John Edwin Barnes Biography


John Edwin Barnes is my Great-Grandfather and he sadly died on 25th April 1915 during the first day of the Gallipoli campaign in WW1.

His biography details are as follows;

The following information is taken from John Edwin Barnes Army enlisting documentation dated 19th October 1906. He was recruited into the Essex Regiment at the Frances Street Office, Woolwich, London. On the day he enlisted, he was 17 years and 7 months old. His height was 5ft 6 1/2″ and his weight 12st 3lbs. His chest measurement was 35″ and his complexion listed as Sallow. He had brown eyes and auburn hair and his religion is listed as C of E.

He had the following distinguishing marks:

Scar left side of forehead

Scar between shoulder blades

Tattoo I Love F.Bevens front of left forearm

His address on enlisting is: 66, Hansworth Street, Canning Town, London.

His next of kin are listed as follows:

Father Harry 66 Hansworth St. Canning Town Essex

Elder Bros Harry Pte East Surrey Regt, Walter Jnr, Bros Arthur and Edward Sisters Martha & Ethel, all with father

John Edwin Barnes served as a Private in the First World War in the Essex Regiment, 1st Battalion, Serial number 8987. He was killed in action in Gallipoli, Turkey on 25 April 1915 and he is remembered on The Helles Memorial, Turkey. He was awarded the Victory Medal, The British Medal, The Star Medal and The Memorial Plaque. He is listed as going from the 2nd Battalion, then at the Curragh Camp, to join the 1st Battalion in the Regimental Magazine of April 1911. He then appears in the 1911 Census at Quetta with C Company of the 1st Bn as a single Private soldier aged 22

1911 Census Record

Person: BARNES, John

Institution: B Company 1st Battalion,The Essex Regiment 44th, C COMPANY 1ST BATTALION ESSEX REGIMENT, QUETTA, BALUCHISTAN, INDIA

Military details: Private Essex Regt

1911 Barnes

BARNES, John Single? 22 1889 Soldier Poplar Essex VIEW
RG number:
RG14 Piece:
34978 Reference:
RG14PN34978 RD641 SD3 ED17 SN9999

Registration District:

Sub District:
Enumeration District:
17 Parish:

Quetta – Baluhistan India County:
Overseas military

He landed at Gallipoli on the first day of the landing, thereby earning the 1914-15 Star, on which day he was killed.

Essex Regiment 1st Battalion troop movements:

1st Battalion
August 1914: in Mauritius. Returned to England in December 1914.
18 January 1915: moved to Banbury and attached to 88th Brigade in 29th Division.
21 March 1915: sailed from Avonmouth for Gallipoli, going via Egypt and Mudros. Landed at Cape Helles 25 April 1915.
8 January 1916 : evacuated from Gallipoli and moved to Egypt.

8987 John Edwin Barnes Born Poplar. Enlisted into the 3rd Militia Battalion Essex Regiment as Number 9431 on 17th October 1906, aged 17 years 7 months. A carman by profession living at 66 Hamsworth{?} Road, Canning Town. In June 1907 he attested for Regular Service and after basic training at Warley depot, was posted to 2nd Battalion Essex later in 1907. Posted from the 2nd Battalion to the 1st Battalion stationed in on Quetta 5th January 1911. In Quetta he served with C Company. 1911 Census refers. C Company was merged to form part of the new “Y” Company when the battalion moved to a four company structure in 1913.

The eight month campaign in Gallipoli was fought by Commonwealth and French forces in an attempt to force Turkey out of the war, to relieve the deadlock of the Western Front in France and Belgium, and to open a supply route to Russia through the Dardanelles and the Black Sea. The Allies landed on the peninsula on 25-26 April 1915; the 29th Division at Cape Helles in the south and the Australian and New Zealand Corps north of Gaba Tepe on the west coast, an area soon known as Anzac. On 6 August, further landings were made at Suvla, just north of Anzac, and the climax of the campaign came in early August when simultaneous assaults were launched on all three fronts. However, the difficult terrain and stiff Turkish resistance soon led to the stalemate of trench warfare. From the end of August, no further serious action was fought and the lines remained unchanged. The peninsula was successfully evacuated in December and early January 1916. The Helles Memorial serves the dual function of Commonwealth battle memorial for the whole Gallipoli campaign and place of commemoration for many of those Commonwealth servicemen who died there and have no known grave. The United Kingdom and Indian forces named on the memorial died in operations throughout the peninsula, the Australians at Helles. There are also panels for those who died or were buried at sea in Gallipoli waters. The memorial bears more than 21,000 names. There are four other Memorials to the Missing at Gallipoli. The Lone Pine, Hill 60, and Chunuk Bair Memorials commemorate Australian and New Zealanders at Anzac. The Twelve Tree Copse Memorial commemorates the New Zealanders at Helles. Naval casualties of the United Kingdom lost or buried at sea are recorded on their respective Memorials at Portsmouth, Plymouth and Chatham, in the United Kingdom.

