William Alfred (Alf) BARNES MiD

BARNES, William Alfred

Service Numbers: 2330, N75504
Enlisted: 6 June 1915, Liverpool, New South Wales
Last Rank: Sergeant
Last Unit: Lines of Communication Units
Born: Toowoomba, Queensland, 17 October 1897
Home Town: Tamworth, Tamworth Municipality, New South Wales
Schooling: Moonbi Public School
Occupation: Labourer
Died: Natural causes (heart disease & pneumonia), Tamworth, New South Wales, 29 July 1973, aged 75 years
Cemetery: Tamworth Lawn Cemetery
Memorials: Moonbi Public School Roll of Honor
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World War 1 Service

6 Jun 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 2330, Liverpool, New South Wales
20 Aug 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 2330, 13th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Shropshire, Sydney
20 Aug 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 2330, 13th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
17 Mar 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Gunner, SN 2330, 10th Field Artillery Brigade
15 Jul 1919: Discharged AIF WW1, Gunner, SN 2330, 10th Field Artillery Brigade

World War 2 Service

21 Sep 1940: Enlisted Citizen Military Forces (CMF) / Militia - WW2, Private, SN N75504, Tamworth, New South Wales
18 Jan 1946: Discharged Citizen Military Forces (CMF) / Militia - WW2, Sergeant, SN N75504, Lines of Communication Units, Provost Company (NSW)

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William Alfred Barnes like many others during the first world war signed up to fight for King and Country, so patriotic he was in fact underaged when he joined up in Liverpool, Sydney. He was 17 and 8 eight months not 18 and eight months as per his enlistment papers.

We have a copy of a very touching letter written by him to his mother during the first world war. He was a loving and very considerate son to his parents and a loving brother towards his siblings.

William was born in Towoomba, Queensland 17 October 1897 to parents James Barnes and Agnes Anne Cavill. He spent the first early years in Towoomba, Queensland before eventually moving with his family to Moonbi near Tamworth, New South Wales. They lived at first with his paternal grandparents.

His father use to make ginger beer from a family receipe that was written in copperplate brought over from England. When William was 15 his father asked him to take some ginger beer down to the saleyards in Tamworth to sell. Alas his father added too much hops to the ginger beer and all the men ended up drunk. The local Police Sergeant suggested that the next time try not to add so much hops. 

Across the road from the saleyard was a house he loved and he use to always say he would one day buy it.  After the war he was successful in purchasing the house with a War Service loan.  The house was situtated in 28 Piper Street, Tamworth also the house was built in 1864 and is on the National Heritage List. William originally bought his house to provide a home for his mother, brothers and sisters after his father died. 

In 1923 William married Ila Sunshine Osborn and they had 5 children Myra, Stanley, Betty, Noreen and Willamina.

William started a Cordial Factory in Tamworth and he use to make ginger beer in large stone vats from the family receipe. The factory was situtated in what is now Barnes Street in the Industrial area but during the depression he sold the business to Wilds Cordial.

Across the road from Williams house, the Salvation Army was holding their Sunday School. One day it started to rain so William crossed the road and brought all the children and their teachers to his home.  He told them they could use his veranda and home every Sunday when the family went to their own church. He had a lot of respect for the Salvation Army because of the wonderful help they gave to the soldiers during the first world war.

He was a wonderful gardener and he use to provide family and friends during the depression with fresh produce. William was a very good cook and use to make for the family from his extensive gardens pickles, tomato sauce, preserved fruits and vegetables and relishes etc.

Because William was gassed during the war he was not expected to live a long life but he fortunately survived until he was 75. He died 29 July 1973.

I hope that I have provided the information concerning my grandfather you are requesting and if there is anything else you require do not hesitate to contact me. - Cherie Bird (nee Barnes)