Royal Naval Dockyards 1875

Submitted by salbytoo on Wed, 08/29/2012 - 20:59

I'm wondering if anyone can direct me to where I might be able to find information about people who worked at the Royal Naval Dockyards in 1875. I have tried the UK National Archives but they have no records. I am trying to trace a man called Joseph William Barnes. In 1875, he had a son named Francis Henry Barnes who was born in the Canton Bazaar. On Francis' birth certificate, Joseph is listed as a Sergeant in the Royal Naval Dockyards Police but I have no idea where I might find records that might help me to find out more about who this man was. I would be grateful for any suggestions!

You could try the Jurors Lists and Blue Books for say 1870-1880. I don't think either list the Dockyard Police, but as people moved in and out of other jobs he might show up in one of those lists in other work. Details of these and other sources at "How to research people who lived in Hong Kong".

If you find out more about Mr Barnes, or find any good sources of information, please let us know.

Regards, David

Hello there - I'm currently trying to uncover the history of this elusive force - it is quite odd and convoluted in its earlier years (well, in the nineteenth century, really.  One of the issues is a lack of staff lists ... I have one list of the 29 men employed in the NDPF in 1869, but, as far as I've found to date, we have to wait for another 40 years or so to find a similar list, then on a petition.  Joseph Barnes isn't amongst the 1869 group - but there was little stability in membership at that time, and a number left for better paid employment elsewhere in the Colony, leaving gaps which were filled by new arrivals.  

So Joseph could easily have joined after 1869.  The fact that he's a sergeant (there was one inspector, 3 or 4 sergeants and 24 constables at the time) suggests that he's either served some time, or perhaps has come either from the Town police, or more likely is a discharged soldier holding that rank.  I notice that there is a Joseph Barnes listed on the Carl Smith collection at the PRO here in HK - since I'm researching this anyway, I 'll have a look for him when I'm there in a couple of days and see if it might be the same man.  

I'm pretty sure you won't find anything in the Blue Books - only the Town/Colonial police are listed, and they not below the rank of Inspector.  Otherwise just the numbers of constables and sergeants is given there.  In terms of the Jurors list, you might have to look for a later date than 1875 - although this Force isn't under the same remit as the regular police, both groups of men cannot serve as jurors.  

I'll get back to you here and let you know what I find


Thanks David.  I have looked through the Jurors Lists and Blue Books but he is an elusive fellow!  My understanding is that Jorge Forjaz was unable to identify this person ... it is known that he had 3 children (my great-grandfather being one of them) with a widow in Hong Kong.  She died in 1884 and then the children came under the care of the Salesian Brothers.  I was told by my great-uncle that there was the possibility that the boys were abandoned, but more recently I have wondered whether or not their father was ever truly resident in Hong Kong.  I will keep searching however, and if I find anything about the dockyard police, I will post it to here.

Kind regards


Hello Patricia ... thank you for that information.  I have also found a number of records in the Carl Smith Collection that relate to Joseph Barnes (he is my great-great-grandfather).  I also found a Joseph Barnes who received a medal for involvement in the 2nd China War (so there is a naval person by the name of Joseph Barnes who was in the navy but I have no idea if its my Joseph Barnes or not).

I would be grateful for any information that you can find.  There are actually two Joseph Barnes listed in the Carl Smith Collection ... one is the son of the first Joseph Barnes who died aged 19. 

The other thing that I know is that the three children that the first Joseph Barnes had - Francis Henry, Joseph William and William - were all illegitimate.  But they had the same mother AND there appears to be no dispute that he was the father of all three boys.  I guess more than anything, I want to know who this elusive Joseph Barnes is ... where in England did he come from and how did he come to be in Hong Kong.  I'm guessing there is a military link and then I want to know what happened next!!!

There is a family grave in St Michael's Cemetery and although the partner of Joseph Barnes is buried there, there is no mention of Joseph Barnes.  In addition, the Carl Smith Records indicate that the three boys were in care in 1886 when they were christened as Roman Catholic.

So, I would be so grateful of anything you could find!  I did wonder about the martime museum and an records they might have but it is hard to research from Australia!

Kind regards



Hi Sally,

Just wandering around the web I found a couple of family trees that include your ancestors on I guess you're the person who created them, but thought I'd mention them in case they're new to you.

I was interested to see that Francis Henry lived in Hong Kong up til his death in 1944, and then that there was a Francisco Henrique Barnes interned in Stanley Camp who also died that year. Are they the same person?

Regards, David

David, thankyou for that information.  Yes, at least one of the family trees is mine but the information about the Stanley Camp is new to me.  In the Carl Smith Collection Francis is named as Franciscus Henrique so I would presume that Francisco Henrique Barnes is the same person.  I have two different pieces of information - one that says that he died in Macau and another that says that he died in Hong Kong but I have no information beyond that (he is buried in St Michael's Cemetery in Hong Kong).  I know that my father and his parents went to Macau during the war, but I also know that Francis' youngest son, Dr Robert Joseph Barnes, was interred in Sendai during the war.  He is listed on the HK Voluntary Defence Force and he once shared with me a book that he had written of his recollections of that time.

Francis Henry  was born and did live in Hong Kong and two of his children were born in Hong Kong, but he also seems to have lived in the Philippines, Japan and Shanghai.  I know that he worked for the Singer Sewing Machine Company (we have a watch that he was given on the occasion of his retirement).  He was widowed in 1907 and left with four children under the age of 7 when he was living in Japan.  What I don't know is when he came back to Hong Kong, but I do know that my grandfather completed his medical degree at Hong Kong University. 

I would be interested in following up on the Stanley Camp information - can you tell me how/where you found his name?  I have other relatives who were also interred in Stanley and died there.

Unfortunately, my father shared very little about his family and their origins, although how much he knew is debatable ... he was only a young boy when most of these people passed ...

Thank you so much for that information, though

Kind regards


Thankyou so much for that suggestion.  I will write to them and see if they have any information.  I am so curious about who the first Barnes was to go to Hong Kong, because unlike my Macanese relatives, I have this other line to my family tree that I am very interested in.

Kind regards