Memoir of John Shakespear Bartley, 1916-1919
Memoir relating to the First World War service of 2880 Lance Corporal John Shakespear Bartley, 30th Battalion. This account of Bartley's service was written and compiled sometime after his return to Australia in 1919 and before 1929. The memoir is typewritten in the third person and includes various souvenirs, usually in the form of postcards from places he visited during his service. It has been compiled from diary entries and letters written by Bartley during the war and has been co-written with his friend 2929 Private George Gott, also of the 30th Battalion. The memoir has been divided into five sections, each depicting a different period of Bartley's service in great detail.
The first section covers the period from Bartley's enlistment in Sydney in 1916 to his arrival and service in Egypt. He provides a vivid picture of camp life (it is here that he first meets Gott) as well as the dramatic scenes as families and friends bade the soldiers farewell at their embarkation. Bartley proceeds to describe the journey to Egypt and life there once they had arrived.
The second section covers the period from Bartley's departure from Egypt to his further training in England and then subsequent deployment to France. Having left Egypt, he details life at the Lark Hill military camp in England, as well as a detailed sightseeing trip in London. The section ends with his eventual deployment to France with the 30th Battalion.
The third section covers the period spanning the brutally cold winter of 1916/1917 on the Somme. Bartley writes of life on the Western Front in the constant cold and wet weather as well as the various fighting encountered whilst his battalion rotated in and out of the front line. With the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line in early 1917, he writes of the role of the battalion in occupying Bapaume in March 1917.
The fourth section covers the period spanning the occupation of Bapaume to the end of 1917. Bartley describes the limited fighting the battalion saw around Ypres as well as various other incidents.
The fifth section covers the period from the end of 1917 until Bartley's return to Australia in 1919. After sustaining a bullet wound to the thigh in April 1918 he was sent to England for convalescence. He returns to participate in the pivotal battle of St. Quentin Canal which he describes. In June 1919, Bartley sails for home and his last entry details his arrival in Australia in August of that year. As an addendum the memoir includes a list of No. 15 Platoon casualties and a copy of the address made by the Bishop of Amiens in November 1918 commemorating the Australian fallen.
Due to the binding of the memoir some handwritten annotations in the margin area are partially obscured.