Topic: Walter Ambrose Barnes (1889-1976)

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An embroidered card sent to his wife during World War I by Pte Walter Ambrose Barnes, 62483 (1889-1976) was lent to the Tauranga City Library in 2014 for display. The card is from the collection of Penelope McLeod. Librarian Stephanie Smith researched the signature on the card and discovered that the author was New Zealand soldier Walter Barnes.

Embroidered cards of French or Belgian make were popular souvenirs for soldiers. W. A. Barnes sent this affectionate card to his wife Lucy at their marital home, 12 Cleveland Road, Parnell, Auckland, probably in 1918 when he was in France. Walter was born in New South Wales and came to New Zealand with his parents in about 1893 [his parents married in Newcastle in 1887]. On 16 June 1915 (reg. 1915/9543) he married Lucy Farnham in St Mary’s Cathedral in Auckland, and their son Lionel was born in April 1917; Lionel was only two months old when Walter joined up. On 22 November 1917 he sailed off to war on the Willochra. He served with the Wellington Regiment in England and France, and returned to New Zealand early in 1919. 

To My Dear Wife (front): Walter Ambrose Barnes (1889-1976)

We don’t have a photo of Walter, but we know he was 5’ 8½” (173 cm), a lightly-built man at just under 9 stone (57 kg), with brown eyes and black hair. He sported a tattoo of a full-rigged sailing ship on his left arm, and a basket of flowers on his right. These details, which we found in his army file, were only able to be discovered because he signed the card to his wife with his initials and surname rather than just his first name. The signature on his attestation form is recognisably the same.

To My Dear Wife (back): Walter Ambrose Barnes (1889-1976)

by Stephanie Smith (2014).


Births, Deaths and Marriages Online (New Zealand)

Births, Deaths and Marriages Online (New South Wales)

Cenotaph Database

Military Personnel File


How to cite this page: Smith, Stephanie (2014). Walter Ambrose Barnes (1889-1976). Retrieved from (Tauranga Memories, last updated: *insert date*). In-text citation: (Smith, 2014)

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Walter Ambrose Barnes (1889-1976)

First Names:Walter Ambrose
Last Name:Barnes
Date of Birth:4 April 1889
Place of Birth:New South Wales
Country of birth:Australia
Date of death:9 February 1976
Place of death:Auckland, New Zealand
Place of burial:Waikaraka Cemetery (ashes)
Spouses name:Lucy Angelina Farnham
Spouses date of birth:1 February 1889
Spouses place of birth:New Zealand
Spouses date of death:1982
Spouses place of death:New Zealand
Date of marriage:16 June 1915
Place of marriage:St Mary’s Cathedral, Auckland
Fathers name:Thomas N Barnes
Fathers place of birth:England
Mothers name:Ethel Florence Margaret Jobson
Mothers date of birth:c1869
Mothers place of birth:Hobart, Tasmania
Mothers date of death:1944
Name of the children: Lionel Barnes
Military Service:World War I (1914-1918)