Joseph Edwin (Joe) BARTON

BARTON, Joseph Edwin

Service Number: SX25326
Enlisted: 22 October 1940
Last Rank: Staff Sergeant
Last Unit: Army Ordnance Corps AIF
Born: Port Elliot, South Australia, 16 October 1916
Home Town: Port Elliot, Alexandrina, South Australia
Schooling: Port Elliot Primary, Strathalbyn Secondary, Victor Harbor Secondary, South Australia
Occupation: Motor Mechanic/Business Owner
Died: Natural Causes, Port Elliot, Alexandrina - South Australia, 24 September 2016, aged 99 years
Cemetery: Port Elliot - Middleton Cemetery, S.A.
Lot no. 1010 - Lawn Section
Show Relationships

World War 2 Service

22 Oct 1940: Enlisted Australian Army (Post WW2), Private, SN SX25326, Army Ordnance Corps AIF
1 Jul 1942: Involvement SN SX25326
1 Jul 1942: Enlisted Australian Military Forces (Army WW2), Staff Sergeant, SN SX25326
1 Jul 1942: Enlisted SN SX25326, Army Ordnance Corps AIF
31 Jul 1942: Promoted Corporal, Army Ordnance Corps AIF, 31 July 1942 promoted Corporal 18 August 1942 promoted Sergeant 6 February 1943 promoted Staff Sergeant
6 Feb 1943: Promoted Staff Sergeant, Army Ordnance Corps AIF, 31 July 1942 promoted Corporal 18 August 1942 promoted Sergeant 6 February 1943 promoted Staff Sergeant
18 Jun 1945: Discharged SN SX25326, Army Ordnance Corps AIF, 12 June 1945 Transferred to GDD South Aust for Discharge 18 June 1945 Discharged
18 Jun 1945: Discharged Australian Military Forces (Army WW2), Staff Sergeant, SN SX25326

Help us honour Joseph Edwin Barton's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Stephen Corbally

Joseph [Joe] Barton – A Short History

A short biography of Joseph Edwin Barton, known to most people as “Joe”.

Joe was born on the 16th October 1916 in Port Elliot.

He was the youngest of the four children of Joseph Charles and Elizabeth Ann Barton.  His father Joseph Charles was the eldest of five brothers working with their father building horse drawn buggies, drays, sulkies and farmers wagons in Port Elliot [J. Barton & Sons].  The last pair of vehicles were built in 1925 for two of the brothers and the business closed soon after. The advent of the motor car was upon us, despite the earlier observations of Joe’s grandfather, who on his return from a trip to America famously declared “Motor cars will never put us out of business boys, they’re stuck up all over America!”

For many years after Joe’s mother Elizabeth Ann ran the General Store at No. 18 The Strand next to the railway line, whilst his father ran a barbers shop after hours at No. 20 The Strand – later Ray Deeds Cobbler’s Shop.  Sister Gladys and her husband Frank Mudge took over the shop in 1940 after his parent’s retirement.

Joe grew up through his teenage years living in the home behind the shop with the rest of the family.  Fishing with his father and brother Cliff was a great passion.  Cray fishing was a speciality, with always good returns in those days.  In later years Joe would often bring a cray to his then elderly mother, always with the admonishment “make sure you break the shell into little pieces.”

Joe was educated at Port Elliot Primary School, then in North Tce., and co-incidentally built by his great uncle Charles Edward in 1880 for the sum of some £600.00.  Today it is the restored Day Centre for Resthaven, Joe’s last home before he passed away.  Joe started his secondary education by travelling by train daily for three years to Strathalbyn High School.  He was honoured last year as the oldest living student at the school’s centenary celebrations.  He completed his Leaving Certificate at the then new Victor Harbor High School, travelling every day by bike from Port Elliot, accompanied by Eric Williamson and Bobby Boston.

Joe’s brother Cliff began working for Burnett’s garage, located on Montpelier Tce. and North Tce. corner adjacent to the Royal Family Hotel.  Joe would often help his brother with work there, until eventually the brothers took over the business just prior to the 2nd World War.  Thus Barton Bros. started, with Barton Bros. new garage soon built on the corner of North Tce. and The Strand [now Cockles and other shops].  Joe would often reminisce about petrol being 1/5d per gallon, with no bowser in the early days, just 44 gallon drums and a syphon to fill a vehicle.

On the 22 October 1940 Joe was enlisted in the AMF (Militia) at Victor Harbor, along with numbers of other young men from the district.  He was taken on strength of the 2/48th Battalion, then quartered on the Wayville Showgrounds on 12 November 1940.  On 3 January 1941 he started his initial training at Woodside Camp.  After some 64 days he returned to Wayville, and on 9 July 1941 he was transferred to the Aust. Army Ordnance Corps-4MD for full time duty as an M/T Fitter.  He became a Fitter Grp. 1 in Southern Command (4MD) Workshops at Wayville on 24 November 1941.  He was again transferred to 106 Independent Brigade Workshop on 10 February 1942, still located at Wayville.

Not long after his posting, the Workshop and their equipment was transferred by road to Darwin, a long and grueling drive according to Joe.  Upon their arrival on 17 April 1942, after marching in to 7MD, they were allocated to general guard duties at Larrakeyah Barracks while awaiting the arrival of their trucks and equipment from Adelaide.  He and his unit considered themselves extremely lucky that, due to the non-arrival of their vehicles, their departure to Singapore was postponed.  Singapore fell to the Japanese shortly after.

