Rank: Gunner 826656
Regiment: Royal Field Artillery
Cecil Bartlett was born in Beer in 1897, the fifth child of James Bartlett, a labourer for the Clinton Devon Estates, and his wife Sarah Jane. All the members of the family were born in Beer.
At the time of the 1911 census Cecil was aged 14, and was a gardener’s assistant. His eldest brother, John, aged 25, was a labourer on the Clinton estate like his father, while his sister Emily was a domestic servant and his brothers Alfred and William were respectively a groom and a carpenter’s assistant working for a wheelwright. The family lived at 2 Dolphin Road, Beer.
Cecil took his oath of attestation for the army on 18 November 1915, but was not actually called up until 11 April 1916, when he officially joined the army at Exeter. The following day he joined No 7 Artillery Training School at Winchester. His army record shows he was 5ft 6in tall, with a 32-inch chest.
After training Gunner 826656 Bartlett was posted to ‘D’ Battery, 298 Brigade Royal Field Artillery (RFA). He left England via Southampton on 14 March 1917, and arrived in Le Havre the following day.
On 26 September 1917 he was wounded in action when he accidentally trapped his left hand with the trail of a field gun. His commanding officer certified that the wound was genuinely received in the performance of his duty, and noted that the guns had been in action for 16 hours when the injury occurred. Cecil was admitted to the 14th General Hospital at Wimereux the next day, and on 2 October he sailed to Dover on the SS Jan Dreydel. He was admitted to Mersey Park Military Hospital, Liverpool on 3 October.
In April 1918 he was again posted overseas, this time with ‘D’ Battery, 48 Brigade RFA, and was with them when the war ended. After nine months with this unit he was finally given some home leave, and returned to the UK for 14 days’ leave in January 1919.
He was demobbed from the army on 18 September 1919, and given 28 days' leave and an advance of £2. His demobilisation certificate showed his last ‘Theatre of war or Command’ as ‘Rhine’, so he was apparently part of the army of occupation in Germany at this point.
Cecil died in 1939.
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