Fred Thomas BARNES
Rank: Acting Corporal
Number: 37244
Date of Death: 27 October 1917
Age: 41
Cemetery: Bully-Grenay Communal Cemetery, British extension, Pas de Calais, France

The Stockport Advertiser concluded Fred's obituary with these words "(he) was one of the best types of robust young Englishmen, the kind whom the country can least afford to lose and his death will be regretted by a large circle of friends who will remember his noble service". It is a fine tribute and seems to be one wholly deserved.

He was born in Stockport, the only son of Thomas and Mary of 1 Spring Gardens. As well as day school, Fred had furthered his education by attending Stockport Sunday School. His father was a painter and decorator and Fred also took up this trade and the two later worked together. He had two younger sisters - Gertrude and Tillias (sp?).

Fred was a keen sportsman and was a member of the Stockport Wheelers Cycling Club. In 1898, he was the first winner of the Wheelers Cup. In the winter, he played lacrosse for the Offerton Club. Unusually for those days, Fred was well travelled. He had spent a considerable time in France before the War and had also lived in the USA for a few months.

He enlisted into the army on 12 January 1915, joining the Duke of Lancaster's Own Yeomanry. The Yeomanry units were the cavalry of the Territorial forces and, at the time Fred joined, his unit was intended to remain in the UK as part of the home defences. At some point, Fred volunteered for overseas service and was transferred to the Fusiliers.

The Battalion's War Diary has scant details of the day Fred was killed, and those preceding it. It only mentions that, between the 22nd and 30th, they were in support trenches at Bully-Grenay. Each day, "X", "Y" and "Z" Companies were engaged on working parties in the forward area. This was probably helping to maintain the trench structures and in carrying forward stores. It is probable that Fred was killed by enemy shellfire.

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