Private 14610 Richard Bartley

Killed in Action on Sunday, 26th September 1915, age 23.
Commemorated on Panel 105 and 106 of Loos Memorial, Pas De Calais, France.

10th Bn., York & Lancaster Regiment. 63rd Brigade of 21st Division.

In lodgings at 14 Holm Flat, Parkgate, Rotherham, Yorkshire.
Born: Tipton Green, Enlisted: Rotherham, Resident: Unknown.

First landed France & Flanders, 10th September 1915.
Medal entitlement: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives survived and transcribed.

Not commemorated on any Tipton memorial.
Commemorated here because identified as Tipton on 'Soldiers Died in the Great War'.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/727261/

Genealogical Data

Birth of Richard Bartley registered March quarter 1892 in Dudley.

1901 Census
29 Walton Street, Tipton, Staffs.
John Bartley (45, Boatloader, born Tipton), Maria (38, born Manchester), and their 4 children: John (10, born Tipton), Richard (9, born Tipton), Sarah Ann (6, born Tipton), Willie (3, born Tipton).

1911 Census
No trace in Tipton or Rotherham.

Personal Data

Richard attested for the Yorks & Lancs Regiment on 3rd September 1914 in Rotherham. He was employed as a miner, living in lodgings at 14 Holm Flat, Parkgate, Rotherham. The attestation papers show that he was aged 22 years and 7 months, a small man just 5 feet 3½ inches tall, weighing 108lbs (less than 8 stones) with a 34.5 inch chest and a 3.5 inch expansion. His physical development and pulse rate is recorded as 'fair', complexion: dark, eyes: blue, hair: black, vision: 6/9, his religion is recorded as Baptist. At 5 feet 3½ inches he only just passed the minimum height requirement of 5ft 3inches, any smaller and he would have had to join a 'Bantam' Battalion. His father is noted as John Bartley, and his mother was already deceased. He had two brothers, John and William, and two sisters, Eliza and Sarah Ann.

Richard was initially allocated to the Depot Battalion until the 15th September when he was transferred to the 10th Battalion. The 10th Yorks & Lancs was formed at Pontefract, September 1914, as part of K3 (Kitchener's 3rd 100,000 New Army volunteers). In October 1914 they were attached to 63rd Brigade of the 21st Division which assembled near Tring for its training. The Battalion crossed to France in September 1915, with Richard recorded as landing in France on 10th September 1915, just 16 days before his death.

Richard was reported as 'missing in action' and his records state "assumed dead as provisionally reported missing on 26th September", later to be followed by "to be regarded for official purposes as having died on or since 26.9.1915." This was the second day of the Battle of Loos. Richard's body was not recovered and he is commemorated on the Loos Memorial, Pas de Calais, France.

The Army wrote to Richard's father at 6 Court 3 House, Queens Road, Tipton in 1920 asking for confirmation of all close living relatives. This form was completed by Rev. G.E. Lythgoe of St Paul's Church, Owen Street who would understand John Bartley's grief as Rev. Lythgoe had himself lost a son at High Wood on the Somme in 1916. John Bartley signed the form with an 'X' as the mark of John Bartley. The relatives were recorded as:- Father - John Bartley of 59 Alexandra Road, Tipton; Mother - dead, Brother - John Bartley, age 30, of Park Lane, Tipton; Sister - Sarah Ann Lloyd of Eastwood View, Rotherham.

Action resulting in his death

The 21st Division was a Reserve Division brought up to reinforce at the end of the first day at Loos - they were only a few days in France and had no experience of warfare. They were marched from too far back, and arrived exhausted at a confused time with no real idea where they were or what they were to do. The handling of the 21st and 28th Reserve Divisions led to the Commander-in-Chief, Sir John French being replaced by his second-in-command Sir Douglas Haig. They lost many men including two Tipton-born men: Richard Bartley and Horace Green who did not survive their first day on the front line, and could well have never fired their rifles in anger. Neither has a known grave and both are commemorated on the Loos Memorial at Dud Corner.

"Loos 1915" by Nick Lloyd (page 169)
"21st Division was one of the two Divisions who suffered so badly on the second day of the Battle of Loos. This was after an exhausting march from their location 20 miles to the west of the battlefield. The two Divisions were subject to confusion af command and control, and the politics of the relationship between French and Haig over who controlled the reserve Divisions.

During the hours of darkness, 63rd Brigade had taken up advanced positions around Chalk Pits and Bois Hugo and started digging in, but as early as 9am enemy pressure had started to increase. 63rd Brigade was facing the brunt of a vicious German counter-attack from the far side of Bois Hugo. Despite causing heavy casualties to the German attackers, parties of 8th Lincolns and 12th West Yorkshires were flooding abck across the Lens-Hulloch road to the corner of the Chalk Pit. 15 minutes later, large parties of the 63rd Brigade were retreating steadily west. Two companies of 10th Yorks and Lancasters were sent to reinforce 8th Lincolns, but the order was misunderstood and the whole Battalion rushed down through Chalk Pit Wood into an enemy bombardment.

21st Division were committed to an extremely dangerous situation, hampered by a catastrophic series of handicaps, including the lack of information, the poor coordination of men, heavy enemy attacks and very little artillery support."

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