Sgt. Harry Henry Alfred Barnett – KIA

Today, March 11th, 2024, marks the anniversary of the death of Sgt. cameraman, Harry Henry Alfred Barnett, on March 11th, 1945.

REGIMENTAL number: D46110

No. 3 Canadian Public Relations Group.

BORN: 8th, December, 1920, Alberta.

Next of kin not stated.

Additional person to be notified: Mr. George Hayward (Guardian), 121 Prospect Street, Sherbrooke, Quebec.

Religion: Church of England

Trade: Lathe worker

Language: English

Marital status: Single

“A well loved member of the Film Unit, “…Barnett would give the shirt off his back if the Army did not issue such nice ones…” Like many others in the Film Unit, Barnett would begin as a driver. Taking and passing the camera course at Pinewood, Barnett became somewhat of a specialist in aerial photography, and had done a great deal of work flying low over the battles areas in an Auster observation plane.

Camera slate used to identify cine rolls used by Sgt. H.H.A. Barnett.

“Sgt. Barnett had a standing assignment to secure aerial cine photographs of battle areas as required and when possible to arrange flights in Auster aircraft.

In the course of this duty, on 11 March he left advance Press Camp, MATERHORN, about 1330 hours to make a flight with Capt. Wilson of “C” Flight, 660 Air. O.P. Sqn, over the RHINE area.

At 2230 hrs the driver of the jeep which had gone to the air strip to pick up Sgt. Barnett reported to Capt. Fraser that the officers at the air strip had said the Auster had been shot down. Capt. Wilson was wounded but still alive in 3 Cdn. CCS. It was later found that he died on the morning of 12 March. Sgt. Barnett was believed to have been killed.

Early on the morning of the 12 March, Capt. Fraser went out to obtain further information. He finally located the wreckage of the plane about 5000 yards west of XANTEN, at MR 067413 (Germany 1/50000 Sheet 17). Sgt Barnett’s body had been taken out of the plane and placed on the ground. His pockets had been rifled and all that remained was a small knife.

From conversation with a gunner who had witnessed the action and from examination of the aircraft, it appeared that it had been attacked from above and behind by a Messerschmidt. The plane was badly shot up and crash landed in a field.

Sgt. Barnett had been shot several times from above through the right shoulder and back and in both hands. He was probably killed immediately.

His camera was slightly damaged but can be repaired. 100ft of exposed film was found, which has been sent to C.M.H.Q. for processing. He was known to have taken another 300ft up with him, but this is missing.

The body was buried on the afternoon of 12 March in a 2 Cdn. Div. cemetery at MR 098412 near XANTEN. Capt. D.V.A. Browne, Padre from H.Q. Adm Gp 4 Cdn Div, conducted the services.

Sgt. Barnett’s personal effects are being forwarded to 2 Ech in the regular way.

Signed J.E.R. McDougall, Major Officer Commanding, No. 2 Film & Photo Unit, No. 3 Public relations Group.

14th March 1945.

Film detachment of the Canadian Film and Photo Unit with the 2 CID relax on road to Falaise; Date(s): 16-17 Aug. 1944. Place: May-sur-Orne area, France. Photographer: Dean, Michael M. Credit: Canada. Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada, Restrictions on use: Nil. Copyright: Expired. (Sgt. Barnett seated at the far left).

Not much is known about Sgt. Barnett before the war. Should you have any additional information you would like to share about Sgt. Barnett, please contact this website using the Contact, or Comments area.

© Dale Gervais 2024

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About me

Dale Gervais has been actively researching and documenting the history of the Canadian Film & Photo Unit since 2006. Dale recently retired in September, 2018, after over 36 years with Library & Archives Canada. Dale now works as an independent researcher, with experience in audio visual holdings, video production and more recently doing Archival textual document searches, and photographic scanning.


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