William Barnett GC (EGM exchanger)

b. 31/10/1912 Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire. d. 10/09/1972 Stone, Staffordshire.

DATE AND PLACE OF GC ACTION: 15/04 – 14/09 1936 Palestine.

William Barnett (1912-1972) was born on 31st October 1912 in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, though sadly is known about his parentage and his childhood. It is known that he attested with the Royal Scots Fusiliers on 9th April 1931, and was soon posted to India. He served with the 2nd Battalion at Ferozopore in late 1931, before transferring to Shanghai, China until 1932. After a short spell back in England, he moved into the 1st Battalion, which was sent to Haifa. The 1st Battalion then moved to Moscar from 1933 to 1935, and were stationed in Palestine at the time of the disturbances of 1936, which would lead to the award of the Empire Gallantry Medal for William Barnett. William married a woman named Doris Elizabeth Butler, and they had two sons, William (who sadly died aged just 3) and Michael John.

William Barnett GC

The initial disturbances lasted from 15th April to 14th September 1936, where the Arabs were increasingly discontented with the continued British presence and increasing Jewish immigration into the area. There were many incidents, and in one week alone 168 Arabs and Jews were killed. Barnett distinguished himself during these emergency operations.

Barnett’s Empire Gallantry Medal of the Military Division was announced in the London Gazette of 27th November 1936. Soon after the end of the disturbances in October 1936, the 1st Battalion were transferred to India where they remained until the outbreak of World War II.

William served throughout the Second World War, reaching the rank of Quarter Master Sergeant. In September 1940, with the creation of the George Cross, he was entitled to exchange his EGM. In 1941 he was transferred into the SAS Corps. After the end of the war, he returned to the Potteries, where he became a civil servant. Soon after this, his wife Doris died in 1948.

Sadly, William died suddenly at home at 45a Poplar Close, Walton, Stone, Staffordshire aged just 59 on 10th September 1972. He was buried in Longton Cemetery, Stoke on Trent, with his wife and his son William. His GC, 1953 QEII Coronation Medal, Africa Star, War Medal 1939-45, Defence Medal 1939-45 and General Service Medal 1908-62 with Palestine clasp are privately held.