On 25 July 1942 Joe transferred to the 2nd AIF with his new SN SX25326.  He was promoted CPL on the 18 August 1942, backdated to 31 July 1942.  On the same day he was promoted SGT, and shortly after posted to NT Force Divisional Workshops at Adelaide River. During the next few months he rotated between Adelaide River and 10 Advanced Ordnance Workshop at Mataranka, before being posted to No 1 Transport Workshops at Morphett Creek in October 1942.

He was promoted S/SGT 0n 6 February 1943, and continued service at the now No:1 Motor Transport Workshops AEME Morphett Creek, following the formation of the Aust. Electrical & Mechanical Engineers in December 1942.

He returned briefly to SA on leave at the end of 1943, where he became engaged to Patricia Wigzell.  He returned again in 1944 to marry, before proceeding on promotion and posting to 5 Australian Base Workshops Perth WA.  During March 1945 he transferred to Unit Maintenance Inspection Staff LHQ.  On 12 June 1945 he transferred to GDD South Australia for discharge on 18 June 1945, and return to civilian life.

A great sportsman, playing football from a young age, along with cricket and tennis during the summer months.  He went on to play for Sturt’s seconds in the SANFL, winning the Mail medal in 1938 for best and fairest on the South Coast.  He played tennis before WW2, and for a short time on his return from Army service.  He remembers playing with locals Eric Williamson, Bobby Boston, the Abbot Bros., Sylvie Rosser, Mrs. Mary Harding, and not forgetting Bert and Doris Brittain.

Joe’s first transport was a Douglas motor bike, and later a 1918 Ford Model T.  He had many close calls, and came to grief on a number of occasions, once, dislocating his left shoulder, which to this day still troubles him.  His father was singularly unimpressed with Joe’s boast that he could travel from Port Elliot to Adelaide in one hour on the Douglas.  On special occasions he would borrow his father’s 1924 Chev Superior K, or later a 1930 Dodge Silver Anniversary.  It wasn’t until the mid 1950’s that he owned his first family car, a black FX Holden, an ex-taxi previously owned by Neville Hann.

Barton Bros. was a thriving local business serving the holiday traffic and local farming community.  There was very little time for anything else, especially during the summer harvest season.  Joe was heavily involved in the business of the town for most of his life, spending many years involved in the Port Elliot Town & Foreshore Improvement Assoc., and as Chief Fire Control Officer for the Port Elliot CFS.  In the 1980’s he was elected Councillor for Port Elliot ward in the Port Elliot & Goolwa District Council, before serving as Mayor of the district from 1989 to 1991.

Joe eventually retired when Barton bros. ceased to operate in 1982, but he continued to serve the community by becoming involved with the Meals on Wheels organisation.  He eventually received an award of life membership for 15 years service to Meals on Wheels, and was still delivering meals to “the old people” around Port Elliot in his early 90’s, before he himself became a customer.

Whilst he had retired from Council some many years before he didn’t stop agitating for improvements to his beloved Port Elliot.  The new steps at the jetty were named “The Joe Barton Steps”, with the dedication plaque reading “in recognition of his persistence.”

Joe’s life can be characterized by a number of epithets, but those which are repeatedly mentioned in conversation are those which reflect on his character: “an old school gentleman”, “a man of his word”, ”honest”, “a man of integrity”, and last, but not least, and surely the best accolade one could bestow “a dedicated and sometimes successful fisherman”.


A Summary of Service to the nation


HIS SERVICE - 22 October 1940 – 24 July 1942


 22 October 1940         Enlisted in AMF [Militia] at VictorHarbor South Aust

 12 November 1940      Taken on strength-2/48th Bn - Wayville South Aust

 3 January 1941           Attended camp-Initial Training-Woodside South Aust-64 days

 9 July 1941                 Transferred to Australian Army Ordnance Corps-4MD for Full Time Duty 

 24 November 1941      Fitter Grp 1 in Southern Command Workshops-Wayville South Aust

 10 February 1942        Transferred to 106 Independent Brigade Workshop-Wayville South Aust 

 17 April 1942              Marched in to 7 Military District – Darwin





HIS SERVICE - 25 July 1942 – 18 June 1945


 25 July 1942               Transferred to 2nd AIF – allocated Army No: SXM26889-NT L of C

 18 August 1942           Promoted CPL with effect 31 July 1942

 18 August 1942           Promoted SGT

 10 September 1942     Transferred to NT Force Divisional Ordnance Workshops-Adelaide River

 23 September 1942    Army No: SXM26889 cancelled-new Army No: SX25326 allocated

 19 October 1942         Transferred to 10 Advanced Ordnance Workshop-Mataranka NT

 24 October 1942         Transferred to NT Force Divisional Ordnance Workshops-Adelaide River

 29 October 1942         Transferred to No: 1 Motor Transport Workshops-Morphett Creek NT

 December 1942           Australian Electrical & Mechanical Engineers established

 7 December 1942        Change of unit name- No: 1 Motor Transport Workshops AEME

 6 February 1943          Promoted S/SGT

 5 October 1944           Detached to 10 Advanced Ordnance Workshop AEME-Mataranka NT

 6 November 1944        Ceased detachment to 10 AOW AEME-Mataranka

 22 January 1945          Transferred to 5 Australian Base Workshops Perth Western Aust

 8 March 1945              Transferred to Unit Maintenance Inspection Staff LHQ

 12 June 1945              Transferred to GDD South Aust for Discharge

 18 June 1945              Discharged