Frederick James Barnes

Royal Airforce Volunteer Reserve

Service Number 1080435

Frederick Barnes was born on 30 June 1916 in Caistor, Lincolnshire. He had two brothers, Jack and Cyril, and three sisters, Elsie, Edna and Alice. His parents also brought up Hilda. Hilda’s mother, who was a family friend, had died in childbirth.

Fred’s father worked at one of the farms in Roxby, where Fred and his brother Cyril spent a lot of their younger days. They had pet ferrets and used them to trap rabbits.

Fred enjoyed riding motorbikes and this was what helped him with his RAF career.

He enlisted at RAF Padgate on 27 November 1940. On the 28 November he was put in reserve occupation which meant he continued to work at Lysaghts Steelworks as a plate layer.

He was called up for service on 14 March 1941 and returned to RAF Padgate. On 1 June 1941, after completing his basic training, he qualified as a RAF motorcyclist (dispatch rider).

On 30 August 1941 Fred married Irene Maud Grundy at Winter ton Methodist Chapel. They had a son Anthony Frederick, born on 20 August 1942. Unfortunately, Fred never saw his son due to serving in the Middle East.

Fred was posted to various RAF bases in the UK over the next 14 months. During this time, he passed further tests on the motorbike and reached the rank of leading aircraftman.

On 19 August 1942 Fred was posted to a wireless telegraph unit in Iraq. On the 30 November 1942 he was posted to Middle East Command in Libya.

We may never know why Fred was working on a kitchen boiler when it exploded. Fred was badly burnt and was taken to the No. 24 mobile field hospital Tripoli on 27 August 1943. He died 6 days later on 3 September 1943.

Fred is buried in the Tripoli war cemetery, grave number 7C.23.

His name is on the Lysaghts WW2 roll of honour.