Private 3691 Arthur Barnett

Barnett Arthur 96 367x600 Barnett Arthur 96 401x600
Photograph courtesy of Betty Tompson, a relative of Arthur Barnett.

Killed in Action on Sunday, 18th June 1916, age 32.
Buried in Grave I. A. 25. at Rue-David Military Cemetery, Fleurbaix, Pas De Calais, France.

3rd Bn., Australian Infantry A.I.F.

Son of Councillor S Barnett, The Orchards, Tividale Road, Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Oldbury, Enlisted: Sydney, Australia, Resident: Sydney, Australia.

First landed Egypt, 17th March 1916.
Medal entitlement: British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives survived and transcribed.

Commemorated on the Barnett St. George Memorial, previously in St. Michael's Church, now lost. See bottom of page.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/291519/

Genealogical Data

1901 Census
1 Tividale Road, Tipton, Staffs.
Samuel Barnett (47, Brick Manufacturer, born Oldbury) and his wife Louisa (48, born Oldbury) and their 7 children: Rose (25, born Oldbury), William (23, Brickyard manager, born Oldbury), Joseph (21, Brickyard Clerk, born Oldbury), Thomas (19, Brickyard Clerk, born Oldbury), Arthur (17, Auctioneer's Clerk, born Oldbury), Bert (15, born Oldbury), Gertie (14, born Oldbury).

1911 Census
The Orchards, Tividale Road, Tipton, Staffs.
Samuel Barnett (56, Brick Manufacturer, born Tipton) and his wife Louisa (58, born Tipton) and 3 of their 7 children: Joseph (30, Assistant in Business, born Tipton), Bert (25, Assistant in Business, born Tipton), Gertrude Barnett (24, at home, born Tipton).
Arthur was not living with his parents, possibly having emigrated by 1911.

Personal Data

Arthur was the son of Samuel Barnett, a local business 'magnate' with interests in mining and brick making, also finding time to be a local Councillor. Arthur emigrated, probably before 1911, first to Philadelphia, in the United States, and then in 1915 to Sydney, Australia where he enlisted with the Australian Army.

The following detail is from Arthur's Australian Service Papers.
Arthur enrolled on 17th August 1915 in Sydney, New South Wales, in the 12th reinforcement for the 3rd Battalion. He was 31 years 8 months of age, 5 feet 6 inches tall, weighed 119 pounds, and his chest had a range of 33½ to 35 inches. He had a fresh complexion, blue eyes and black hair and was recorded as Church of England. His occupation was clerk, but had previously been apprentice to the Borough Surveyor (in Tipton), and his father, Samuel Barnett, was identified as next of kin.

Pte Barnett sailed from Sydney on 30th December 1915 on HMAT Medic to Egypt where he was taken on the strength of the 3rd Battalion on 17th March 1916 at Serapeum, Egypt. The 3rd Battalion was part of 1st Australian Brigade, 1st Australian Division which had fought at Gallipoli, before being withdrawn to Egypt to guard the Suez Canal between December 1915 and March 1916. This was where Arthur joined them as part of the 12th reinforcement draft. The 3rd Battalion left for Marseilles on HMT Grampian on 22nd March, arriving on 28th March.

Arthur was admitted to hospital on 29th May suffering from influenza, and after a spell in the Divisional Rest Station was discharged to duty on 5th June 1916. Arthur was killed just 2 weeks later.

On 16th July 1916, Mr R.W. Hutchinson of 211 Bourke Street, Darlinghurst, Sydney wrote to the Australian Military authorities questioning whether the Arthur Barnett, England, in the 184th Casualty List was 3691, Pte Arthur Barnett. Mr Hutchinson wrote that Arthur Barnett was a friend of his, and was staying at his house before enlisting, and that Arthur's belongings were still in his care.

The first package of Arthur's effects sent to his father contained: a letter case, letters, photos, cigarette holder, 5 badges and 2 keys. Forwarded separately from the Kit Store in London were photos, razor blade case and brush. In May 1918 his effects from the 2nd Military District in Sydney were forwarded via the S.S. Llanstephen Castle to his father and contained: 1 empty suitcase, 1 suitcase containing: 1 pipe in case, 2 rulers, 1 lining pen, 6 squares, 1 box paints, 1 builder's pocket book, photos, 1 fountain pen, 1 cigarette holder, 1 drawing compass, 1 box razor blades, 1 clothes brush, 2 drawing pens and 2 drawing brushes. A list of clothes was supplied which were recorded as 'moth-eaten' and had been destroyed.

On 29th April 1917, a memorial of Arthur was unveiled in St Michael's Church, Tividale. This magnificent statue of St George remained there until the church was demolished in the 1960's/1970's. The statue was then given to Grace Mary Primary School, as the children had always admired it during Church visits. Eventually it was relegated to a store cupboard, then later during a renovation when no-one knew its signficance, it went into a skip and, tragically, was lost for ever.

Arthur's trio of medals including the 1914/1915 Star were despatched, and finally his Death Plaque was dispatched to Samuel Barnett on 22nd November 1921. Unfortunately Samuel had died in May 1918 after an accident in his horse and trap, so never saw his son's medals.

An Australian researcher was in contact to say that a relative of his, Pte. 3740 Herbert Scott Dare, was in England recuperating from wounds so went to pay respects to Barnett Senior. He told Dare that he had put aside £10,000 for each of his sons. Arthur Barnett seemed to be a friend of the Dare family in Granville, a suburb of Sydney. Clyde Engineering in Granville was heavily involved in locomotive construction at the time and Arthur Barnett had engineering skills and a railway background. The Dares were friends with a family who were directors there - so it is possible (but only conjecture) that Arthur may have been employed there.