Landing W Beach Gallipoli April 25th 1915 “C” Company 1st Battalion The Essex Regiment [Source: Essex Regiment Museum]  W Beach was one of the three allocated to 29th Division on 25th April 1915, and is arguably the most famous of them all. It was here the 1st Lancashire Fusiliers came ashore, and won ‘six Victoria Crosses before breakfast’. The 29th Division landing force consisted of 12 Battalions who were namely: Border Regiment, 1st Battalion Essex Regiment, Hampshire Regiment, King’s Own Scottish Borderers, 1st Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers, Royal Dublin Fusiliers, Royal Fusiliers – City of London Regiment, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, Royal Munster Fusiliers, 1/5th Royal Scots – Lothian Regiment, South Wales Borderers and the Worcestershire Regiment. The landings were to be made by day because of the restricted size of the beaches, the strong current, and fear of hidden reefs. The small size of the beaches was also the reason why there had to be so many landing places at Helles: S, V, W, X and Y Beaches. W Beach differed from the other beaches used that day, in that it was almost a cove, with an arc of high ground and a long, open beach. German advisors attached to the Turks had helped in the defence of this position, and redoubts had been placed on the heights with inter-locking fields of fire, wire in the shallow water and mines. They considered it almost impregnable from any sort of landing by small boats.
The 1st Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers came ashore in companies. One came from HMS Implacable, the rest being brought in by naval personnel from HMS Euryalus. One platoon of the Anson Battalion was attached to them, and 1st Essex Regiment was to follow. About 50 yards from the beach, the boats were unhitched from the tows and they were rowed in. As the boats got nearer to the shore a tremendous fire was laid down by the Turks, causing heavy casualties. Men jumped out into the water, some drowning under the weight of their gear, others getting caught on the wire.  Despite this some men beat their way through the wire and assaulted the trenches in the area of the beach itself. Meanwhile a second force had landed a little to the north and found part of the beach here sheltered from the devastating fire. Captain Thomas Frankland then took his men forward to the Turkish positions here, and this flank was eliminated. Of the 950 who attacked, 533 were killed, wounded or missing; a casualty rate higher even than the first wave at Anzac had borne. In this brave effort the regiment had won 6 VCs (the regiment was thereafter famous for its “6 VCs before breakfast”), 2 DSOs, 2 MCs and one DCM25. W Beach must have been terrifying, but by mid-morning the 400-odd survivors could look back on what they had accomplished through their sacrifice.  Friendly fire from HMS Euryalus had knocked out one part of Lancashire Fusiliers which had got ashore, but another group had fought their way through the defences and met up with the 2nd Royal Fusiliers on Hill 114. The beach was now carried, and a line established inland. Late in the afternoon the Anson platoon and 1st Essex, landed to reinforce the dilapidated ranks of 1st Lancashire Fusiliers. Because of the gallantry of the battalion here on 25th April, W Beach was renamed ‘Lancashire Landing’ in their honour, and was thereafter referred to by this name.

1st Battalion, The Essex Regiment War Diary

12th March 1915

His Majesty’s Inspection

Battalion entrains at Milverton Station, Warwick:

“A” & “B” Companies 8-25 am.

“C” & “D” Companies 8-45 am.

Inspection by His Majesty on main Coventry – Rugby Road.

Return home.

21st March 1915

Warwick, Warwickshire. Part of the 88th Brigade, 29th Division.

To Avonmouth and embarked Caledonia.

April 2nd 1915

Arrived Alexandria, Egypt.

April 6th  1915

Disembarked and to Mustapha Camp.

April 11th 1915

Embarked DONGOLA and sailed for Lemnos.

April 13th 1915

Arrived Mudros Harbour.

April 24th 1915

Set sail to Cape Helles.

April 25th 1915 09:00 hrs

The Battalion less Z Company transhipped from H.T. DONGOLA to a minesweeper and was conveyed as close to the shore as possible, when they were transferred to boats. The landing was carried out under fire and there were several casualties in the boats that took place on W. beach about 9.30 am.

