BARNETT, Morris John
(Service number 6/2064)

First Rank Lance Corporal Last Rank Sergeant


Date 20 September 1890 Place of Birth Wairuna, near Clinton

Enlistment Information

Date 13 February 1915 Age 24 years
Address at Enlistment Cairnfield, Kakanui, North Otago
Occupation Gardener - R. H. Rhodes, "Bluecliffs", St Andrews, South Canterbury
Previous Military Experience Dunedin City Guards - until change of residence
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin Laura BARNETT (mother), Cairnfield, Kakanui, North Otago
Religion Church of England
Medical Information

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation 5th Reinforcements
Unit, Squadron, or Ship Canterbury Infantry Battalion
Transport Maunganui or Tahiti or Aparime
Embarked From Wellington Destination Suez, Egypt
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With Canterbuty Infantry

Military Awards

Campaigns Balkan (Gallipoli); Egyptian; Egyprian EF; Western European
Service Medals 1914-1915 Star; British War Medal; Victory Medal
Military Awards

Award Circumstances and Date

No information

Prisoner of War Information

Date of Capture
Where Captured and by Whom
Actions Prior to Capture
PoW Serial Number
PoW Camps
Days Interned
Liberation Date


Date Reason

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

Post-war Occupations

Gardener; parks director


Date 15 October 1964 Age 74 years
Place of Death 46 Selwyn Street, Somerfield, Christchurch (residence)
Notices Press, 16 October 1964
Memorial or Cemetery Crematorium
Memorial Reference
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

Morris John Barnett was born on 30 September 1890 at Wairuna, near Clinton, South Otago, the second son of Abraham Morris (Joe) and Laura (née Steel) Barnett. His Australian-born father married Laura in 1887 at Clinton. Thereafter they moved to various schools in Otago where he taught. Abraham died at Kakanui, North Oatago, in March 1914. He was one of he pioneers of school gardening in Otago, inspiring, among others, his son Morris. Along with several of his siblings, Morris was educated at Waitahuna Gully School and Upper Junction School (north of Dunedin). On leaving school he took an apprenticeship under the curator of the Dunedin Botanical Gardens (Mr Tannock) and attended evening classes at the Dunedin Technical School. After some years, he spent two years as a horticultural student at Kew Gardens, England, gaining his diploma in horticulture.

Mr Abraham Barnett died on 16 March 1914 at his Kakanui residence. It was in 1914 that Morris returned to New Zealand and obtained a position as head gardener to Mrs R. Rhodes, of Blue Cliffs, St Andrews. There was Morris when he enlisted eight months later - on 13 February 1915. Single and of Church of England affiliation, he named his mother as next-of-kin – Laura Barnett, Cairnfield, Kakanui, North Otago. He had served with the Dunedin City Guards until he changed residence. Lance Corporal M. J. Barnett embarked with the Canterbury Infantry Battalion (C Company – South Canterbury) of the 5th Reinforcements, leaving from Wellington for Suez, Egypt. He took ill at Gallipoli but returned to the trenches. In July 1916 he was wounded in France and admitted to hospital.

Morris John Barnett married Doris Elizabeth Taylor on 18 October 1916 at St Ann’s Church, Kew, Surrey, England. Two sons were born to Morris and Doris – Morris George Edward Barnett (Teddy), who lost his life in 1941 in the Western Desert, and Godfrey Taylor Barnett.

Morris was discharged on 23 October 1917, being no longer physically fit for war service on account of pre-enlistment disability aggravated by active service. Morris returned briefly to Blue Cliffs before being appointed a foreman at the Dunedin Botanic Gardens. Then in 1929, after a few years in Oamaru, he was appointed superintendent of parks and reserves in Christchurch, a position he held for 26 years.

Morris John Barnett died on 15 October 1964 at his residence, 46 Selwyn Street, Somerfield, Christchurch, aged 74 years, and was cremated. Doris and younger son Godfrey. His brother, Godfrey Harry Steel Barnett, was killed in action in 1918 at the Somme, France.

See attached newspaper extracts for more details.


Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [16 June 2023]; NZ BDM Indexes (Department of Internal Affairs) [21 June 2023]; School Admission records (Dunedin Branch NZSG) [21 June 2023]; Evening Star, 19 July 1916, Press, 20 July 1916, 16 October 1964 [x 2], 17 October 1964 (Papers Past) [16 & 21 June 2023]

External Links

Related Documents

Researched and Written by

Teresa Scott, South Canterbruy Genealogy Society

Currently Assigned to

Not assigned.

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