George Barnard, born 9th January 1875 in Attleborough, Norfolk, worked as an apprentice Wheelwright before arriving in North Kensington in his 20s. He lived at St Mark’s Road and worked for Dennis Brothers the Coachbuilders in Silchester Road. George and his wife Eliza eventually moved to 12, St Helen’s Gardens and then to 1, St Helen’s Gardens. This is where he was living when he joined the Army Service Corps on 5th June 1915 at Shepherd’s Bush.
When war broke out George Barnard was working as a wheelwright for the Aylesbury Dairy Company in St Petersburgh Place. He enlisted at the age of 40 years and 140 days and joined the 215th Company Horse Transport, which was part of the Army Service Corps. He had served with the ASC in India and South Africa when younger and on landing at Le Havre 8th February 1916 he was already ranked as an Acting Wheeler Staff Sergeant.
George Barnard was a tall man for the time. According to his service record he stood at 5’10”, had a chest measurement of 45″ when fully expanded and weighed almost 14 stone; however his teeth were not in good order and he was not allowed to go overseas until 10 of his teeth were extracted in January 1916. This resulted in him suffering from indigestion for the rest of the war especially as he had not been supplied with dentures. By 1919 he had lost 3 stone in weight.
The postcard (shown above) sent to relatives in Norfolk alludes to him being better, so perhaps this bout of ill health was related to the problems he suffered with his digestion.
George returned home to North Kensington in March 1918. He was transferred to the reserve in March 1919 and returned to his job at the Dairy in St Petersburgh Place.
George Barnard’s younger brother Bertie, a carpenter living in Attleborough, joined the 2/4th Norfolk Regiment in September 1914 and was later transferred to the 1st Essex Regiment. He was killed in action 14th April 1917 at Monchy-Le-Preux during the Battle of Arras. He is remembered on the Arras Memorial and the Attleborough War Memorial.