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Barnes, Gerard Frederick

Doctor. Hero Killed, Dash through Enemy Lines Recalled: Lieutenant Gerard Frederick Barnes, R.A.M.C. , whose parents, Mr. and Mrs B. Barnes live at 29, Birch-grove, Acton, has been killed on active service in Tunisia. Lt. Barnes was twenty-four. Educated at Ealing Primary School and King’ s College, London, he went into the Army last October. He was married in March 1942 and has one son, Jeremy aged five months.

Lt. Barnes was a rowing enthusiast and had won his rowing colours at King’ s College. He was also a cadet in the College O.T.C. He was assistant house surgeon at Ashridge Hospital, Hertfordshire, and senior casualty officer at Charing Cross Hospital. Recently a despatch by Ha[ ] Nicholson, Reuter’ s Special Correspondent, which appeared in the “ Daily Mail,” said:- “ Lieut. G. F. Barnes, a Londoner, drove into the enemy lines after a British infantry raid in the Medjez-el-Bab area, and helped by the Germans, evacuated a seriously injured man, and his two dead companions.

“ The raiding force had reached its objectives and was about to withdraw with prisoners when the Germans unexpectedly counter-attacked. The action was seen by Lt. Barnes, a regimental officer who was little over a mile away, he jumped into an ambulance and flying the Red Cross pennant made for the German position. When he was about twenty yards away the Germans beckoned to him to come behind their lines. An officer approached and after exchanging salutes, Lieut. Barnes indicated that he wished to take back the crew of a Bren gun carrier which had been knocked out. The German ordered his men to place the members of the crew on stretchers and carry them to the ambulance. With the officer at the wheel, the ambulance was driven back a short distance and the wounded soldier, whose injuries included a broken leg, received attention. Shortly before Lieut. Barnes drove off on his mercy errand the enemy had opened mortar fire from positions near the ambulance which was standing head-on to their lines. The Red Cross markings on the sides could, therefore, not be seen and it was mistaken for a military vehicle. Another ambulance drove up and placed in position where the Germans could see the Red Cross symbols. The mortar fire then ceased. Acton Gazette and Express. 21 May 1943


First name(s)Gerard Frederick
Date of birth07 April 1919
Place of birthFulham Registration District
Family detailsSon of Bernard & Margaret Julia Barnes, of Acton, Middx. Husband of Margaret Constance Barnes
Previous educationEaling Priory School
CollegeKing's College London and/or King's College London Hospital
Dates at college1935-1939
Dept / courseFaculty of Medicine
QualificationsL.R.C.P.. M.R.C.S.
Military unitRoyal Army Medical Corps,137 Field Ambulance; Irish Guards: attd. 1st Battn
Service number248037
War / conflictWorld War Two (1939-1945)
Date of death04/05/1943
Age at death24
Rank at deathLieutenant
Place of deathTunisia
Cause of deathKilled in action,
Burial placeMedjez-EL-Bab War Cemetery
Commemoration(s)King’ s College Chapel; Roll of the Fallen, London University O.T.C & S.T.C

Commonwealth War Graves Commission and the Irish Guards give his name as George Frederick.

There is a similar obituary in The Lancet of 12 June 1943 which also includes the following:-

A friend writes: “His charm, personality and friendly easy manner could never be forgotten. He took an active part in the O.T.C. at King’s College and was one of the leaders of the Charing X Home Guard unit, and a keen member of the CXH rugger team and of King’s College rowing crew. He qualified in May last year and was acting as senior casualty officer while preparing for his final M.B. when he was called up in November. After a short training with a field ambulance in this country he was posted to North Africa early this year and was killed in action while serving as a regimental officer.

SourcesKing’ s College London Archives, Commonwealth War Graves Commission; Acton Gazette and Express

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