Spr Harold Edward Barnes - 2nd Fd Coy

RCE Dieppe Memorial in Newhaven, England

Sapper Harold Edward Barnes was born in Oro Station, ON in 1911. The son of William and Christina Barnes, he was fourth of eight children. Harold had been a farmer, mechanics helper, bricklayer helper and truck driver before he enlisted on 13 Sep 1939 in Toronto, ON and joined 2nd Field Company in London, ON.

Harold joined the 2nd Field Company before they concentrated for their training at Camp Petawawa, ON. From there they embarked for England from Halifax on 12 Apr 1940 - the first unit of 2nd Canadian Division to sail for England. In England they were initially employed on camp construction at Aldershot and continued their training. Harold married Gladys in August 1941 while in England. His unit remained in Sussex County until May 1942 when the 2nd Division was placed in Corps Reserve. By then Sapper Barnes had qualified as a Bricklayer and Driver. In May the company moved to Coolham and settled down to a period of more construction and training before they started the extensive training and exercise program to prepare for the Dieppe Raid.

On the Dieppe Raid, Sapper Barnes was a member of the Shack Party of 59 All Ranks whose targets were in the rail yard in Dieppe. This was a large operation as it was estimated that there were 30 locomotives and 200 pieces of rolling stock in this yard. Shack’s Party was assigned targets that included the locomotives, the tunnel, a turntable, rolling stock, stores, oil tanks, engine sheds, machine shops, signal boxes, and miscellaneous buildings and switches. The party was organized into seven teams to destroy specific targets and Sapper Barnes was a member of the 18-man L/Sgt Brash team that was assigned to attack the rolling stock. Cars that had not been destroyed in the tunnel by another team were to have their journal bearings destroyed by sledge hammer and the car body destroyed by fire or by other means according to their contents.

Like the infantry, these sappers were pinned down by heavy enemy fire on the beach and any approaches to the town of Dieppe. Harold was wounded while going ashore from his Troop Landing Craft and he could not move off the beach. The team could not advance into the town to demolish their assigned targets and Sapper Barnes was Killed in Action. He is commemorated on the memorial panels at the Brookwood Military Cemetery in Surrey, United Kingdom.
{…with research assistance by the Canadian Military Engineer Museum….}


Spr Harold Edward Barnes

CME Next Arrow


Available Files 
PDF icon Downloadable version532.4 KB
PDF icon Version téléchargeable646.21 KB