Frank Howard Bartley
FRANK HOWARD BARTLEY
Service Number: 4500
Units Served: 32nd Battalion
Personal Details: Frank Howard Bartley was born on the 14th of October 1881 at Minlaton, South Australia. He was the second child of nine and eldest son of George and Elizabeth Bartley. He had a dark complexion, grey eyes and dark brown hair. He weighed 138 lbs and was 5’ 8 ½” tall.
Enlistment Details: He enlisted on the 17th October, 1916 at Cheltenham and was posted to the 12th Reinforcement of the 32nd Battalion as a private at the age of 35. Details about his role in War: He embarked from Adelaide on the 16th of December 1916 on the “Berrima” and arrived in Devonport in England on the 16th February 1917. In May of 1917 he had the middle finger of his left hand amputated. He had obviously injured it sometime before has he had this operated on a number of times in 1916. He was deemed fit to return in July and continued training before being taken on strength by the 32nd Battalion on the 26th of October. The battalion moved south to the area around Armentieres in November and then to Messines in December. They then went to Desvres where they spent Christmas 1917. During 1918 the 32nd Battalion had a relatively quiet time spending most of it in reserve, with some heavy fighting in June and July, until the 8th August when it participated in the Battle of Amiens. From then until late September Australian troops were almost constantly in battle, pushing the Germans back along the Somme toward the Hindenburg Line. Frank stayed with the Battalion until the 29th September 1918 when he was hit by a shell near Bellicourt as the battalion launched an offensive on the Hindenburg Line.
This was the last battle that the 32nd Battalion would fight in World War 1.
Age at Death: 36
Memorial Details: Australian National Memorial, near Villers-Bretonneux, France
In 2006 on the first ‘Connecting Spirits” trip, Mal and Hamish Jurgs adopted a grave of an unknown Australian Soldier buried in Bellicourt, the probable location of Frank’s death. This soldier belonged to the 32nd Battalion and probably died on the same day as Frank Bartley and has become the symbolic location for the commemoration of Private Frank Howard Bartley.