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William Barnes


  • Title
  • Forenames
    William AWMM
  • Surname
    Barnes AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
  • Service number
    2753743 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi / Hapū / Waka / Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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Wars and conflicts

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  • War
  • Campaign
    • Libya AWMM
    • Western Desert AWMM
    • Sicily AWMM
    • France and Germany (TBC) AWMM
    • France and Germany (TBC) AWMM
    • 1939-1945 WW2 AWMM
    • Italy AWMM
  • Armed force / branch
    Army AWMM
  • Service number
    2753743 AWMM
  • Military service
  • Promotions/ Postings/ Transfers

Training and Enlistment

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  • Military training
  • Branch Trade Proficiency
  • Enlistment
    Inter War 1932 AWMM
    Age 16 AWMM
    Shipyard worker/Civilian AWMM
  • Occupation before enlistment
  • Age on enlistment


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Prisoner of war

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  • Capture details
  • Days interned
  • Liberation date
  • Liberation Repatriation
  • POW liberation details
  • POW serial number

Medical history

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  • Medical notes

Last known rank

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Biographical information

Biographical information

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  • Enlisted 1933 or 1932 in Great Britain

    The following are recollections of Mr Barnes recorded by Sue Thomson-Lindsay in 1999. 'I came to New Zrealand in 1952 and transferred to the New Zealand Army but was discharged in 1959. I had served 21 years with the British Army and 5 with the New Zealand Army at Waiuku. After the army I worked as a chef. It was a good life and my wife liked it too. If I was to advise a younger person I wouldn't hold them back from doing it.

    The British army was much different to the New Zealand army. The British were more formal and more ceremonial. I was surprised at the informality of the New Zealand army. Soon after arriving here, I was doing some desk work and a senior officer came up to me and said "How's it going Jock?" That would never have happened in Britain.

    The Black Watch were the senior highland regiment, they originated from all the rustling between England and Scotland. The Scots formed a Watch to prevent this, of course everyone wanted to wear their own tartan, but there were too many of them. So they took a thread fromn each tartan and developed their own - The Black Watch - a bastard tartan.

    We wore our kilts in battle depending on the place. It was far too hot to wear tartan in the desert. We had to hand in our kilts at the end of the war. The Germans called us the 'Ladies from Hell'. It took 5 yards of cloth to make our regimental kilts.

    I planned on being in the Black Watch from when I was very young. I joined up for revenge. My father lost both of his legs in World War One. He was in a shell hole and a shell landed in it and blew his feet off. But he wasn't got out of there for 36 hours, so by that time gangrene had set in. He was gassed as well. I thought if I could hurt some of them I would.

    I was one of quads, two of my brothers enlisted when the war started, in the Black Watch but left when the war was over. They're dead now.

    I know I killed quite a few. At Normandy a young soldier asked me if I was scared, but I wanted to get them that were making me scared. You never worried about the sound of bullets cracking above your head, you worried about them not cracking, because then they had hit you. We called shell shock 'Bomber happy'.

    Returning to peace time was difficult. Today I consider myself on death row, I'm just waiting to die now.'

    Regarding the campaigns he fought in he says: 'Fought in Libya, in the desert, Sicily, back home for the Normandy Landing, France, Belgium, Holland and right into Germany. The Black Watch were the first to cross into the Rhine and the war finished a few days later. I was at Dunkirk, we had been surrounded at Saint Valeries, but got back across from Dunkirk and went home. I think I am the only person left in New Zealand that survived Dunkirk. I was at the battle of Alamein, I remember the ground was going up and down, and that we were chasing the Italians all day.'

    Cenotaph record initially prepared with the serviceman in 1999 AWMM
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About death

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  • Death
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference



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  • Memorial name

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  • External links
  • References
    • Information kindly provided by family AWMM
    • Cenotaph record initially prepared with the service person. AWMM

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