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Harold James Barnwell was originally from Solihull, where he was born in 1887 to parents George and Amelia (nee Wyer) Barnwell. By the 1901 census, the family was living at 72 Harrow Street in Wolverhampton. The household included Harold and his parents, along with his two brothers, Robert and Percy. Harold’s father, George, was a Railway Engine Driver. They were still at the same address by the 1911 census, when Harold was a Manufacturing Clerk. The father, George Barnwell, was not listed at that address by 1911, although he does not appear to have died in the interim period.

Harold married Jessica Mary Law on 5 June 1915 at Birmingham Register Officer, and enlisted in the 1st Battalion of the East Kent Regiment on 10 September 1915 (Regiment number G/667). Harold was killed in action in France on 23 August 1916, and is buried in Auchonvillers Military Cemetery.