12-862 L/Cpl Frank BARNSLEY 12th Battalion York and Lancaster Regiment

KILLED IN ACTION 1st July 1916




frank barnsley plaque



Image 3 copy 2


Frank was born in Sheffield in 1895. We first see him on the census record of 1901 living at 142 Creswick Street, Walkley, Sheffield with his parents Sarah Jane and Frederick Dale BARNSLEY.

In 1911 He is lodging at 32 Allen Street and is a general labourer.

He attended the Walkley and Burgoyne council schools achieving a distinction in arithmetic, and had certificates in shorthand, Spanish and French.

On the 14th September he answers the call to King and country and enlists at Sheffield being assigned service number 12-862. He is aged 19 years, living at 20 Freedom Street, Walkley and is a clerk.

He served with ‘D’ Coy and would have followed the path of his comrades through training around Sheffield and then duties in the Mediterranean before being sent to France in March 1916.

Frank is mentioned in the private diary of 12-847 Pte Walter ALFLAT :-

Tuesday 15th February 1916 El Ferdan Egypt
Opened our peepers up and got up, had brecca at 7.30am, after the hard nights work we were given the morning free for ourselves. Turned out later to hear Brigadiers letter of praise to us for our good work done, turning ourselves into locomotives um. Free until 3pm and then detailed for No 9 piquet with others.
Fell in at 3.15pm under Sgt Cundliffe, 4 mile march on sand by Canal to our outpost. Touched on easy piquet separate with ‘BARNSLEY’ & Poultney, under Wilcock, my turn for guard 6 to 8pm and 12pm to 2am. Night very cold indeed, looked enviously at passing brilliantly lit steamer and thought of those snug in bunks on board asleep with no cares of worries, made me feel a bit tired I guess.

His signature appears within the diary:-

Reproduced with kind permission of John ALFLAT

Reproduced with kind permission of John ALFLAT

Frank wrote to one of his brothers John, in a surviving letter dated 9th May 1916 he pens:-

‘ Dear Jack, received your letter of April 17th and thanks for the photo. I think it very good indeed. one thing I noticed, you appear to have got considerably fatter about the face. I was the same in Egypt, though, iv’e lost weight since iv’e been here. Yes iv’e been pretty well amongst it this past two months. We were in the trenches about a week after coming to France and by now Im pretty well seasoned. I am pleased to here you are having a nice quiet time and I sincerely hope you stay in Egypt for some time. I dare say you will be able to appreciate it after being on the Pen. I like your asking about the French girls. You know we hardly had a chance of getting in touch with them, with going up to the front so soon. However, who I did see was very nice indeed, not at all like the sallow faced French girls in Egypt. I saw plenty of that type at Port Said. In fact I knew a nice little girl there, though she was Greek, but spoke French fluently. She was daughter of a chemist in the town. I took her several times to the picture palaces, but she would never leave the town with me. Nothing doing. She was well brought up and out affair was all on the quiet. She had to be in at 8pm. I didn’t write to her as she said I must not as her parents would want to know who the letter was from and all about it. They were very strict. I have had two cards from her though. She is just a pleasant memory thats all. Only 17 and very pretty in a dark fashion. She used to call me Francois. However I can’t talk about her all night. Im out of the trenches just now, but only just behind the line. Our Harold is coming out here with the next draft. He’s a fool but he’s eager to come like the all rest. I’m inclined to agree with you about our Toms death. Although he appeared outwardly the picture of health his life for the previous ten years must have told a tale. Of course I haven’t told them this at home but personally I am inclined to think he died of heart failure. Anyway, I am sincerely sorry. He’s done his bit and his last year has atoned for his weaknesses of the past. I’m glad he got a week at home first. Seeing him fit and well before will leave a good memory of him for my mother. I’m in the pink of condition and have just been made Lance Corporal. Not that I wanted it but I couldn’t help but take it under present circumstances. I hope you’re fit and well and just leave the Arab quarter alone. Hoping you are in the best of health. Yore affectionate brother Frank ‘

(Letter kindly supplied by Frank COOPER)

It is in France on the first day of the Somme offensive that Frank lost his life. The Sheffield Pals moved on the village of Serre but were cut down by heavy machine gun fire and unable to progress to their objective.

Frank was reported missing and like so many men his body was never found and he is remembered with honour on the Thiepval Memorial.

He is also remembered in his home town on the St Marys roll of honour, Walkley and the Vickers  Memorial


St Mary’s Memorial

St Marys Roll of Honour, Walkley Walkley Memorial


Vickers Memorial



Frank is the older brother of 12-1909 Pte Harold BARNSLEY also featured on this site.