St Julien post card W Bartlett - Tank Poelkapelle
Willoughby Travers Bartlett was the son of Frederick and Adelaide Bartlett and was baptized at Loders Church on 24 January 1892.
In the 1901 census he was aged 9 and living with his parents and brothers and sisters Herbert 7, Ella 5, Frederick 3 and Alma. Eliza Gale a niece aged 18 was a domestic help.
In the 1911 census Willoughby was aged 19 and was a domestic gardener. He was still living at the Crown Inn with his parents and brothers and sisters, Herbert 17, Frederick 13, Alma 11, Florence 9, Kate 6, Doris 3, and Maggie 1. Another niece Adelaide Gale, 21 was living with the family.
Willoughby enlisted in 1914-1915 when he was living in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand. He joined the New Zealand Expeditionary Force and was a Private in the Wellington Infantry Battalion.
He visited Loders School on Friday 4th February 1916. The entry in the Log Book for the school records –
‘School visited by Willoughby Bartlett an old scholar who has been in New Zealand a few years but joined the New Zealand Forces and came to do his share in the Great War. With him was Mr George Alex Maunsell a typical New Zealander. Both of them have been wounded and had seen some heavy fighting.’
With the school records is an old postcard showing the ‘Road to Ypres, St Julien 1914-15’. It is marked in handwriting ‘wounded here on 17.3.15.’ It is believed that this postcard was left at the school by Willoughby Bartlett.
Willoughby’s brother Frederick was in the Somerset Light Infantry and died on 21 February 1918 in France.
Willoughby is recorded as travelling from New Zealand to England for a visit in March 1958.
Willoughby Bartlett died in Bridport in 1966 aged 74.
2019 LLHG Exhibition of Loders School 150th Anniversary
At the end of the evening Rolly Moores (pupil at Loders School from 6/1/1971) waved a poly-pocket at me. It contained the postcard left at the school by
Willoughby Bartlett (see above). He excitedly said that he had been at the very spot on the postcard only the week before. The tank had been a tourist/pilgrimage attraction between the wars. It was then recycled during WWII and then a dummy was erected in the village. A group of locals and enthusiasts had built a working replica tank and Rolly had been to the unveiling ceremony. On further investigation I found that this had been on the 9th November 2019 via their Facebook page. I passed this document to Stijn Butaye, St Julien, Belgium.
Follow link https://www.facebook.com/tankpoelcapelle/
Follow link St Julien with the same postcard/photo