John Barnes was born in 1896, one of at least five children of John and Ethel Maria Barnes. His birth was registered in the 4th quarter of 1896 in the Marylebone registration district, London.
In the 1911 census he is shown as a telegraph messenger for the General Post Office, aged 14 years, living in two rooms at 52 Paddington Street, Marylebone, with his parents and his three surviving siblings: Ethel Barnes aged 12; Ivy Barnes aged 11 and Elsie Barnes aged 4. His father was recorded as a grocer shopkeeper.
In the London Gazette he is listed as being appointed without competition as a temporary assistant postman on 30 July 1913 and Post Office Appointment Books show that he was promoted to the grade of postman in January 1917 in the London West area.
He enlisted as a Gunner in the Royal Field Artillery, service number 92211 and was attached to their 54th Battery, 37th Brigade, 1st Division, when he was wounded. He was taken to No.36 Casualty Clearing Station in Rousbrugge (now called Roesbrugge-Haringe), Belgium, where he died, aged 21 years, on 29 March 1918. He was buried in Plot 2, Row A, Grave 14 in the Haringhe (Bandaghem) Military Cemetery, Nachtegaalstraat, Poperinge, Belgium.
On 17 August 1918 his army effects totalling £8-3s-11d were sent to his father at 16 St John's Wood Terrace, London, NW8 and who was also sent his £12-10s-0d war gratuity on 5 December 1919. He was posthumously awarded the British War Medal 1914-1918 and the Victory Medal.
He is shown as Barnes. J. on the Western Postal District war memorial in Mount Pleasant, London, WC1. He is also commemorated on page 24 in the Post Office Fellowship of Remembrance's Book of Remembrance 1914-1920, on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's website that, incorrectly gives his age as 22 years and on the Imperial War Museum's Lives of the First World War website.
Credit for this entry to: Andrew Behan.