Frederick Frances (Eric) Barnes

Date of birth: 30th May 1894
Place of birth: Southampton
Service No.: 19991
Rank: Private
Regiment: Canadian Infantry
Battalion: 10th
Died: 21st May 1915 aged 20 years
Death location: Festubert, France


Life before the War
Eric was the youngest of 3 siblings born to Frederick and Amy Maud, nee Mayoss, who married in Shirley in 1888.

Little is known of Eric’s father because his parents divorced on 12th May 1898.  His mother was born in Shirley in 1862 and was the Principal of Alexander College in Richville Road, Shirley.  She passed away in the city in March 1938.

Eric’s two older sisters were:

Dorothy Maud   b.1890 Shirley.  Date of death not known.
Married a Mr Evans in Southampton in 1913.

Irene Freda   b.1892 Shirley and  d.1966 Mere, Wiltshire.
Married Ernest J. Waldron in Southampton in 1922.

Eric was to be found in Suffolk at the 1911 census where he was a Pharmacist’s Apprentice with his Auntie Ethel Douthwaite’s husband Harry.

Obviously pharmacy was not for Eric because he disembarked at Quebec on 8th May 1913 and joined the Canadian Bank of Commerce in Calgary.  He was still working for the bank, now based at Youngstown in Alberta, when war was declared.


War Service
Eric immediately volunteered for Imperial service and came over to England with the first contingent of Canadians.  His battalion trained on Salisbury Plain through the winter of 1914 and left for France on 10th February 1915.

The battalion took part in the Battle of Neuve Chapelle and in the Second Battle of Ypres.  It was during this battle that the 10th Battalion recaptured St Julien Wood, losing three-quarters of its fighting strength.

At Festubert, on 21st May 1915, the 10th recovered some trenches from the Germans and, whilst they were being made habitable, Eric was struck by a shell and died instantly.

On the opening day of the Battle of Arras, 9th April 1917, the four divisions of the Canadian Corps, fighting side by side for the first time, scored a huge tactical victory in the capture of the 60 metre high Vimy Ridge.

After the war, the highest point of the ridge was chosen as the site of the magnificent memorial to the 60,000 Canadians who gave their lives in France.


Researcher: Mark Heritage
Published: 13th May 2015
Updated: Insert dates here

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