Private 21338 William Henry Barnsley

Barnsley William 96 449x600
Photograph courtesy of great-grandson, Nigel Cartwright.

Killed in Action on Friday, 18th June 1915, age 38.
Commemorated on Panel 104 to 113 of Helles Memorial, Turkey.

4th Bn., Worcestershire Regiment. 88th Brigade of 29th Division.

Husband of Mrs Sarah Ann Barnsley, of 4 Court, Union Street, Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Oldbury, Enlisted: Worcester, Resident: Tipton.

First landed Balkans, 21st May 1915.
Medal entitlement: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the Tipton Library Memorial.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/698573/

Genealogical Data

Birth of William Henry B. Barnsley registered March quarter 1877 in West Bromwich.
Marriage of William Henry B. Barnsley and Sarah Ann Worwood registered June quarter 1897 at Dudley.

1901 Census
3 Old Street, Dudley, Worcs.
William Henry Barnsley (24, Stamper at Ironworks, born Langley Green, Oldbury), his wife Sarah Ann (23, born Dudley), and their 2 children: Alice Rose (3, born Dudley) and Sarah (1, born Tividale).

1911 Census
9 Horse Shoe Row, Tipton, Staffs.
William Henry Barnsley (34, Blast Furnace Labourer, born Langley Green, Oldbury), his wife Sarah Ann (34, born Dudley), and their 3 surviving children (of 6): Alice Rose (13, born Dudley), Sarah Elizabeth (11, born Tipton) and Frederick (10 months, born Tipton).

A further child, Florence Maud, was born in December quarter 1913. Sadly Florence died on 21st February 1917, aged 3.

Personal Data

After WIlliam's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £2/8/6d (2 pounds, 8 shillings and 6 pence); this was paid to his widow, Sarah Ann, in May 1916. His War Gratuity was £3/0/0d (3 pounds exactly), this was also paid to Sarah Ann in September 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that William had enlisted within the previous 12 months.

Sarah Ann received a pension of £1/1/0d (1 pound and 1 shilling) per week effective from 7th February 1916, this was for herself and her 2 children under the age of 16 - Frederick and Florence. After the death of Florence in February 1917, the pension was reduced to £0/17/6d (17 shillings and 6 pence) per week.

Sarah Ann Barnsley drowned in the canal lock at Howl’s Place, Union Street on Saturday 8th November 1919 after falling into the canal during a dense fog. She had been walking along the canal with her fiancée, Albert (or Herbert) Aiken, from Union Street towards Watery Lane when she fell into the canal, dragging her fiancée into the canal with her.

Aiken had initially managed to hold on to Sarah, but had been “seized by cramp” and lost hold of Sarah. Local residents gave assistance by lowering ropes down into the canal lock, they were able to rescue Aiken who was saved after being given artificial resuscitation. Sadly, Sarah could not be recovered at that time, and her body was recovered later by dragging the canal.

Sarah and Albert (or Herbert) Aiken had been courting for around 11 months and were to be married in just 3 weeks’ time.

Action resulting in his death

The 4th Worcesters landed at Cape Helles, Gallipoli, on 25th April 1915. William Barnsley landed on 21st May 1915 as one of the reinforcements for the 128 Other Ranks already killed at the Battle of Cape Helles and the first and second Battles of Krithia.

It is likely that William was involved in the third battle of Krithia commencing on 4th June when the 4th Worcesters made small gains, but had to face counter-attacks over the next few days. After a few days rest in Gully Beach, they returned to the front line on 12th June, doing much hard work to improve the trenches and bury the dead. On the 18th June, the 4th Worcesters were to have been relieved again, but an attack by the 42nd Division on their right caused this to be postponed. The attack initially captured the Turkish front line trench, but the Turks forced them back and even captured the 42nd Division's front line. The Worcesters were ordered to deliver a counter-attack which they did forcing the Turks back to their own lines.

It is possible that this was the incident which led to the death of William Barnsley; his body was never recovered and he is commemorated on the Helles Memorial.

Newspaper Cuttings

Tipton Herald 8th July 1916
Sarah Ann Barnsley(37), who said her husband had been killed at the front, of 4 Court, Union Street, Tipton was ordered to pay 5s for assaulting Sarah Gulliver by striking her in the face with a "copper" stick.

Midlands Chronicle 14th November 1919
The above article is too long to produce here, but reports the death of Sarah Ann Barnsley after falling in the canal between Union Street and Watery Lane during a dense fog on Saturday 8th November 1919.

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