Topic: Corporal Arthur James Barnett

Topic type:

A soldier of the Great War killed in action during the Battle of Messines.

Barnett, A. J.

Corporal Arthur James Barnett - 22182  
Arthur was born 4th January 1893 at Tai Tapu, son of Matthew and Jane Barnett, of "Woodbine". He received his education at the local school and the West Christchurch District High School, after which he became a teacher. Before enlisting he was working for the North Canterbury Education board on the staff of the Shirley school, and had just received an appointment to Waltham, a position which was held open for him. He had almost completed his B.A. degree. Arthur was also a teacher at the Tai Tapu Methodist Sunday school and had always taken a keen interest in Church matters. He was a member of the local cricket club, and was held in high esteem by all who knew him. He had previous military experience with the School Cadets and Territorials. Arthur was 5ft 10 ½ inches tall with a fresh complexion, blue eyes and black hair.
Arthur enlisted on 3rd May 1916 and was assigned to the Canterbury Infantry Regiment, 18th Reinforcements. He embarked for Plymouth on 11th October 1916 on board the Tofua and marched into Sling camp 29th December 1916. He left for France on 1st March 1917 and was killed three months later aged 24 on 7th June 1917, the first day of the Battle of Messines. His body was not identified and a Court of Enquiry found that he was missing believed killed in action. He was one of 12 Selwyn men killed that day. His name is inscribed on the Messines Ridge Memorial to the Missing. In New Zealand Arthur is remembered on the Tai Tapu War Memorial & Tai Tapu Roll of Honour.


CWCG locale history: Messines (now Mesen) was considered a strong strategic position, not only from its height above the plain below, but from the extensive system of cellars under the convent known as the 'Institution Royale'. The village was taken from the 1st Cavalry Division by the German 26th Division on 31 October-1 November 1914. An attack by French troops on 6 -7 November was unsuccessful and it was not until the Battle of Messines on 7 June 1917 that it was retaken by the New Zealand Division. On 10-11 April 1918, the village fell into German hands once more after a stubborn defence by the South African Brigade, but was retaken for the last time on 28-29 September 1918. The MESSINES RIDGE (NEW ZEALAND) MEMORIAL stands within Messines Ridge British Cemetery and commemorates over 800 soldiers of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force who died in or near Messines in 1917 and 1918 and who have no known grave. This is one of seven memorials in France and Belgium to those New Zealand soldiers who died on the Western Front and whose graves are not known. The memorials are all in cemeteries chosen as appropriate to the fighting in which the men died. MESSINES RIDGE BRITISH CEMETERY, in which this memorial stands, occupies ground that belonged to the 'Institution Royale'. It was made after the Armistice when graves were brought in from the battlefield around Messines and from a number of small burial grounds in the area. The dates of death of those buried here range from October 1914 to October 1918, but the majority died in the fighting of 1917. There are now 1,531 Commonwealth servicemen of the First World War buried or commemorated in the cemetery. 954 of the burials are unidentified but special memorials commemorate a number of casualties known or believed to be buried among them, or who were buried in other cemeteries where their graves were destroyed by shell fire. Both cemetery and memorial were designed by Charles Holden.

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Corporal Arthur James Barnett

First Names:Arthur James
Last Name:Barnett
Date of Birth:4 January 1893
Place of Birth:Tai Tapu, Selwyn
Date of Death:7 June 1917
Place of Death:Messines, Belgium
Memorial or Cemetery:Messines Ridge New Zealand Memorial to the Missing, Belgium
Age at death:24
User Name:L M Seaton
Occupation before enlisting:School teacher
Marital Status:Single
Nominal Roll:43/9
Regiment or Service:Canterbury Infantry Regiment
Country:New Zealand
Parents or Next of Kin:Son of Matthew and Jane Barnett, of "Woodbine," Tai Tapu, Christchurch.
Service Number:22182
Rank last held:Corporal
Embarkation:11 October 1916
Place of Embarkation:Wellington
Theatres of War:Messines
Cause of Death:Killed in action
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 New Zealand License
Corporal Arthur James Barnett by Selwyn Library is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 New Zealand License