Record

Full name and title: Second Lieutenant Henry Barnes

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Henry Barnes was the third son of Jessie Barnes and the Rt Hon. George Nicoll Barnes, CH, from Dundee. They married in London in 1882. George joined the Independent Labour Party on its formation in 1893, and in 1906 became one of the first two Labour MPs in Scotland. He was Leader of the Labour Party 1910-11, served as minister of pensions and minister without portfolio under Lloyd George as well as having a seat in the War Cabinet and taking part in the Versailles peace negotiations in 1919.

Henry was born in May 1889 in Fulham like his three older brothers and his sister; however his family had moved to 106 Peckham Road, Camberwell, by the early 1900s. Henry went to school at the newly opened Oliver Goldsmith School. They lived for a while in Margate, Kent, but finally settled at 76 Herne Hill where Henry's parents and sister were still living in 1939. George died in 1940 and Jessie in 1944. Henry studied languages at Borough Polytechnic and worked as a bank clerk. He was also on the Committee of the Browning Council which supported the poor in the area. Henry enlisted on 3 September 1914 as a Private in the Seaforth Highlanders. He went to France in November 1914 and the following March was commissioned into the Gordon Highlanders. He married Violet Marie Owen before being attached to the 2nd Battalion from the Reserves and returned to France. At 6.30am on 25 September, 40 minutes after the first release of chlorine gas by the British, five lines advanced and crossed the enemy trenches and support lines. The 2nd Battalion Gordon Highlanders on the right and 8th Battalion Devonshires on the left were the leading Battalions. They went over the top enveloped by the cloud of gas and smoke and there were heavy casualties. Another attack at 9am was met with heavy gunfire and it was reported that Henry Barnes fell at Hulluch while in an advanced position. Between 25 and 30 September the 2nd Gordons lost over 500 of their men including Lieutenant Colonel J. Stansfeld and six other officers in addition to Barnes. Henry is buried at Dud Corner Cemetery.

Henry's older brother James Edwin was an engineer's apprentice, following both his father and grandfather. In 1911 he married Annie Gardner in Streatham. They had a daughter, Catherine Langlands Barnes born in 1912 in Fulham, and a son, Richard Henry Barnes born in Camberwell, 1916 who died in Hastings in July 2000. His brother Robert was in the RAMC, married Edith Bennett in Eltham in December 1915 and later worked as a bank manager. Their daughter Barbara, later Windell, was a dental student and lived on Elliot Hill, Lewisham. In 1941 she was commissioned under the women's forces (officer's commissions) order and employed with the army dental corps. Her husband Donald was a dental surgeon. Henry's widow Violet remarried in 1925 and by 1939 was living in Southgate.


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Second Lieutenant Henry Barnes
Caption: Second Lieutenant Henry Barnes in officer uniform
Credit: Paul Hughes
Source: ww1photos.org


Regiment: Gordon Highlanders
Unit: 11th Battalion, attached 2nd Battalion
Service No: S/13365
Cause of death: KIA
Rank at death: Second Lieutenant
Date of death: 25/09/1917
Age at death: 26
Country of death: France
Memorial or Cemetery: Dud Corner Cemetery, IX.E.2
Herne Hill Connection: Family lived there
Address: 76 Herne Hill, Herne Hill