Served with 4th Queensland Imperial Bushmen. His sister, Susan Isabella Barnes married James Allan Chauvel, the brother of Harry Chauvel. Major in the Australian Remount Unit.
Charles served in the 4th Queensland Mounted Infantry in the Boer War as Private 159. He enlisted in Brisbane. Apparently, he was a top horseman, an excellent shot and a raconteur. He had joined to go and fight “to be in it”. They left for South Africa on 18th May 1900 on Manchester Port. The ship arrived at the Port of Beira in Portuguese East Africa on 14th June 1900. They were then redirected to Port Elizabeth and then Cape Town, arriving there on 22nd June. They served from June 1900 until June 1901 in Orange Free State, Transvaal, and the battle of Rhenoster Kop (29th November 1900), the great De Wet hunt, and advance on Pietersburg and into east Transvaal under General Plumer. The Australian Bushmen were well suited to match the unorthodox Boer guerrilla war tactics and did so on many occasions. On 2nd April 1901, he was Mentioned in Despatches by Lord Roberts for his good work. The 4th Contingent continued in their pursuit of the Boers until at Piet Retief, where they received orders to prepare to return to Australia. They left for Pretoria on 15th June 1901. The contingent returned to Australia on 5th August 1901 on the Britannic and he was discharged afterwards. He was entitled to the Queens South Africa Medal with Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Transvaal and South Africa 1901 clasps.
Awarded an OBE. See http://www.anzac-biographies.com/2017/04/26/barnes-private-charles-grafton/