Action resulting in his death

3rd Australian War Diary for 18th June 1916 reads:
"Three enemy balloons up during the day. Our artillery active.
Enemy fired 15 shells at Croix Marechal Post setting the building alight and completely destroying them. 'B' company occupied this farm. A quantity of equipment and clothing was destroyed. One man was killed by a shell whilst helping to save government property from the fire."

There was only one man from the 3rd Australians that day - Arthur Barnett.
Arthur was buried on the day of his death, 18th June 1916, by Rev B.C. Wilson at Rue David Cemetery, Fleurbaix.

Newspaper Cuttings

Tipton Herald 24th June 1916
A large circle of friends will hear with much regret of the death of Private Arthur Barnett, son of Mr and Mrs S Barnett, of "The Orchards", Burnt Tree. Intimation of his death came to his parents on Thursday from the Army Chaplain. Private Barnett, it appears, who was attached to the Australian Imperial Forces, had attended Church parade, and had got back into the trenches when he was fatally wounded by a shell. Private Barnett went to Australia some months before the war, and soon after that took place he joined the Expeditionary Force and had for some time been in the fighting line. While in Dudley, Private Barnett was a prominent member of the Cricket Club, and was one of the best bats of the Second XI. Much sympathy is felt for his parents and family in their sad bereavement.
Roll of Honour
BARNETT - (Australian Imperial Forces). Killed in Action on June 18th, Private Arthur, third son of Mr and Mrs S. Barnett, "The Orchards", Tipton.

Tipton Herald 12th August 1916 (inc photo)
The above is a photo of Private Arthur Barnett, son of Councillor S. Barnett, and brother of Councillor W. Barnett, of Burnt Tree, Tipton, who was killed in France whilst serving with the Australian Forces (as previously announced). Private Barnett was articled to Mr W.H. Jukes, surveyor of Tipton, and subsequently became assistant engineer to the Midland Tramway Company in Birmingham. Upon the Corporation taking over the service he went to America as draughtsman in a large ironworks in Philadelphia. He subsequently went to Australia, and had only been there a few months before war broke out. Private Barnett was a popular young man in the district, a first class cricketer, and a good all-round sportsman. A friend, writing of him, says: "You have played the game straight, sturdy, merry and bright "sport" right up to the end, and your many pals miss you and mourn you."

Tipton Herald 28th April 1917
On Sunday morning (April 29th) the memorial to Private Arthur Barnett in St Michaels, Tividale, will be dedicated.

Tipton Herald 5th May 1917
On Sunday morning last - previous to the choral celebration of the Holy Eucharist - there was an impressive ceremony in the North Aisle of St. Michael's Church, Tividale. The Vicar (Rev. Wynn-Griffiths), the choir, and the churchwardens proceeded to the handsome work of art placed in the church to the memory of Private Arthur Barnett, who fell in action. There the Vicar read simple, but appropriate prayers "to the glory of God and St. George of England, in loving memory of Private Arthur Barnett." The figure of St. George (in full armour with lance and shield) is a very tasteful work of art, and bears the following inscription:-
St George of England
To the Glory of God and St. George of England.
In loving memory of Private Arthur
Barnett, Australian Imperial Forces,
third son of Samuel Barnett, of The
Orchards, Tipton, who was killed in
action in France fighting for his
Country on Sunday, June 18th 1916,
aged 32 years.
Jesu Mercy !

The family of the gallant soldier, and a number of his companions (principally of the Dudley Cricket Club) were present. The appropriate hymns "The fight is o'er" and "Fight the good fight" were sung. The Vicar, at the close of an able sermon on the sorrows of life, made a touching allusion to the late Private Barnett, who, he said, had a smile and a cheery word for all with whom he came into contact, and whose death was a great sorrow to a very large circle of friends.
The above photograph was taken by Mrs C Lambert, of Barnett Street, Tividale.

Tipton Herald 16th June 1917
In Memoriam.
BARNETT - In loving memory of Arthur, fourth son of Mr and Mrs S Barnett, "Orchards", Tipton, killed in action June 18th 1916. Deeply mourned by all. RIP.

Tipton Herald 11th May 1918
It came as quite a tragic shock to many people during last week end to learn that Mr Samuel Barnett, the well known brick manufacturer, of "The Orchards" Tividale Road, Tipton, had succumbed from injuries received the previous Wednesday by being thrown out of his trap near the Boat Inn, Tividale. He sustained serious injuries, including a fractured pelvis and concussion of the brain. The injuries prevented him from assimilating nourishment, and he succumbed from exhaustion. He leaves a widow and grown-up family to mourn his loss. His third son, Arthur, died from wounds received in 1916 in the Great War. The late Mr Barnett had a highly successful business career, and was distinguished by considerable shrewdness. One of the enterprises very early associated with his name - the Rattlechain Brick Works - is a familiar landmark to travellers on the line between Dudley Port and Oldbury railway stations. He was, at the time of his death, a member of the Rowley Regis Council and Education Committee, and was formerly on the Tipton District Council.

Tipton Herald 22nd June 1918
In Memoriam.
BARNETT - In loving memory of Arthur Barnett, Australian Expeditionary Force, killed in action France June 18th 1916.

Barnett Arthur memorial 96 452x700 


Arthur Barnett's memorial in St. Michael's Church, Tividale.

Now sadly lost.