Barnes, Henry Gorell

Major / Royal Field Artillery

1882 - 1917

Henry Gorell Barnes was born 21 January 1882, the elder son of the Rt Hon Sir John Gorell Barnes PC, late President of the Probate, Divorce and Admiralty Division of the High Court of Justice. His mother was Mary Barnes, daughter of Thomas Mitchell of Arthurlie. His younger brother, the Hon. Ronald Gorell Barnes, also came to Winchester for a year before going on to Harrow.

Henry Barnes came to Winchester College in September 1895 from Summerfields and was in E House, Morshead's. He played cricket and soccer for his house and also rowed in inter-houe competitions. Henry also played in Commoner XV and VI in 1899 and was a member of the school's depating society from 1899.

Henry left Winchester in the summer of 1900 for Trinity College Oxford. He occasionally came back to Winchester to play football and is reported as acting in several plays whilst a student at Oxford. He took his degree in 1903 and then studied at Harvard University until 1904. He was then called to the Bar by the Inner Temple in 1906 and acted as secretary to his father. He was also secretary to the Royal Commission on Divorce of which his father was chairman. He succeeded to his father's title in April 1913 and lived at 14 Kensington Park Gardens with his mother and sister. He spoke in the Lords several times in debates on legal matters, and in May 1914 introduced a bill to give legal force to the recommendations of the Divorce Commission which his father had chaired.

Some time before the outbreak of war, Henry had joined the Royal Field Artillery, London Division. He joined his unit in February 1915, and in March went to the front to command 19th Battery. He was awarded the D.S.O. in November 1916 for a skilful reconnaissance under heavy fire near High Wood in September, previously having been mentioned in Despatches. 

In December 1916 he returned to England on leave and was away a month, returning to his division near Verbrandemolen, where he was wounded by shell-fire whilst reconnoitering a position for his Battery. He was transferred to a field hospital at Remy Farm, Poperinghe where he died two days later.

Henry was buried in Grave IC.B.20 of the Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery and is also commemorated in the war memorial at Harvard University. In his will be left several bequests to members of his unit: £50 each to his groom, Driver Rayner, his servant, Gunner Hill, Trumpeter Purchase and Gunner Patterson, the latter 'in grateful recollection of many happy days spent together at the OP and especially on September 16th last'.

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