William John Barnes was born in Lambeg, Co Antrim, Ireland on 19 April 1875.1 Born into a Church of Ireland family, he was the son of James Barnes, a stationary engine fireman, and Sarah Lappin.
When he appears on the 1911 census living with his family at 59 Bachelor’s Walk in Lisburn, Co Antrim, Barnes was described as an unmarried fitter in the shipyards.
Barnes’ ship prior to Titanic had been the Olympic. He joined Titanic at Belfast for the delivery trip to Southampton where he then disembarked.
In the following years Barnes joined the Royal Naval Reserve and served at sea with the Merchant Fleet for the duration of WWI. He continued to work at sea following the war and he is not believed to have ever married.
William Barnes died in Lisburn on 12 March 1927 at the age of 51.