Bernard Harold HARTLEY
Rank: Lieutenant
Number:
Unit: 20th Battalion LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS
Date of Death: 4 November 1916
Age: 21
Cemetery: Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery, Souchez, Pas de Calais, France

Bernard was the only child of Thomas and Eleanor Hartley of "Ashleigh", Marple (and the grandson of the late Alderman W Hartley of Greek Street, Stockport). He was educated first at Wadham House School, Hale. The school has been closed for many years but, in 2006, it's War Memorial appeared on the market for sale. It was sold to a private collector but a photograph of it, including Bernard's name, appears here. As an older boy, he moved to Clifton College in Bristol where, in 1912, he was Head Boy of School House. He was also a member of the School's Officers Training Corps.

He also studied at the Manchester School of Technology (now UMIST) and is also remembered on the institution's War Memorial. It is thought that he then went to work for Jones Brothers Ltd in Manchester (and appears in the Company's entry in the appendix to the Manchester City Battalions Book of Honour). It is known that the family owned a cotton business in Petrograd and Bernard was due to join it in due course. It's not known if Jones Brothers was also in family ownership.

Bernard enlisted into the army on 1 February, immediately joining the Inns of Court Officers Training Corps and received his commission as 2nd Lieutenant in June 1915. He will have gone overseas with the newly formed 20th Battalion in late January 1916. Only a few days later, on 12 February, he was admitted to 7th General Hospital at St Omer suffering with mild rubella and severe influenza. By 1 March, he had been transferred to 14th Stationery Hospital at Wimereoux and, by 6 March he had again been transferred to a convalescent hospital to recover from the German measles. He was back at duty on 30 March.

The Battle of the Somme opened on 1 July, but Bernard and his men were not to play any significant part on that day or in the following weeks. He was, however, back in hospital on 8 July, having sprained his ankle. He spent a few days at 3rd General Hospital at Le Treport on the Channel Coast. On 31 August, the Fusiliers were moved away from the Somme, northwards to the sector around Arras.

In the darkness of an early November evening, Bernard and a Corporal left the safety of the trenches to go on patrol in No Man's Land. Their intent was to inspect some old trenches to see if they might provide suitable cover for a large scale raiding party. The two became separated as Bernard wanted to explore nearer to the German lines. When a "recall" flare was sent up, the Corporal returned to the British line, there was no sign of Bernard. Next morning, however, his body was seen lying amongst the enemy barbed wire about 40 yards away. His Captain later wrote to the family "He went out on a difficult task with the utmost courage and bravery. We all admired and respected his bravery. It may be some comfort to you to know he did his duty as a soldier and a man and loved it as he did it."  It's understood that, the next night, the Germans recovered Bernard's body and arranged for it's burial. After the War, it was moved to Souchez where his grave is now maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Bernard's will left all his estate to his mother (his father having died by this time). This was valued at £3356 2s 8d. At 2005 prices, this would be over £150k - a staggering amount for a young man. Presumably, he had inherited most of it.

In September 1917, his cousin Donald Budenberg unveiled a plaque to Bernard's memory at All Saints Church, Marple. Budenberg would be killed a few months later.

Further information about Bernard, including a photograph, can be found in the book "Remembered" by P Clarke, A Cook and J Bintliff.

   
           
   
     
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