Thomas Kenneth Barnsley

From Tolkien Gateway

Thomas Kenneth "Tea Cake" Barnsley (1891 - August 1, 1917[note 1]) was a friend of J.R.R. Tolkien at King Edward's School in Birmingham. Barnsley was in the Debating Society with Tolkien and he also performed in The Rivals. He was also a member of the T.C.B.S., though not within the inner circle of friends. While reading History at Cambridge he decided to join the 1st Birmingham Battalion, and serve in the war. After rising to the rank of Captain, in August 1916 he was buried alive by a trench mortar, though he managed to escape and return to England. After being sent to Belgium in July of 1917 he was killed in action near Ypres while consoling a captured prisoner. Barnsley would be one of many of Tolkien's friends that died in the war.


  1. Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, p. lxxviii gives his death as July of that year