Sussex the 'C' Battery.   The four digit Territorial Force numbering caused problems when soldiers moved between unit and so in late 1916, early 1917 a new numbering scheme was introduced and Gunner 1597 Barnes C.G.T. became Gunner 900582. Also in 1916, the 1st Home Counties Brigade became the CCXX Brigade (220th Brigade) and in 1917 the brigade departed for Mesopotamia where it joined the 17th (Indian) Division. The batteries were renamed at this time with 'A' Battery becoming the 1064th Battery, 'B' Battery the 1065th and 'C' Battery the 1066th. Sometime in 1917, the 1065th Battery was broken up and divided between the 1064th and 1066th Batteries. C. G. T. Barnes served in the 1066th Battery and possibly the 1064th Battery also (there is a reference to the 1064th Battery in his Army Pay Book. His Army Pay Book and Discharge Certificate have been kindly given to me by his nephew Colin Barnes and scanned images of Charles' Army Pay Book, Discharge and silver War Badge certificates are included on this website. His pay book lists monthly location payments for Baghdad, Jubbulpore, Messing, Deolol, Ambala and Mesopotamia. The "Soldiers Pay Book" has printed inside "Army Book 64, modified for use in India" and the payments dates are from the 3rd October 1917 to the 4th July 1919. This pay book may have replaced an earlier pay book but does show Charles' earlier service number, so may date from before 1917. Also in the Pay Book is Army Form W3066 where Charles signed for "eqpt, clothing and necessaries" on the 25th March 1919 at Makina Masus (Iraq, near Basra). Charles was discharged on the 11th December 1919 - taken from the Soldiers Pay Book when in Active Duty - "he is discharged in consequence of surplus to military requirements, having suffered impairment since entry into the service paragraph 392 (XVIa) Kings Regulations after serving five years, 105 days in the Colours and nil years and days in the Territorial Force".

Charles was awarded the Silver War Badge, number 482934 and the 1914/15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal

Territorial Force units were intended for home service only, but members of the Territorial Force had been asked if they would serve overseas - those that volunteered for overseas service were given the Imperial Service badge; to be worn on the right breast when in uniform. If you look closely at the  photograph you will see that two soldiers are wearing the Imperial Service badge. Charles' discharge papers state that he had 'one red and four blue' chevrons, which would imply service overseas in 1914 (the red chevron). In his pay book, it states "War Chevrons, 1 red, three blue". This entry is dated 28th September 1918 and again implies service overseas in 1914. The discharge certificate also shows the total time served as five years, 105 days and the date of his discharge as 11th December 1919. The years and days served are consistent with an enlistment date of 29th August 1914 and the discharge date of 11th December 1919.