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Harry Leslie Barnett lived at 27 Fitzgerald Street, Preston.

He enlisted into the Territorial Force on 14th November 1914 and was posted into the Depot of the 4th (Territorial) Battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment at Preston. He was given the number 3321.

At the time of his enlistment Harry was 18 years 8 months old, stood 5ft 3in tall and had a 35in chest. He elected his father, John Thomas and brother George as his legal next of kin.

On 22nd January 1915 at Blackpool, Harry signed the declaration (Army Form. E. 624) that would enable him, as a TF soldier, to be liable to serve overseas in the event of a National Emergency.

Harry Barnett then joined ‘D Company’ of the 1/4th Battalion and sailed from Folkstone to Le Havre, France with the main body of the Battalion on 4th May 1915.

Just 182 days after he had enlisted and during their first major action in France, Harry was reported missing after what would become known as the Great Bayonet charge at Festubert on 15th June 1915.

Extract from Regimental History

At 6pm on the 15th June the attack was launched by the 1/4th Loyal North Lancashire and the 6th Scottish Rifles. The attack was at first successful, the west end of the German salient was carried, and the attack pushed on to the main German line near the Rue d`Overt, and for a time the third German trench was occupied and held. Unfortunately the attack by the Division on the right of the 51st made little or no progress, and when night fell the 154th Brigade had penetrated the German line on a narrow front, but had both its flanks in the air. The attack consequently failed, but as stated in the Divisional History, “great praise is due to the 154th Infantry Brigade for their advance in the face of heavy artillery and close range rifle and machine gun fire. There is little or no doubt that had the operations on the flanks been successful, they would have had every prospect of holding their gains”.

Initial Casualty Report

Killed … … … … 26*
Wounded … … … … 266
Missing … … … … 110
Total … … … 402

*The actual casualty report for this action would be nearer 150 officers and other ranks killed or dying from their wounds before the end of the month.

In May 1916, nearly one year later,  it was accepted that Harry Leslie Barnett had been killed in action on that day at Festubert. In July 1916 his father was residing at 6 West View, Ribbleton Lane, Preston but had returned to Fitzgerald Street by 1919.

The fifth series of Will Onda’s Roll of Honour films features a picture of Private Harry Barnett. Presumably this film was made sometime between June 1915 and May 1916, when he was missing, as other men who were killed are annotated as such.image

As Harry’s body wasn’t recovered from the battlefield he is remembered on the Le Touret Memorial.

Rank: Private
Service No: 3321
Date of Death: 15/06/1915
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st/4th Bn.

Paul McCormick
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