Frank Edgar Barnett, Gunner 140571, 154th Siege Bty, Royal Garrison Artillery
Killed in action 28th January 1918 in Belgium, aged 39
Son of J. W. Barnett, of London; husband of the late Kate Barnett.
John’s death was reported in the Macclesfield Times on 15 February 1918:
LOCAL TRADESMAN KILLED – A SPLENDID SOLDIER
We regret to record the death in action in France of Gunner Frank Edgar Barnett, Royal Garrison Artillery, brother of Mr Charles Frederick Barnett, Cheylesmere, Congleton Rd, Macclesfield, and partner in the firm of Messrs Barnett Bros, costumiers and drapers, 82 Mill St, Macclesfield. The sad intelligence was conveyed in the following letter from Major Hugh Rowan to Gunner Barnett’s wife, who now resides in London: “I very much regret to inform you of the death of your husband, Gunner F E Barnett. He was killed in action on January 28th. Death was instantaneous and he did not suffer any pain. Your husband was a great favourite with the battery, both with officers and men, and his cheerfulness and willingness to undertake any task were the admiration of all…”
Gunner Barnett was thirty-nine years of age and a native of London. He was educated at Christ Church School and the Sir Walter and St John School, Battersea, and gained his experience of the costumier and drapery business in the large houses in the West End of London. Gunner Barnett came to Macclesfield just over nine years ago and with his brother took over the establishment in Mill Street which was then occupied by Mr Freeland. In January 1917, Gunner Barnett was called to the colours, and joined the Royal Garrison Artillery, having previously been in the local detachment of the Cheshire Volunteer Regt. He was stationed at Gosport, Weymouth, and other places, and completed his training at Aldershot. Gunner Barnett went out to France on July 9th 1917, after spending a brief furlough at home. He participated in some heavy engagements, including the Cambrai fighting, through which he came unscathed. Prior to joining the Army, Gunner Barnett resided with his wife at Sherrington, Ryles Park Road, and at one time was connected with the Parish Church. Gunner Barnett possessed a quiet and unostentatious character, and although taking no part in the public life of the town, gained the respect and esteem of all who knew him. Much sympathy will be extended to Mrs Barnett and to Mr Barnett in the irreparable loss they have sustained.
Gunner Barnett’s effects, forwarded on 3 May 1918 to his widow Kate, who by this time was living at Bletchley, included: Gold cased wrist watch & strap, diary 1918 & cover, photo case, photos, cap badge, diary 1916 & cover, knife, comb, case containing pills, PC letters, miscellaneous papers.
Kate died on 25 December 1919 at Bletchley, Buckinghamshire. Her death was announced by her family in the Macclesfield Times on 2 January 1920:
BARNETT – At the Bank House, Bletchley, on Christmas Day, suddenly, Kate, widow of the late Frank Edgar Barnett, of 82 Mill Street and Sherington, Ryles Park Road, Macclesfield.
Gunner Frank Barnett is buried in Grave Ref. XV. B. 1. of the The Huts Cemetery, Belgium. His widow asked for the inscription “BLESSED ARE THE PURE IN HEART FOR THEY SHALL SEE GOD” to be engraved on his headstone.
WWI British Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects
WW1 British Army Service Records 1914-1920
Commonwealth War Graves Commission website
Lives of the First World War website
Macclesfield Times: 15 February 1918, 2 January 1920, 23 September 1921 (photo supplement)