Airborne Engineers Association

Roll of Honour



Harry Kinsey Barnsley 16th Feb 1915 — 28th Jan 2010 by Ralph Brooks


Harry Kinsey Barnsley who died on January 28th 2010 aged 95, was a man of many talents, author, innovative, poetry albeit on a small scale, and never lost for words or a quick retort.

Harry was born on February 16th 1915 at Swan Street, Baglan, Port Talbot, and was brought up in that area, a member of a family of four brothers and two sisters. Their father was a steelworker from Bilston, Staffordshire, who came to South Wales in search of employment during the Great Depression.

Harry attended the local school and also was member of the local Church of St Catherine's where he was to spend much of his time at a later date. He also became an avid member of the Boy Scout movement where he eventually was made a leader.
Leaving school at the age of fourteen he began his working life like his father before him, a steelworker a career which would help his development later on a far bigger stage. On the outbreak of war Harry immediately volunteered for service, much to his dismay he was refused enlistment in the Army for being on essential War Work.

Nevertheless in 1942 he was released by his company in order for him to take up his military duties where he was accepted by the Corps of the Royal Engineers. After basic training and a mechanics course he passed out as a Sapper. True to his indomitable spirit he volunteered for Parachute training and on completion, in 1943 joined 3rd Parachute Squadron Royal Engineers.

Operation Overlord was the summation of all his training up to that point. Harry like many other Sappers was parachuted into Normandy hours ahead of the main invasion force due to land on the beaches that same morning. Dropped some distance from the actual D.Z. he was attached to a group of Sappers who had also arrived at the same point. They were then formed up as a Jeep and Trailer company by Major Roseveare DSO, who then driving the jeep along with this group made a hair rising and epic dash through the town of TROAN to secure and destroy the road bridge beyond the town. On completion of the task and other exciting moments the squadron was reformed in preparation for other operations.

Hurry's next moment of endeavour with the squadron was helping to stem the Germans advance through the Ardennes Forest, more commonly known as the "BATTLE OF THE BULGE" the Germans checked and once more in retreat the 3r Parachute Squadron RE return to "Blighty "for the training and re-equipping for what would be the last Parachute Operation of World War Two, THE RHINE CROSSING, a bitter and bloody battle. Shortly after the engagement Harry was deemed unfit for further Parachute duties and was transferred to 249 Airborne Field Company 1st Division. This not being for him, he was transferred again to complete his war service in Italy with the Docks Operating Group RE.

Amongst one of his novels was that of his childhood exploits around his beloved Baglan.

Harry was taken into Bridgend Hospital Sunday January 17th after sustaining a fall at home he was subsequently transferred to Baglan Hospital where he died peacefully on Thursday January 28th.

Harry is survived by one daughter.

We all will miss him.



first image second image third image fourth image fifth image sixth image seventh image eighth image
themed object