Dr. Barnes was born at Forest, Ontario on the 24 October 1878, son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Andrew Barnes, he was educated at Forest Public School, London Collegiate, and Western University (London, Ontario), graduating from the latter in 1902. He then served in South Africa with the 10th Canadian Field Hospital and returned to Canada where he practised medicine at Pinkerton, Bruce County and at the Homewood Sanitarium at Guelph for 15 years. In 1920, he came to Sekirk Mental Hospital as the Medical Superintendent. He served in this capacity until 1943. During his tenure he instituted numerous reforms which included creating the first training program for nurses in 1921. By 1926 the first school of nursing was formally created and the nurses’ residence was built.
He was a member of the Canadian Medical Association, Manitoba Medical Association, American Hospital Association, American Psychiatric Society. In 1918, he married Susan Cassidy of Massachusetts, USA. They had no children. He later married Muriel Beresford at Winnipeg. He was a member of the Masonic Fraternity, and an avid golfer. Dr. Barnes died at Victoria, British Columbia on 19 February 1945.