Sergeant Major Henry Hartley

Sergeant Major Henry Hartley, (Private, 1st Battalion Cameron Highglanders, no 3551) later 1/6th Battalion, Duke of Wellington's (West Riding) Regiment. Regimental Number 6/2332, 265496

Sergeant Major Henry Hartley MM, from the Keighley News 3rd June 1916

Early life:
Henry was born in Keighley in 1873, his birth being registered in the town, in the second quarter of that year.
His parents appear to have been Benjamin Hartley (born 1840) and Harriet Hartley née Waddington Smith (born 1841, who were married in Keighley in 1868.
In the 1881 census Henry was living with his mother Harriet at 77, Wellington Street in Keighley and he was a scholar, aged eight years. His father was not at the family home at the time of the census. They also had two lodgers, a widowed worsted spinner called Hannah Greenwood and a doffer in worsted spinning, called John William Sharp.
It appears that his father died in September 1884 and his mother Harriet died in December 1886 which would have left Henry an orphan.

Early military service:
By 1891 Henry was 19 years old, single, and living along with 375 other soldiers and associated staff at The Bradford Barracks, which was probably Belle Vue Barracks, at Drill Parade on Manningham Lane. He is listed as part of the 'Infantry of the Line.'

He served with the 1st Battalion of the Cameron Highlanders (service number 3351) and served at Cairo and in the Sudan. He earned the Queen's Sudan Medal (silver) with clasps for the 1898 Atabara Campaign and the 1898 Expedition to Khartoum with Kitchener.
He also received the Khedive's Medal for the same campaign.

He also served in the Second Boer War with the Cameron Highlanders and earned the Queen's South Africa Medal with the 1901 clasps for Johannesburg, Cape Colony and Orange Free State before being invalided back to England in that year, which means he did not receive the King's South Africa Medal.

Back to civilian life:
In the 1901 census he was 28 and living at 25, Minnie Street in Haworth with his adopted mother Elizabeth Smith, a draper living on her own account, and a boarder called Robert Starbrooke who was a stone delver. Henry's occupation was 'Soldier (Scotch Highlanders),' so it's possible he was just visiting home at the time of the census and perhaps he was recovering there after being invalided home.

In 1902 he married Clara Ann Greenwood and their marriage was registered at Keighley in the second quarter of the year and on December 28 that year their first child Christopher was born. Christopher was baptised at St. Andrew's Church on February 8 and they were living at 4, Calton Street in the Knowle Park area of Keighley and Henry was employed as a moulder at one of the many foundries in the town at that time.

Their second child James was born on May 3 1904 and baptised at St. Andrews on June 1. By now they'd moved to 95, Spencer Street in the Highfield area of town and Henry was still working as a moulder. Their third child Benjamin was born in 1906 and their youngest was Fred, born May 9, 1908 with his baptism at St. Andrews on June 17 that year and their address had changed to 4, Grafton Street in the Knowle Park area of town, just a few streets away from their earlier home at Calton Street. There is a gap in the baptism records for 1906 at St. Andrew's Church, but we're fairly sure that Benjamin was baptised there as his three brothers were.

By the 1911 census they had settled in their permanent home at 36, Rawling Street, Ingrow, just a hundred yards along Queen's Road from Grafton Street. Henry was now 38 and still an iron moulder making parts for textile machinery. He stated that he'd been employed for seven years (although this has been crossed out by the census enumerator.) He also stated they'd been married for nine years and they'd produced four children, all of whom were still living.

Great War service:
When war broke out Henry was a very early enlistment on 7th August 1914 with the 1/6th Duke of Wellington's West Riding Regiment. He had the service number 2332 and he was soon promoted to Sergeant and was at this rank when the battalion went out to France on the 14th April 1915. He is listed in their nominal roll with this rank. His service number later changed to the six figure number of 265496.

Henry is named in the Keighley Town Clerk's 1914 Enlistments and also in Keighley's Gallant Sons as an early volunteer.

Henry was awarded the Military Medal for gallant service and this appeared in issue number 29608 of the London Gazette dated June 2, 1916, page 5591. Unfortunately we don't have a copy of the citation.

War diary entry for the 1/6th Battalion West Riding Regiment:
June 25, 1916:
Divine Service. Battalion attend Brigade Church Parade. Major-General Percival C.B., D.S.O. decorated those who received distinctions June 14-1916.

It's likely that Henry received his Military Medal at this time and it was mentioned in the Keighley News of June 3 (photo) and June 10.

The Keighley News, Saturday June 10, 1916:
Company Sergeant-Major Harry Hartley, of the West Riding Regiment (T.F.), of 36, Rawling Street, Ingrow, has been awarded the Military Medal for gallant service. Sergeant-Major Hartley served twelve years with the Cameron Highlanders and was with Kitchener in the Soudan war, and later, went through the South African war. Later he joined the old Volunteers at Keighley, and rejoined the Territorials two days after the outbreak of war as a private. He soon reached non-commissioned rank, and went out to the front with the battalion in April, 1915. He formerly worked at Messrs. G. Hattersley & Sons, and is very well known in Ingrow and Keighley.

About a year later Harry was discharged medically unfit on June 1, 1917. He was 44 at the time and was placed in the 'P.T.' Army Reserve. This may have meant he was of more use to the war effort in a civilian role, and as a trained and very experienced moulder he could serve in industry and probably allow another, perhaps younger and fitter man to enlist. It also meant that as a soldier with a considerable amount of Army service, he would be given a pension.

Post war and later life:
Later, he received the 1914-1915 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal for his war service.

In the 1921 census he was 48 years old and living at 36, Rawling Street in Keighley with Clara Ann and their four sons. Henry's occupation was: Iron Moulder for Messrs Morrison & Mason, Contractors For Public Works, Sladen Valley Water Works Keighley. Their three eldest sons were apprenticed iron moulders so they'd followed in their father's footsteps.

Henry died at the age of 58 in October 1931. Clara and Benjamin were still living at 36, Rawling Street in the 1939 Register.
Clara died two years later in 1941, aged 60 years.

Information sources:
1901 England Census
England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1837-1915
West Yorkshire, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1910
England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837-1915
West Yorkshire, England, Electoral Registers, 1840-1962
1911 England Census
British Army World War I Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920
UK, World War I Service Medal and Award Rolls, 1914-1920
UK, Silver War Badge Records, 1914-1920
The London Gazette
The Keighley News archives, held at Keighley Library
UK, World War I Pension Ledgers and Index Cards, 1914-1923
1921 Census Of England & Wales
England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007
1939 England and Wales Register

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