Isaac “Jack” Henry Woolf Barnato: Royal Naval Air Service Pilot

Captain Isaac ‘Jack’ Henry Barnato,
Photo: collection of Roderick Hinckel via Geni

Isaac “Jack” Henry Woolf Barnato was born on 17th June 1894 at 36 Curzon Street, London in England. He was the first son of Barney Barnato who earned his great fortune in the diamond and, later, gold mines of South Africa.

Barney died in 1897 and so “Jack” was brought up alongside his siblings by his mother in East Sussex. On 20th August 1915 he was residing at 4 Adelaide Mansions in Hove, Sussex. This is the house his mother, Fanny, purchased following the death of his father.

He was educated at Windlesham House, Brighton and at the public school Charterhouse. He finished his education at Trinity House. He initially tried to enlist in the British Army in 1914 but was rejected. Possibly due to the fact he was the head of his household in the absence of a father.

He subsequently enrolled in the Public School Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers. He transferred to the Royal Naval Air Service in 1915. He successfully trained as a pilot at the Royal Naval Air Station in Eastbourne.

“Jack” Barnato flew one of three naval aircrafts which undertook a 300-mile air raid on the Ottoman City of Constantinople (Now Istanbul) in April 1916. The action earned him a mention in despatches.

He married Dorothe Mabel Lewis in London in 1917. Dorothe was the daughter of Diamond magnate Joseph Lewis. Her mother, Fanny Ward, was a stage and cinema actress.

Later in the war, he returned to Britain as a staff officer where he contracted influenza during the Spanish Flu pandemic which was sweeping through Europe. His condition soon got worse and he developed septic pneumonia and passed away at the end of October 1918 at his residence in 14 Duke Street Mansions in Grosvenor Square, London aged just 24 years old.

His wife Dorothe became a widow less than a year after marriage.

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There is evidence the Barnato family were involved with Middle Street Synagogue in Brighton in Sussex. Jack and his brother are both mentioned on the First World War memorial there, as pictured below.

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