Seaman Victor Ernest Barnard
HMS Indefatigable

Town Memorial P1.R2.C2

Royal Navy

Victor E. Barnard
HMS Indefatigable
31 May 1916

CWGC record

Taken, Not Given, Liam Sumption, L&DLHS: page 18

Victor Barnard died some 24 minutes before Douglas Edser in the North Sea. They died in the same battle, in the same type of ship and in the same tragic circumstances. HMS Indefatigable blew up with the loss of 1017 officers and men (only two survivors were eventually saved from the sea by the Germans) whilst HMS Queen Mary [Edser's ship] exploded with the loss of another 1266 valuable lives. In her case several men survived to be rescued by their own side.

There was no mention of Victor Barnard in the invaluable Parish magazine of St Mary and St Nicholas, Leatherhead, May 1915 issue.(1)

[He was listed as serving with HMS Indefatigable in the January 1916 issue].

Liam gave a lengthy account of the Battle of Jutland which is perhaps now best covered by https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Jutland

Notes on sources
1. List in Parish magazine of St Mary and St Nicholas, Leatherhead, issue of May 1915 (courtesy of Mr L Anstee of the parish).

Further research

HMS Indefatigable was the lead ship of her class of three battlecruisers built for the Royal Navy during the first decade of the 20th Century. When the First World War began, Indefatigable was serving with the 2nd Battlecruiser Squadron (BCS) in the Mediterranean, where she unsuccessfully pursued the battlecruiser Goeben and the light cruiser Breslau of the German Imperial Navy as they fled toward the Ottoman Empire. The ship bombarded Ottoman fortifications defending the Dardanelles on 3 November 1914, then, following a refit in Malta, returned to the United Kingdom in February where she rejoined the 2nd BCS.

Indefatigable was sunk on 31 May 1916 during the Battle of Jutland, the largest naval battle of the war. Part of Vice-Admiral Sir David Beatty's Battlecruiser Fleet, she was hit several times in the first minutes of the "Run to the South", the opening phase of the battlecruiser action. Shells from the German battlecruiser Von der Tann caused an explosion ripping a hole in her hull, and a second explosion hurled large pieces of the ship 200 feet (60 m) in the air. Only three of the crew of 1,019 survived.

HMS Indefatigable: stern view

Victor Barnard's parents were:  Alfred Barnard 1862-1927, born Nuthurst, near Horsham, Sussex: occupation Gardener: died at Leatherhead, buried in the Parish churchyard. 

Margaret Jane Coombes 1877-1963 born Fort William, Calcutta: died Godalming: her parents married in Woolwich.

Alfred and Margaret were married on 31 July 1894 at Leatherhead Parish Church by the Vicar. Both were living in Linden Road, Leatherhead. His father  was a Labourer. Her father was an Army Pensioner, which may explain the Fort William and Woolwich connections. Some records give a different marriage date and spelling of her maiden name.
Victor was born on born 18th April 1898 at Leatherhead and baptised on 26th June 1898 at All Saints, Leatherhead, by the Curate, Rev Sedgwick. The address given was Thatched Cottage, Kingston Road.

The Barnard family grew in size: Doris Amy Rosa Barnard born 1899, Cyril Barnard born 1901, Hilda Nancy May Barnard born 1902, Leonard Barnard born and died 1905,   Dorothy Lena Barnard born 1906, Maisie Kathleen Barnard born 1910, and lastly Reginald James Barnard born 1913.

His sister Hilda was too young to be the Hilda Barnard (1888-1977, born Forest Hill, Kent, father born Wymondham, Norfolk) who married Frank Hollis and lived at Hampton Cottage, 28 Church Street, Leatherhead - now the Leatherhead Museum. 
In the 1901 Census Victor's family were living at Model Cottages, Leatherhead: the enumeration sequence was  Brick Row - Prince of Wales Beer House, Fairfield - Model Cottages - Lime Cott, Fairfield - Edwards Cott, Fairfield.

Alun Roberts of the Leatherhead & District Local History Society has kindly provided his map locating cottages in the centre of Leatherhead, an extract of which is shown below. Model Cottages were in between the Swan Brewery and the Prince of Wales Beer House (see bottom of map). That part of Leatherhead disappeared when the Swan Centre was developed in the early 1980s. Model Cottages would have been close to the present Leret Way. 

