Lionel Tom BARNETT

BARNETT, Lionel Tom

Service Number: Officer
Enlisted: 2 September 1915, Rockhampton, Queensland
Last Rank: Lieutenant
Last Unit: 9th Infantry Battalion
Born: Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia, 1 November 1890
Home Town: Rockhampton, Rockhampton, Queensland
Schooling: Maryborough Grammar School, Queensland, Australia
Occupation: Grazier
Died: SW to head and legs, France, 25 February 1917, aged 26 years
Cemetery: AIF Burial Ground, Grass Lane, Flers
Plot IX, Row E, Grave No. 5
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Gracemere Roll of Honour, Maryborough State High School Roll of Honour
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World War 1 Service

2 Sep 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, Rockhampton, Queensland
21 Jan 1916: Promoted AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant
20 Apr 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, 12th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
20 Apr 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, Officer, 12th Infantry Battalion, SS Hawkes Bay, Sydney
30 Sep 1916: Transferred AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, 9th Infantry Battalion
20 Dec 1916: Promoted AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 9th Infantry Battalion
25 Feb 1917: Wounded AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 9th Infantry Battalion, German Withdrawal to Hindenburg Line and Outpost Villages

Help us honour Lionel Tom Barnett's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Benjamin de Vries

"...2nd Lieutenant Lionel Tom Barnett, 12th Battalion, of Rockhampton, Qld. A grazier prior to enlistment, he embarked with the 17th Reinforcements from Sydney aboard SS Hawkes Bay on 20 April 1916. While serving in France, 2nd Lt Barnett was transferred to the 9th Battalion in November 1916. Promoted to the rank of Lieutenant in December 1916, he was wounded in action... (and) evacuated to a Field Ambulance but died en route, aged 26, and was interred at the AIF Burial Ground, Flers, France." - SOURCE (


Biography contributed by Evan Evans

From François Berthout

Lt Lionel Tom BARNETT
Today, in the fields of the Somme, under the waves of red poppies which sway in the wind, rest in peace, under the rows of their white and solemn graves, a whole generation of young men who, with bravery, love and devotion, served their country with honor and did their duty with pride and courage in the trenches today peaceful and silent but which keep the traces of their courage and their sacrifices. For these lands of France, they gave, in the hell of battles, their youth, side by side, under the rains of bullets and steel, under fire, in the flames of a world at war, they fought with bravery and shed their blood side by side with the most beautiful spirit of camaraderie and unity.They were young and brave and this is how we must remember them, keeping in our hearts the images of young men, proud and smiling heroes who lived and who gave their lives so that we can live today.Gone but not forgotten, they still walk today through fields of roses and poppies, in a peaceful and serene silence that only the song of birds sometimes disturbs and that I often listen with tears in my eyes as I walk on the traces of all these men listening to their voices through the whistling of the wind, more than whispers, they are the voices of history, of their history, so humble and grateful, I know that I am not walking alone because I feel their presence near me, their hands on my shoulders, I feel honored and proud to be their guardian, the guardian of their memory that I would protect with love and that I would share with all my heart so that they never cease to live,and today, it is the memory of one of these young men, one of my boys of the Somme whom I would like to honor with gratitude, I would like to pay a very respectful tribute to Lieutenant Lionel Tom Barnett who fought in the 9th Australian Infantry Battalion and who died of his wounds 104 years ago, on February 25, 1917 at the age of 26 on the Somme front.

Lionel Tom Barnett was born on November 1, 1890 in Rockhampton, Queensland, and was the son of Joseph Jupp Smallman and Emily Caroline Barnett, of The Range, Rockhampton. Lionel was educated at Maryborough Grammar School and after his studies lived in Stainburn Downs, Aramac, Queensland, where he worked as a grazier and had his first military experience with the Maryborough Grammar School Cadets.

