127303 Royal Army Pay Corps
William Barnes was born around 1896 in Hampshire. His father served in the army and as a boy William went with his parents to Egypt. He returned home to England at the age of 12 and attended school in Lavenham, while his parents were in London. On leaving school he joined the Stock Exchange but at the outbreak of the First World War he joined 2/6th Battalion London Regiment, which was then stationed in Sudbury. He was later commissioned in the Royal Artillery and served in Mesopotamia. As a result of dysentery he was invalided to India and became an Adjutant with a regular artillery brigade in the Punjab. He returned to England in 1920 and joined a small American banking concern.
William was married to Dorcas and they had a daughter. In Sudbury William became the Landlord of the Royal Oak in King Street and whilst there was invited to become the manager of the County Cinema. He also served as a Town Councillor and as Secretary to the Sudbury Traders Association, which later became the Sudbury and District Chamber of Commerce. In the Suffolk and Essex Free Press report on 15th May 1941 he was described by the Mayor, Mr. Wheeler as an ‘energetic able worker in all good causes, whose genial, affable and gentlemanly manner endeared him to all with whom he came in contact’.
At the outbreak of war William returned to ‘the Colours’ serving with the rank of Lieutenant. He managed to retain the managership of the County Cinema with the assistance of his wife.
On 11th May 1941 William was home on leave, due to return to his unit the next day when he was taken seriously ill. He died later that day aged 45. His funeral took place at St. Peter’s Church, and many local dignitaries including the Mayor and Town Councillors attended. William lies buried in Sudbury Cemetery.
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