Private Leslie Ernest Barnes

Date of Birth 21 March 1899
Age at Death 20
Date of Death 24 April 1918
Service Number G/89300
Military Service 2nd Battalion, Middlesex Regiment
Merton Address 23 Boscombe Road, Tooting
Local Memorial Mitcham War Memorial

Additional Information

Leslie was born in Battersea on 21st March 1899. In 1901 the family were living at 83 Winstanley Road, Battersea. Leslie’s father Ernest Alexander Barnes was originally from Dorset and was a printer by trade, while his wife Annie Amelia was born in Battersea. Leslie was then 2 years old and had a baby sister Winifred.

By 1911 the family had moved to 51 Montholme Road, Wandsworth Common. Leslie’s father Ernest was now employed as a Compositor. The family had grown to include Albert aged 8 and Marjorie aged two. Sadly, Winifred had died in infancy. Another sister, Grace, was born around 1914.

Leslie enlisted at Kingston on 27th January 1917 aged just 17 years and 10 months. By then the family had moved to 23 Boscombe Road, Tooting, and Leslie was employed as a Draper’s Warehouseman. Initially he was assigned to the 30th Training Reserve Battalion. He transferred to the 2nd Battalion, Middlesex Regiment on 1st April 1918, and was sent to France the following day. He had only been at the front for three weeks when he was registered as missing, presumed dead on the 24th April.

During the German Spring Offensive, at the 2nd Battle of Villiers Bretonneux on the Somme, British troops were defending the town. Leslie’s battalion had been stationed to the east and had suffered intense Bombardment on that day. Out of 530 other ranks, 426 were recorded on the War Diary as missing between 24- 27 April 1918 with only 39 survivors out of a battalion of 585. With the aid of 13 tanks, the German army had captured the town, but the Australian and British troops eventually managed to retake the town the following day.

Leslie is commemorated on the Pozieres Memorial, France and locally on the Mitcham War Memorial.


* Required field