BARNETT, Morris John
(Service number 6/2064)
|First Rank||Lance Corporal||Last Rank||Sergeant|
|Date||20 September 1890||Place of Birth||Wairuna, near Clinton|
|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|
|Next of Kin||Laura BARNETT (mother), Cairnfield, Kakanui, North Otago|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Served with||NZ Armed Forces||Served in||Army|
|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|
|Campaigns||Balkan (Gallipoli); Egyptian; Egyprian EF; Western European|
|Service Medals||1914-1915 Star; British War Medal; Victory Medal|
Award Circumstances and Date
Prisoner of War Information
|Date of Capture|
|Where Captured and by Whom|
|Actions Prior to Capture|
|PoW Serial Number|
Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses
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|
|New Zealand Memorials|
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]
Researched and Written by
Teresa Scott, South Canterbruy Genealogy Society
Currently Assigned to
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License unless otherwise stated.
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