Charles Kentish Barnes was a twin. He was a career soldier with the Royal Artillery, who served in Gallipoli, and died in Salonica, Greece on Boxing Day 1915, probably from disease. His mother lived in Marconi Road.

Charles was born in Calcutta, India on 15th August 1871, the son of Samuel Kentish Barnes and Ellen Martha Barnes (nee Barton). His father had been born in Gosport, Hampshire c1813; his mother had been born in Calcutta around 1845.

Charles’ siblings included Mary Kentish Barnes (born c1870 in India), Frederick Kentish Barnes (Charles’ twin), and Emily Kentish Barnes (born in 1878 in Gosport).

At the time of the 1881 census eight year-old Charles was resident with his parents and three siblings at Brandymount in Albert Street, Alverstoke in Hampshire. His elderly father was described at the time as retired merchant’s clerk.

The 1891 census recorded Charles’ parents, siblings Frederick and Emily and a servant living at Hill House in Upminster. Charles’ father was a retired merchants clerk and he died, aged 80, in the Romford District in 1894. At the time of the 1891 census 18 year-old Charles was resident in the garrison at Castle Cornet in St. Peter Port, Guernsey where he was a gunner in the Royal Artillery. Charles’ brother Frederick was serving as a seaman in the Royal Navy and was at the Royal Artillery Barracks, Sheerness in Kent.

Charles has yet to be found in the 1901 census. However, his widowed mother was recorded living with her newly wedded daughter and son-in-law Emily and Edward Miller at 1 Alfreda Villas in Manor Road, Chelmsford. A decade later according to the 1911 census Charles’ mother, then 67, was living alone at 139 Upper Bridge Road in Chelmsford (today’s number 146) .


Quartermaster Serjeant, 54th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery

Charles enlisted into the army at Bradford, Yorkshire and served as Quartermaster Serjeant 47589 in the A Battery 54th Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery, part of the 10th (Irish) Division. It had been formed in August 1914 and a year later participated in the Gallipoli campaign against the Turks - the division, including Charles, left Liverpool on 9th July 1915, arrived in Egypt on 20th July 1915 and landed in Gallipoli on 7th August 1915. After suffering heavy losses Charles’ division was withdrawn from Gallipoli at the end of September 1915 and went to Salonika (today called Thessalonika) in Greece in early October 1915, as part of the Anglo-French campaign to assist Serbia in her fight against Bulgarian aggression. Charles died in Greece on 28th December 1915, probably from disease. He was aged 43. He is buried at Salonika (Lembet Road) Military Cemetery (grave: 36) in Greece.

Charles is commemorated on the Civic Centre Memorial, Chelmsford and by the Chelmsford Parish Great War Memorial in Chelmsford Cathedral. He was entitled to the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, and Victory Medal.

The 1918 register of electors recorded Charles’ widowed mother, Ellen Barnes, living at 6 Marconi Road in Chelmsford (pictured).

She is thought to have died in 1923, aged 78.