Friday 22 February 2008 by Mal Booth. 2 comments
Exhibitions, Lawrence of Arabia and the Light Horse, Less than six degrees of separation, The Light Horse, Lawrence of Arabia and the Light Horse

I received an email today from Charles Kenny of Essex in the UK. He has given me permission to post it here and I've put in some relevant links where I could.

Reading about your exhibition, I thought you might be interested in a little known connection.

The Bartlett brothers, Stephen and Alfred S., both pearlers of Broome (W.A.), enlisted together in the 10th Light Horse Regiment in May 1915, and embarked from Freemantle on HMAT Anchises in September. They saw plenty of action. Alfred was recommended for a bravery award at Rafa in January 1917 but sadly died of wounds that April and is buried in Gaza. Steve soldiered on in the great ride to Damascus, and then to patrolling the Delta. After the war he settled in England and became an author, writing under the name of Gurney Slade.

He wrote some twenty books, mainly adventure stories for boys, and mostly set in Australia or the Middle East. One was made into a film, "Lovers and Luggers" (1937), directed by Ken G. Hall with cinematography by Frank Hurley. Five of the books deal with the desert campaign and its aftermath : "In Lawrence's Bodyguard" (1930), which is said to be the first work of fiction to use Lawrence's name in the title, "Led by Lawrence" (1934), "Lawrence in the Blue" (1936), "The Black Pyramid" (1926) and "The Delta Patrol" (1934). The last three feature the exploits of troopers in the Light Horse.

Steve was a great friend of my grandfather, and a favourite "uncle" to me as a small boy - full of tales about the outback and the Light Horse. He met "Aircraftsman Shaw" in 1933 and noted his remark "How easily gained a good or a bad reputation may be. Away with them both." No doubt both men would be amused that so many years later these books could still sometimes be found in antiquarian bookshops at a rather higher price than they originally sold for.

I am indebted to the really outstanding websites of the Australian War Memorial and the National Archives of Australia for some of the personal military details.
Good Luck with the exhibition.

Charles

Comments

Carrie Hill

I believe that Steve was engaged to my great-aunt, Edith Hewitt.... I have been given three books by a cousin: Kharga the Camel, Pingoo the Penguin and Tamba the Lion, all written under the name of Gurney Slade. Inside the covers is handwritten : Edith from Steve Sept 1949. I am not sure where she was living at the time, or for how long they were engaged, and why they had no future. I wonder why he called himself Gurney Slade, and when he died..... Please make this public on your website in case anyone else can give more information - Carrie Hill

Carrie Hill

Carrie Hill: Your comment is awaiting moderation. July 15th, 2010 at 4:09 am I believe that Steve was engaged to my great-aunt, Edith Hewitt…. I have been given three books by a cousin: Kharga the Camel, Pingoo the Penguin and Tamba the Lion, all written under the name of Gurney Slade. Inside the covers is handwritten : Edith from Steve Sept 1949. I am not sure where she was living at the time, or for how long they were engaged, and why they had no future. I wonder why he called himself Gurney Slade, and when he died….. I would particularly like to contact Charles Kenny from Essex, who posted comments about the Bartlett brothers which gave me the information I was seeking....Maybe his great-uncle was engaged to my great-aunt......! Please make this public on your website in case anyone else can give more information - Carrie Hill