In the 1911 Census the family were living at 3 Linden Road, Leatherhead, which had six rooms. Then aged 13, Victor was "still at school". His parents were apparently still there when the War Memorial was dedicated in 1921.

The CWGC record is:
Ordinary Seaman
Service Number J/32236
Died 31/05/1916
Aged 18
H.M.S. "Indefatigable."
Royal Navy
Son of Alfred and M. Barnard, of 3, Bertha Villas, Linden Rd., Leatherhead, Surrey.

As well as being on the Leatherhead War Memorial he is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial (Panel 12).

He is also in the British Legion Roll of Honour in Leatherhead Parish Church, listed as E. A. Barnard. Listed as Victor Barnard, he is on the Ladies War Shrine there, and on the Church Lads' Tryptich at All Saints, Leatherhead.

He is not mentioned in the book Leatherhead in the Great War.

Victor Barnard: photo in
24 June 1916 article below
The UK Register of Seamen's Services records his service progress. He served on:
Powerful - Boy II 20/7/14 - he had been an Errand Boy before joining up
Vivid - Boy I 19 Feb 15
Indefatigable - Boy I  25 March 15, Ord[inary Seaman] 12 Nov 15
He was 5ft tall, had blue eyes and brown hair.
On 18.2.15 he was assessed as: Character - VG; Ability - Satisfactory
His official number was J.32236 (Devonport)
The Royal Navy and Royal Marine War Graves Roll, 1914-1919 lists him:

Name: Victor Ernest Alfred Barnard
Rank: Ord Smn
Birth Date: 18 Apr 1898
Birth Place: Leatherhead, Surrey
Branch of Service: Royal Navy
Cause of Death: Killed or died as a direct result of enemy action
Official Number Port Division: J. 32236 (Dev)
Death Date: 31 May 1916
Location of Grave: Not recorded
Name and Address of Cemetery: Body Not Recovered For Burial
Relatives Notified and Address: Mother: Margaret, 3 Bertha Villas, Linden Road, Leatherhead, Surrey

Dorking and Leatherhead Advertiser
- Saturday 10 June 1916

When the news of the great naval fight off Jutland was announced on Saturday morning, much concern was felt for the many gallant Leatherhead men who are aboard the various vessels comprising the Grand Fleet in the North Sea, but fortunately up to the present only two have been reported missing. [Douglas Edser also of Leatherhead was one of them.]

It is feared that Victor Alfred Barnard, son of Mr. and Mrs. Barnard, Linden-road, Leatherhead, went down with H.M.S. Indefatigable. He was eighteen years of age, having been about three years in the Navy, and twelve months on the Indefatigable. A short time ago he was home on leave, and expressed himself highly delighted with the life he led in H.M.S. Indefatigable.

Dorking and Leatherhead Advertiser - Saturday 24 June 1916

We are able to give a photograph [see above] this week of Victor Ernest Barnard, eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. Barnard, of Linden-road, Leatherhead, who is among the list of missing, given out by the Admiralty, as being on the Indefatigable when that ship went down in the Naval Battle off Jutland. Victor Barnard was an ordinary seaman having been in the Navy two years, fifteen months of which had been spent on the Indefatigable.

Leatherhead Parish Church magazine, July 1916
The following have given their lives for their Country since the beginning of this year : ...
May 31. Victor Barnard, H.M.S. Indefatigable   killed in battle off Horn Reef.

Dorking and Leatherhead Advertiser - Saturday 30 December 1916
BARNARD, Seaman Victor, lost with H.M.S. Indefatigable, eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. Barnard, Linden-road, Leatherhead.

Sources: ancestry.com, Google, British Newspaper Archive, findmypast and with thanks to Lorraine Spindler and Alun Roberts of the Leatherhead & District Local History Society.

The website editor would like to add further information on this casualty e.g. another photo of him, his name on Plymouth Naval Memorial, and any recollections within his family.

last updated 22 Feb 18: 19 Jul 20 Frank Haslam