Henry Herbert (Bert) Bartrop – Roger (Bass)
Service number 2110
Private 6th Reinforcements 3rd Battalion
Enlisted 11 May 1915 Sydney
Embarked 16 June 1915 HMAT Karoula
Arrived Egypt and temporarily promoted to Corporal on 3 August 1915
Reverted to Private on 4 August on arrival at Gallipoli
Reported missing in action 12 August 1915, following the battle at Lone Pine (it is noted in his records that he was ‘last seen during the charge on August 6’)
Confirmed killed in action following Court of Inquiry held in the field, France 5 June 1916
Commemorated at Lone Pine Cemetery and Memorial (Panel 19)
Place of birth Balmain Sydney NSW
Pre-war lived at ‘Homewood’ Victoria St Waverley
Occupation Clerk at Caxtons, timber merchants
Became engaged to Bess Dodds just prior to embarkation
Appearance 5’10” Brown eyes, dark hair
Age 28 at enlistment
Commemorated in Australia at Waverley Soldiers Memorial 1914-1918 Bondi Road, Waverly Park; Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre
“Bert was the first of his family to enlist, on 11th May 1915. He became engaged to his sweetheart Bess just before embarkation (a not uncommon story) and hoped for an early end to the War. I have a photo from 1915 of Bert and his friends in uniforms with their sweethearts.
He embarked on HM Australian Transport A63 Karoula on 16th June 1915. He was a private in the 6th Reinforcements Detachment of the 3rd Infantry Battalion.
His destination was changed to Gallipoli after arriving in Cairo for further training. He took part in the battle at Lone Pine and was killed in action on or about 12th August. [ed: Possibly on the first day of the offensive, 6 August 1915, according to eyewitness accounts.)
The family have now learnt via the Australian War Memorial officer that his body was hastily buried after the battle by other troops who knew him, although the family always believed that he was never found.
Actually, his father went to check army records in the War Records Office in London to no avail.
Henry Bartrop’s story was told at the Australian War Memorial’s Last Post Ceremony held on 19th September this year (2014). The Last Post ceremony is held at dusk, and includes the piping of a Lament and laying of wreaths. The story of the solider being honoured is also read out, before the Ode is recited and the bugle sounds the Last Post.
We kept Bess close to our family for the rest of her life: she never married.
Our casualties are unknown but very heavy
After resting all night and until 1400 we moved round to the rendezvous for the attack. The intensive bombardment by the artillery commenced at 1630 and ended at 1730. At 1730 the signal to advance was given. (unit diary entry for 7 August 1915)
Lone Pine – part of the August offensive at Gallipoli – was intended as a diversion from the New Zealand push on the ridge at Sari Bair and the landing further north at Suvla Bay. As described by the AWM:
The Lone Pine attack, launched by the 1st Brigade AIF in the late afternoon of 6 August 1915 pitched Australian forces against formidable entrenched Turkish positions, sections of which were securely roofed over with pine logs. In some instances the attackers had to break in through the roof of the trench systems in order to engage the defenders. The main Turkish trench was taken within 20 minutes of the initial charge but this was the prelude to 4 days of intense hand-to-hand fighting, resulting in over 2,000 Australian casualties.
(See also the description here.)
Witness accounts reports of Bert’s fate differ slightly, but the words of one who had shared a table with him on the transport over, and so ‘knew him well’, illustrate the chaos and horror of the situation they were confronting:
A new firing line was established ahead of the captured trenches but which Bartrop never reached. It would have been almost impossible for any Australians therein to have been taken prisoners.
The majority of the wounded and killed were lying in the open between the various trenches held by the Australians. Some of the former managed to crawl into various trenches, etc, and were thus looked after and saved but there was too heavy shrapnel fire on the captured ground to allow of collecting the dead and attending the wounded lying in the open and they lie there still.
According to the unit diary:
The Battle strength before operations on Lone Pine commenced was 24 officers 856 ORs (other ranks). The numbers who actually went to Lone Pine and took part in the action were 23 officers 736 Ors. We mustered the Battalion 3 days later when there were 7 oficers and 295 Ors. Of the officers who originally landed with the 3rd Btn only 2 are left – Major DM McConaghy and Lieut OG Howell-Price [ed. who was later killed in France, on 4 November 1916, at Flers].