William John Barnett (Jnr) was born in 1897. He was first recorded on a census in 1901 when he was living with his family at Talacre Lodge. (Talacre Hall at that time belonged to the Mostyn family). Head of the household at the Lodge was William Barnett (Snr). He was a 39 year old Coachman who had been born in Staffordshire. His wife Eliza Jane was 36 and hailed from Caernarfon. Their listed children were Lizzie R 10, Louisa S 8, Mary Edith 7, William John 4, Thomas E 2 and Albert H 9 months.
The census of 1911 recorded the family at Talacre Prestatyn. William Barnett was 49 and was still a Coachman (Domestic). The census form stated that he was married but his wife was not listed and no further details of the marriage were given. The listed children still in the household were; Louisa 18, a Milliner, William John 14, a Butcher’s Errand Boy, Thomas Edward 12, Albert Henry 10 and Frederick George was 8.
UK Soldiers Who Died in The Great War 1914 -19 accessible on www.ancestry.co.uk confirms the regimental details at the top of this page and adds that William enlisted in Rhyl. This source tells us he was killed in action in Egypt. His medal index card also on ‘Ancestry’ informs us that he was awarded the Victory Medal and the British War Medal.
William John Barnett’s Service Records have survived and are on Ancestry. They tell us that he had attested on 24th March 1915. He was 19 years old and his address was given as Middle Lodge, Talacre. His religion was C of E. His medical examination at the time revealed that he was just 5 feet 1 inch tall, had a chest measurement of 34 inches ( with an expansion range of 3 inches). His vision was good and his physical development was good. He was declared fit for service in the Territorial Force. (The records show that he originally had the regimental number 3226 in the 2nd/6th Royal Welsh Fusiliers). He had signed an agreement in 1915 that he would serve outside the UK if there was a national emergency.
The records seem to show that in fact he did not leave the country until the 13th February 1917 when he embarked HT Saxon at Devonport bound for Egypt. He disembarked at Alexandria on the 1st March 1917. There is a reference to him spending 3 days in a Field Ambulance suffering from scabies. On the 31st March he joined his battalion ‘in the field’. Twenty days later he was killed in action. There is a barely legible note in the records that says his original grave site was at Sampson Ridge Military Cemetery. There seems to be a reference to a map and a (x) with Gaza written beside it. (The map is not in the records).
The records include communications from the War Office to the Infantry Records Office in Shrewsbury informing them that all personal effects and any medals, the commemorative scroll and plaque should go to his next of kin – his father Mr W Barnett who at that time was living at 68 Cairns Terrace Marine Road, Prestatyn.
There is a letter from Infantry Records to The Imperial War Grave Commission informing them that William’s next of kin was his father at 68 Cairns Terrace.
The army requested information about William’s living relatives and the following family details were supplied in September 1919
Father William Barnett and Mother Eliza Jane Barnett of Ferndale, Marine Road Prestatyn.
Brothers Thomas Edward 20, Albert Henry 19 and Frederick George 16 all at Ferndale, Marine Road, Prestatyn.
Sisters Lizzie Rose Griffiths 28 Hill Top Langly, Northumberland, Louisa Sarah Blithin, Isyfron Cottages Prestatyn and Mary Edith Barnett 23 of Ferndale Marine Road Prestatyn.
There is an index card for William in the Flintshire Roll of Honour in The County Record Office in Hawarden. It is filed with the Gronant cards not the Llanasa ones. It gives the address Ferndale, Marine Road Prestatyn. His regimental details are confirmed. The card says that he was ‘killed at Gaza April 20th 1917’. The card had been signed by his father, William Barnett on 15th September 1919.