Raymond Whitmore Barnett was born in Colwall in late 1895, the son of James Henry Barnett, a roadman and labourer, and his wife Annie (née Jolly). Raymond was baptised in the local church of Saint James “the Great” on 20th October 1895.
Both of Raymond’s parents were long-time residents of Colwall, although his mother originally came from Birmingham. Aside from Raymond, James and Annie Barnett also had nine other children, although three had already died by the time the 1911 census was taken.
The Barnetts were a working-class family. In his teenage years, Raymond earned his living as a bricklayer, while his brother George worked in a mineral water factory (probably bottling Malvern water); another brother, Walter, worked on a farm.
After the outbreak of war in August 1914, Raymond joined the Herefordshire Regiment (1/1st Battalion), service number 235244, as a Lance Corporal. Raymond’s battalion had been formed that same month, only days after war had been declared. By 1915 Raymond and his unit had been posted to different areas in the UK. On 16 July 1915 the battalion boarded the SS Euripides at Devonport and the ship made its way to Suvla Bay on Gallipoli, in present-day Turkey. The landing, which commenced on 6 August, was intended to support a breakout from the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) sector a few miles south, a fact which was mentioned in dispatches. The campaign, however, was a failure, and the battalion was eventually evacuated to Egypt at the end of the year.
In mid-1916, with the war still raging, Raymond probably sought a few days’ leave and travelled back to England, where he hastily married Daisy Sharpe in Nottingham. The couple probably spent very little time together, as Raymond was compelled to go back to the front. There is no evidence to suggest that they ever had any children together.
At the time, Raymond Barnett’s battalion was still stationed in the Middle East, where it would remain for the latter part of the war. Raymond would therefore have seen action in what was known as the Egyptian theatre.
On 26th March 1917, 21 year-old Raymond was mortally wounded during what became known as the First Battle of Gaza, which ended the following day. He died shortly after, and his remains were buried in the Jerusalem Memorial in Israel, where another 3,298 soldiers are interred.
His young wife, Daisy, remained a widow for about a year. In early 1918 she became the wife of a Henry Brown, and settled with him at 30, Caroline Street, Pea’s Hill Road, Nottingham.