Private John Barnett was born in Barnstorm, Yorkshire, England on November 24, 1894, to parents Waters Hardy and Matilda Elizabeth Barnett. His older brother Thomas had immigrated to Canada in 1910, and John joined him in early 1914 as a farmer in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
Prior to his enlistment John had served in England with the 5th (Territorial Force) Battalion, Alexandra Princess of Wales's Own (Yorkshire Regiment). On December 28, 1914, he enlisted at Saskatoon with the 9th Canadian Mounted Rifles. He arrived in England in early December of 1915, and proceeded to France on January 29, 1916 to serve with the 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles (C.M.R.).
On June 2, 1916 Barnett was wounded at Ypres, and captured by the Germans as a Prisoner of War. Suffering from shrapnel wounds to his hand and arm, he was reported as a P.O.W. from Wahn, Germany, and confirmed to be at the Aachen hospital camp in July of 1916. From Aachen he was transferred to the P.O.W. camp at Stendal on September 6, 1916, then later that month moved to Quedlinburg on September 29, where he remained until being repatriated to England on January 2, 1919. Following his return to Canada he was demobilized on May 19, 2019.
The letter in the collection was written by John to his mother in Bridlington, England, in December of 1918, in anticipation of his imminent release; the telegram was sent shortly after confirming he was on his way back to England. The newspaper clipping has a photo of John alongside his older brother Sergeant Thomas Hardy Barnett, also of the 1st C.M.R., and his younger brother Sergeant William Allison, MM, of the British Expeditionary Force. More information about John’s brothers can be found in the Collection of Sergeant Thomas Hardy Barnett.
Pte. John Barnett’s Service Record (Serv/Reg# 114538) can be viewed/downloaded in pdf format through Library and Archives Canada.