Private No 2296 John (Barney) Hines of the #australianimperialforce
, 45th Battalion. 27 September 1917.
was also a kleptomaniac who became known in the trenches as the #souvenirking
. But he was one of the bravest soldiers at the front and would have been decorated many times had it not been for his lack of military discipline.
He earned his nickname because of his incurable habit of hijacking medals, badges, rifles, helmets and watches from the bodies of the German dead - and, in some cases, of those he captured.
He brought the #kaiser
's wrath down upon his head when a photographer took a picture of him on September 27,1917, showing him surrounded by some of his loot after the Third Battle of #ypres
Prints were circulated among the Diggers and inevitably some fell into the
hands of #german
soldiers - from whence they made their way to the infuriated Kaiser.
Born in #liverpool
, in 1873, Barney Hines was always a rebel. Of
descent, he ran away to enlist in the army at the age of 14 but was
dragged home by his mother.
Two years later he joined the #royalnavy
and saw action during the #boxerrebellion
when he served on a gunboat chasing #pirates
in the #chinasea
Discharged the following year, he went gold seeking around the world and was in #southafrica
when the #boerwar
broke out. He served throughout it as a scout with various #british
His lust for gold continued and he searched for it in the #us
. But he was working in a sawmill in #australia
broke out in August 1914.
Despite being in his early 40s, he immediately tried to enlist but was turned down on medical grounds. Undeterred, he haunted recruiting centres until he was accepted to serve in #france
in 1916 as part of a reinforcement for the 45th Battalion.
And, once in France, the legend of this huge, powerful man who never showed fear, began.
He generally disdained conventional weapons such as his #303rifle
, preferring to go into action with two sandbags packed with #millsbombs
His commanding officer had a brain wave and gave him a #lewisgun
, which was an immediate success.