George Henry Barnes

Date of birth: 1888
Place of birth: Southampton
Date of marriage: 2010
Place of marriage: Southampton
Service No.: 782710
Rank: Fireman
Regiment / Division: Mercantile Marine Reserve, HMS Otranto
Battalion / Ship: HMS Otranto
Died: 6th October 1918 aged 30 years
Death location: At sea, off the coast of North East Ireland

Life before the War

George’s parents were William, b. 1842 and died in 1896 at the age of 54, and Angelina, nee Pscinga, b. 1861 and died in 1895 at just 34 years of age.  William and Angelina were both born in Portsmouth. They were married in Southampton in 1876 and both died there.

In the census of 1891 William and Angelina, together with their 4 children, were living at 4 Brewhouse Lane, Southampton William senior was employed as a Labourer.

George had 4 siblings:

William Joseph Patrick b. 16th September 1881  d. 1st November 1914 (war casualty)
Julie Barnes  b. 1883
Richard Joseph b. 25th March 1885  d. 31st May 1916 (war casualty)
Rosina Mary b. 1889

After the death of their parents the children were placed in the Workhouse.

George married Marie Agnes, nee Tracey, in Southampton in 1908 and they lived at 40 Threefield Lane, Southampton.

Both of George’s brothers were Leading Seamen with the Royal Navy and both died at sea when their ships were attacked.

War Service

Name: George Barnes
Rank: Fireman
Birth Date: 1888
Branch of Service: Mercantile Marine Reserve
Cause of Death: Killed or died by means other than disease, accident or enemy action
Official Number Port Division: 782710 (Dev)
Death Date: 6 Oct 1918
Ship or Unit: HMS Otranto
Location of Grave: Not recorded
Name and address of cemetery: Body not recovered for burial
Relatives notified and address: Widow: Maria, 40 Threefield Lane, Southampton

George  is remembered on the Plymouth Naval Memorial (Panel Reference 30), Devon. Like his brothers William and Richard, he is also remembered on the Southampton Cenotaph and Memorial Wall, along with their cousin, Arthur Ernest Flower, another casualty of the War.

Plymouth Naval Memorial
“Barnes, Fireman, George, 782710. M.M.R. H.M.S. “Otranto”. Drowned through collision and wreck of vessel off Isle of Islay 6th Oct., 1918. Age 30. Son of William and Angela Barnes, of Southampton; husband of Maria Agnes Barnes, of 40, Threefield Lane, Southampton. ”

Historical Information 

George was killed on his ship HMS Otranto on the 6th October 1918 when she collided with HMS Kashmir, another liner turned troopship, in poor visibility in the rough seas between the North east coast of Ireland and the Western Isles of Scotland.

HMS Otranto was holed on the port side forward and, in the heavy swell, began to list. The stricken ship then hit rocks and became grounded.  With the heavy seas pounding her continually against the rocks the ship eventually broke up and sank with the loss of 431 lives (351 American troops and 80 British crew members).  A number of Americans and crew were saved by a convoy escort, HMS Mounsey, and were taken to Belfast, Ireland.  Many of the survivors were hospitalised there until eventual transfer to England. Probably none of the survivors saw action in the Great War as it ended soon afterwards on 11 November 1918.  Many of the dead were buried in the Belfast City Cemetery.  The American servicemen were exhumed and repatriated to the United States in 1920.

If you want to know more about William, Richard and Arthur please select the link to their names.

The bodies of the three brothers were never recovered so they were never laid to rest.

Researchers: Shaun Connolly (Great Nephew of the Barnes brothers) and
Becky Lonergan
Published: 23rd October 2013
Updated: Insert dates here

If you have any additional information about the person named above please complete the Comments section below.

One response to “George Henry Barnes

  1. Michael James Barnes

    I am Michael James Barnes with Brother Tracey Barnes , we are grand sons of George Henry Barnes who is mentioned on the Southampton Cenotaph.

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