Lance Corporal George Barnsley was born in the autumn of 1874 to Joseph and Emma Barnsley who by the mid-1880s were living at Oakwood House on Taptonville Crescent in Broomhill. Both parents died before George had reached his teens and he was at boarding school in Harrogate in 1891.
According to the census of 1901, he was living with his uncle Henry who was a steel manufacturer. Henry adopted his nephew as George is described as a steel manufacturer like his uncle and cousin and the company was known as Henry Barnsley and Sons.
Also in the house on censusa night was Mabel Gittus of Mildenhall in Suffolk. Four years later in the summer of 1905, Henry was in Mildenhall to marry Mabel. They set up home at 6 Victoria Road, just off Ecclesall Road. Their first son, George, was born a year later. He was baptised at St Mark’s church in Broomhill in May 1906. A second son, Frederick Gittus, followed in 1910.
George enlisted at Stratford in east London early in the conflict. He was with the 2nd Battalion, the Royal Dublin Fusiliers at Ypres when the German Army launched a gas attack at 2:45am on the 24th May. This was the first time that the Germans had used poison gas on a large scale on the Western Front. By 9:30 pm, out of a battalion strength of 666 men, all that remained when the battalion ‘retired’ was one officer and twenty soldiers. In just eighteen and three quarter hours, the Dublin Fusiliers suffered a loss of 645 men who were blown to bits, gassed, or driven insane by the effects of poisonous gas.
George is commemorated on the grave of his parents and sister in Fulwood graveyard:
also of L/Corpl. George Barnsley of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers:
Only son of the above.
Born November 2nd 1874,
Killed in action May 24th 1915
He is also named on the Menin Gate Memorial in Belgium.