April 25th 1915 09:30 hrs

As soon as the first boats were beached, we received orders to connect between the Royal Fusiliers on right and Lancashire Fusiliers on left and as many as were available were sent to fill this gap, reinforcing as men arrived on the beach. On reaching the crest it was found that no one was on our right.

April 25th 1915 11:35 hrs

A message was received from G.H.Q. to report progress and reasons for not pushing on. Reply was sent, that we were waiting for our left to come up and would then advance. This was attempted but the advance was held up by very heavy fire and many casualties occurred.

April 25th 1915 12:30 hrs

Supported by 4th Worcester’s and after bombardment by Navy, which drove out the enemy, the Battalion took Hill 138 and redoubt beyond.

April 25h 1915 19:00 hrs

Received orders to connect with Worcester’s on right & Hampshire’s on left and entrench position.

Enemy attacked at night & came to close range with a Machine Gun, but inflicted no loss and were driven off.

Casualties during day

2 Officers – Killed

4 Officers – Wounded 1 since dead.

Other Ranks 15 killed 87 wounded.

April 26th 1915

Continued to hold same position.

April 27th 1915 16:00 hrs

Advanced in Line 3 Brigades with 175th French Regiment on right and entrenched new position.

April 28th 1915 08:00 hrs

Advanced in same formation to take up a new position Pt. 236 – Knoll about 700 yds. N.E. of KRITHEA – Pt. 472 – X Coast Line in Sq. 184.R.8

April 28th 1915 09:00 hrs

Met with considerable opposition. The Battalion on the left of the 88th Brigade on reaching a point beyond which they could not advance owing to the right & left of the line being held up entrenched and held till 6 P.M. when it retired to another position in the line with the remainder of the Brigades the right of the line having retired. The enemy made very good use of their Machine Guns causing heavy casualties.

Casualties Officers  Other Ranks,

Killed 2                     12

Wounded           1                     75

Missing                                        33

April 29th 1915

Remained in position.

April 30th 1915

Remained in position, shelled by enemy causing little damage.

May 1st 1915

Remained in same position, Battalion relieved by 2nd Hants. Regt. in trenches and went into reserve.

May 1st 1915 22:30 hrs

Enemy attacked trenches in force. The Battalion was called out and ordered to retake trenches which has been evacuated and were held by the enemy. During the advance the Battalion was subjected to heavy fire from the front and also from the rear by parties of the enemy who had broken through 1 Officer and about 40 Turkish prisoners were taken during the advance. X Company under Capt. Pepys found one trench occupied by the enemy and retook it with the bayonet. The remainder of the Battalion remained in support ready to strengthen any portion of the line.

May 2nd 1915 04:30 hrs

A Counter attack was ordered. This consisted of three companies under Captain Bowen they took a small redoubt killing and capturing some of the enemy, ordered to advance and entrench new position.

This was found impracticable owing to enemy’s heavy shell fire. The old trenches were occupied.

Casualties Officers.         O.R.

Killed                    2                 12

Wounded         3                           28

Missing                                     5

29th Division

The history of 29th Division

As regular units from the further garrisons of Empire arrived back in England after having received recall orders soon after war was declared, many having waited until a Territorial unit had gone out to replace them, they were formed up into three Divisions, numbered 27th to 29th. The 29th, consisting of units that arrived from the most distant stations, was formed in the Stratford-Warwick-Leamington-Rugby-Nuneaton area of Warwickshire in January-March 1915. Originally intended for France, pressure on Lord Kitchener to launch a ground attack at Gallipoli forced him to deploy the Division there.

The 29th Division embarked at Avonmouth on 16-22 March 1915 and went via Malta to Alexandria. On 7 April the first units to have arrived at Egypt bena ro re-embark for the move to Mudros, the deep water harbour at the island of Imbros that was going to be used as a forward base for operations at Gallipoli. The Division landed at Cape Helles on Gallipoli on 25 April 1915.

The 29th Division comprised of the following three Brigades; 86th, 87th and 88th Brigades.

88th Brigade

4th Battalion Worcester Regiment

2nd Battalion Hampshire Regiment

1st Battalion Essex Regiment

1st Battalion Royal Newfoundland Regiment

1/5th Battalion Royal Scots

2/1st Battalion London Regiment

88th Machine Gun Company

88th Trench Mortar Battery

2nd Battalion The Leinster Regiment

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