Image of Jesus College war memorial

Humfrey Denzil Barnard, 2nd Lieutenant, Rifle Brigade

Humfrey Denzil Barnard matriculated in 1911 after attending Repton School. He graduated with a BA and LLB in 1914.

Born: Croydon, Surrey on 9 June 1892

Fell in action: 21 August 1916

The Cambridge University Union Society

Whilst at College he was very active in both the Cambridge University Union Society and the College’s own debating society the Roosters. For the former it appears that both he and another Jesuan, J. C. Holmes, were in competition for a place on the Union Committee in Lent and Easter Term 1912.

Chanticlere records that Barnard won by one vote in Lent and by two votes in Easter, ahead of Holmes both times.

Chanticlere also proclaimed that “it is about time Jesus had another President of the Union, and we hope one of them will reach that position before he goes down” (Chanticlere, Easter Term, 1912, p18).

Indeed in March 1914 he was elected as Secretary of the Union, celebrated in Chanticlere by a little ditty: Delilah played Beattie’s trade :Each cut a great man’s hair,But Samson’s bane was Humphrey’s gain-The Secretarial Chair (Lent Term 1914, p10).

He went on to become the president of the Union in Lent Term 1915. His obituary in the Jesus College Cambridge Society Annual Report,1917 laments “two of the six ex-presidents who have thus fallen belonged to Jesus College” (p19).

The Roosters

Barnard became a member of the Jesus College Roosters Committee in Michaelmas Term 1912, going on to be Secretary in Lent 1913, Vice-President in Michaelmas 1913 and finally President in Lent 1914. Under his presidency it was decided that all officers should wear academical dress but a motion for a debate in Latin was rejected.

The last debate to be held before the war “was held on 12 March and the Roosters expressed their support of hereditary monarchy” (The First Twenty Years of The Roosters, compiled by F Brittain, 1928, p9). One of the founders of the Roosters was J. H. Allen, the other Jesuan ex-President of the Union to have fallen.

Barnard obtained a commission to the Rifle Brigade in 1915 and was killed in action in August 1916

You can email us on ww1-project@jesus.cam.ac.uk, go to our First World War homepage, or find us on Lives of the First World War.

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