ROSS BARNES Rifleman Rifle Brigade 9th Bn. d. 13 October 1916 aged 20 S/7858
Ross Barnes was the son of Frederick William and Sarah Ellen (née Hall) Barnes, of 7 Brampton Street, Atherton. In 1911, he was living with his family at 70 Chaddock Lane, Boothstown. His father was a miner and Ross was the seventh born of nine children. Ross Barnes attested on the 7 January 1915 at Atheron that he was aged 19 and was living at the Volunteer Inn, High Street, Atherton. He was working as a collier. Indeed, in 1911 he was a colliery labourer working underground.
He was posted to France on 6 July 1915. He was seriously wounded on 15 September 1916, with gunshot wounds to the chest and head during the Battle of Flers–Courcelette (Somme). His Battalion was part of the 42 brigade which were ordered to attack Flers on the 15th September.
"The 42nd Brigade moved forward by compass past Delville Wood, deployed 400 yd (370 m) short of the Switch Line and attacked the third objective thirty minutes late; the right hand battalion was stopped just short and the left hand battalion was also caught by machine-gun fire and forced under cover. The two supporting battalions got further forward and found that the neighbouring divisions had not, enfilade fire meeting every movement"
He was sent to the 1st Canadian General Hospital, Etaples, and from there he was transferred to England on 27 September 1916. He died at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Netley, near Southampton, on 13 October 1916 of wounds received and his death was registered at South Stoneham, Hampshire. 472 servicemen died that same day in various locations. A War Gratuity of £8 was paid three years later to his mother. This was money owed to 872,395 soldiers who died while serving in the First World War as well as the latter stages of the Boer War. It was usually paid to their mothers, though wives were also listed.
"Rifleman Ross Barnes, of the Lewis Gun Section, who before the war lived at the Volunteer Inn, died in Netley Hospital last week, and was accorded a military funeral last Wednesday. He was wounded first in the breast, the bullet penetrating his body and coming out at his back. He dropped to the ground, and was unable to move, as he was very weak owing to loss of blood. Whilst in this condition he was again wounded very severely in the head. he endeavoured to move, but had to stay where he was. Later he was found by two men, who took him to the base. From here, he was sent to Netley Hospital, Southampton, where he was operated on three times. Rifleman Barnes was 19 years of age. Before the war he worked at the Pretoria Pit.
The remains of Pte. Barnes were interred in Worsley Parish Churchyard on Wednesday afternoon, with full military honours. A detachment of the guard at the Leigh Prisoners of War Camp, under Sgt. J. Glover, and accompanied by Corpl. Baker, Corpl. Jobson and Lance-Corpls. Wilding and Slack, paraded at the deceased's residence, along with the Royal Defence Corps, Leigh, who attended by permission of Capt. Tilly, various Volunteer Defence Corps, and local soldiers. The soldiers and volunteers marched with the cortege to Tyldesley New Road, and afterwards continued the procession at Mosley Common, where they were joined by the Boothstown Boy Scouts,, under Scoutmaster W. H. Barnes, and members of the Boothstown Wesleyan Girls' Society. The blinds at all the residences at Boothstown, where deceased was well known, were drawn as a tribute of respect, and a large number of friends and sympathisers gathered at Worsley Parish Church, amongst those present at the graveside being Messrs. W. M. Edge, J. Hurst (Swinton), T. Wallwork, C. Atkinson (Little Hulton), D. C. Potter, S. Hall, J. Hall, A. Mann, J. Edge and Mr. Greenall, junr. The coffin, which was draped with the Union Jack, was borne to the grave by six soldiers on leave, and after the service which was conducted by the Rev. P. Burnett of Boothstown, three volleys were fired, and the 'Last Post' sounded. Wreaths were placed on the grave from - Father, mother and family, his uncle and aunts, Saunders, Potter and Barber, Mr. and Mrs. T. Barnes, Ted and Polly, neighbours of High Street, and Bolton Old Road, members of the Volunteer Inn Club, officers and teachers of the Atherton Wesleyan Sunday School; a few friends of the kitchen; Mrs. Dugdale and family; Fred and Martha; Sam and Dan; Mr. and Mrs. Harris and family; Mr. and Mrs. Roberts and Bessie; Mr. and Mrs. Greenhalgh and family; his nephew Freddy, Mr. and Mrs. E. Morris and family, Mr. and Mrs. F Grundy, Mr. and Mrs. Barker, Walter and Eunas, Mrs. Liptrot and family, Boothstown Senior Girls' Club, Mrs. E. Barnes and family. The funeral arrangements were carried out by Mr. Seager of Atherton."
Researched and written by Paul R Speakman