William Joseph Patrick Barnes

Date of birth: 16th September 1881
Place of birth: Southampton
Date of marriage: 1903
Place of marriage: Southampton
Service No.: 192725
Rank: Leading Seaman
Regiment / Division: HMS Good Hope
Died: 1st November 1914 aged 33 years
Death location: At sea at the Battle of Coronel, coast of Chile

Before the War

William’s parents were William senior, b. 1842 and died in 1896 at the age of 54, and Angelina, nee Pscinga, b. 1861 and died in 1895 at just 34 years of age.  William and Angelina were both born in Portsmouth. They were married in Southampton in 1876 and both died in there.

In the census of 1891 William and Angelina, together with their four children, were living at 4 Brewhouse Lane, Southampton William senior was employed as a Labourer.

William had 4 siblings:

Julie b. 1883
Richard Joseph b. 25th March 1885  d. 31st May 1916 (war casualty)
George Henry b. 1888  d. 6th October 1918 (war casualty)
Rosina Mary b. 1889

After the death of their parents the children were placed in the workhouse.

William married Agnes Anne, nee Reeves in 1903. Agnes was born in 1881 in the district of Romsey, Hampshire . They had three children – Laya b. 1905, William Joseph b. 1908 in Portsmouth and Nora Kathleen b. 15th March 1912 who married in 1934 and died in 1988 in Staffordshire.

Agnes went on to marry Samuel Sunderland in 1921 and died in 1960 in Staffordshire.

In the 1911 census William was serving with the Royal Navy and stationed at Portland, Dorset. His rank was Leading Seaman. He states he is married, however there is no trace of his wife or children.

Both of William’s brothers were war casualties and like him, also died at sea. George was serving with the Mercantile Marine Reserve on the HMS Otranto when it sunk following a collision with another British troopship, whilst Richard was a crew member with the Royal Navy.

Both of William’s brothers also died at sea – George was serving with the Mercantile Marine Reserve on the HMS Otranto when it sunk following a collision with another British troopship and Richard was serving with the Royal Navy on the HMS Queen Mary when it was attacked and sunk at the Battle of Jutland.

War Service

Royal Navy and Royal Marine War Graves Roll

Name: William Joseph Barnes
Rank: Leading Seaman
Birth Date: 16 Sep 1881
Birth Place: Southampton, Hants
Branch of Service: Royal Navy
Cause of Death: Killed or died as a direct result of enemy action
Official Number Port Division: 192725 (RFR Po B 4580) (Po)
Death Date: 1 Nov 1914
Ship or Unit: HMS Good Hope
Location of Grave: Not recorded
Name and address of cemetery: Body not recovered for burial
Relatives notified and address: Wife: Agnes A, 139 Manor Road, Itchen, Nr Southampton

William was a Leading Seaman in the Royal Navy and was killed when his ship, HMS Good Hope, was sunk with all hands at the Battle of Coronel off the coast of Chile on the 1st November 1914. The crew of the Good Hope are remembered on a memorial tablet in the Christ Church Cathedral, Stanley on the East Falkland Island. The memorial was paid for by donations received at a memorial service held on the 29th November 1914. Another memorial can be found in the 21st May Plaza, Coronel, Chile and is dedicated to all those who perished at the Battle of Coronel.

Like his brother Richard, William is also remembered on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial. All the brothers – William, Richard and George – are also remembered on the Southampton Cenotaph and Memorial Wall along with their cousin, Arthur Ernest Flower, another casualty of the War.

Portsmouth Naval Memorial
“Barnes, Ldg. Smn. William Joseph, 192725 (RFR/PO/B/4580). R.N. H.M.S. Good Hope. Killed in action at Battle of Coronel 1st Nov., 1914. Age 33. Son of the late William and Angelina Barnes, of Southampton; husband of Agnes Annie Sunderland, (formerly Barnes), of 1, Cobden St., Palfrey, Walsall, Staffs. Born at Portsmouth. 1”

William was entitled to the Star, Victory and British War Medal.

Historical Information

When completed the Drake Class Armoured Cruisers were among the fastest ships in the world. They were good steamers and very economical in service. HMS Good Hope was originally to be named HMS Africa. She became the flagship of Rear Admiral Cradock of the South American station during August: 1914. Sunk by gunfire on 1st November 1914 by the German armoured cruisers SMS Scharnhorst and SMS Gneisenau off the Chilean Coast during the battle of Coronel, the entire crew of 900 was lost.


If you want to know more about George, Richard and Arthur please select the link to their names.

The bodies of the three brothers were never recovered so they were never laid to rest.

Researcher: Shaun Connolly (Great Nephew of the Barnes brothers)
and Becky Lonergan
Published: 23rd October 2013
Updated: Insert dates here

If you have any additional information about the person named above please complete the Comments section below.

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