Enlisted on September 2, 1915 at Rockhampton, in the 12th Australian Infantry Battalion, 17th Reinforcement,he was promoted to the rank of sergeant on November 8, 1915 and embarked with his unit from Sydney, New South wales, on board SS Hawkes Bay, on April 20, 1916, and sailed for France where he arrived on September 30, 1916 and was transferred the same day to the 9th Australian Infantry Battalion. A month later, on October 25, 1916, Lionel was sent with his battalion to the Somme, more precisely to the front line of Flers and despite the carnage of the battlefield, he fought with great courage and led his men with loyalty and bravery and on December 16, 1916 he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant. Unfortunately, two months later, it is near Flers, that Lionel met his fate.
On February 25, 1917, while he was on the front line in the Le Barque sector, at the back of High Wood near Le Transloy and Flers, Somme, with the men of Company D,15th Platoon he was in command of, he was carrying bombs in the Bayonet Trench when a shell fell near him and his leg was almost blown off and was also seriously injured in the head.Lionel was immediately evacuated but while being transported by ambulance, he died after losing too much blood and was buried by Private number 4182 Ernest Dearden in Flers,Lionel was 26 years old.

Today, Lieutenant Lionel Tom Barnett rests in peace with his men, friends and brothers in arms at the A.I.F Burial Ground, Flers, Somme.

Lionel, you who have, with courage, dedication and loyalty, served your country and who, for Australia and for France, gave your today and your life for our tomorrow, I would like to express to you, from the bottom of my heart, my gratitude and respect for who you were, a proud and courageous young man, a valiant officer who answered the call of duty and who joined the ranks of men determined to do what was right, not just for themselves but for their country, for their loved ones and they followed their hearts to defend what was most important to them, peace, humanity, justice and freedom, it is by carrying high and proud these ideas and their colors under the same uniform they walked side by side, animated by a patriotic faith and by the bonds of camaraderie and loyalty that they went through the most terrible difficulties that a man can know and that all faced with exceptional bravery in the deep mud of the trenches in which they lived and fought among rats, lice, in water and blood, under an endless hell of lead, steel and fire which rained down on them and which pulverized everything in gigantic geysers of flame and mud .Day and night under artillery bombardment, they held out admirably under the dismal roar of shells tearing the sky and the ground in frightening lightning and buried alive thousands of young men who still wait to be apocalypse landscapes devastated by the fury and violence of weapons always more deadly than each other, it is in this hell that they gave their youth, under poison gas and barbed wire they faced death in waiting for the whistle to go over the top and leave the relative safety of the trenches which were the ultimate limit between life and death which roamed the battlefield through the murderous fire of the enraged machine guns which shattered so many lives with a wild rhythm, unprotected, with faith and conviction, for the man who were beside them, they moved forward in courageous attacks with only the steel of their bayonets as their weapon.together they fought and together, brothers in arms forever, they fell and shed their blood on the poppies which are the eternal witnesses of their courage and their sacrifices. They were young, proud, brave and devoted and all showed the courage of a whole nation which is and will be the eternal friend of France for which they have done so much and I think of the words that Mustafa Kemal had for the Australians who fell in Gallipoli, in Turkey and which resonate here also in France "Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives.You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country.Therefore rest in peace.There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours.You, the mothers who sent their sons from faraway countries, wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well."these men who are today our sons will always be in our greatest care, we will always honor them with a deep love but also with gratitude and to walk in their footsteps, on the battlefields and the cemeteries of the Somme is for me a privilege,I walk through the fields of poppies that grow on the old battlefields, but never alone because they are with me through each of my steps, I carry them in me, in my heart and in my thoughts and sometimes, in the tears that I shed in silence on these sacred grounds, thinking, seeing, imagining what they went through, the time of a few hours, my heart and my mind go back in time, 1916, and I see these men crossing the barbed wire fields, I see them run and fall, I see what they went through,each of my visits to them is a trip down memory lane, I feel proud to be their guardian, the guardian of their memory and their history and it is with this feeling deep in my heart that I will always carry high and proud of the flame of Remembrance in which, forever, their names will be kept and so that with us, in our hearts, they never cease to live. Thank you Lionel, for everything.At the going down of the sun and in the morning,we will remember him,we will remember them.