Harry Henry Bartlett

Rank Private
Service No 9337
Date of Death 14/03/1915
Age 27
Regiment/Service Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry 2nd Battalion
Memorial Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial. The Menin Gate is one of four memorials to the missing in Belgium Flanders in the Ypres Salient. It records the names of 54,000 officers and men from Australia, Canada, India, South Africa and the United Kingdom whose graves are not known.

 

Harry was born in Aldershot to Charles (b.1861) and Maria (b.1860) Bartlett. He had fourteen siblings in total, two of whom had died by the time of the 1911 Census.

At the time of the 1891 Census, Harry, then aged 2, was living in St Pancras, London, with his father, an organ pipe maker, his mother, and four siblings - Jane (7), Charles (6), William (4) and George (4 months). At the time of the 1901 Census, the family resided at 14 Hamilton Road, East Finchley, and Jane and Charles had left home. However, the house was far from empty as five more siblings had been born in the intervening decade: Herbert (8), Robert (7), Ethel (5), Lily (3) and Richard (3 months). At the time of the 1911 Census, Harry's parents were living at 2 Hill View Terrace, East End Road, Finchley. The family had been joined by Kitty (7) and Alfred (3).  This Census indicates that Ethel was born in Finchley so the family moved from St Pancras in or around 1896.

Harry later moved to Cornwall and enlisted with the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry at Bodmin. At the time of the 1911 Census, he was on active service with the 2nd Battalion, serving in South Africa. In 1913 his battalion moved to Hong Kong, which is where they were located at the outbreak of war in August 1914. The battalion returned to England in early November 1914 and was based in Winchester where it came under command of the 82nd Brigade in the 27th Division. The division assembled and mobilized at Magdalen Hill Camp (2 miles east of Winchester), embarked at Southampton on 19th to 21st December, disembarked at le Havre between 20th and 23rd December, and concentrated between Aire and Arques, France, and some 50 kilometres west of Ypres, Belgium, by the evening of 25th December 1914.

From the spring of 1915, there was constant underground fighting in the Ypres Salient at Hooge, Hill 60, Railway Wood, Sanctuary Wood, The Bluff and St Eloi. The Germans built an extensive system of defensive tunnels and were actively mining against the British trenches at the intermediate levels. In March 1915, they fired mines under the elevated area known as The Mound just south-east of St Eloi and in the ensuing fighting (the Action of St Eloi, a small village, about 5 kilometres south of Ypres), in which units of the British 27th Division participated, the British infantry suffered some 500 casualties, one of whom was Harry.

 According to the seventh Despatch of Field Marshal Sir John French, Commander-in-Chief of the British Armies in France and Flanders, printed in the second supplement to the London Gazette of 14 April 1915, there was:

“a surprise attack of the Germans made on the 14th March against the 27th Division holding the trenches east of St. Eloi. A large force of artillery was concentrated in this area under cover of mist, and a heavy volume of fire was suddenly brought to bear on the trenches at 5 p.m. This artillery attack was accompanied by two mine explosions; and, in the confusion caused by these and the suddenness of the attack, the position of St. Eloi was captured and held for some hours by the enemy … owing to the explosion of the mine and the surprise of the overwhelming artillery attack, the enemy's infantry had penetrated the first line of trenches at some points. As a consequence the garrisons of other works which had successfully resisted the assault were enfiladed and forced to retire just before it turned dark.”

At the time of his death, Harry's parents were living at 96 Station Road, Finchley.